As a group of procurement consultants and technology gurus, we spend our days meeting with software partners, procurement professionals, AP folks, analysts, and alike.  We noticed many of these conversations circle back to a hand full of invoicing myths, that due to new technology, can now be left in the past!

Myth #5 Remote invoice entry requires a scanner (or piece of hardware)

How are paper invoices from remote locations (think field service workers, restaurants, warehouses) entered into the spend management system?  The common practice has been to manually scan paper invoices into the system. With the introduction of smartphone cameras, scanners are now a relic from the past.  Not only are smartphones practical for personal use, but also for business. Pew Research reports that 85% of Americans own a smartphone. Smartphone cameras make it as easy as point and click!  Now in one step, you can take a photo of the paper invoice and automatically load it to the spend management system. Even approve the invoices remotely. That simple.

Not near a WIFI signal? Internet connection is not required, just snap the pictures and once you are on a network, simply email the picture to a shared invoice Inbox. Legacy scanning devices should not be a barrier to paper invoices entering the system.

Myth #4 OCR Templates are required for invoice digitization

OCR templates have proven to be difficult to manage, cause delays, and as a result, do not always collect the correct information. These limitations create manual processes, completely defeating the purpose of automation.  Much like the evolution of the hardware (scanners to smartphones), the technology to extract data has evolved from templates to Advance Optical Character Recognition (OCR).  Advanced OCR reads and extracts characters without a template. Invoice formats and layouts can change, and the correct characters will be collected with no manual effort.  What about handwritten invoices?  Or dot matrix invoices? Yes – every character read every time.

Myth #3 Implementation is expensive and takes months

Historically, AP automation projects are a major investment of time and resources with some form of custom development required to meet the end goals.  With the advent of B2B apps, certified apps are now available on marketplace outlets as quick low-investment solutions.   Configuration, not code is here and ready to deploy.

Just like apps in your personal life, these B2B apps are designed to support speed to value.  Apps found on the marketplaces are tested, approved, and ready for deployment.  No more custom solutions built from scratch to fill enterprise functionality gaps.  B2B apps customize your solution.

Myth #2 Touchless invoicing is not possible

Electronic invoicing is the future. Simple, seamless with no data loss.  But the reality is some of the supplier base cannot be (or does not want to be) enabled.  So, we need to meet them where they are with their paper invoices and email attachments.

What if a supplier (who does not work within your invoicing technology solution) could email an invoice and that invoice was automatically validated and entered?  That is right – no human involvement to open the email, read the attachment, confirm it is accurate or ask for edits. Leverage technology to extract the invoice (Advanced OCR) and Machine Learning.  Machine Learning applies context to the extracted data allowing for automatic validation against master data.

Digitization of a paper or emailed invoice is the first step of the process.  Validation against master data and entry into your spend management solution is the second. There will always be invoice errors.  AI learns the invoicing process enough to detect the errors and send the invoice back to the supplier for review or notify you about the exception.

Yes, touchless invoicing is possible.

Myth #1 100% invoice digitization may happen in the future

The reality is 100% invoice validation and digitization is available today. Leveraging Advanced OCR and Machine Learning with B2B app solutions supports touchless invoice processing.  The more information it has access to, the smarter it becomes. This gives time back to the AP team to think more strategically about invoicing cycle times, early pay discounts, and vendor relationships.

100% invoice digitization is no longer a myth!

 Automatic invoice digitization with Invoice AI

  • All invoices collected, digitized, formatted, validated, and integrated
  • Receive all invoices, regardless of format, digitally and converted to your preferred format
  • Automated, AI driven invoice data match validation
  • Simple set-up to configure and Go Live in less than 30 days