Deliver an Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service in Under 30 DaysNick Scarff
This article examines what an automated invoice processing cloud service can do for organisations and the key considerations for a rapid deployment.
What is an Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service?
An automated invoice processing cloud service allows organisations to better handle the processing of supplier invoices. The service is consumed via the cloud and will facilitate:
- the extraction of data from invoices
- the application of processing rules and validations
- matching to internal data sets like suppliers and purchase orders
- managing coding and approvals
- integration with an internal finance application / ERP
What are the Benefits of an Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service?
There are several key benefits associated with using an automated invoice processing cloud service:
- Reduced manual data entry as a result of automated data extraction from invoices
- Improved compliance from enforced processing rules, validation and process steps
- Complete control and visibility of the process leading to o
- pportunities to optimise and gain processing efficiencies
- Overall costs savings due to reduced manual steps and optimised processes
- Reduced deployment time and costs as a result of it being a consumed via the cloud
- Reduction of hardware infrastructure and other capital costs
Rapid ROI as service is paid for on a transaction basis as opposed to upfront licencing costs
What are the Components of an Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service?
There are a several key components to an automated cloud invoice processing solution:
Supplier invoices are typically ingested as either scanned files from a dedicated network folder or from an email mailbox. For the latter, the platform will automatically poll the mailbox and extract attachments. As attachments can be received in various formats and as either single or multiple invoices, the platform will standardise the format and allow splitting of combined invoices for individual processing.
Once the invoice processing platform has collected the invoices, then it will perform OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on the text on each page. This process benefits from the 10s of millions of invoices that are recognised every year on the platform to ensure high levels of automated recognition and data accuracy.
Any queries from data extraction, or for items that break set business rules (values that are out of tolerance level e.g. invoice date is too far in the past or line item or a total mismatch) are then raised as queries with a user to verify.
Some data from invoices will need to be matched to information held in internal systems. The supplier details from the invoice need to be matched to a supplier record, and optionally matches can be performed against PO data. Where matches cannot be confidently performed or where there are discrepancies (e.g. where what has been invoiced does not match what was ordered) these can be flagged to users for quick resolution.
Users are able to code line-item data against the invoice. The platform allows cloning of lines and will present recommended and recently used codes to aid faster completion of this task.
Based on pre-set rules, invoices can be sent to relevant users to action (approve, reject, forward or place on hold). Users receive notifications to perform actions, reminders and escalations can be set up.
Integration with Finance System / ERP
Once the invoice data has been approved it can be output from the platform in a prescribed format for upload to the Finance System / ERP. Invoices are automatically posted in applications such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Oracle NetSuite, Oracle Fusion Cloud, and Coupa
All invoices processed in the platform are stored in an online repository. Invoices are searchable by using any of the key data extracted or using a free text searching tool. Process details and an audit trail is stored with each invoice to ensure compliance with legal admissibility standards and HRMC guidelines.
Workload and performance dashboards provide users with insight into the process and help with management and visibility. This ensures that all invoices can be tracked and prevent delays in processing.
How to Deploy an Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service in Under 30 Days
There are several principal considerations when rapidly deploying an automated invoice processing service:
- Objectives – ensure that necessary stakeholders are agreed on the primary objectives of the project and how these will be measured
- Stakeholders – include key stakeholders and users in the deployment to ensure the deliverables match requirements
- Samples – having a good sample set of invoices and corresponding supplier and PO data for testing purposes and a way to test the finance system integration (preferably in a test system)
- Process – determine the process steps involved for coding and approving of invoices, who will need to perform these tasks and any specific rules that govern the approval process
- Data Export – identify the best method to extract supplier and PO data for the production system
- Data Import – identify the best method for posting data into the Finance system
- External Parties – engage with an experienced invoice automation delivery organisation and any third parties who support internal Finance / ERP systems
Which Systems can an Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service Integrate with?
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance
- Oracle NetSuite
- Oracle Fusion Cloud
- Any platform that can accept standard data file formats (e.g. XML, csv etc)
To discover how your organisation could benefit from automating finance processes you can contact us here and one of our experts will be in touch.