8 Questions You Should Ask About Invoice Automation


The business managers and CFOs of today are expected to provide deeper insights and more strategic direction than ever before.

However, at the same, budgets and resources remain constrained so they are compelled to have to do more with less.

Implementing a Document Management Solution (DMS) should be an integral part of their strategy.

A good DMS can increase efficiency in areas such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and financial audits. These systems also integrate with accounting software and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software thereby eliminating painstaking and manual data entry.

Many organisations still receive invoices in unstructured formats, like paper and email. Automating these manual processes saves time and reduces costs.

Founder and president of the Forbes CFO Leadership Council, Jack McCullough, states that adopting new technology is a vital asset for future-minded Organisations.

“Few, if any, investments can give an organisation a sustainable competitive advantage like an investment in technology. Where else can an organization invest that will increase top-line growth, operational efficiency, and employee collaboration?” he notes in CFO Priorities for 2021….And Beyond.

Before you take the leap, it’s important to consider these eight questions.

  1. Can you quickly and easily find invoices – I mean, actually find them? You can gain huge productivity benefits by providing your whole team with access to a centralised document pool. This repository includes invoices, delivery notes, purchase orders, and proposals. Find the exact document you’re after instantly. One document, one location, completely searchable, available anywhere on any device.
  2. Can you extract key details from invoices, including GL coding, and automatically match them to Purchase Orders? You can monitor the accounts payable email, extracting relevant data such as supplier name, date, amount, GST, indexing the invoice and applying artificial intelligence to the above process so the system learns over time, thus saving even more time for your staff.
  3. Can your staff review and approve invoices on any mobile device, anytime and anywhere? Providing instant, self-serve access to information speeds up processes and has a positive impact on the whole organisation.
  4. Do you have a secure, organised and searchable invoice archive and audit trail for audits and budget planning? Let’s face it, audits aren’t fun. They can be stressful and take up A LOT of your time. There is wasted effort in responding to auditor document requests – pulling paper documents, copying them and refiling the originals. With a DMS, you can give the auditor access to whatever information they require…without having to bug you for it!
  5. Do you process invoices promptly, keep track of due dates and status changes, and have control over your cash flow? Automation of the accounts department saves money. Organisations with manual invoicing processes usually lack the core information they need to effectively run their businesses. How many orders are waiting to be processed? Where are they in the process? What’s the total value of all current Purchase Orders?
  6. Have you standardised the workflows needed to accelerate the approval process? Organisations typically don’t realise how much wasted time and effort is involved in simply waiting for a manual process to move from one stage to the next. A DMS can use workflows to automate tedious but necessary processes.
  7. Can you route invoice approvals based on amounts, supplier name or split code billing with multi-levels? Automatic electronic workflows give an organisation the flexibility to keep work moving forward even when someone is away from the office.
  8. Can you automatically post approved invoices to your accounting or ERP system, eliminating double data entry and errors? Data should only ever be entered once, either manually or ideally via automated indexing, before being shared between systems. Integration enables streamlined workflows across a variety of business functions.

Once you have decided that a DMS is right for you, it is time to seek out an appropriate vendor.

When choosing a vendor, some of the key considerations should be:

  • Whether the solution can be deployed via cloud or on-premises, without sacrificing functionality
  • How quickly the solution can be deployed
  • A reference list of customers for you to speak to
  • If you can buy the solution as a monthly operational expense or require a large upfront investment
  • If the solution be easily extended to other processes outside of finance, or is it just a point solution

While automating your finance department may start with the intent of reducing costs, the longer-term organisational impact provides an opportunity to redefine the role of the Business Manager or CFO.

Moving forward, whilst the Business Manager/CFO will continue to be the primary financial steward of the organisation, they also have a larger role to play, leading the charge for broader process transformation across the business.

 

Want to find out how you can do more with less?

Docuworx is Australia’s only Platinum Partner of world-leading DMS DocuWare.

