In almost every business we walk into, AP is the cause of significant, but often overlooked, strain and costs. From sorting through emailed or paper invoices and tracking checks to manually entering accounting information often requiring corrections, these tasks are huge time consumers. Do you know how many people are managing this in your business, and how many hours they spend each week/month? Think about what else they could be doing with this time and how much money could be saved.
Just the Facts
Did you know that 77% of invoices received by companies are in a manual format – either hard copies, PDFs, emails or faxes? The average cost to manually process just one invoice is $34. Using a manual system, there is limited visibility into who needs to get paid what and when, not to mention the possibility of late fees or the dreaded double payment. To add to this issue, any disruptions or delays in payments can jeopardize critical vendor relationships.
By automating your invoices into and through your system and eliminating errors, the average cost per invoice is 80% less. Multiply that times all your invoices and see how much you can save. It just makes financial sense to go with AP automation.
Using AP Automation
With AP Automation, you can connect every step from purchase requests to processing and payment with one solution eliminating paper and costly mistakes. Invoices of all types get captured electronically and matched against POs and goods received before being automatically routed for approval.
The process is a very simple one. The vendor sends an invoice to an email you provide that automatically routes into Concur. The Concur system uses optical character recognition (OCR) to read the invoice and fills in the:
- Vendor information
- Payment request type
- Request name
- Invoice date
- Net payment terms
- Invoice & PO number with invoice received date
- Currency type and amount
- Shipping and tax
- Line item descriptions, quantities, and unit price
Your staff simply reviews the invoice, makes any corrections necessary, fills out the Project, Phase & Task information, as well as Expense Type, then submits the invoice to be routed through your process. Your firm can also establish policies to automatically route invoices from specific vendors or projects to the appropriate staff members and to code those invoices and flag exceptions.
Your firm’s approval process can be as simple or complicated as you need. The approver has the ability to approve, approve and forward or send back to the submitter. A comment can also be added that will communicate the reason for not approving. The communication thread is maintained with the invoice as it flows through the system and even after it is paid. You can always see what was discussed during the approval flow.
Gain Visibility into the AP Process
All this is great, you say, but I still need visibility. With Concur, you get all these benefits plus easy to access reports and dashboards that allow you to track many KPIs, including:
- Invoice accruals
- Invoice cycle time
- Top vendors by spend - to help give you visibility into where you can negotiate to lower your costs
If you’re also using Concur for your expense reports, you can truly capture your entire firm spend with one solution and view reports and data across all areas in one place. Below is a diagram that demonstrates the Concur Invoice process:
Concur Integrates with Deltek Vision
How does this all get back into Deltek Vision, you ask? With the Blackbox Connector, integrating Vision and Concur is simple. Of course, there are some mandatory fields that must be synced – for example, the Vendor ID and name. However, you can choose what additional data is synced.
Do you need to send the vendor type to Concur? Have you added a custom field you wish to include? The Blackbox Connector mapping will allow you to sync the fields you want with a simple click and drag. This works on any field from Vision into Concur. All you do is ensure that a field is in Vision and is in Concur to hold the data. Within some limits, you can also control what comes back into Vision for the AP transaction file including the images associated to the invoices.
Your accounting team will likely be concerned about everything going to the correct GL Account. Concur uses Expense types for the entry data. The Blackbox Connector for Vision to Concur allows for these Expense Types to be translated into Vision GL Accounts based on the project type used, which allows for your GL coding to be automated and standardized, significantly reducing errors.
What about the periods? How do you control what period this goes in? Simple, the AP transactions go into Vision as an unposted status. This gives you the ability to post the transaction to the correct period.
Stop the Madness
AP Automation is a simple phrase that, as you can see, solves a not so simple challenge facing almost every firm. In addition to lowering your costs, you also get the added benefits of better control over and improved visibility into your spending. Automate AP and free up your team to take on bigger challenges and make a greater impact on your firm!