In an ever-changing business landscape, retail businesses constantly rely on cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of their competition. Retail business workflows are plagued with complex and manual processes for managing seller payments.
Not only do these manual processes down business workflow but also incur unnecessary costs during invoice processing.
A whitepaper issued by the Institute of Financial Operations reveals that on average, businesses still receive 50% of invoices on paper. In comparison, 37% of the remaining businesses receive invoices via e-mail, whereas 5% use fax for invoice delivery.
Similarly, a report by PayStream Advisors discovered nearly 58% of businesses in North America rely on unautomated solutions for invoice workflow.
Understandably, using manual processes in Accounts Payable processes increases the cost of mitigating errors and puts significant strain on an organization’s efficiency and productivity.
Finanznachrichten reports that businesses pay as much as $53.50 per invoice to resolve errors on paper invoices.
At the same time, manual processes lack transparency and expose businesses to a greater risk of invoice fraud; as a result, retail businesses need intelligent solutions that enhance business productivity and enable them to maximize their revenue.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using Intelligent Invoice Management for retail businesses.
Identifying Invoices among Other Documents
Retail businesses receive several types of documents during their operation. However, not every document is meant for invoice processing, and many of these documents are not relevant to the business.
Without human intervention, it can be difficult to distinguish between these documents. In some cases, even automated invoice processing solutions fail to process such documents and can conduct errors while processing them.
The technology uses multiple methods such as advanced Intelligent Data Capture features to classify invoices among other documents accurately. Intelligent Invoice Management makes it easier for retail businesses to resolve outstanding payables without wasting time.
Accurate Data Extraction from Invoices
Manually scanning documents and entering data not only takes a lot of time but is also prone to various input and duplication errors.
Automated invoice processing features use powerful capture features to extract data accurately. This process helps retail businesses reduce invoice errors and minimize invoice cycle times.
With that said, many automated invoice processing solutions lack intelligent features that allow 100% accurate extraction of data from invoices. Most of these solutions depend on variations of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) algorithms to scan photographed receipts and invoices.
Since simple OCR algorithms are highly sensitive to distortions and blurriness, they sometimes fail to capture data accurately.
Likewise, such algorithms can struggle if the data is handwritten or extracted from native documents and generate errors. These errors can be expensive for retail businesses as corrupted invoices delay payments to their vendors.
Retailers need intelligent invoice management solutions optimized with highly advanced machine learning algorithms. These intelligent solutions are less prone to errors, making them suitable for processing high-volume transactions accurately.
Rapid Reconciling of Purchase Orders
As any retail business owner would know reconciling invoices with credit memos, delivery receipts, and purchase orders is a cumbersome process.
Using OCR-driven information data capture features greatly reduces the time it takes to identify missing good receipts, invoices, shipping orders, and other payment documents.
An intelligent invoice management solution detects fraudulent receipts and incorrect pricing in invoices while sending alerts to notify retail managers. These solutions automate the majority of counterproductive and costly manual procedures in invoice processing.
In other words, it can eliminate tedious and time-consuming processes such as manual approval routing, GL coding, matching, and data entry.
Using intelligent invoice management solutions, businesses streamline traditional retail processes, boosting the efficiency and productivity of their staff.
At the same time, these solutions can optimize cash flow management, lower the cost of invoice processing, and improve business relations. Since most of these solutions are cloud-based, you can even scale the software service based on your needs and operational budget.
Calculating Direct and Indirect Expenditures
Retail managers are responsible for handling countless invoices simultaneously. Without an automated system in place, managers can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of these invoices.
Manual and semi-dependent solutions are insufficient for keeping track of all direct and indirect expenditures. Every hour wasted on manual processes gives managers less time for creative thinking, something that indirectly affects business growth.
In terms of direct spending, managers must process invoices with several line items, match them line-by-line, and note any deviations. Similarly, calculating indirect spending is as equally as difficult, if not more. It’s difficult to keep track of the operational and maintenance expenses of retail warehouses.
Without an intelligent invoice management solution, it can be impossible to manage all accounting processes accurately.
Using advanced invoice capture features, retail business managers can minimize erroneous payments, accelerate lead times, prevent fraud and ensure efficient invoice processing.
Instant Approval of Invoices
A digital workflow does not require manual intervention and paves the way for instant approval of invoices. Intelligent invoice management solutions embed digital invoices with associated metadata within the work item and workflow.
As a result, the system can easily access the chart-of-authority employee approval data utilize it within the approval business rules.
For instance, not every retail manager has the authority to reimburse for orders beyond a specific amount.
So, when the invoice management system detects a non-PO supplier invoice for business travel, the intelligent system can electronically confirm if the manager has the authority to approve the invoice.
In such scenarios, the intelligent invoice management solution transfers both PO and non-PO work items to supervisors for review or approval. If certain supervisors don’t have the authority to approve an invoice, then the workflow will route the invoice to a more senior manager.
If invoice processing is not automated, it can be difficult to monitor the process effectively. Similarly, semi-automated invoice management systems lack extensive reporting features and even if you try to perform reporting, it is fragmented, error-prone, time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient.
An intelligent invoice management solution provides managers with detailed analytic reports for real-time visibility of their invoice processes.
Managers can view invoice volumes, status, and process bottlenecks from a singular dashboard and make critical business decisions in real-time.
Ultimately, automated invoice management combined with intelligent features can revolutionize all Accounts Payable processes for your retail organization. Intelligent Data Capture is one of the technologies that make intelligent invoice management a reality.