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The Impact of Document Management Software: Reinventing The Accounts Payable Process

Posted by Alyssa Anderson on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 @ 11:57 AM

shutterstock_195700796.jpgEvery business has invoices to pay. Whether you have one clerk or a team of 20, the Accounts Payable (AP) process is universal and one of the most heavily stricken by paperwork. The constant influx of invoices, purchase orders and packing slips can seem never ending, one pile after another. Even worse, managing paper-based documents can drive up costs and create inefficiencies in daily performance. From fraudulent charges, to missed deadlines and double payments (yes, I said DOUBLE), the best way to ensure your invoices are paid properly is by taking your AP process digital.

I get it, change is hard. But no company wants to mismanage their financial data. Handling nearly all payments outside of payroll, AP departments need structured processes to prevent the common mistakes bound to managing paperwork. Document management software not only helps organize your AP department to operate more efficiently, but also provides advantages in productivity and collaboration, all while saving you time… and money! What’s not to love? Let’s take a closer look at how document management software reinvents paper-based accounting:

shutterstock_161091365-1.jpg1.) Automate Invoice Approvals & Payments - Paper-based invoicing can lead to delays if someone is unavailable or out of the office, causing missed payments and an increase in costs. Even dropping an invoice on an associate’s desk is at risk of being thrown out, lost or viewed by the wrong eyes. With document management software, your invoices are secure and yet always available from the convenience of your workstation. Out of office? No problem. Users can view digital files and start the approval process from a laptop, tablet or smartphone – and no one will even know you’re still in bed! Alerts can also be set up to notify users when new invoices are ready to be reviewed and approved, automatically sending the documents in question to the appropriate recipients. Additionally, much of the main focus of AP departments is on the three-way match. The key to getting an invoice approved quickly is validating that you received what was intended to be purchased, and that the terms and amounts match the invoice and original PO. Document management software keeps files organized and accessible for instant matching.
2.) Data Entry: Visibility, Productivity & Accuracy - What was that PO Number? How many pens did we order? Where is our package? With document management software, questions like these are a thing of the past. Search via index information, body text or even date range. Special characters can also be used to further filter results. Voila! Document management software lets you find what you need when you need it. But let’s go back. Before we can search for a document, we need to capture it. Manually entering paper invoices can lead to entry errors and data loss. Document management software allows users to capture the necessary data through Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Place a stack of paper invoices on your office equipment device and move on to tasks of higher importance. Built-in OCR capabilities will scan each document individually, grabbing all of the key data and automatically filing into “Archives.” Set, scan and forget – OCR does the work for you.
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3.) End the Constant Compliance Worry- Do you know if business rules are being enforced? Are you prepared to prove your company’s in compliance with the SEC, FINRA or ESIGN regulations? Document management software can help your business tie together all the important documents needed during an audit. Purchase orders, delivery receipts and check images can all be instantly and digitally available to anyone with user-based permissions. These features can also help manage compliance risks by controlling policies and having a quicker response time to legal or regulatory actions. What about protection? Monitoring signatures and irregularities makes it hard for companies to protect themselves from fraud. But digital approvals identify which user took action and creates a reliable audit trail that can be easily used and viewed, validating the history of each and every document.

Paying your vendors on time is critical to the success of your business. Whether your company is big or small, with paper-based accounting methods it can be hard to keep track of where everything is located and what has been fulfilled. A paperless solution could prevent all of the issues that AP departments face, while keeping processes structured and well managed.

Learn how real document management users have streamlined AP tasks at significantly lower costs. These solutions are tailored to your specific business size and type. Learn more about our Document Management solutions here and Contact Us with any questions.

Tags: Document Management, Paperless Office, BPM, ECM, Workflow, accounts payable

Three Areas Where Process Automation Streamlines Information Sharing

Posted by Lauren Ford on Wed, Aug 03, 2016 @ 09:09 AM

shutterstock_161091365.jpgDelivering paperwork from desk to desk, requesting written approval, manually searching for correspondence – all of these tasks are inefficient and time-consuming. Implementing a process automation solution can transform your existing routine from ineffective to exceptional. 

