Thought Leadership

Steps To Zero-Touch Invoice Processing

June 28, 2021

Steps To Zero-Touch Invoice Processing

Businesses across the globe are seeking ways to become more effective and efficient given the pressure on bottom lines since the pandemic. The need to work remotely has also intensified the focus to be able to work from wherever and free up staff from manual data entry tasks.

One of the business operations that can be automated is how your invoices are processed, we have seen and helped businesses across the globe to automate their invoice processing, the technology has been proven in pretty much every industry and is available to businesses small and large. In this article we take a look at the steps required to achieve zero-touch invoice processing.

What are the steps involved with invoice processing

Lets consider the steps that are involved in processing an invoice:

Depending on the systems and processes that a business has in place, some of these process may be at least digital which can improve efficiency. 

What can be automated with invoice processing?

How many of these processes can truly be automated to see an organisation move towards touchless invoice processing? We undertook an analysis of existing procure to pay technologies, the processes of the 70+ organisations we have worked with across the world to automate and optimise their finance and procurement operations. The results were not surprising but incredibly important…ALL the processes could be automated:

What does invoice automation look like?

Automating invoice receipt: A range of different technologies are available to automate invoice receipt from older, less efficient technologies like PDF scan and capture, to AI and machine learning powered data capture platforms through to true system to system e-invoicing options like Peppol e-invoicing. These systems take out the manual data capture work required to enter basic invoice data.

Automating invoice validation: modern invoice processing platforms should be able to automate the validation of an invoice through the following automated checks:

  • External Supplier validation
  • Business Number validation
  • Internal supplier details validations
  • Duplicate check
  • Purchase order matching
  • Bank account verification

These automated checks ensure that invoices going through the process are valid and importantly not fraudulent.

Automating send for coding: If you have a modern procure to pay system in place and are using purchase orders than as the purchase order matches to the invoice it will either go straight through for payment or be sent directly to the person who raised the purchase order. Some platforms also support some in-built logic that can automate an invoice to a reviewer based on the supplier or data captured off the invoice.

Automating Invoice coding: Modern procure to pay systems can also provide automation around invoice coding either through importing it from a matched purchase order or from some pre-set logic and rules based on the coder, supplier or other data captured off the invoice.

Automating Send for Approval: Modern procure to pay systems can have predefined rules and logic based on management hierarchy, department, supplier or amount that automates where the invoice needs to be sent for approval.

Automating Invoice Approval: If the invoice is backed by a purchase order and matches (within a tolerance if setup) it will be automatically approved. This is by far the most effective way to automate the invoice approval process. Other options for automating invoice approval can be based on pre-defined logic based on supplier, amount or any other data captured on the invoice.

Automating invoice checks: The final invoice check can be completely avoided in modern procure to pay platforms, the platform workflows are designed specifically to ensure compliance  to financial policies and procedures.

Automating invoice entry into ERP: With modern integration technology, transferring the approved invoice data into your ERP can be completely automated ensuring no delays in invoice transfer.

So, zero touch invoicing is very achievable by combining the right technology with the right processes. Interested in finding out more? Why not chat to our experts!

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