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Why it pays to think beyond your ERP system to automate invoice processing

23 July 2018

5 minute read

Why it pays to think beyond your ERP system to automate invoice processing

If you’re looking to implement a solution for automated invoice processing, you need to take into consideration your legacy ERP system, where your master data, order and billing data is stored. Invoice automation raises the question of whether to choose a solution that is tied to the existing ERP system, or whether a best-of-breed, ERP-independent solution is the better option. Let’s explore some of the reasons why so many businesses are opting for the best-of-breed approach.

 

1 – Greater flexibility for dynamic companies

Ideally, businesses would rely on a single, centralised ERP system. However, in practice, it’s not uncommon (especially in global enterprises) to find a diverse ERP landscape comprised of vastly different systems, architectures and data formats, arising from acquisitions, growth or restructuring activity. Even if the business has standardised an enterprise-wide ERP solution, multiple instances dotted around the globe can complicate the integration of workflow tools and make it difficult to set up a shared services centre. An ERP-neutral solution for invoice processing can be simultaneously connected to multiple ERP platforms, and works independently of any modifications. This imposes no restrictions on the selection, standardisation or upgrading of the ERP systems used, giving the business more flexibility in future.

2 – Centralised invoice capture and standardised billing

One of the major advantages of a single system for invoice processing is centralised invoice capture, in a defined format, for all channels through which invoices are received. This enables 100% of invoices to be processed centrally, regardless of whether they are sent as hard copy, via email as a PDF, or electronically though EDI or a supplier portal. For companies with multiple ERP systems, choosing a best-of-breed independent solution enables all inbound invoices to be processed within a single system, which also standardises the billing process across business units and international borders.

3 – Achieving “true” automation

Independence from the ERP system also means that the invoice automation solution is not restricted by the ERP’s invoicing processing functionality (or lack thereof). While some ERP vendors use the term “automated invoice processing” to describe an electronic workflow that efficiently transfers invoices to those responsible for checking, approval and posting, this is misleading. True invoice automation refers to end-to-end touchless processing, where manual intervention is solely by exception. 

4 – User-friendly interface promotes adoption

ERP-independent systems for invoice processing are specially developed by AP experts, for AP users, to address the realities of AP processes, which is reflected in the user interface. We put great stock in Basware’s unique blend of ease of use and functionality, which have been continuously optimised over time. What’s more, if a business runs multiple ERP systems, users do not have to switch between them but instead can work through the common, familiar interface of the central invoice processing system, enhancing productivity.

5 – Enterprise wide data for transparency and control

By processing all invoices in a single system, all associated data can be viewed centrally at any time, and across all organisational units. With add-on modules such as Basware Analytics, the data can be easily analysed and evaluated, providing end-to-end transparency and control over the invoice process.

6 – Reduced implementation effort

An ERP-independent solution for invoice processing can usually be connected to the ERP system through standard interfaces to simplify integration. For example, Basware’s automation solution provides interfaces to over 250 popular ERP systems. This reduces the effort and cost of performing integrations from scratch and keeps business disruption to a minimum.

To learn more about how a best-of-breed, ERP-independent solution for invoice processing can support a truly automated workflow, get in touch for a no-obligation chat.