Whatever type of business you do, whatever category your business falls under (solo entrepreneurship, small business or big corporation), as long as you make purchases that are essential for your operations, there’s a common denominator that’s likely to stay for the long haul – bills and invoices from your partner suppliers. Your ability to properly tackle these invoices in a timely and efficient manner can go a long way, especially in terms of productivity, business continuity and financial bottom line.
The beauty of doing business in today’s era is the immediate availability of software that can automate your invoice approval process, especially if the process is carried out by a team. Keeping your data in the cloud and available to all parties involved anytime, anywhere is another huge advantage.
The invoice approval process revisited
In most businesses, invoices received for purchases like bookcases, stationery, copiers, printers, inks, toners, computers and others usually follow payment terms that can be anywhere from 15, 30, 60, 90 days, or whichever term you and the supplier decide to agree upon.
The moment you receive the invoice, it is routed to the concerned department, usually the accounts payable division of the finance and administration department, for processing and documentation. Items and figures listed are verified, checked for possible inaccuracies, and that all required fields for the actual processing to commence are provided, such as tax information, invoice number, purchase quantity, price, date, among others.
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For big companies being serviced by multiple suppliers, doing all this the “old school” way, with piles of folders with invoices for verification, can be pretty unimaginable.
Automating the invoice approval process
The invoice approval process, when left manual and paper-based, is slow and inefficient, to say the least, especially when your business has several different offices in different locations. When digitized (automated, that is), besides all pertinent data being stored in a single repository for easy storage, processing and retrieval, automatic updates are conveniently provided to other departments as well, suppliers, too, if your approval protocol allows for that.
That being the case, automating your invoice approval process means:
- saving a good number of manned hours for tracking and delivering invoice-related data here and there
- eliminating the need to create double invoice entries when the original cannot be found because the person responsible is on leave and out of reach
- ensuring that the invoice is routed to the right person at the right time
- fewer supplier inquiries
- no late or inaccurate payments
- taking advantage of early payment discounts
- easy data integration within departments
With the right invoice approval software, you should be able to add and remove fields without much difficulty, despite the lists, forms and other templates being pre-built. As well, even without advanced programming skills, you should be able to design and formulate workflows according to your existing business protocols, like if the invoice exceeds a certain amount, it automatically goes to key people for re-verification and approval.
And then there’s an e-mail feature that allows you to link an e-mail address to your invoice approval process workflow. Once a supplier sends an invoice to this particular address, an item containing the invoice number and unique URL is automatically created. After which, the assigned personnel are notified, and the approval process commences.
If you’re still manually approving your invoices, you’re probably not capitalizing on the efficiency gains an automated invoice approval software can conveniently offer. Given all the points above, if you think this is something that will benefit your business and would like to see it in action in your own unique environment, Comindware Tracker offers a 30-day free trial.
Image credit: Michelle Meiklejohn | FreeDigitalPhotos.net