Using Invoice-to-Pay to create a top performing Accounts Payable Team.
The performance of your Accounts Payable department can have a significant impact on the organization. Recent trends have increased the strategic importance of an effective, transparent Invoice-to-Pay process, managed by AP. Increased outsourcing has made businesses increasingly dependent on suppliers to drive innovation.
A recent study by Forrester found that the single greatest factor in increasing a supplier’s willingness to collaborate with and share innovations with a customer was timeliness of and visibility into payments. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the importance of effective cash management, of which Invoice-to-Pay is a key lever.
However, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed, to turn your AP team into top performers with Invoice-to-Pay.
What Are The Barriers To Invoice-to-Pay Adoption?
Before you can unlock the true potential of your Invoice-to-Pay journey, it is important to identify and remove the barriers to achieving top performance. For this, a leading analyst group, Gartner has identified that Accounts Payable the team must overcome a number of challenges with their Invoice- to-Pay solution. These fall broadly into three main areas:
- Suppliers have vastly different capabilities when it comes to generating invoices that support AP automation. This variability creates higher processing expenses, disconnected journeys, and lower straight-through-processing rates.
- Invoice automation projects frequently only address document digitization, whilst it is the matching issues that introduce higher costs. This incomplete scope reduces the potential ROI and reintroduces problems that would be caught by manual invoice processing.
- Organizations cannot improve invoice match rates when there is no visibility into the root causes of match failures. As a result, process improvement and error elimination cannot occur without visibility and correction.
Challenge 1: How To Enable Supplier Adoption?
When organizations like Maxim Healthcare were only able to get 15 suppliers automated in 7 years, nothing downstream can be performance tuned. This is because the Accounts Payable teams have been expecting eInvoicing Networks to address this challenge.
Unfortunately, these Networks have now become the barrier to adoption by forcing new T&Cs and processes on the Supplier. However, while AP has been waiting for the promise made by eInvoicing Networks to come true, suppliers have evolved.
Today, everyone from the poolman to the global catalogue provider can email a PDF Invoice. Other suppliers have been forced to go eInvoicing, not by customers but by their own Governments via Clearance Networks. The solution is the Invoice Hub from Ivalua. A solution that unlike eInvoicing Networks, is embedded within the Invoice-to-Pay journey thereby removing the barrier to supplier adoption.
The power of Invoice-to-Pay is that it is not run in a silo, therefore supplier onboarding and enable should fit within your existing business as usual processes, not outside them. Ideally, once your supplier master data has been aggregate and cleaned there will be three business as usual process enhancements:
Supplier Invoice or Payment Inquiry: the first time a supplier’s credit control team contacts your AP team, they should simply email a link to the Supplier Portal in Ivalua. With this the credit controller can signin and see the status of every invoice, importantly this is in real-time without a lag or new T&C’s. Once the supplier has signed in they stop calling AP as all the information they need is on screen and you have a new email contact in the system.
New Supplier: even in the world of no-Pay no-PO its possible to get an invoice from an unknown or new supplier, especially at the tail end of your spend. Therefore, when it happens Ivalua provides a quick and simple process for confirming the supplier and instantly updating your master data, and simultaneously creating a portal account for their credit controllers.
Master Data Update: within the Ivalua Supplier Portal the credit controllers can update their view of your master data, and confirm changes. With this, and the right process, finally you can keep your master data in sync with the supplier, something the Hackett Group estimate could save you 50% of your costs in this area.
Learn more about the amazing capabilities of the Invoice Hub here.
Challenge 2: How To Automate Accounts Payable?
For most businesses increasing invoice processing efficiency to 70% across 60,000 suppliers would be a stretch target. However, this level of automation is what Credit Agricole achieved with AP Automation for Ivalua. As a key part of the Invoice-to-Pay journey, they have unlocked the power of AP and hit amazing levels of straight-through-processing. They have accomplished this by utilizing smart matching across orders, contracts, and receipts; together with one-click workflows that manage line level allocations and tax treatment automatically.
By removing the overhead of payment queries with real-time Supplier updates, the AP team can focus on innovation and real exceptions. The key to these performance levels is the embedded smart matching that uses supplier master data, orders, receipts, even contracts to automate the flow.
Exceptions can then be handled with one-click approval for invoices, or by simply appending the missing PO number, to complete the auto-match. With line level multi-tax treatment and budget allocation templates that reduce effort AP automation rates can reach way above 70%.
However, the real power of Invoice-to-Pay from Ivalua is that all this matching is also available within Supplier Self-service linked to the Invoice Hub. That is true innovation and a level of digital transformation just not possible in an eInvoice Network.
Now selected suppliers can upload a PDF invoice in the free portal, check all the content is correct, append that missing PO or tag the buyer, before matching the invoice to the receipt or order. Only once all the invoice meets the tolerance policy for automation will it be accepted.
The supplier can now elect to send in a disputed invoice or load a new invoice that matches, either way the payment clock only starts when the invoice is cleared for a straight through journey.
Learn how to truly Automate Accounts Payable here.
Challenge 3: How To Continuously Tune and Improve?
Having the ability to continuously improve (CI) a process is critical to achieving a return on investment and should be at the heart of all cloud technology. Without this, organizations cannot be agile and without analytical data, continuous change is impossible.
This is why Ivalua provides the dashboard and performance intelligence necessary to evolve, adapt and improve your unique Invoice-to-Pay journey as standard. Unlike eInvoicing Networks, or prescriptive services, that are locked, with Ivalua you are in total control of the Invoice-to-Pay journey.
Once you have our quick start journey in place, the AP team can create new templates and processing rules, the workflow can be extended or adapted without breaking the system.
Learn more about the power of CI in Credit Agricole.
Invoice-to-Pay from Ivalua
Ivalua has been recognized as best-in-breed across the Source to Pay by the leading analysts, so once you have this level of advanced accounts payable automation, your focus can switch to adding capabilities that are designed to deliver additional value, such as mitigating invoice fraud and compliance, plus increasing working capital value from the financial supply chain – welcome to Ivalua Invoice-to-Pay.
The Components that remove the barriers within Invoice to Pay Journey
To learn more about Invoice to Pay from Ivalua ask for a no obligation demo today.