Prior to entering the world of “real” jobs, I had the pleasure of being employed by a handful of restaurants and retailers. But while wait staff were half-heartedly taking orders for “a chicken sandwich, with no cheese, cut in half, only lightly toasted, with extra mayo, blessed by a Catholic priest with the tears of unicorns”, their corporate counterparts labored unseen on decisions and processes that affect the day to day operations and customer experience of the entire enterprise.
As you know very well, the office-side of things comes with its own set of problems – yes, there are less shouting customers, but more long, complicated workflows, waiting ages on forms approvals, and data entry errors to deal with, often the result of outdated and sluggish business processes. The heavily paper-based environment of Accounts Payable departments in particular gives way for expensive and time-consuming manual invoice processing that leads to overly high processing costs.
Although this rut can seem difficult to get out of, help may be closer than you think. Enterprise Content Management is a powerful software solution that helps organize and store your documents so they can be found quickly, while also providing AP workflow automation and integrating with existing business applications.
Here’s how it works:
Upon their arrival, documents of all sorts are automatically loaded into the ECM system and strategically sorted, enabling employees to rapidly retrieve invoices by keyword and category. Everything is kept in one central repository that all approved users can access from any location.
Especially in the commercial industry where everything is customer-centric, keeping vendor information in order is extremely important. With ECM’s Vendor Management capabilities, you can organize all the information you have on all your vendors, from location to contacts, searchable by keywords and categories. Contracts can be managed in much the same way. In addition, users can evaluate vendors whenever they come into contact with them so the entire department knows which vendors are easy to work with and which are not.
Next, accounts payable automation simplifies what are probably the least favorite parts of your job – the menial, redundant tasks you’re forced to do over and over. This includes stuff like electronic forms approval, document routing, and data entry, among other things depending on your needs. ECM is versatile enough to fit the unique requirements of individual organizations without any extra coding.
If you’re worried about the time spent learning how to use a whole new system, don’t be. ECM seamlessly integrates with many ERP’s, as well as common applications like Microsoft Office and email providers. These integrations aren’t the messy, lengthy ones you might fear; much of the time, they don’t even require custom coding. Employees can keep using the applications they’re used to with the efficiency-driving features of ECM.
Perfectly paperless accounts payable processes may sound like a pipe dream (and a tongue twister), but enterprise content management can provide a huge boost in the right direction. To learn more about how ECM can fit into your AP department, check out our webinar recording below – “Next Steps Toward a Paperless AP Department.”