In its latest release, DocuWare is giving you access to a pre-configured invoice processing solution. This will provide you with the unique opportunity to have certainty about the usefulness of a DMS before committing to your digital transformation project.

Drop me a line if you’re interested in finding out more.

kym@docuworx.com.au / 0414 413 432

 

 

Why Do You Need a Document Management System?


“I don’t see the need for a Document Management System (DMS) – we’re storing all our documents in folders on our server or Google Drive. It’s how we’ve always done it and it works.”

I hear this kind of thing from potential clients all the time.

What they don’t realise is that not using a DMS can be costly.

Without a DMS, things get lost, causing delays and hurting your businesses’ performance.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration of trying to find documents or wasted valuable time waiting for approvals.

Whether you’re wanting to get some time back in your day, digitise your paper-based processes or make them more productive and efficient, considering a DMS may be for you.

Still not convinced?

Here are 3 reasons why you should consider implementing a DMS today:

  1. Save time

Manual, paper-based processes can be automated to give your valuable time back. Let’s consider a typical accounts payable process for example. Usually, an invoice starts electronically – as an email attachment. It then gets printed and gets passed around physically between departments, with key information such as GL & GST Codes, and line-item totals being hand-written over the invoice. Sometimes the invoice goes missing altogether and the process starts all over again!

Then…wait for it… all this information is then manually keyed into your finance system or ERP, and then stored physically into a file cabinet.

With a DMS, all of this can be done using software. Digitised, automated and remote approvals, annotations, stamping, and GL Coding create a complete audit trail that shows who did what, and when.

The system simplifies the whole process, removing errors and drastically improving productivity….and NO PRINTING is required whatsoever.

  1. Find information effortlessly.

Chances are, you have recently struggled to find important information.

If you’re reliant on others saving documents (or even yourself), you need to remember EXACTLY how the document was saved, and which folder it was in. This can cause frustration and frankly, is an absolute waste of our time!

A DMS makes searching for documents incredibly straightforward. You just need to know SOMETHING about the document that you’re looking for, hit ‘search’ and all your documents and related documents will appear. User privileges and security protocols are assigned depending on document type or role.

  1. Make auditing a breeze:

Conducting an audit is not high on anyone’s list of fun things to do. In fact, 37% of accounting professionals said that a sales tax audit would be more stressful than a divorce, according to a survey by Wakefield Research.

One of the biggest issues is the large amount of documentation required for an audit. If you have been relying on manual processes, it is likely that your documents are scattered across your business. To make matters worse, they may even be in different formats, with some in employees’ inboxes and digital folders, and others in filing cabinets.

A DMS links all documents and messages involved with each transaction while matching invoices with purchase orders and receipts. This searchable audit trail reduces your chances of losing important paperwork. It can also help you maintain regulatory compliance. Furthermore, IT SAVES YOU TIME… and a lot of it. All the information is instantly available at your (or your auditors) fingertips making the audit process a breeze.

How about a taste test?

Docuworx is Australia’s only Platinum Partner of world-leading DMS DocuWare.

DocuWare has just released the latest version of its software (7.4), giving you access to three pre-configured business processes. This will provide you with the unique opportunity to have certainty about the usefulness of a DMS before committing to your digital transformation project.

Drop me a line if you’re interested in finding out more.

kym@docuworx.com.au / 0414 413 432

Automating Accounts Payable – Where do I start?


Business managers and CFOs need to remain focused on their core role – improving operations and reducing costs. Challenges exist, however, in relying on ad hoc, manual and paper-heavy accounting processes.

Adopting a financial process transformation project can drastically impact important metrics such as:

  • Invoice processing costs
  • Cycle time for correcting an invoice error
  • Number of invoice line items processed per FTE
  • Number of accounts in chart of accounts
  • Cost of reporting per $1,000 in revenue

 

However, many clients often approach me with the same question – ‘Where do I start?’

The answer to this question may vary depending on the type of business I am dealing with. However, in my view, digitising the following four processes should be a top priority for any business looking to excel in today’s increasingly competitive environment.

