Document Management: An Unaffordable Luxury or an Essential Spend?
It’s understandable that during testing economic conditions, companies look for every way to cut-out non-essential costs and save on spending. But it seems the view that document management solutions are somehow a luxury spend or an added ‘extra’ for businesses, is dramatically found wanting. Credit Control argues a compelling case that ‘businesses should not be putting their [document management] software purchases on hold’ and they should in fact be investing in those key systems that enable more efficient running and ‘continued growth and development’
The Credit Control Survey:
Key to Credit Control’s contention is a survey they conducted of 160 senior finance and IT professionals (finance directors, financial controllers and IT Managers) across a range of public sector and private sector organisations. The research revealed that 88% of respondents believed it is important to have the right software systems in place if businesses are to prosper in the current economic climate. And of these, 60% stated that having the right software systems is ‘vital’. Of the remaining 12%, 10% of respondents believed it is ‘fairly important’ to have the right software systems in place, while only 2% of those surveyed, did not know whether they thought software systems were important to helping businesses prosper or not.
Document Management Solutions: The First Place to Save:
The Credit Control research would seem to confirm that management figures within most organisations recognise the importance of software solutions, including document management systems, for success in any economic climate. And as 37% of those surveyed were in fact interested in implementing electronic document management solutions at the time they were questioned, it would seem that most regard document management as an especially effective means of reaching cost-saving and efficiency goals.
How can Document Management Systems Help?
Procure-to-Pay (P2P) is a surprisingly expensive process which can cost as much as £50 per transaction. Receiving purchase invoices into an organization, logging that information into the accounting system, photocopying the invoices for the relevant files, sending invoices around the business for authorisation and then returning these invoices to accounts payable for payment and sending out remittance slips can be extremely time-consuming, is often quite expensive and is of course vulnerable to human error. Using an integrated electronic document management system automates this process so that when a purchase invoice arrives into an organization, it can be scanned and automatically tagged to the appropriate record in the finance system. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is able to read and verify the data on the invoice before being uploaded to the core finance system, eliminating the need for manual data entry and the associated errors. And in addition, using document workflow software and pre-defined authorisation routes, the imaged invoices can be automatically emailed to the relevant decision-makers for them to approve, reject or query. Approvers are also in a position to view any associated documents on-screen, such as purchase orders or proofs of delivery, to aid invoice authorisation. Once the invoices have been authorised, the finance department can pay the suppliers and a remittance advice can be automatically generated and emailed to the supplier advising them of payment.
Getting cash into an organization as quickly as possible and maintaining healthy cash-flow is absolutely essential to the successful running of any business and especially during a time of economic uncertainty, where it’s becoming increasingly difficult for all but the fittest organisations to prosper. Investing in document management http://www.falcondocumentmanagement.co.uk/
Reducing the time credit controllers spend pushing paper, by introducing document management systems, can help bring cash into a business more quickly and cost-effectively. One particular area in which such solutions can really help is Proofs of Delivery or POD’s, as they’re often known.
By scanning-in POD’s using an electronic document management system and attaching the imaged POD to the appropriate transaction in the finance system, users can create a permanent record that cannot be lost or destroyed. With this form of POD always close at hand, it can be delivered to the customer with the corresponding sales invoice, so there’s even less excuse for non-payment. And being able to send the POD electronically like this, rather than post it, obviously considerably speeds up the process too.
Document Management Outside the Finance Function:
During an economic downturn, the need for adjustments within a business’ staffing, means it’s vitally important for key figures within an organisation to have quick and easy access to human resource (HR) and payroll documents, so that they can accurately assess performance and make any necessary executive decisions. Document management systems can provide these key management personnel with HR information quickly and easily, without the need for any HR involvement, enabling their time to be freed-up for more value-adding tasks.
And outside of HR and payroll information, document management solutions can help do away with much of the paper requirement within an office environment. With the ability to store far more information digitally, companies can make dramatic savings on stationary, printing, photocopying and postage and also free up more office space for other purposes.
Credit Control conclude that while it’s understandable that many businesses are looking to make as many savings as possible during these straightened economic times, they certainly shouldn’t eschew ‘necessary investments’