For CEOs or CFOs looking to improve performance while driving down costs, implementing an effective accounts payable outsourcing solution has become a top priority as AP processing represents an essential part of any organization’s everyday operations.
We are excited to help you upgrade your finance and accounting workstreams via fully-integrated accounts payable outsourcing solutions for increased efficiency and higher returns in 2021.
Define Your Goals and Find a Match
The first and most important step in streamlining your accounts payable in 2021 is identifying your goals and expectations for the year. You might have invested significantly in automating your existing systems but how much are you actually getting out of these improvements? Have the returns matched your investment and expectations?
Once you start asking yourself these questions, the next one that will automatically arise is what more can you do to further optimize your existing processes. The solution is simple, outsource the tedious and most challenging aspects of your AP processing to an experienced and trustworthy partner.
According to the latest study by Ardent Partners, nearly 41% of organizations believe that invoice processing challenges like exceptions still present one of the largest challenges of AP processing.
The right accounts payable outsourcing solution can not only improve your invoice collection and processing workstream but also optimizes your workstream continuously for higher returns.
Bid Farewell to MIA Invoices
Do your invoices come via mail, email or are they faxed to our directly?
Additionally, 3 out of 4 vendors still send in paper invoices, thereby increasing the need for manual intervention.
As your team works to sort out the mess of incoming invoices, they might miss a few which means more of your resources are spent trying to track down and locate these MIA invoices after your vendors complain of non-payment of their dues.
Additionally, lost or scattered invoices can also end up costing you big in the long-run. Apart from the hassle of locating and organizing them for prompt approval and payment, you may also end paying extra fines for late payment while losing vendor approval.
A far easier way to manage this is by allocating tasks to your remote accounts payable team. At ARDEM, we receive your invoices via physical mail, electronic mail and even directly via fax.
Invoices can be received in various ways:
- Invoices are received as email attachments directly from vendors through a centralized inbox. All emails with invoices as attachments are received at our designated email inbox and sorted for processing.
- Bulk invoices can be uploaded directly to the ARDEM Invoice Manager (AIM)).
- Physical invoices are scanned and uploaded to the ARDEM Invoice Manager.
Streamline Your Existing Processes for Cost-Savings
Did you know that as per the IOFM (Institute of Finance & Management), the cost of processing an invoice varies between $1 and $21?
The stark difference between the lowest and highest cost for invoice processing depends entirely on using smarter techniques for invoice processing and avoiding costly errors in the process. ARDEM employs the perfect balance of OCR data capture and effort-based processing to implement agility into your existing workstream while reducing the overall cost of processing your invoices.
With an updated workstream and an expert remote team at your disposal, you can definitely move towards a lower cost per invoice and eventually lower your entire AP processing cost.
One of the key benefits of outsourcing is reducing your overhead by over 50%. By eliminating the need for you to hire, train and re-train employees, it allows your team to focus on more core functions.
Unleash the Potential of the
ARDEM Invoice Manager (AIM)
A cloud-based remote collaboration tool is another requirement for a smoother accounts payable transition.
At ARDEM, we receive all your invoices and then scan, sort and organize them for your convenience. Once this is done, the invoices are then uploaded into the ARDEM Invoice Manager, our cloud-based remote collaboration platform that allows you to work successfully with your remote teams while offering greater visibility into your invoice records and payments.
How It Works:
- Once all invoices are uploaded, auto-generated notifications are sent to confirm the receipt of all of your invoices.
- ARDEM then uses both automation (OCR data capture) for machine-typed purchase orders and effort-based processing (key entry) for hand-written and one-off purchase orders to extract data.
- After this, the POs are matched against the invoices and vendor details. Any exceptions that arise are flagged and resolved.
- The next major hurdle that needs to be overcome in the AP cycle is payment. Placing invoices on an approver’s desk or sending an email with an invoice attached can easily get lost or go unnoticed.
- Once invoices have been uploaded onto the ARDEM Invoice Manager, they will be 3 or 4 way matched, reviewed, and an auto-generated notification will be sent for multi-level approval.
- Once the approvals have been received, payments are made via electronic/wire transfer.
Accounting for One-Offs
Most organizations have several suppliers ranging in numbers from a few hundred to several thousand.
Apart from a few suppliers who send in a large number of similar format invoices, most of the invoices an organization receives are one-off invoices or single invoices. Therefore, any comprehensive accounts payable outsourcing solutions has to be flexible enough to manage both one-off invoices and single invoices received from different suppliers efficiently.
Things can get especially complicated when you receive these one-off or single invoices from many suppliers every month. In some cases, allowance also has to be made for handwritten invoices.
The Art of Managing Exceptions
Paper invoices, missing invoices, errors, and exceptions all contribute to what organizations across industries feel is the next challenge in AP.
According to the latest figures from Ardent Partners, 23.2% of invoices require exceptions handling.
An exception arises when the details in the invoice sent by the vendor do not match the details mentioned in the original purchase order (PO).
Exceptions need to be resolved manually via effort-based processing for swift and effective resolution. You need an experienced team that is able to identify, trace and resolve exceptions in real-time.
On average, an AP analyst will spend up to 25% or one-fourth of their time in working on tracing and locating the missing information and correcting erroneous data in exceptions.
