Document processing is more efficient when done online

Automated document processing has been a common and cost-effective method of handling invoices and other records electronically for 50+ years. The capability to scan a document into a computer’s automation software on arrival simplifies the entire process of invoice processing.

No longer do company staff need to go through a lengthy manual filing process of up to 15 steps before an invoice can be paid. These days, accounts payable employees bank on automated document management systems to do the hard work for them. Intelligent Data Capture (IDC) systems save employee time and reduce the risk of human error in a way that, not too long ago, would have seemed unthinkable.

Sometimes, there is the complicationof different companies using different invoice processing systems, or of dealing with a company that is stuck in the past, still completing all of their filing and processing by hand. However, there is a broad consensus across industries that automated systems represent the future of administrative business tasks, and it’s not likely to be long before most companies catch up, especially given the saving of time and error that comes with using automated document management.There is such a big variety of types of files that can benefit from automated document processing, especially given the growth in traceability and communication that has come with the universality of the net. Most companies use automated databases to keep information about sales suppliers employee payroll and performance, as well as to produce pay slips and periodic progress reports.

Another little-appreciated advantage to automating invoice processing and other documentation management is an eco-friendly one. Businesses who take the step to bring filing and databasing online save large amounts of paperwork, especially using innovations like electronic invoices and purchasing orders. Just think about how many trees are downed per year to supply printed invoices, pay slips and sales orders. Most people aren’t aware of the scale of this problem, but almost all companies are more than aware of the exorbitant cost of printing sheet after sheet of paper – often only to feed that information back into a computer manually.

But all of those filing cabinets full of ecologically-unfriendly paperwork are becoming a thing of the past as more and more managing directors realize the importance of cloud-based digital document management. Outsourcing gives companies the liberty to spend valuable time focusing on raising sales, brand awareness and manufacturing levels, whilst able to sleep easily, knowing that the day-to-day filing tasks are taken care of.

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Invoice processing -speed, efficiency and a better brand

Not so long ago, every document in every office took paper form. Documents were always paper, and had been for around 2,000 years. Then, just a few decades back, desktop computers really started to become popular. Now, documents could be created on the screen and printed to be a hard copy – like everything else in the office. But as computers grew even more common and with the spread of the internet, there came a point when documents no longer had to be printed to be sent around – they could be saved online or on a network, in the office’s document management system. Now, there were two distinct systems: paper and virtual, and the difficulties this entailed – and still entails – could be significant. It can be messy, wasteful and inefficient. People trained in one system may not be quite familiar with the other. Documents can get lost in the paper system, perhaps getting piled up on one person’s desk, or taken out of the office and never seen again. Document processing aims to bring the two systems together, bridging the considerable gap between a paper-based office and a paper-less office. Invoice processing does the same for the accounts department – an important asset in an age where some invoices are sent through the mail and some are raised electronically, by bacs.

The technology used to achieve this has come a long way in the last few years. At one point, the best you could hope for was a scanned image – a picture file of a memo that could not be edited, and certainly not using a word processor. More recently, optical character recognition has enabled printed documents to be turned back into editable computer files. Further developments mean that even handwritten letters can be converted into Word or other documents. The technology generally takes a while to ‘learn’ to read handwriting reasonably, but boasts accuracy rates of greater than 97 percent.

This means that document processing is now very reliable and effective, and when combined with a good document management system can make for a much more efficient office. Everyone can access the documents they should have – and the documents will always be accessible to those who have permission to read them. Similarly, invoice processing means that your accounts department is less likely to miss a payment – something that always undermines a business’s reputation with suppliers and clients.

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Centralised document processing turns your data into assets

In a century where technological advancements are (almost) breaking the speed of light, inventing intelligent robots and making world wide connectivity a reality, it makes no sense to still be scrabbling around in filing cabinets looking for that important document placed there many years ago. If space travel is now a possibility, document processing should be a breeze. Document management systems gather all significant information into a central pool which can be made accessible to all your employees. It’s not rocket science, but using a DMS to optimise all operations from customer service to invoice processing will not only save you money but make it go further, and send your business soaring.

All too often, information is trapped in separate email exchanges or even in individuals’ heads. By altering your processes, all of this useful data can be utilised and consequently becomes an asset to your company. Once this data is collated into an electronic library, employees can use indexing, archiving and full text search functions to access thousands of files. Daily internal operations will be made more effective, and the ability of your company to provide a high level of customer service will be increased. This is thanks to the electronically collected material from which target audience data can be quickly and accurately pulled. All of your operations will gain in promptness and professionalism.

More than this, DMS systems can produce very tangible improvements to your company’s financial processes. As already mentioned, centralising your resources makes the most of its asset value. Dependable invoice processing makes the most of your working capital, helps to prevent against duplicate or overdue payments, and improves cash flow. Finally, the costs of paper storage facilities are eradicated as digitising information hugely reduces the space needed to store all this data.

Security improvements are another advantage. On-paper vulnerability to fire, flood, theft and vandalism and over-handling are a thing of the past, thanks to data retrieval facilities. Regulatory compliance is another positive of increased security and centralised control as DMS files are extremely trackable and the chances of withdrawn licenses or legal action are correspondingly reduced.

To implement document management systems within your organisation, look for an expert provider to advise you on how best to optimise routine but necessary tasks. Enabling shareability and integration across your business, document processing systems increase professionalism and value, simplify security and control, and save money. Leave your competitors to labour over manual, non-electronic invoice processing. Installing DMS will bring your business up to date, make significant savings, and raise your level of professionalism.

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