I am not a big fan of “this” versus “that”. Normally when you are given an either or suggestion there is a lot more to consider. Not everything is as black and white as it may seem. There are plenty of shades of gray (wink).
Black and White
In the world of Accounts Payable Automation there is a situation that is often put into the black and white terms, which is scanning the paper invoices. It has been my experience the service provider has either a bias or limitation (usually a limitation) when it comes to their recommendation on who scans the invoice. The sales process won’t allow for the service provider to sell a “disadvantage”. That’s why it is to your “advantage” that you talk to more than one service provider.
It Comes Down to This…
I guess I need to be clear here (you are welcome). When it comes to Accounts Payable Automation there are a few methods to deal with paper invoices. One you will be set up with scanning software and a scanner, which is traditionally sold by the service provider. The second method is where the service provider will scan the paper invoices for you as a service. Now there are variations to each of these where the service provider will outsource the scanning to a partner company or there will be some type of hybrid approach of self and service provider scans.
Here Comes the VS
As I wrote in the beginning of the article I am not a big fan of “this” vs. “that” because I think better advice will be each serves different purposes. The challenge is that if you want one purpose and the service provider you have chosen offers the opposite then you are in big trouble.
A Case for Both + and –
- (Plus) When self scanning you control the paper
- (Plus) When the Service Provider (SP) scans you get the most freed up time and no more paper
- (Plus) When the SP scans you have the ability to speed up your approval process
- (Minus) SP scanning is more expensive
- (Plus) (But) SP has the biggest return on investment
- (Minus) Self scanning can requires a large layer of managing hardware and learning new hardware
- (Minus) Self scan doesn’t really improve your process
Hey Do This!
Do yourself a favor when evaluating self scans vs. SP scan; know what you want to get out of the program… Do you want to get rid of the paper? Well then, have the SP scan. Is your company not ready for a big change to AP Automation? Well then keep the paper; it will give you a feeling of more control.
The best case is to find a service provider that won’t require you to do one over the other, which will give you options. You don’t want to be limited by what you can do because of the service provider’s bias or worst their lack of technical ability.
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