In a world where data is the new currency, businesses are looking for their Finance teams to become more flexible, more efficient and to provide greater levels of service. Many accounting departments often are limited by tradition. Established procedures perpetuate the view that finance is a cost rather than an asset and so finance leaders must look to new ways to innovate. Automation is a tool that takes away low level tasks such as data gathering across systems and has many applications within the P2P process.
Even where a business has a small number of suppliers, without regular auditing and cleaning, errors can creep in. This is especially true where a business may recently have undergone a merger or acquisition or has restructured into a shared services environment. It may also simply be the result of a lack of a defined process.
For many businesses, keeping on top of supplier data is not seen as a core activity and so audits may only be undertaken once a year. It’s difficult to quantify the true impact that unclean data will have on your organisation, but some key points areas are: time lost finding the right details, duplicate payments from duplicate records and invoices, missing contractual discounts and increased likelihood of fraud.
A purchase requisition is an internal document sent from employees to a central procurement department, who help to find/vet suppliers and oversee the ordering process. The purchase requisition acts as a control tool to ensure full scrutiny of requests before payment is made. It starts a paper trail which holds everyone accountable. Despite this, Purchase Requisitions are often seen unnecessary red tape and where this process may be slow to process internally, a number of problems can arise including; uncontrolled purchasing, loss of strategy, fraud or urgent purchases going to unverified suppliers.
There are strong opportunities throughout the Purchasing lifecycle to automate aspects of the process and in doing so remove bottlenecks, ensure compliance and keep all stakeholders informed.
For almost all companies, invoice processing is an area of significant effort which could be reduced. Accounts Payable spend a large amount of time copying invoice data from a wide range of unstructured documents into an ERP system. This process is prone to human error, due to the high volume of invoices, but automation offers significant streamlining potential.
When goods are received a process of 3-way matching takes place as the goods receipt, PO and invoice are all compared.
This is a simple but time consuming task and is often made more complex as multiple line items ma be delivered at the same time.