The situation – SAP ERP Accounts Payable
SAP ERP FI and SAP Accounts Payable (AP) is considered a core application within the SAP business framework. Almost every company using SAP has deployed this core SAP functionality. SAP FI has been around since the earliest versions of SAP.
In the past the exchange of billing information happened in form of paper invoices that got processed manually, coming in through the central in-house mail service, being approved on paper and then processed off the paper form by a companies invoicing department. Only then the automation provided by SAP ERP FI started to kick-in and the process was well documented and automated from here on.
The problem – Paper based processes create a gap
While many companies adopted electronic document management systems, most of them initially opted to store documents for long-term retention in an archive, but shied away from fully automating the process. This created a significant lack of insight into the process. Invoices had been legally delivered to the buyer, but no electronic record was created until a few days or even weeks later, in case of a lengthy internal approval process. Any exemption handling required creating paper copies, in-house paper routing, and inefficient, sometimes duplicate, record keeping in different departments.
Cash flow management requires more and better views into payment obligations as companies want to be more in control of their assets. Missing insight into the payment process creates internal overhead for servicing vendor inquiries. Invoice payment exceptions like price or quantity discrepancies are not resolved efficiently internally.
The solution – Significant process improvements through digitizing records
Today more and more companies realize that they cannot afford ineffective invoice handling anymore. The solution is simple – digitization of invoices (for those coming in on paper) needs to happen at the beginning of the process, ideally combined with state-of-the-art optical character recognition (OCR) to reduce manual capture of invoice information. Other communication streams need to be supported: invoices through EDI, payment portals or email need to flow right into the system. All information should be available in one central place, including a clear view on the payment and exception status of a particular invoice.
We can help – xft invoice manager
xft invoice manager seamlessly combines all the above mentioned input streams and presents all information in one central place: the invoice monitor. From here, all payments can be processed and tracked, drill-down capabilities exist to explore details on a specific payment process, and structured or ad-hoc workflows can be started to resolve any payment issues around price and quantity discrepancies or non-matching invoices with missing approvals. The built-in reporting mechanism integrates with Microsoft Excel for easy data exploration and all information is documented automatically in a compliant way in the underlying SAP archiving solution.
xft invoice manager based on the powerful xft business framework for SAP fills the final gap and ultimately allows for efficient invoice processing and fully compliant processes, allowing you to turn your Accounts Payable organization into a best-run business amongst an advanced group of industry leaders.