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May 26, 2016Finance & Accounting Services

The Hidden Costs of OCR

Automated Invoice Management:Putting the AP in RPA

You invested in a state-of-the art cloud finance application to provide you with finance and accounting capabilities and real-time business analytics. Looking beyond your finance organization, you realize that while you have updated your technology and processes to transform your organization the majority of the companies you do business with are still doing things the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. Even those that have adopted electronic billing methods have done so with non-standard formats, such as emails and PDF attachments.

Herein lies the challenge. How do you get all those invoices from your mailroom, EDI and email inbox into your cloud finance application? The lag time of doing things manually can influence not only your supplier relationships but also your monthly accruals. Visibility is at risk.

Even with a state of the art cloud application, the process of entering invoices is not standardized. Your team is probably spending hours manually entering invoices and identifying costs centers as opposed to leveraging the power of automation that would free them to do more strategic work.

An increasing number of companies are relying on Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to capture, code and communicate transaction data.

Software is an option and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software does offer some relief. Unfortunately, even software requires a significant amount of manual intervention. Your team is still required to locate invoices, check that they have been scanned properly, and key in the appropriate work tags, cost centers or purchase order numbers. It is still just software, and like on-premise ERP it will go the way of the eight-track tape and the DVR. You have reached a crossroads. You can continue to do business the old-fashioned way or consider leveraging solutions in the “as-a-service” economy.

An as a service solution needs a combination of imaging, a proprietary rules engine that understands worktags and some human interaction to address non-standard items like duplicate invoices and new suppliers. How do you accomplished this if your organization is using Workday Financials?

An increasing number of companies are relying on Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to capture, code and communicate transaction data. Essentially, RPA leverages a highly advanced OCR engine that learns every time you process an invoice and cross-references this with your system’s Workday rules engine. The result is an “as a service” solution that not only images invoices and enters them into Workday, but also tags them with the appropriate Workday work tag and cost center. Your team gets 100 percent visibility into the process since it’s all done in your Workday application and all you have to do is approve and settle.

If you invest in technology to automate your financial processes, there is little point in manually entering invoices or leveraging a legacy OCR product that does only half the work. Taking advantage of an as a service solution, one designed with the entire procure to pay process in mind, will help you increase the speed and efficiency of your financial processes improving value and reducing risk.

If you would like more information, please watch our video: Automate Invoice Processing on Workday

Marney Edwards

OneSource Virtual’s Senior Vice President for Finance & Accounting Sales Marney Edwards leads a team dedicated to evangelizing “as-a-service” solutions for Workday customers.