Accounts Payable is a critical part of any business. Accurately paying approved and validated invoices not only keeps the lights on, literally, but also manages cash flow, strengthens business relationships and can result in deeper discounts and/or larger rebates from your vendors.
Historically, this was a very paper intensive workflow. Today, as most companies send invoices via email, AP departments are left saving PDFs to network drives, emailing multiple managers for approval and naming files for future reference. ENet Docs moves this messy process into the modern age by providing status and approval mechanisms as well as security, searchability and audit trail information.
This article demonstrates how to manage a simple AP process, typically involving just one clerk. Companies of any size can realize the benefits of managing this process with ENet Docs. Contact our Customer Service team for help matching your business process with our tools.
Purchase orders that are sent to the vendor can also be published to ENet Docs simply by adding a cc to the outgoing address. In this example all purchase orders are stored in a folder called “Vendor POs”.
Invoices Submitted Directly to ENet Docs
Most invoices are received via email to a shared mailbox, these can be forwarded or redirected directly to a folder in ENet Docs. Any invoices received via snail mail can be scanned into this same folder. For purposes of this article, let’s call the folder “Incoming Invoices”.
No one wants to pay an invoice before receiving the goods that the invoice covers. By scanning the vendor packing lists as material is received, the accounting group has that information at their fingertips. In this example, packing lists are stored in the “Vendor Packing Lists” folder.
Invoice Compared against Packing List and/or Purchase Order
As the AP Clerk opens each invoice, they can search the “Vendor Packing Lists” and “Vendor POs” folders to confirm that all required paperwork is in the system prior to processing the invoice. The ENet Docs compare tool allows the clerk to view these documents at the same time, visibly ensuring that the numbers match. If discrepancies are discovered, the invoice can be moved to the “Invoices – Researching” folder for further review.
Standard invoices that do not require approval can be moved to the “Invoices – Ready to Pay” folder.
Invoices requiring approval prior to payment are moved to the “Invoices – Waiting Approval” folder. The person responsible for approving the invoice receives an email telling them that an invoice is waiting for their approval.
The Purchasing Manager (or whomever approves the invoices) reviews each invoice in the “Invoices – Waiting Approval” folder. The manager approves the invoices by electronically signing and moving them to “Invoices – Approved”. Invoices that need further research have comments entered explaining what further information is needed before the invoice is to be approved, then moved to “Invoices – disputed”. The AP Clerk is automatically notified via email that an invoice is being disputed.
Invoices in the “Invoices – Ready to Pay” and “Invoices – Approved” folder are processed in the business system and moved to the “Vendor Invoices – Archive” folder where they are stored for 7 years. As each invoice is moved to the archive folder, the clerk adds the voucher number to the document as a property.
The AP Clerk works to clear the dispute, updates the comments and moves the PDF back to the “Invoices – Waiting Approval” folder, starting that portion of the process over.
Document properties, approvals and notifications are just some of the workflow tools built into ENet Docs to facilitate simple processes like these and those that are much more complex. Managers gain visibility into these processes, clerks can easily keep track of each invoice that is out for approval and invoices will never be lost on someone’s messy desk again. Are you ready to be more efficient?