At ARDEM, we are more than happy to take this burden off your shoulders. Our teams of experts resolve any exceptions that arise:
- Once the invoices are received, they are automatically ingested into the processing cycle.
- Data will be automatically captured according to the specific scheme and template for every invoice. If certain fields of data cannot be extracted, the invoice is flagged for review.
- The missing data is tracked down and the accurate data is delivered faster.
Sniffing Out Suspects and Incomplete Invoices for Faster Resolution
The usual suspects in the accounts payable process are illegible invoices that cannot be fully read or interpreted by OCR data capture and need manual intervention to complete the upload of that particular invoice.
ARDEM ensures that all invoices are reviewed by an analyst to check for quality and any flagged fields.
- Suspect and incomplete data is checked and corrected by comparing the extracted data against the invoice image.
- All data is then run through quality assurance measures once all the flagged items have been corrected.
- If data from required fields are missing then the invoice is flagged for resolution processing.
- Our analysts can then reach out to suppliers for a clean copy of the invoice or the original purchase order.
- This is then used in place of the incomplete invoice and the correct details are uploaded into the system for further processing.
Accelerate Your Approvals and Payment
Once the invoices are processed, the next challenge is to get them approved on time for prompt payment to ensure vendor satisfaction.
Invoices can sit on an approver’s desk for days before they have the time to review, approve, and return invoices to complete processing. Often this becomes the most common bottleneck for any AP process, which is why many organizations are looking to automate the approvals portion to reduce invoice cycle times.
An experienced partner can streamline the entire process for you, make sure that your team can access the processed invoices easily and clear payment with a few simple steps.
ARDEM utilizes our in-house management software, the ARDEM Invoice Manager to streamline approvals through automation. Automated approval notification is sent via email. It also includes an invoice image with a push-button to approve the link.
By outlining a table of authority and routing rules, automated approval notifications are sent via email to the right approvers.
The approvals can be given with a few simple clicks, after which the invoice is forwarded for swift payment that can be made electronically via ACH/wire transfer.
Partner on Production Planning
Partnering with your accounts payable outsourcing partner is crucial to secure a smoother transition for your process while also ensuring future success.
According to the latest figures from Genpact, productivity gains from finance and accounting services are now seeing 30%-50% productivity gain commitments over a five-year term as compared to 10%-20% earlier.
When you partner with ARDEM, the production planning occurs at 3 levels:
- Once the client expectations are set, we utilize our experience to outline a successful transition, i.e., our 30-60-90-day transition plan to meet daily/ weekly/monthly milestones.
- Our experience further allows us to forecast your processing needs based on fluctuating volumes of paperwork to be processed. We ensure that your AP processing never stops, come what may. We forecast and allocate more bots and more analysts to your process as and when necessary.
- As your business expands and your processing needs change, we have the capacity to scale up your business in as little as 10 days.
- The planning of resources for a specific month is then adjusted based on the monthly forecasts that we receive from you.
- Detailed reports are shared monthly or as per a predefined frequency in the SLA to highlight what has been achieved and what needs to be done further.
The ARDEM Advantage
- Extensive Industry Knowledge and Experience: ARDEM has an excellent track record with over 16 years of experience in delivering accurate data on time, every time that allows us to customize your accounts payable outsourcing solution for higher accuracy.
- Expertise in Resolving Errors and Exceptions: As illustrated above, we know the everyday and overall challenges faced by companies when processing accounts payable and invoices internally. As your outsourcing team, we take care to set the required and targets, ensure that our team meets them daily while taking specialized tasks like managing exceptions and resolving suspects off your plate.
- Dedicated Teams: All of our team members are college-educated with relevant experience. Your team will maintain accuracy, efficiency, and ease of communication to ensure that your AP processing proceeds smoothly while incorporating any feedback received in real-time.
- Real-Time Responsiveness: At our operations office, we implement around-the-clock, three-shift schedule to ensure that processing never stops. Additionally, your dedicated point of contact is available during our standard business hours from Monday through Friday to address any concerns or to implement any changes in your standing instructions.
- Advanced Security Structure: We implement a slew of the strictest security measures including SSO and thin clients, VPN, SSL, PGP encryptions, employee-specific network restrictions, ISO27001 specifications alongside SOC2, HIPPA, PCI DSS compliances to ensure that your data remains safe and secure.
- Make the Most of Advanced Reporting Features: We also provide customized push-button reporting features and interactive dashboards to provide live insights into your processing.
- Live Dashboards for Real-Time Analytics: Our dashboards on our cloud-based manager will further provide real-time data for what invoices have been received, what are currently in processing, and which invoices have been completed and paid.
- Additional customized reporting can also be provided to view spend by vendor/account, taxes, etc. with monthly, quarterly, and yearly customizations.
ARDEM Incorporated is a leader in Business Process Automation, providing businesses with cost-effective solutions to improve business performance. ARDEM Incorporated’s fully managed solutions lower costs, mitigate risk, and continuously provides innovation to companies of every size.
We build customized accounts payable or every one of its clients as it has its own team of finance and accounting specialists who have created and executed efficient workstreams for thousands of accounts payable processes, ensuring quality output alongside cost-savings of up to 40%.
If you are curious about how we can help you implement a more effective accounts payable outsourcing solution, then you can schedule a free consultation with our team today!