Every time we meet with financial administrators about automating their processes, without exception they have had one goal above all: to automate routine manual tasks. These tasks are usually posting and routing of invoices and manual purchase order matching.
Financial management has clearly understood that making financial administrators and experts in business units to do repetitive routine tasks is not a sustainable road to take. First of all, it is mind-numbing and takes up a huge amount of resources the company could use for a more valuable work.
In order to fix the situation, you need to know a few numbers first.
Financial administrators are the elite of number crunchers. They know the company numbers inside out, backwards, forwards and front to back. Some people have even been able to tell us the company’s level of automation and the amount of manual work without blinking an eye. But on the other end of the spectrum, some companies have given us blank stares when asked how automated their posting and routing of invoices is or how long they take to handle invoices. They have not had any idea.
Once we have scratched the surface and start to go even deeper into the numbers, most companies have absolutely no idea how much the entire purchase invoice handling process costs them overall. To increase automation, not only the financial administrators but also the management should know the numbers affecting the costs.
We don’t believe this is because financial admins wouldn’t know how to figure out those numbers. Not at all! If someone can, it is them.
The reality is that they just don’t have the time to make those calculations. Their time is spent on repetitive manual work and supporting business units in their finance work. Also, for the most part, nobody is asking finance to make those calculations. Companies are generally way more interested in the business units’ processes than whatever might take place in the background.
One extra hurdle can be the fact that in many bigger companies purchase invoice handling takes place in business units. For example, a large corporation can have 500 people who post and route invoices and 50 people who review and accept them. When you start to investigate the costs, you need to understand how much these 550 people use time to post, route and accept invoices.
We have even seen situations where the posting and routing has been “outsourced” to business units with the hope that this would make the organisation more effective. The truth, however, is that handling invoices is much more expensive in business departments compared to financial administration. This can be the result of differences in pay costs or the quality of invoices. Since business units route invoices less than financial administrators, they also have fewer skills and less experience to get them done correctly right away. So, mistakes happen more often there. Invoices are also posted and routed slower from the perspective of accounts payable.
To summarize: the better a company knows their purchase invoice costs the better the willpower to automate routine tasks. That’s how high the costs can be.
To calculate exactly what it costs you to handle purchase invoices, you will need to know the following information:
It can seem like a daunting list of information, but it is always better to understand the big picture first, before you start to automate the process. Also, once you have done the calculations, it will make your life easier. You will see exactly how much it costs for your company to handle purchase invoices. Based on our experience, you’ll be surprised how big the final number is.
We have seen that on average the cost of handling one invoice is about 5 to10 euros. Does that sound a little or a lot to you?
For us it sounds too much. Technology that is already readily available you would get that number way down, by several euros.
Now that’s worth it.
The Snowfox.AI service can route and post your purchase invoices automatically with artificial intelligence. You no longer have to worry about manual tasks.