Paper is passé. Savvy business people understand that paper pushing is inefficient and expensive. They are also coming to realize the myriad of benefits that result from electronic accounts receivable operations. A number of case studies have shown e-invoicing can lead to savings of as much as 80% in invoice processing costs.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what an up to 80% reduction in your invoice processing costs can do for your bottom line. Savings like that make it obvious why so many businesses today are investing in innovative e-invoicing solutions.
However, electronic invoicing systems are not one-size-fits-all. Some e-invoicing solutions are focused on larger businesses, others are developed for use in a specific industry and some are just a few third-party products cobbled together and called an e-invoicing suite. It’s extremely important to do your research in advance of selecting an e-invoicing solution to find the right one to fit your specific needs.
Breaking Down Your Needs
The first thing to do is to carefully analyze your current AR process and decide what needs to be changed. Have you already implemented a number of automation initiatives and are looking to take the final step and go fully paperless? Or, are you just looking to automate as many invoices as possible and handle any exceptions as paper invoices?
Make sure to solicit the input of your floor level AR management in the e-invoicing solution decision-making process. People who actually do the work every day can often point out important details about workflow systems and processes that higher-level management might not consider.
Evaluating E-Invoicing Solutions
The best way to find the ideal e-invoicing solution for your needs is to take each product for a trial run. Find out exactly what each e-invoice solution offers. What extra features does it offer? Exactly what resources are required? Is the user interface easy to understand and use? What about security?
Take your time with the demo or trial of each product and put it through its paces as much as possible. Ask questions, and make sure you are fully satisfied with the answers you get.
Integration of the new e-invoicing process into your existing accounting and payment systems is also an important consideration. Is the product designed for a specific industry? Can it be customized? How long does it take to set up the new process and exactly what is involved? What kind of training is provided? Make sure your IT staff is closely involved in this part of the evaluation process so you can verify the firm’s claims regarding installation and security.
Finally, don’t be in a hurry to make a decision. Sleeping on a decision before committing to it is always a good idea as it gives your subconscious a chance to thoroughly analyze the pros and cons of the situation.
Originally published September 15, 2014.