Could invoice processing improve your accounts?

Document management is still a relatively little-known thing, but one that has the potential to transform the work place. In an age in which the paperless office is a rarely-achieved ideal, the suite of technologies known as document processing (and the accounts department special case, invoice processing) can actually make this a reality.

Document management systems are amazingly effective collaboration tools. They allow groups to store, exchange, modify and keep track of documents. There are also facilities to track the changes made and record various versions of documents. This allows many people to work on the same project, saving it centrally without the need for many different versions or fragments that ultimately have to be standardised and put together as a full product.

If you have paper documents, as most companies do, then there is obviously a gap between that state of affairs and the entirely online version to which you may aspire. Simply, it is tough to work across the two – sometimes having to deal with physical letters, memos and documents and sometimes with virtual ones. This is where document processing comes in. It is a set of technologies that changes physical documents to their electronic equivalents. Some of the most rudimentary (and therefore cheapest) of these technologies involve merely scanning-to-PDF: creating an image or other file out of a written document. However, at its most advanced it is possible to turn handwritten notes into editable files, like any other office document. These can then be placed into your document management system and treated like any other electronic document.

Document management and the document processing that makes bridging the divide between ‘real’ and virtual possible are therefore extremely helpful technologies. Invoice processing applies this to your accounts department, allowing you to turn physical invoices into electronic ones. This is critical, since many suppliers and organisations will still submit paper invoices, and these can easily be treated differently to the ones you receive electronically. They can get forgotten or mislaid, with implications for your relationships with your suppliers and for your reputation. If you are aiming for a paperless office, whether for financial or environmental reasons, then this is an effective way to help bring that about. The solution you opt for will depend upon the nature of your organisation and its needs, as well as its budget, but the range of alternatives available means there is something for everyone.

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Invoice processing that lets you know where you stand with your budget

Up until the 1980s document management was better known as filing. Vast cabinets and drawers were filled with paperwork and other age-old material awaiting dust, disintegration and maybe eventual disposal. In some cases, such as library and museum collections, much of this sort of physical material is highly regarded; relevant for future generations of students and historians or delicate to the extent that it would be unsafe to scan. Much of this material, however, is less precious, at least in cultural heritage terms. And much of it will still be in a state that will certainly survive computerisation through scanning. And once physical documents have been scanned they are just so much easier to process. In fact, document processing in this day and age can for the most part totally bypass the printer; it can all be done through computer management processes that create less daily waste and help keep offices in tip top shape. invoice processing is almost certainly a job that can be done paper free. Clients will be glad of this; it means that their payments can be made and received quickly and in a totally transparent fashion.

Knowing how to manage documents properly is a skill of utmost relevance to almost everyone in employment and in particular those who run businesses. From the independent lone businessman to the multinational corporation, few companies can afford and certainly do not desire to waste time and money. For the freelancer, who can only take on the amount of work they have time for, and will not want to spend as much time making out invoices and storing data as they must dedicate for the task in hand, this would clearly be a false economy. As such, a document management system can be put in place, whereby computer files are suitably labelled according to their subject matter and date. At the other end of the range, a multinational corporation will have huge volumes of data and money incoming and outgoing daily. Balancing the books in this instance is therefore fundamental even for outwardly successful companies to ensure they stay afloat: if outgoings are delayed a false impression could be given of one’s profits and business could easily slide into decline.

Small and medium-sized businesses ensure their long-term endurance by building superior relationships with their customers, many of whom will trust them with secret information. From banking details needed for invoice processing, to health records requiring careful document management, client data must be safely saved and easy to retrieve. Good document processing practice will ensure information stays safe.

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Document management services save time wasted on administration

In the financial world of large corporations, businesses and banks, payments are made and received many thousands of times a day. These transactions must be made quickly and efficiently; there is little room for error because the work effected in this sector is fast-paced – as soon as one transaction has been made there will be another lined up and returning to correct errors will entail a loss of time and profit. Sometimes, a very small matter overlooked will have far-reaching consequences. Of course, financial workers are only human and mistakes have long been considered unavoidable when they occur only on rare occasion. Now, however, though the bankers are still human, the organisations that have begun enlisting the services of other companies specialising in invoice processing technologies are far less prone to error. This is because certain technologies can offer assistance and an extra level of verification through exemplary document management and document processing solutions.

The figures really do speak for themselves in this domain: some leading document management technology companies support more than 9000 customers with many of the FTSE 100 figuring among them. How could so many clients be wrong? Indeed, they are not wrong, they have quite simply had the foresight to realise that they could be making their company far more efficient if they welcome some of the positive solutions that have discovered in the technological age.

Document processing, to define the beneficial technologies further, helps to take the stress out of transactional documents by making them more streamlined: processes can be automated and managed digitally, for example, by specialist software packages that have been designed to improve levels of speed, accuracy and control in AP processes. document management becomes easier as a consequence because the need to get through mountains of paper-based invoices that limit productivity has quite simply gone away. The benefits of invoice processing are similar, only here it should be noted that not only time is being saved but so, directly, is money. In all of this, there is no need to be concerned that transactions will be taken out of your hands or that you will lose the ability to track the progress of your institution; the above technologies keep graphic records of all exchanges.

Please visit http://www.bottomline.co.uk/ for further information about this topic.

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