Process automation blends people and their work together into one streamlined performance, creating a strategic foundation for daily operations to take place, boosting productivity, simplifying collaboration and improving the quality of output. Imagine how much more work your team can get done by automating document-driven tasks from capture to routing, escalation and even tracking. Beyond conventional record-keeping activities, automation has the inherent strength to handle the most complex business functions, enabling your organization to better manage daily activities.

Here are the three most common areas where process automation solutions are used: 

  1. Accounting: Accounts Payable automation streamlines the high-speed capture of business-critical documentation — like invoices and purchase orders — through a variety of methods, from scanning to web forms and even email. This, in return, eliminates a high percentage of your manual processing errors, such as entry mistakes, invoice duplicates, lost data and more. Your staff can automatically extract high-value information quickly and efficiently without manual intervention, creating a streamlined, fully digital invoice management process. By providing one single point of access, you’re saving time and simplifying the search and retrieval of information with the seamless ability to process documents in tandem with an existing accounting software, such as QuickBooks or Microsoft Dynamics.
  1. Human Resources: Process automation provides Human Resources departments with real-time monitoring and automated escalations to keep employee processes moving and on schedule at all times. With greater insight into control, there’s no need for you to worry about compliance or accountability. Your employees can easily see the status of their tasks with a full overview of all actions completed and outstanding. This, in return, simplifies internal communication as all of your users involved in a workflow process have easy access to the information they need. As a potential employee moves through the hiring process, all corresponding paperwork — from hire to retirement — is organized and efficient. The solution pushes onboarding documents through the hiring process into interview scheduling, approvals and performance reviews. A flexible workflow will also set reminders of post-hire activities including periodic evaluations, benefits activation and credentialing. A well-implemented process workflow ensures processing is completed accordingly to your company’s specific regulations, leading to faster and better-informed decision making.
  1. shutterstock_110459051.jpgContracts Management: Automation reduces the costs, complexity and time to deploy manual contract processes by allowing your users to accomplish more with fewer resources. No more waiting or following up. Business process automation initiates intelligent queuing and routing, allowing contracts to be delivered to — and processed by — the right people. Contract automation improves collaboration and enhances your customer experience by seamlessly connecting internal employees with each other and the customer. Automatically schedule follow-ups and gain real-time monitoring with every step of a contract signing process, including current status, deadline alerts, delay notifications and approaching due dates. Further simplifying this paperless process, your staff can adhere to government compliance regulations by applying electronic signatures into the automated process. Decision-makers can digitally sign web forms with a mouse, stylus pen or finger, which allows their staff to eliminate the need to print, sign and rescan. 
Implementing process automation solutions can improve the credibility, productivity and profitability of any organization. These solutions are tailored to your specific business size and type. Learn more about our SMB solutions here and Contact Us with any questions you have!

Tags: Paperless Office, BPM, ECM, Workflow, accounts payable, Human Resources

ECM Eases The Struggle With Managing Information

Posted by Dan Termale on Thu, May 05, 2016 @ 10:52 AM

dreamstime_m_13259181.jpgIf you break down the ways that every business operates, you’ll realize that it’s all based on flows of information and content. We rely on data and information to make sales, pay bills, hire and onboard employees, manage their records and so much more. For as long as we can remember, our businesses have operated on the same basic manual- and paper-laden processes that are now being challenged with new technology and regulations. 

