Automated invoice processing aids ERP.

Author:Dean, Colin

ERP projects are notorious for taking too long to implement, costing a fortune and not delivering the efficiencies they were supposed to. Gartner estimates that 40% of ERP installs in 2004 will go over budget by 50% both in terms of cost and time. The real problem is that companies try to speed up the deployment of ERP and keep down costs by not installing the very modules that actually deliver the Return on Investment. One opportunity to claw back some of the ROI benefits of ERP is to add functionality that will not add to the overall cost of ownership and maintenance, but will deliver savings when combined with the back office system by reducing manual input and fitting seamlessly into the ERP workflow processes--this is the attraction of automated invoice processing.

ERP customers resistant to new modules

Why ERP customers are cautious about adding to an already weighty software investment is because they already have a solid operational backbone for the business, even if some of the higher level benefits are not in place. Additional modules cost time and money to install. There may also be integration problems with other elements of the ERP, or with legacy systems such as CRM or HR platforms. New functionality such as automated invoice processing will only be taken on if it cart show true ROI benefits from day one.

Advantages of integrating invoice processing with an ERP system

ERP systems already receive data from accounts payable but this is generally achieved manually with the downside of extra costs and manual errors. Advanced invoice technology can automatically process all invoices, irrespective of format, to achieve 100% first-time processing of unstructured documents. This removes labour-intensive manual intervention, automating many of the repetitive processes, and achieving a high level of integration with existing ERP software.

What kind of integration is there between invoice processing and ERP?

The validation of all data has to be a continuous process. Authorisation processes can be complex. There may be different workflows for different classes of invoices depending on value, PO status, ordering source etc. There should be a method of filtering the types of documents and workflows available to any individual and/or department. At every stage, data should be checked...

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