  1. Accounts Payable

There are a wide variety of efficiencies to be gained by automating AP. Why are manual, paper-based processes so damaging? Any level of invoice management efficiency is difficult to achieve when you’re routing paper invoices. It’s common for a paper invoice to sit in an approvers in-tray for weeks, or sometimes even go missing altogether! This results in countless hours spent chasing it down and potential damage to supplier relationships.

With a digital workflow, documents move through your organisation efficiently. Your Staff are automatically alerted to errors or seek out additional information rather than waiting until they have to fix mistakes. Features such as instant flagging of non-standard invoices, flexible routing to correct decision-makers, and easy digital annotations and notes are critical to automating the exception handling.

  1. Audit Documentation

If you have a paper-based system, audits can be incredibly frustrating for you, your staff and auditors. Weeks of productivity can be lost throughout the process. It’s important to see who accessed which accounting documents and when.

Organisations need a highly detailed audit trail, which is only possible with a Document Management System (DMS). When digitised, your staff can respond quickly to auditor requests and maintain greater control over business information. Further to this, you can even grant access to the relevant information for the auditor to access on their own, without the need to interfere with day-to-day operations.

  1. Procurement and Purchasing

Procurement includes the processes by which business requirements are translated into supplier requirements; the management of supplier relationships; and ultimately the ordering of goods and services needed to produce a product or provide a service.

Procurement teams can drown in masses of documents and paperwork, incompatible files, formats and systems. By using a DMS, businesses can take the critical first step of converting paper documents to digital ones, eliminating clutter and reducing waste in the process.

  1. Month-end close

Once the above processes have been automated, organisations are able to incorporate these improvements in a department-wide effort to streamline the month-end process.

According to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, speed and accuracy are two of the main constant challenges for those involved in the month-end process.

“Organisations, clients and suppliers are seeking information at an accelerated pace. But they also need to be able to trust the data they’re acting on,” AICPA said.

In addition, a recent survey by Adra, a month-end close reconciliation software provider with over 1,800 clients and 15,000 users found the following:

  • only 28% of their respondents said they trust the numbers reported in the month-end close
  • 90% said they are under pressure to close faster
  • 39% said they were satisfied with the closing process

Through the use of a DMS, organisations are able to greatly improve the month-end process, which frees up valuable time for strategic thinking. As a result, the finance team can better understand the implications of the data they are reporting on rather than focusing solely on the numbers themselves.

 

How can Docuworx help you?

Firstly, it’s clear that digitising paper-based processes has a considerable impact on your business, customers and bottom line. Don’t get overwhelmed by the analysis paralysis which results in delaying the project and continued frustration.

Your DMS should integrate with whatever financial, accounting, and ERP system runs the financial operations in your organisation.

The decision around implementing an effective DMS needs to be more than just where the documents are stored; your objective is to automate business processes.

By using a specialist implementation partner such as Docuworx, you can expedite the digital transformation of your accounting department.

Docuworx specialises in business process automation. In fact, it’s literally all we do.

To find out more, you can reach me via email at kym@docuworx.com.au or phone on 0414 413 432.

 

5 Ways Digital Transformation can Benefit your School


Anyone working in education soon finds outs that it is a very document-heavy business.

Masses of paperwork is generated, including applications, records and invoices. On top of that, there are the documents created and required by the faculty, staff and school suppliers.

From the smallest primary school up to the biggest university, schools are often overloaded with documents.

Poor management of these documents can cause numerous headaches for schools who simply want to focus on what they set out to do – educate the leaders of tomorrow. However, that becomes a difficult task when they are bogged down by clerical errors, inefficient legacy systems and a struggle to remain compliant in an increasingly privacy-conscious world.

Staying on top of all this is time-consuming and costly. In addition, while the amount of paperwork is rising, school budgets are staying flat or even declining.

The question is, how can your school do more with less?

The good news is a modern Document Management Systems such as the one Docuworx provides are here to help.

