How To Automate Accounts Payable

The numbers you need to know from the IOFM White paper

Accounts payable departments are among the most acutely affected by out-dated, labour-intensive, paper-based systems – they are at the frontline of the war being waged against paper by many organisations. This month, the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM), in partnership with M-Files, released a white paper explaining how enterprise information management (EIM) systems can address the challenges faced by accounts payable departments.

The paper contains a number of interesting stats – we’ve highlighted the most important ones that you need to know and what they mean for your organisation.

  1. Paper is a problem that isn’t going away any time soon

Nearly 60% of invoices still arrive as paper documents

  1. Accounts payable automation is an all-round solution to inefficient paper-based processes.

The top 3 benefits cited in an AIIM survey are a 1) faster turnaround time to payment, 2) better monitoring of invoice status, and 3) better records for audit trail or litigation. Other benefits included fewer invoices “lost in the loop”, and a more efficient and professional approach to dealing with suppliers.

  1. Organisations quickly recoup their costs

Automation can reduce the average cost of processing an invoice by approximately one third. 22% of organisations achieved a return on investment in 6 months or under, and 63% in 12 months or under.

  1. Companies are prioritising accounts payable as an area for investment and automation

63% of those surveyed say that accounts payable is a priority for improvement in 2015, and nearly two thirds reported that accounts payable will receive additional investment for process improvement projects this year.

We’ve seen these stats in reality, as more and more businesses come to us seeking to automate invoice processing. You can read about some of them here. Clearly the implementation of document capture and management solutions is a priority for finance departments.

You can read the full white paper here. Do these statistics reflect your experiences?

A Paperless Future for Law Firms

overwhelmed by paper

In recent years we’ve worked with several law firms that were drowning in paper.

Law firms are in constant communication with clients, courts and other legal professionals. They also have to store large amounts of confidential and often critical documents related to cases. As such, the volume of documents being handled by the organisation is huge.

Yet many law firms still use a paper-based system to manage their documents. This means that significant capital and manpower is expended sorting and storing more and more files, either on or offsite. Then there is the issue of access. Documents need to be stored securely, yet accessibly. Legal professionals working with a paper system can lose precious time searching through physical files, whilst firms with multiple locations have to transport paper files between offices, with all the delay, risk and expense that that entails.

Critically, when something goes wrong, the implications of a paper system become even more apparent. Files can be lost if there is damage to the site. A friend recently described to me how an entire department of paralegals at her firm were spending days going through paper files in order to identify a discrepancy.

So what’s the solution? Datafinity offers PSI:Capture to automatically scan documents using OCR, and Filebound or M-Files (depending on your requirements) to manage them securely, creating a bespoke solution for each organisation. Our legal clients have now been reaping the benefits of document capture and management for some years. There are three main advantages of going paperless:

  • Reduced paper storage space and costs
  • Quick and easy access to documents – onsite or remotely
  • Controlled access to information

If your firm has a paper problem, we’d be happy to discuss a solution.

PSI:Capture 5.4.1 Lands Today

Psicapture 5.4.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, PSIGEN software released a new version of PSI:Capture which focuses on productivity. Expanding on the new ACE functionality that we talked about in a previous post, users can now create or adjust zone OCR profiles on the fly during the scanning process, allowing users to continually improve the system’s performance. This capability is especially useful for invoice processing applications, where multiple zone templates are needed to capture data from many different supplier invoice layouts.

Here’s a summary of the new features:

  • Accelerated Zone Profile Configuration. Allows users to create Zone Profiles in the Index module without having to return to document type configuration. Used in situations where a document fails to trigger the correct profile, the current profile needs adjusting, or another profile needs to be selected
  • Automatic Classification Forms Generation. Instead of manually classifying forms and matching record types, you can automatically generate them from database column names and row data. Connect to almost any database type, and Capture can connect and convert database info into classification form definitions
  • Auto Zone Creation. New zones can now be created automatically for new zone definition profiles. Regular expressions match against OCR text on a form and create zones automatically, with minimal user configuration

Sounds good? Contact us to talk about upgrading.

Datafinity Welcomes M-Files

M-Files Productivity Stat

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added M-Files to our product portfolio.

We understand that although many companies are aware of the benefits of centrally managing their documents, the cost of software and implementation can be prohibitive. M-Files offers an affordable and easy to use solution with a raft of clever features. You can manage, find and track information more effectively with features such as keyword search, version tracking, and workflow. Best of all, we can get you started with M-Files in no time, delivering productivity gains that translate into real cost savings for your organisation.

Interested? Find out more about the product here, or contact us to find out how M-Files could work for you.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing an Invoice Processing Solution

thoughtful woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I justify the cost?
If you are considering an invoice processing system you need to make sure that the cost of the system can be justified. Cost justification on this type of solution is usually related to the time saved on keying data from invoices into an accounts system. It can also be cost justified based on quicker access to invoices and therefore faster invoice approval time, leading to early payment discounts from suppliers. At Datafinity we can help you to calculate the likely return on investment and prepare a good cost justification case.

How many suppliers do I have?
If you receive invoices, either paper or PDF, from many different suppliers (500+) you’ll need to consider the time and cost of setting up these suppliers on the invoice processing system. With any new system there is always a setup period, including teaching the system how to recognise invoices and where to extract the data from. This setup can be done in house once the system is installed or you can employ Datafinity to do this for you.

