I used to have a standard set of jokes I told as a teenager. One of the jokes in my set was, “Where do bad grapes go when they die?” “They go to raisin hell”. I know you are laughing… well probably not… That joke is where I got the phrase for the topic of this post, “Where do paper invoices go when you automate“.
Funny, with some automation service providers the answer is nowhere. Meaning that you still receive paper and their definition of automation begins after the paper has been scanned. I do a lot of recommending in my line of work and one of the biggest recommendation I do is to find an automation service provider that can help you deal with the paper. You may be thinking about outsourced scanning, but that’s not the only thing. Finding a service provider that has their act together when it comes to electronic submission is key because you don’t want to spending all the time and money employing a bunch of scanning equipment and personnel. Be warned though, even when some service providers say they have email submission or a vendor portal, what they really mean is you have to print the email or image and scan it into their software. That’s not electronic.
So, where does the paper invoices go? To my amazement, this is one of the primary questions that people ask before they are educated about automation. Really, where does the paper go? That’s what you want to know? Not how will the system integration, how will DPO improve or what is my new cycle time going to be. The primary question people ask is where does the paper go. I thought a lot about this because I wanted to get to the bottom of what seem like such a basic question. I came to the conclusion that accounting processes have been so paper dependent for so long that it is difficult to think of it in any other way. I guess that is a reasonable answer, however as I started to ask people why they are so interested in the paper, it became very apparent that the paper wasn’t the root of their concern. The concern was the detail on the paper invoices.
My advice column of the week, make sure when selecting a service provider to help you automate accounting processes that you select one that allows you to see the entire image of the invoice. Not replicated data, not part of the invoice… the entire invoice.
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