As Australia’s only Platinum Partner of industry-leading DocuWare, we are ideally placed to help your school overcome these challenges and more. Read on to find out 5 ways digital transformation can benefit your school today.

 

#1 Improve communication 

Daviess County Public Schools (DCPS) is a school district that manages the public schools in Daviess Country, Kentucky.

In the past, DCPS collected and exchanged information with parents via paper forms. But with 18 schools and over 11,000 students, this was a time-consuming, inefficient and clunky process.

Following the implementation of DocuWare, the school was able to email parents links to webforms that they completed online at their convenience.

Thanks to the increased speed and ease of use of electronic forms, parents were able to respond quicker and engagement rose.

In addition, DocuWare Forms use conditional logic, a feature which allows for additional instructions based on a particular response. In practical terms, this means that parents only receive forms that pertained to them. For example, only parents of children who play sports received athletic permission forms, and so on.

After the electronic forms are submitted, they are automatically indexed and stored by DocuWare, further streamlining the entire process.

 

#2 Save time

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TCCC) serves 3,000 students and is part of the State University of New York.

TCCC had previously digitised all 40,000 of its students’ permanent record cards going back to 1997, but the legacy system was outdated and no longer adequate for the college’s needs.

The college chose DocuWare because it is a flexible solution that allows TCCC to store all its documents digitally, providing access to all staff members in a seamless process.

Today, TCCC has setup four scanning stations and has over 100 staff members using the solution. All information is now digitised as it is received and old permanent records have been migrated to the new system.

As a result of this implementation, staff now have instant access to the information they need, enhance both the student and staff experience. With DocuWare, the retrieval time for documents has been reduced from 10-15 minutes to just seconds.

 

#3 Enhance efficiency

Propel is a not-for-profit organization that operates 13 charter schools delivering high-performance educational options to 4,000 students in western Pennsylvania.

Although each school in the group ordered and received their own supplies, approvals are handled by a central business office.

The process was inefficient because documentation had to be sent between the schools and central office for approvals.

Propel now uses DocuWare to fully automate the invoice approval workflow. Staff at each school can scan their documents into DocuWare, giving the Accounting Department instant access to the approved invoices.

Staff no longer waste time tracking down lost invoices and the process is more transparent, with all supporting documents viewable online.

Propel has used DocuWare to not only eliminate a mountain of paperwork, but also reduce the time to process an invoice from four hours down to minutes.

 

#4 Improve compliance

Roberts Wesleyan College is a Christian liberal arts college with almost 2,000 students located near Rochester, New York.

Prior to adopting DocuWare, the college’s documents were stored in filing cabinets located in the main office. The college was running out of space and sharing information between departments was difficult. What’s more, the cabinets weren’t incredibly secure and easily accessible by anyone.

Digitising the documents allowed the college to increase the security of these documents while also reduce printing and storage costs.

Using DocuWare, the college is now able to meet privacy compliance requirements outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by limiting information access to certain documents automatically.

 

#5 Accelerate hiring

Independent School District 196 is a state and nationally recognized K-12 public school district serving more than 28,000 students across 31 campuses.

District 196’s human resources staff used to spend hours sorting through the paperwork of potential employees during the hiring process.

By implementing DocuWare, District 196 has eliminated paper applicant files and the associated inefficiencies they cause.

The HR team can also use DocuWare’s online search capabilities to review applicant files from their offices or at home using DocuWare’s mobile app.

DocuWare allows more than one HR supervisor to look at the same applicants simultaneously, allowing for quicker reviews and candidate selection.

Thanks to DocuWare’s applicant database, District 196’s HR team operates more efficiently and can focus on the high-value task of selecting the right candidates, rather than spending hours on tedious filing.

 

And more…

As you can see, digital transformation has a myriad of benefits to schools and with DocuWare, you will be using the world’s most flexible and powerful platform for your school’s Digital Transformation.

