Painful invoice processing problems and how we can help your business solve them

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Invoice processing takes up valuable time and money within your business. Errors in the invoicing process also make your business appear more inefficient to your suppliers. Repeated errors raise even more red flags for your business, for example, if you’re making incorrect payments that need to be rectified later.

Your company might be excelling in its market, but if its invoicing function lacks the necessary levels of efficiency needed in today’s fast-moving world, you will have issues growing and excelling at the speed of your competitors.

Below, we’ve outlined the most common issues you’re likely already seeing with your invoice processing operation, and how we solve that problem for you at CloudTrade.

 

Most common invoicing issues:

 

High costs

The average cost of processing an invoice can be very high with paper/email or a manually processed PDF. The cost per invoice will only increase with errors, delays, and approval lag too, driving up processing costs.

How can we solve it?

With our patented market-leading solution, the cost per invoice drops dramatically. You’re probably looking at around $2.20 when processing an invoice via CloudTrade, due to the level of efficiency and accuracy our solution brings. You can cut the costs completely across processing, posting, validation, disputes, payments, and archives. A completely streamlined operation we can put in place for your business to process up over 60 times more invoices per day, without increasing FTE’s and processed free from human errors.

 

Costly, confusing invoices (missing, incorrect, errors, missing, recurring mistakes)

It’s usually not until later down the line in the invoicing process that a member of your team picks up incorrect or missing line data or other invoice mistakes. Identifying this issue will then likely result in further investigation from your team, pulling them away from processing other invoices. Whether it’s an error in your current system or simply that staff aren’t correctly updating the right information, this can take a lot of hands to resolve without an invoice management system in place.

How can we solve it?

About 25% of accounts payable time is spent on resolving problems related to invoice data entry and processing, the Wax Digital study found. With our automated solution, validation checks are carried out automatically on your documents, ensuring all the relevant details are obtained, and any issues flagged to a member of your team for review, minimizing the level of human input needed to validate your invoices.

 

Snail mail

Snail mail is one of the biggest reasons for delays in invoice processing. Mailing uses up valuable staff time and is prone to human error. Pair this with handling paper invoices and you’re looking at a very delayed, laborious process that is costing your business more money than you think and costing your team unnecessary trips to the postal office just to complete the step of paying your invoice.

How can we solve it?

Paperless invoice processing is a streamlined alternative to manual invoice approvals and payments. Processing a single paper invoice costs anywhere between $41 and $69 per document, research from Wax Digital has found. Whereas electronic invoicing reduces costs by as much as 60%, according to findings from GXS.

With CloudTrade, we automate the entire process, taking your entire invoicing operation online for your AP department to manage. Our solution extracts data from the digital files as well as image files, long tail, and short tail – all while maintaining optimum levels of data quality. And it saves your team a trip out of the office...

 

Expensive, fraudulent invoices

Organizations worldwide often handle thousands of supplier payments every month and it has become too easy for criminals to exploit the many vulnerabilities that exist in the manual process of identifying fraudulent invoices. Finding a fraudulent invoice can be a time-consuming and error-prone process – not to mention costly if it gets as far as being paid. Every year invoice fraud costs UK businesses around $122.8M, with average losses at over $36,900 per business. Therefore, it’s essential to identify and remove these documents from your system as soon as possible, before they can be processed for payment.

How can we solve it?

Unlike other fraud detection software, CloudTrade identifies fraud before it enters your business software. Because it extracts the data directly from the invoice before being processed, it is not dependent on templates or error-prone image-based comparisons, increasing accuracy and improving identification rates. The suspected fraudulent invoice gets flagged by the system and sent to a member of your team, allowing them to make decisions as to how to proceed, putting your business in control, and slashing the risk of paying fraudulent invoices.

Stop fraudulent invoices entering your business with CloudTrade’s Invoice Fraud Protection (IFP).

 

Approval lags

How long would it typically take to get an invoice approved at all levels before it can be processed for payment? Too long, we’re guessing...

One of the top problems accounts payable managers tell us they’re facing is complicated billing approval processes, delaying the volume of invoices that can be processed quickly. And the bigger your department, the more hands invoices, purchase orders, and receipts are likely to pass through. And delays like this will only deteriorate your relationship with suppliers as they wait for payments to be made, not to mention the missed opportunities as a direct result of the delay, like vendor discounts.

How can we solve it?

At CloudTrade, because the inbound invoice is processed in minutes upon receipt, a business has far more time to work through the approvals required while remaining with the terms of payment. We also work with your finance technology provider to enable you to implement workflows to direct the approval to appropriate departments or individuals, ensuring the right persons sees them each time, approves them, and sends them straight for payment.

 

Slow or late payments

Late payments don’t usually come down to people, they occur due to a variety of invoicing issues. But nonetheless, your business will suffer from fees tacked onto your account if those late payments are getting too common. Suppliers will be reluctant to work with you, and some may even refuse transactions due to a history of slow payments. And the reputational risks for large businesses have never been higher, with those responsible for late payments outed by the CICM in quarterly announcements, not to mention the prospect of brands being admonished by members of the public on social media.

How do we solve it?

Whilst manual processing is definitely still prevalent and isn’t going to go away overnight, a meaningful proportion of suppliers now use cloud-based accounting platforms. It’s not just large organizations on Oracle, Microsoft, or SAP Ariba – the majority of SMEs use the cloud with packages certain packages to issue application-generated invoices, which can be emailed to customers and processed 100% accurately and digitally by CloudTrade.

 

Lack of scalability

You may not be able to justify an automated solution with a smaller team, however as your business grows, it makes sense that your operations should do so too. No accounts payable manager wants to vet, hire, and train staff every time their invoice volume increases. So, relying on manual processes and emails to process supplier invoices will soon become a bigger problem than you thought. Having software in place to eliminate repetitive, manual tasks, however, will allow you to scale your operations as you grow.

How can we solve it?

Choose a solution like CloudTrade that grows with your business. An automated solution can easily be adapted to include more invoices processed, more rules, and more requirements. Therefore, having that established operation in place to process and approve your invoices stays the same no matter how much your business grows – it may just need tweaking from time to time!

Accelerate the accounts payable cycle, improve visibility and mitigate the risks of fraud and compliance issues. Scale your business without hiring the extra staff and reduce invoice processing costs and errors.

Ready to start your journey to full invoice automation with CloudTrade? Watch our free demo to see how impactful it could be to your business.