In a networked economy, innovation extends to invoice processing, and collaboration over a business network lays the groundwork for touchless invoice processing. How you get there will depend upon your current state of automation in accounts payable.

Path to Touchless Processing.jpgTo frame the discussion, let’s examine the following graphic (click on it to enlarge):

Note that the bar charts are not drawn to scale. Paper-based invoicing by definition is “high touch,” while the level of touchless processing from paper-free and imaging-enabled approaches may not be clear-cut. Your answers to the questions in the bar charts will determine your results from each approach.

Starting from the left – all paper processing—a common first step is to centralize invoice receipt. Equally important, though, is the decision made early on about electronic invoicing. With support from procurement, accounts payable, IT, and finance/treasury, you can put in place a strategy that accelerates your progress to a zero-touch environment.

Now, your invoice processing approach may combine a mix of these approaches at any point in time. Organizations that can shift more of their invoice volume to a smart invoicing approach—where network-based business rules validate invoice data before posting for payment—will fast-track their way to a zero-touch environment and achieve best-in-class benchmarks across many dimensions: lower cost of operations, improved compliance, dramatic discount savings, and an improved working capital position.

For more information on moving toward a zero-touch environment and current developments in accounts payable today, check out this recently published Ardent Partners report, E-Payables 2014: The Quest

To learn more about how you can achieve new business potential from the Networked Economy: Click here

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