To learn more about how Docuworx can assist your organization book a free trial

Why your digital transformation must be customer-centric


These days the term ‘digital transformation’ gets thrown around a lot as organisations try to maintain their competitive edge and struggle to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Although the world was already going digital, the impacts of Covid-19 have further accelerated the trend. Almost overnight, organisations have found themselves with large numbers of staff working from home and a rising need for digital solutions such as those we provide here at Docuworx.

However, as companies try to progress at breakneck speed, they are often neglecting something very important, the customer. To truly benefit from digital transformation, organizations must keep customers – not technology – at the centre of their efforts. But how can they do so?

 

A cautionary tale

In 2018, US fast-food chain Shake Shack pulled the plug on its cashless stores following customer backlash.

Shake Shack thought that customers would enjoy the speed and convenience of ordering via a kiosk, paying with a card and getting a text when their order was ready.

Customers felt otherwise, flocking to Yelp to complain that the kiosks inhibited their ability to customize their orders, were inconvenient for those that preferred cash, and did not actually speed things up at all.

“The kiosks are also supposed to make things go quicker, but the wait is even longer,” one customer wrote. “I understand it’s 2018 but that doesn’t mean at all that everything has to be computerized and automated.”

The lesson here is simple:  Shake Shack failed because it pursued digital transformation for its own sake rather than seeing it from the customers’ point of view.

 

Being customer-focused pays off

Recent research by Deloitte looked at how a customer-focused mindset is crucial in an ever-changing technological landscape. Deloitte identified four key areas in which companies that take a customer-centric approach will be able to realise tangible benefits. They are:

Profits: Happy customers spend more. 62% of B2B customers have purchased more from a company after a good customer experience

Loyalty: Customer spend grows with trust. Loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones.

Cost: The cost of serving satisfied B2B customers can be up to 20% lower.

Referrals: Positive experiences drive business. 83% of customers will be happy to recommend a company if they are satisfied with it.

 

A success story

A leading software company and long-term client of Deloitte was facing challenges with regards to customer service and as a result, it had a low Net Promoter Score (NPS).

NPS is an important metric used to measure customer experience success which measures the loyalty of customers to a company or brand using a single question: ‘How likely is it that would recommend [company] to a friend or family member?’

A score is then reported with a number from –100 to +100, with a higher positive score being more desirable.

Recognizing the issue, the software company began a transformation journey which involved creating new customer success roles, adopting a new digital platform, and including customer success in C-suite-level decision making.

Following this multi-year transformation, the stock price of the company more than doubled, revenues increased by 20 per cent, and the NPS and customer satisfaction scores rose by 7 – 12 points.

 

My area of focus

Seeing the rising importance of digital technology, I recently joined the team at Docuworx, which is Australia’s only Platinum Partner of world-leading documentation management and workflow automation software DocuWare.

With over a decade of experience working with schools, my specific area of focus is education providers. As outlined above, I believe it is crucial that schools embark on their digital transformations with their customers firmly at the center of their plans.

After speaking with several key decision-makers from various schools and colleges, I have identified three key areas in which they are currently facing challenges: enrolments, accounts, and staff and student records management.

Unsurprisingly, all three of these areas are closely connected with customer experience.

For example, consider staff and student records management. We’ve all seen the numerous filing cabinets, shelves and storage facilities used by schools to maintain their records.

Now think of all the time wasted trying to find documents. If certain documents go missing, it can lead to a compliance nightmare and a sub-par experience for students. By going paperless, schools can eliminate wasted space and ensure documents stay safe and easily accessible at all times.

 

Next steps

Undergoing a digital transformation can seem daunting, but it is something that is quickly becoming essential in today’s environment.

Leaders should begin the process by reflecting on the importance of customer success and asking themselves three questions, according to Deloitte. Those are:

  1. How do we make sure that customers get maximum value from us?
  2. How can we capitalise on the value realised by our customers?
  3. What can we enhance to create a more customer-centric digital transformation journey?

DocuWare’s world-leading software allows you to automate invoice processes, capture your businesses vital data, go paperless, and more.

To learn more about how Docuworx can assist your organization or to book a free trial, contact us today.