Imaging & Electronic Invoicing: Better Together

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A new study conducted by IOFM finds that among businesses currently using electronic invoicing, a whopping 84 percent also use invoice scanning/imaging technology. Clearly, organizations have determined that using a mix of technologies is the best solution to leaving manual processes behind.

This has been the experience of Direct Insite’s customers.

Scanning/imaging converts paper invoices into digital images that can be indexed with pertinent data such as invoice number, Purchase Order (PO) number, invoice date, etc. The primary benefit of implementing scanning/imaging is that it eliminates the paper from downstream processes such as approval and exceptions workflows. Combining imaging/scanning with optical character recognition (OCR), which interprets the data on invoices, provides further savings by reducing manual keying. In addition, implementing outsourced scanning in the initial phase of an AP automation project immediately removes the manual handling of any paper by a company’s employees and provides a quick return on investment.

Electronic invoicing is attractive to Accounts Payable (AP) professionals because it allows for the receipt of invoice data from vendors in an electronic format that can be automatically processed by an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or other accounting system. Without a doubt, electronic invoicing is faster, more cost-effective and more accurate than scanning (even when combined with OCR).

But the transition from a paper-based environment to a completely electronic one takes time, and some vendors will inevitably hold-out. This means that businesses will need a way to deal with paper invoices, even after they begin accepting electronic invoices. When used alongside an electronic invoicing solution, scanning/imaging allows businesses to digitize all of their invoices, and aggregate the digital information in a single repository for consolidated reporting, routing and approvals, exception handling, dynamic discounting, and visibility.

Another benefit of having all invoices (paper, fax, e-mail, electronic invoice), regardless of the source, in one repository or portal is that as companies allow their vendors self-service access to supplier portals, suppliers are able to see the status of all invoices and payments regardless of how invoices are submitted.

Direct Insite offers solutions for imaging/scanning as well as electronic invoicing. Together, these capabilities have helped our clients move to a fully electronic environment that eliminates paper processes, reduces manual keying, accelerates processing turnaround, and provides better visibility.

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