As enterprises seek to improve business performance by digitizing transactions with business partners, they frequently invest in an invoice or accounts payable automation system to digitize inbound paper, email and fax invoices. These invoice automation systems provide OCR to digitize these documents and workflow for validating data and for approvals. These systems catch errors before they reach the ERP system, but only after a processing delay. A typical invoice automation system might look like this:
In this scenario, paper invoices, either mailed or faxed, are scanned and then those documents, along with PDFs that were received via email, have the data in them extracted using optical character recognition (OCR). After the data is extracted, it needs to go through a quality assurance (QA) process to ensure the OCR process was accurate and that the data in the invoice does not appear to contain errors. While this level of automation is helpful for processing these documents, it usually doesn’t decide whether an invoice is accepted until the QA step. If a document fails QA, the invoice is then rejected and a notification sent back to the supplier.
What if you could catch errors and issues at the point of data entry? Even better, what if the supplier could use data from the order – without retyping – further reducing errors?
That is the goal of a supplier portal that works with your existing invoice automation solution. A portal could be the place where some non-digital suppliers view their orders and from the data in those orders, can create purchase order responses, advance shipment notifications (ASNs), and invoices. Since the portal automatically can fill in data based on the original order, the supplier only needs to modify fields in which the reply does not exactly match the original order.
By providing non-digital trading partners a portal to receive orders and provide invoice and other billing information, buying organizations can:
- Further reduce the cost of processing an invoice (you already are saving some of the paper processing costs with your invoice automation solution)
- Reduce errors in invoices and catch errors earlier in the process
- Improve data quality by checking rules as data is entered
- Increase automation in processing inbound transactions, such as order acknowledgements, ASNs and invoices
- Optimize cash discount utilization & on-time payments
That is why OpenText™ B2B Managed Services with Active Orders is perfect for extending the reach your invoice automation solution. With B2B Managed Services providing EDI integration with those suppliers who can support it and Active Orders providing a portal for non-digital trading partners willing to use it, you can increase automation and reduce errors in your invoice processing. The complete solution might look like this:
Notice that B2B Managed Services and Active Orders work with your existing invoice automation solution to ensure that all inbound invoices are processed in the same way. Both can deliver invoice data in the format required by your invoice automation system. Then digital invoices go through the same quality assurance and approval workflows as paper invoices. Your AP team needs only to access one system to review and manage all invoices.