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A Journey Towards Global Invoice Processing
Why are large enterprises investing in global invoice processing alignment? Standardizing the invoice processing flow is paramount to an efficient business process. By implementing the right AP invoice automation software large corporations are closer to streamlining their invoice process across the globe.
As a result, they get more done with fewer resources and faster. Keep reading to find out more about how to kick off your global invoice processing standardization project on the right foot.
Introduction to global invoice processing
We can see how most global companies are grouping business processes into SSC (Shared Service Center), GBS (Global Business Services), or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing). These centers have AP departments whose mission is to process invoices and pay suppliers on time, following local and global regulations. Their goals are to be more efficient and save money by finding smarter ways to do their AP processes. As companies reach such goals they help the enterprise build a competitive advantage.
We often see that accounts payable teams in the same company don’t use the same processes. They still do things manually and use different solutions. Therefore, they are missing the opportunities a standardized accounts payable invoice process can bring. Some of the benefits are cost reduction, productivity increase, data analytics across teams and shared best practices.
By implementing the right global accounts payable invoice processing software, you can chase these goals and get these benefits. Standardization is extremely attractive, but we need to keep in mind there will be challenges and obstacles to overcome.
Why do enterprises want to implement standardized and automated invoice processing?
As we have seen, large corporations seek to have efficient business processes. However, due to their size and nature, they need to deal with an important level of complexity. Such difficulty affects all their processes, including accounts payable AP teams need to handle complex ad-hoc processes, created over time in distinct parts of the company, and it is not the easiest inheritance to work with. These processes create inefficiency and risks, for example, late payment charges or compliance-related penalties.
Besides, opportunities for wrong/fraudulent actions. A real-life example is the dummy POs. Such purchase orders are created by some accounts payable departments to increase the number of PO-based invoices. By doing this, the accounts payable team impacts positively their KPIs.
To recap, we can say that it is their dream to standardize and automate the invoice process because it reduces the number of mistakes and it saves time and money. Additionally, they know that with a transparent and structured process, their productivity can be higher. If you want to standardize your global invoice processing flow, be ready for some challenges that you need to prepare for.
Challenges of a global accounts payable process
While the fundamental steps to process an invoice might be the same, there are many local requirements and ways of working. We know that the path to standardized invoice processing is not even. Below we have listed some of the challenges large corporation face:
- Accepting the change. The first barrier is always the team not accepting the changes, as everyone is by nature more comfortable with the processes that they get used to.
- How is the existing process? Another challenge is that the existing processes are blurry, not described, and difficult to investigate.
- IT infrastructure for the AP process. The next challenge to mention is the integration in the “zoo” of different internal systems that together create the IT infrastructure for the AP process. We refer to connecting to the correct environments and integrating with the despairing internal systems.
- For example, a mixture of new and legacy ERP systems used by different entities and regions of the global corporation.
- Country- and entity-specific requirements. Last, but not least, is the country- and entity-specific requirements. Every business and every country or region has its own expectations from the process.
Global vs Local
Big companies that want to handle invoices worldwide still have to deal with local rules and regulations.
Think about the mandatory local legal requirements that ap teams and companies can’t avoid. Everything else in the accounts payable process we should put to the standard as much as possible. Sometimes it may lead to a series of challenging decisions but keeping a bunch of local requirements along with the standard global process may ruin the whole idea of standardization.
To make it possible, the project leaders and their team should reveal the local peculiarities and describe them from the very beginning of the project. Otherwise, you may be caught by surprise by the unavoidable local needs that may conflict with the developed global process.
Large companies with a global invoice processing plan might have challenges to overcome, however, the gains are worth the effort. By working together with the right global AP invoice automation solution this can be a smoother journey.
At Cevinio, we have experience helping global enterprises turn their AP challenges into opportunities. By delivering ap invoice automation software that injects automation and alignment into the accounts payable processes. Find a comprehensive solution that combines ERP, P2P, and OCR into one. We combine the best features you need to reach highly automated invoice processing.
Contact our sales team and discover how we can help you.