Basically everything is becoming technology based and the amount of information that our businesses are producing is growing rapidly. We’re inundated with information of all types on a daily basis and some of you are struggling to keep your head above water. Your employees are having a hard time finding the documents and information they need to do their job effectively and some companies are paying more money then they realize to maintain their outdated business processes. It’s costing them large sums of money every year and, even more importantly, it’s costing them valuable employee time and energy that could be used elsewhere.

dreamstime_m_20803439.jpgSo what can you do to address the elephant in the room that eventually will have to be? The realization of information chaos is still relatively new to some companies, so here are some ways you can address these issues:

  • Focus on the automation of your most manual business processes first. (Accounts Payable and Human Resources are usually perfect places to start)
  • Map out those processes and focus on replicating the manual steps electronically.
  • Engage your employees and customers to take part in submitting information in digital formats.
  • Educate your senior executives on Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software solutions that will serve as your automation and repository tools.
  • Focus on the big return on investment (ROI) that ECM brings. Most companies realize their full investment within the first 12-18 months.

The beauty of our ECM solutions is that they can integrate seamlessly with any ERP or line of business system. You can link content directly to screens on your ERP and employees never have to leave ERP.  In fact, they may not even know they’re using a different solution – they sometimes think it’s just a new feature to the existing ERP.  It’s seamless. This really helps with user adoption and makes it a very easy transition.

dreamstime_xl_34697287_2.jpgThose are some areas to focus on. If you’re at the point of addressing your need for an ECM or Document Management solution, then reach out to someone who can guide you along that process. We love to educate people on how these solutions can revolutionize their business and ultimately save them time and money. This is the direction our society is moving in and we want to make sure no one is left behind.

Contact Us today and we’ll answer any questions you may have and we’ll guide you along on your journey to going paperless.

Tags: Document Management, Paperless Office, BPM, ECM, Workflow, accounts payable, Human Resources, go paperless

It’s Not ‘All or Nothing’ with ECM

Posted by Dan Termale on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 @ 01:41 PM


One of the biggest drawbacks organizations have that keep them from implementing new technologies and changes is budget. It’s the most important resource you need in order to spearhead a new project. 

While some organizations have the money and other resources to deploy a paperless solution — like an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution — enterprise wide, most do not.  That shouldn’t stop you from doing so. The great thing about an ECM solution is that it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” type of deal. In fact, the best way to deploy a new ECM solution is to start in your most paper-intensive department(s), like Accounts Payable or Human Resources, and then expand the solution to other areas of the company over time.

To ensure that your incremental deployment of an ECM solution is successful, begin by installing the system in a department that’s responsible for paper-driven processes adversely affecting all other parts of the organization. These departments are fairly easy to identify, given that they’re where paper bottlenecks occur and where your organization’s information flow begins to break down. 

dreamstime_xl_41184159_1.jpgAreas relying on large amounts of transactional content present a good opportunity to start, especially when processes involve numerous repeatable steps. Managing and processing invoices in accounts payable is a good example. Scan or capture an electronic invoice, link it to the financial record and route it electronically to the appropriate person for approval. 

Once you’ve successfully implemented the system in one of your core departments, you can expand the solution to others. Deploying it incrementally not only provides you with greater control over the implementation, but the ROI you gain from the initial installation can help fund the expansion of the solution. Choosing this strategy for your content management project is a great way to get started and move forward even if you do not have the budget to implement it enterprise-wide. Over time, as you save money and see your ROI, you’ll be able to fund and expand your solution throughout the rest of your company. To learn more or to ask us questions, Contact Us, we are here to help.

 

Tags: Document Management, ECM, Workflow, accounts payable, Human Resources, go paperless, enterprise content management,

How To Solve The Challenges In Your AP Department

Posted by Dan Termale on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 @ 03:21 PM

16796160515_686fd1be88_bEvery Accounts Payable (AP) department has its bottlenecks and areas that take the most time and resources to process. It is one of the most paper intensive departments in an organization and when left to manual paper invoice processing you simply cannot operate at full capacity. Paper and manual processes hinder you from taking advantage of early payment discounts and the ability to reduce your costs per invoice. The goal is to process more invoices with spending less time and money to do so. With an AP Automation solution you can cut your costs by 67% and achieve a high ROI on your solution that will pay for itself within the first 12-18 months. 

