The implementation of electronic cost invoice workflow in WEBCON BPS for Microsoft SharePoint enables companies to reduce costs, improve control of expenses and improve performance.
A properly implemented document management system enables correct registration and processing of all types of purchase invoices, including cost and material ones, as well as introducing suitable value and quantity adjustments.
Invoice approval workflow for MS SharePoint
The most common pattern of an electronic cost invoice workflow in WEBCON BPS consists of the following stages:
- registration and scanning of an incoming cost invoice,
- selection of document owner within the company,
- if possible, automatic or manual verification of the invoice to ensure it has been legitimately issued, followed by linking it with a requisition or order document,
- invoice approval carried out in accordance with the acceptance path (including acceptance limit amounts),
- financial and accounting assignment of the invoice (according to the chart of accounts analytics),
- invoice controlling assignment (based on analytical measurements),
- accounting checkup before entering the invoice into the financial accounting system.
The above pattern can be freely developed and modified at the system implementation and maintenance stages, also when changes in workflow procedures are implemented.
Key business benefits
Key business benefits associated with the implementation of electronic purchase invoice workflow based on WEBCON BPS result from:
- reducing the amount of time spent by a single employee on processing purchase invoices,
- streamlining document registration and document logistics inside the company: documents are electronically verified, approved and assigned, and physical movement of documents is eliminated,
- steady monitoring of the execution of individual stages of the flow, including automatic alerts or escalation (directing tasks to the superior) if deadlines are exceeded,
- enforcing costs approval procedures, including implementation of conditional approval (e.g. when limit amounts or budget assigned to an organizational unit in a given period are exceeded),
- enforcing document assignment procedures (assignment that is not based on the measurements used by the company prevents user from processing the document further clear distribution of responsibility in consecutive steps of the flow and full transparency of the approval and assignment process, and
- the possibility to analyze system performance, individual steps and persons involved, which allows you to eliminate bottlenecks while improving process efficiency.
Integration with company transaction systems
Proper integration with company transaction systems allows to base invoice registration and assignment processes on dictionaries used by these systems. Thus, a newly registered document is automatically linked with a client from the ERP (or CRM) base, and analytical measurements use the cost center dictionary, or another dictionary that is identical with the financial accounting system’s one.
In the final step of the purchase invoice workflow the document is entered into the ERP or financial accounting system. WEBCON BPS offers integration with a transaction system at the level of a programming interface (API) provided by the system (e.g. as a web service).
Automatic invoice registration
WEBCON’s experience, supported by studies on the effectiveness of document registration, show that very often manual registration of documents based on a physical 'piece of paper' turns out to be the most effective. It is only in the next step that the paper document is scanned, attached to its electronic version and made available for viewing in the subsequent steps of the cost invoice workflow.
However, in certain circumstances it may turn out that it is cheaper and faster to scan documents first and then complete the form fields automatically (based on OCR). This happens when:
- a lot of documents are registered at peak times of the month, while very few need registration on a regular basis; e.g. in accounting offices, it is unprofitable to hire a large number of people to handle the end-of-the-month ‘peak time’ registration only;
- a relatively large number of documents from a single supplier is registered; to streamline the process, create OCR templates or switch to electronic data interchange (EDI) to avoid maintaining templates.
Essential features of WEBCON BPS
In the context of handling invoice flows, the essential WEBCON BPS features include:
- barcode and scanner support (including OCR);
- the possibility to model any invoice task workflow, including multi-level assignments which involve analyzing the account chart, analytical descriptions (measurements), CAPEX, OPEX, etc.;
- the possibility to model any invoice approval workflow, including a multilevel conditional workflow, taking into account invoice parameters (e.g. limit amounts, cost categories, etc.);
- effective change management, including efficient support of temporary replacements and the possibility to delegate tasks;
- the possibility to modify existing workflows in case business requirements change, including modifications made by the IT department on the client’s side;
- full monitoring of the registered and processed invoices, including the history of approvals and implemented changes;
- automatic alerts of an upcoming due date of payment;
- process reporting, including identification of bottlenecks;
- integration with company IT systems to leverage their dictionaries (e.g. ERP’s dictionary of external suppliers) and record cost invoices in the ERP system; and
- handling large volumes of data and large numbers of employees.