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:
- To convert paper invoices into electronic format (usually PDF) so they can be easily stored, accessed for review and securely archived. 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.
- To reduce the manual effort of keying invoice data into an accounting system, in addition to the archiving purpose above. This is the reason most companies deploy an invoice processing system as it provides more value to the business.
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.
How am I going to store the invoice archives?
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 system gives you greater control over storage of files, quicker and wider access and the ability to route them quickly to approvers through an electronic workflow.