I’m all for making things simpler. Why use one hundred words to say something you could do in just ten? That’s one reason I like this recorded presentation, which running at just under ten minutes is just enough time to give me the information that I need, without making it a laborious process. So, if you have ten minutes for a short break from your daily activity, then why not have a look at this new whiteboard describing how SAP solutions for LoB Finance can help organizations achieve financial excellence.
As someone currently building a ‘green’ house with solar panels and ground source heat pump, I’m all in favour of anything that cuts down unnecessary waste of resources and energy. So turning Invoice to Pay into a paperless process makes sense – both in terms of sustainability and apparently cost. Companies are already automating business processes. But for many, the invoice-to-pay process remains stubbornly manual. Even in globe-straddling enterprises using rich ERP platforms like SAP, the invoices arrive, get keyed into the system and eventually are filed in cabinets and warehoused in boxes. The process is repetitive, wasteful, and error-prone. It steals resources and time that could be spent on more strategic priorities. In most cases, the people responsible for managing the process cannot get the data needed to identify blocks and bottlenecks, and have little confidence that they can receive timely, accurate information on demand.
Dolphin Corp, an SAP Partner that helps organizations make crucial business operations like data management, data archiving, accounts payable, accounts receivable and order management run better, has just published a new paper Accounts Payable goes Lean and Greenon how to makes ‘lean and green’ Accounts Payable process possible with an SAP-certified combination of technology, best practices and expertise, including:
- Capture: Integrating technology such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Imaging and e-Invoicing to ensure reliability, accuracy and timeliness of invoice data entering the process.
- Processing: Dolphin’s technology platform opens a host of opportunities to track and speed the process and control the workflow in line with the way you want your business to work. Dolphin’s applications for AP work within the SAP environment, rather than being bolted on from the outside, providing tighter integration and making them faster to implement and easier to use.
- Analytics: The imperatives of the process and continuous improvement require easily accessible and actionable intelligence on the Accounts Payable process. Dolphin delivers customizable dashboard views for user-controlled data access and in-depth reporting and analysis.
The results are impressive. When Dolphin works with customers to optimize their Accounts Payable process and implement solutions such as OCR software and e-Invoicing, customers typically:
- Improve operational productivity in the range of 30–80%
- Reduce cost per invoice by 40–60%.
- Take days out of the cycle for basic processing and exception handling
- Reduce waste
- Eliminate human error from data entry.
In the pursuit for excellence and driving down the cost of Finance, all of these are worth having. So if you’re not there yet, I’d encourage you to take a quick read as it may be a quick win for 2011.
By Joe Pacor
You can’t afford to ignore the knitting and for most finance folk that means the underlying transactions systems. Most often we view accounts payable (A/P) purely as a tactical function that ensures that our suppliers receive payments and only ever get interested in it if a supplier puts us on stop. But according to some research E-Payables 2010: The Strategic Value of Accounts Payable Automation, carried out by analysts Aberdeen some A/P departments are becoming what they term ‘Strategic’ and looking to improve visibility by eliminating paper-based processes and automating their back-office functions to open up new areas for cost savings, cash management and improved supplier relations.
Integrating cash management and payment processes with a company’s banking partners can help reduce operating costs and strengthen compliance. The paper mentions SAP Bank Communication Management application, part of the SAP® ERP Financials solution, which helps companies meet this challenge by enabling efficient integration of financial systems with multiple banks. SAP streamlines the payment process, controls the release of payments for cash flow optimization and provides multiple approval levels and audit trails.
That’s just one part of the answer though. Aberdeen say that the key to establishing effective business-to-business (B2B) collaboration lies in improving how trading partners are integrated – and how they share data. So an application such as the SAP® Information Interchange application by Crossgate, that delivers prebuilt business partner profiles that connect trading partners enabling fast, efficient B2B e-commerce and e-invoicing is clearly critical. But there’s another piece as well. Processing vendor invoices in a timely, accurate and efficient process is critical to operating a well-run business. The SAP® Invoice Management application by Open Text does just that, helping companies manage invoice processing, meet critical payment and compliance deadlines, and avoid risks related to inaccurate business information.
Certainly such automation and integration is key to being ‘Best in Class’ in terms of efficiency and productivity where they were 83% more likely than their peers to receive invoices electronically and were 82% faster at processing invoices. When everyone’s still under the cosh to drive down the cost of finance, guess it shows that you just can’t afford to ingore this stuff.
Joe Pacor has led the management and successful SAP sale’s activities of business software solutions in the Enterprise Resource Planning Financials applications for nearly 15 years. Prior to joining SAP, Joe held financial management and analysis positions at Cardinal Health, Lehman Brothers, and Hitachi Corporation.