Many enterprises are already working on their invoice processing standardization plans. They aim to reduce the operational costs of processing their invoices globally by working more efficiently and faster.
At Cevinio, we have specialized in supporting corporations with shared services centers streamlining and standardizing their invoice process successfully. Below we have put together valuable tips that will help you with the implementation of a global invoice process.
Problems large companies are trying to solve with invoice processing standardization:
The first step towards invoice processing standardization is to have a clear view of the objectives and problems you are trying to solve. In most cases the decision comes with the implementation of a global AP (Accounts Payable) invoice automation solution that acts as a vehicle for standardization and a tool to fix the problems we list below:
- Low accounts payable productivity, among other reasons, due to following a high number of custom regulations in a manual mode
- Handling both global and local compliance requirements
- Lack of consistency and transparency makes the process less manageable and increases the risk of fraud
- A high percentage of invoice exceptions lead to excessive costs of invoice processing
- Late-payment fees and compliance-related penalties
- Handling invoices in different flows in a timely manner
- Lack of data and analytics to optimize the process and transparently calculate KPIs
- Global working capital control
- Proper workflow distribution
If these are issues you recognize, we invite you to continue reading this blog. We talk about the first steps towards a standard invoice process and the selection of the right global AP invoice automation solution. Do not miss any opportunities to have a faster process in place, more productive teams, higher optimization opportunities via analytics, a more strategic AP team… just to name a few of the benefits.
First steps toward a standardized invoice processing
Standardizing your invoice processing globally is certainly a big project where challenges and obstacles will come your way. By being well-prepared and counting on the right technology you will be on the path to achieving your goals. Below we share our hints and tips for a successful standardization of your invoice process:
- Blueprint. The standardization process will go smoother if there is a properly developed blueprint, designed by the project team before (but not in parallel with) jumping into action. The new process and the requirements should be described from the very beginning to keep things under control.
- Mindset. When creating the description and implementing the standardization, it is also all about the mindset. A good approach is to think the “scenario way,” with end-to-end processes, and then test these scenarios with the right stakeholders with a couple of examples before going live. Avoid shuttered vision because designing and testing the parts of the process independently do not allow us to find all the gaps.
- Change management. Speaking about new processes and the teams involved, we cannot avoid the topic of change management. A change management plan should be a part of the process from the very beginning. With the proper level of trust gained from the AP team, and where AP teams are directly accountable for the successful process.
If you are interested in the change management topic, we recommend you have a look at our posts “Change management in accounts payable” and “Benefits and challenges of a change management plan”
- Focus on high-volume invoice scenarios. Once you have a team, they could start working on understanding and describing existing invoice scenarios. Structure them by volume and then focus on the high-volume scenarios that can be standardized.
- A small and dedicated team. Even though the invoice process standardization is a complex process, involving too many participants may create chaos. The core project team should be as small as possible, with specific tools applied to take a wider range of opinions into account.
- Communication channels. Establishing reliable communication channels between all the stakeholders of the process is challenging, as the more opinions you want to consider, the more people will become involved in the development of the new standard process. So, it is important to find the right balance, keeping the core team small and capable, while creating efficient channels for gathering input from a wider range of stakeholders. It is also important to have a direct connection to true experts with relevant experience, especially on the vendor’s side.
- Reliable vendor. Make sure that the AP invoice automation software you select provides a smart tool for supporting this quest.
Choosing the right accounts payable invoice automation software
When you start looking for a software solution for AP invoice automation, you might feel overwhelmed by the options available in the market. For this reason, it is important to know what problems you need to solve as well as the key features you need to implement.
Global companies have unique needs and pains; therefore, the first step should be finding a vendor with experience implementing their solution on a global scale. This is the first indication they might have in place the features you need, plus the experience dealing with the challenges you might encounter.
At Cevinio, we have experience helping global enterprises standardize their invoice process, becoming specialists in this arena. If you want to know more about our AP invoice automation solution firsthand do not hesitate to contact our sales team. Your journey towards an advanced global invoice process can start today.