By Todd Albers, Senior Payments Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank Minneapolis; Anna Tujunen, CPO, Dooap Inc.; and Michael Jasper, Director, Velocity Procurement
When the COVID-19 stay at home orders went into effect, treasury and finance departments went into overdrive. Staff began working from home, and some employees were furloughed. Quickly, they realized that invoices were sitting in closed offices and stores. The remaining staff went into damage control, calling trading partners to negotiate late fees or ask for payments on outstanding invoices. Now, most companies triage their payables and receivables on a case-by-case basis, and plan how to recover from the ever-building backlog once they are able to return to full operation.
If this story sounds familiar, you are not alone. For all the advances that U.S. organizations have made towards automating AP and AR processes, many have not adopted a truly digital method for exchanging invoices.
E-invoicing has often been ignored for various reasons, including the belief that e-mail or portal solutions are e-invoices; the idea that it is too complex and expensive; and a lack of awareness of how widely it is supported for sending and receiving.
In these extraordinary times, the back office is now at the forefront of every organization, and adopting e-invoicing can bring greater control and visibility into AP and AR processes. The pandemic has exposed major flaws in the process.
Remote processing is not a luxury. It is no longer viable to rely on staff to be in the office to receive and send invoices. Organizations can’t process invoices sitting idle in a furloughed employee’s inbox or paper invoices sitting in unchecked mailboxes.
- Financial oversight demands real-time visibility. E-invoicing centralizes invoice sending and receiving, allowing invoices to be fully automated and instantly visible. This provides timely information to improve the organization’s cash flow and to manage liquidity.
ACHIEVING GREATER AUTOMATION
In our AFP 2020 session, What Stands in the Way of Achieving Greater Automation in Finance, we will discuss the benefits of e-invoicing and how it serves as a first step to digitalizing end-to-end procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processes. We will also discuss best practices to ready your organization for e-invoicing, including automating billing and invoice processing, and reducing reliance on emails, data entry and manual processes.
We will share the latest developments by the Business Payments Coalition (BPC), which is working on a new approach to effectively achieve e-invoicing, electronic B2B payments and remittance data. We will also discuss a new framework that establishes a prescriptive set of standards, policies and guidelines, showing you how to position your organization to take advantage of them.
In our session, you’ll learn how your organization can gain efficiencies and a faster, streamlined workflow from e-invoicing, all while having greater visibility and control over finances. We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t miss What Stands in the Way of Achieving Greater Automation in Finance, which is part of the Payments Track. Register for AFP 2020 here.
For more insights on the advantages of e-invoicing, download the AFP Payments Guide, E-Invoicing & AP Automation: Streamlining Payments Operations.