As old as the hills: How to transform ancient invoice processing


Supplier invoice processing, burdened by paper, is a slow dark and dreary topic.

The management of paper-based supplier invoice processing in business is getting harder and harder.

Delivery methods like email are challenging processes that are built on shaky, paper-based foundations – raising the bar for visibility and speed of response, and increasing awareness that the need for better management and control of invoice processing is growing.

Shining any light on paper-based supplier invoice processing is proving painful and unmanageable, and many people do not like it – yet they still resist electronic solutions and processes.


Transforming digital documents back into paper retains the humdrum status quo and returns the information to the dreary human world. This limits visibility, inhibits control and constrains processing efficiency.

Has the invoice been received? What stage of the process is it at? Why do businesses spend so much time searching for invoices?

The process of inputting (capturing) paper-based documents into business systems transforms them to become automated, whether these documents are received traditionally in the post or by email.

>See also: Digital transformation: are you living and breathing next practice or best practice?

The process of coding and authorising invoices can be managed in a fast workflow that gives the power to know where all or any invoice is in the process at any time.

It can be found and viewed using a simple and fast Google-style search – with a single click, invoices can be batch posted into ledgers to complete the process.

However, businesses should plan this transformation carefully, considering what will make the change successful and asking how success can be measured.

They should consider their existing paper-based processes in particular and how they deal with transactions. Exceptions need to be well thought out as they require special handling, which users can replicate and probably improve on.

Like all software implementation projects, employees will experience, highs and lows, shivers and hungers during the change.

It is down to the IT department to manage this change by handling reactions like ‘What?! No more reliance on paper and my favorite spreadsheet?’ and ‘We always did it this way, it’s so hard to change!’.

Once through this transformation phase, processing speed will be noticeably enhanced, as will insight into the business, control, and information about business processes – stimulating corrective actions and reports, and the ability to achieve more while consuming less resource.


Sourced from Stuart Evans, CTO, Invu

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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