Paperless office? Probably not. But what if a very critical piece of Finance paperwork was getting lost in the shuffle?
It happens … a lot. Check out this scary stat:
83% of companies admit they lose anywhere between one and 225 invoices a month.
That’s the cringe-worthy finding of a recent survey by The Institute of Financial Operations in its 2012 Document Management Study.
Even if you’re on the low end of that estimate, your company is still losing money in:
- Staffer time, trying to hunt down those missing invoices
- Lost prompt-pay discounts if the hunt takes so long you miss the window to take the incentive, and even
- Duplicate payments, if Finance winds up requesting another copy of the bill and it gets paid twice.
It’s not just carelessness – there are plenty of “legitimate” reasons why invoices go missing within a company’s four walls.
Who has the answers
Your first stop: Your Accounts Payable staffers. The study also revealed that 88% of staffers on the front lines say they can “very easily” or “somewhat easily” identify inefficiencies within their own departments. So odds are good those folks will have some suggestions on ways to tighten up.
A few areas to raise with them:
- Where invoices are coming in. Companies have all different policies on this: Some route bills to directly to A/P, while others go to purchasers first. The key is, no matter where they arrive, to make sure they make it into A/P as quickly as possible.
- Discount-eligible invoices. Since this is where there’s the potential to lose the serious dollars, Finance wants to make those specific bills easy to recognize and hard to misplace. Some of your peers have luck stamping these bills with a big “discount at stake” or a clock symbol on them to let everyone from A/P staffers to approvers understand these invoices need attention and extra TLC. Bonus: It should move the process along to boot!
- Email-able approvals. Of course, the more transactions you have arrive electronically, the fewer paper invoices you have to misplace. But even if vendors are unable or unwilling to send you bills electronically, it doesn’t mean you can’t still lighten the paperwork in-house. Stats like these make an excellent case for scanning and emailing invoices to approvers for their OK.