Am I scanning for archival purposes or to feed data to an accounting system?
There are usually two reasons for automating the scanning of invoices:

  1. To convert paper invoices into electronic format (usually PDF) so they can be easily stored, accessed and backed up. Once scanned the paper invoices can be destroyed or moved offsite to long-term storage. In this case the invoices would be scanned after they have been entered into the accounting system.
  2. To reduce the manual effort of keying invoice data into an accounting system, in addition to the archiving purpose above.

What data do I need to extract from the invoices?
When extracting data from invoices you need to think about what the data is for. If you are just archiving invoices then you’ll only need a few items of data to help retrieve the invoice from your electronic repository, such as invoice number, invoice date, purchase order number or supplier name. If, on the other hand, you want to scan and extract data to reduce manual keying then you’ll need all the data that is required by the accounting system. In addition to above you’ll need to extract invoice amounts, nominal codes (via data lookup), invoice approver details, etc.

Where am I going to store the invoice images?
Once your paper invoices are converted into convenient electronic files you’ll need to decide where to store them, who has access to them and how long you need to keep them. Some companies simply store invoice PDFs on their network in a folder structure. However, an Electronic Document Management (EDM) system, such as M-Files or Filebound, gives you greater control over storage of files, quicker and wider access and the ability to route them quickly to approvers via electronic workflow.

What can we learn from Uber’s document management predicament?

Datafinity Uber Document Management

Photo: The Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just last week on the Datafinity blog we were talking about legal compliance; now comes the news that global taxi firm Uber got caught out.

As you may have seen in the media, a fake insurance policy document uploaded by a driver-turned-whistleblower made it through Uber’s electronic document management system, meaning that a driver was approved to illegally pick up customers in London. The incident has caused uproar, with TfL launching an investigation and minicab operators calling for Uber to be suspended. Uber’s predicament highlights the importance of having an efficient document management system with robust workflow and electronic sign-off capability.

Filebound’s e-form and workflow capability can automate sign-off processes, ensuring that important documents are approved and authorised correctly with a full audit trail. Learn from Uber’s mistake, and make sure that your legal documents don’t slip through the net.

3 Reasons To Upgrade to FileBound 7.2

FileBound logo

 

 

Last week, Upland Software announced the release of the newest version of their FileBound document and workflow automation application. With Filebound 7.2, you can ensure legality and reduce risk without sacrificing productivity.

Here are three reasons to upgrade today

  1. Full Records Management function. Your organisation can now use FileBound to create classifications and rules that support legal information governance – without impacting on usability
  1. Expanded Electronic Signatures capability. Now, multiple parties both within and outside of your organisation can add their validated signatures to a document, for example a contact.
  1. Ensuring compliance and accountability without interrupting the flow of work. Document authors can quickly and easily check electronic signatures and ensure that documents are stored and managed in line with regulations. 

Filebound allows users to centrally manage documents and build automated workflow in order to accelerate their business processes – now faster and better than ever before. Contact us at Datafinity to find out how FileBound 7.2 can work for your organisation.

Productivity: Can we help you?

Last week, Radio 4’s The Bottom Line took productivity as its theme – particularly pertinent considering that the UK’s productivity has fallen behind that of the US, France and Germany since the recession. During the show, an IT manufacturing company, an advertising agency and an NHS Trust discussed the different ways that they have increased their organisation’s productivity. Although productivity meant different things to these different sectors, one of the common themes was using IT to streamline business processes.

Unfortunately, many UK companies still haven’t taken advantage of this. In fact, according to The Economist, “output per hour worked [in Britain] is still 2% below its pre-crisis peak; in the rest of the G7 group of rich countries it is 5% higher. The French could take Friday off and still produce more than Britons do in a week. Confounding stereotypes, Italians are 9% more productive.”

Here at Datafinity, our mission is to help businesses accelerate their paper based processes and improve productivity by using data capture and document management systems. By improving access to information, sharing documents electronically and automating collaborative tasks using workflow, you can compete in your market more effectively and increase profitability. Could your company benefit from this?

ACE new PSI:Capture feature

PSIGEN recently released a great update for their award winning document capture solution. PSI:Capture 5.4 now includes many new features, the most noteworthy being ACE, a new feature within the Classification Module that allows users to set up an unrecognised document type instantly. Instead of having to set up a document type before scanning, users now have the added convenience of being able to build it during the workflow. This saves time and transforms Classification into an even more adaptable, user-friendly module. Like all PSIGEN upgrades, this is free to existing users as part of their maintenance agreement – just contact us to find out how.

PSIGEN releases PSI:Capture 5.3

PSIGEN recently announced the release of PSI:Capture 5.3, the latest version of their fully featured document and data capture solution. This new version builds on the product’s ability to process Microsoft Office 2010/2013 file formats (Word .docx, Excel .xlsx, and PowerPoint .pptx files) as well as Adobe PDF files.

Now Office files can not only be processed through PSI:Capture, using file name, folder name, and file attributes for metadata, but the file content can also be searched for keywords to classify and index documents. This capability is perfect for companies that want to handle scanned paper documents and electronic documents through one process to populate backend Document Management systems such as SharePoint, FileBound, M-Files and over 50 other systems. Existing customers can contact us to obtain the upgrade to 5.3 by emailing support@datafinity.co.uk.