Maybe you have heard of AP Automation solutions before but you have never really researched the topic in depth. Going Paperless and automating any business department is a process that first starts by educating yourself. The challenge for many is feeling overwhelmed by the process and just giving up and keeping the same old AP processes in place just because it's just the way its always been done. The process does not have to be overwhelming, it should be a smooth journey to finding the right solution fit for your needs.

4 Benefits of an Automated AP Solution:

  • Reduce Cycle Times – Prompt payments enable early payment discounts, eliminate late fees and reduce duplicate payments caused by suppliers resending overdue invoices. The result is increased supplier satisfaction and maximized cash flow.
  • Eliminate Lost or Misfiled Documents – Invoices are captured online immediately so they never get lost or misfiled. The copying, faxing and resending of invoices is eliminated.
  • Reduce Document Transport and Storage Costs – Eliminates mailing invoices for review and approval reduces need for physical storage space.
  • Improve Productivity – Reduced AP invoice preparation, manager approval and back office processing times increases efficiency.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions for AP departments leverage intelligent software and existing vendor information to automate document indexing and trigger electronic workflow. This allows users to skip manual processes and allows them to find documents quickly and easily.

413_IntegrationSort invoices, enter data, match to PO, and route for approval - repeat as needed. Accounts Payable professionals know this process in their sleep, but when invoices stack up, it can seem never ending.  The fact that the majority of invoices are received in paper format and require manual data entry is the number one challenge in the invoice management process.  Manually processing invoices drains you of your most valuable resources: time and labor.

Here is your chance to move your organization beyond paper pushing to delivering strategic value. For more information or to ask us questions Contact Us, we are here to help you. 

Tags: Document Management, BPM, ECM, accounts payable, go paperless

Did You Slack Off Over The Summer?

Posted by Joanne Novak on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 @ 02:45 PM

61ebc183426994bfc907ceda50f7With the start of September almost all school systems now have their students back in class.  And, you have had your summer fun and those relaxed days in the office.  Did you accomplish your summer goals? Do you feel a bit behind?

We can help you recover some of those goals before you find yourself back in the depths of paper-based processes that are sheer drudgery.

Week 1:  Catch up on the 'required' reading you had hoped to do. 

Take those reading assignments that you set for yourself on "Learn about ECM" or "Dig into Accounts Payable Efficiency" since you believe there is a better way for your operations to function -- you just need to learn a bit more.

Week 2:  Revisit your research for your big fall project.

You keep putting off the actual execution of your process automation or new workflows because you have not selected the right vendor or system that fits your needs.  Regroup on your previous findings and see if there is still a better partner for your big project.  

Week 3:  Sign-up for some training.  

LCL_ESP_REGISTRATION_IMG_1All summer, you've been eyeing the webinar notifications sent to your inbox, but hadn't made the commitment. Sign-up for a webinar and refresh your memory on enterprise content management, in general, or more of the specifics on your AP pain point.  Make the trek to a Lunch 'n Learn for some human-to-human interaction ... and a mid-day snack.

Let your Back-to-School plan get you in the groove so you can show that you have learned a lot on ECM in the last four months of the year.  You are smarter.  You are ready to execute your ECM plans.  And, you will be a step ahead in 2016.

Tags: Document Management, BPM, ECM, accounts payable, Technology,

Time is Money. Your Money.

Posted by Dan Termale on Thu, Sep 03, 2015 @ 11:43 AM

Time_Equals_MoneyTime is Money. It’s a cliché—but people use it when they find they are stuck in a slow moving situation instead of moving forward productively. Sitting in traffic while watching a commuter train whiz by. Telephoning for a quick answer because IM and chat is not activated. Queuing at a store checkout versus receiving an online order at home. Waiting to pay for a movie instead of waltzing right in with pre-bought tickets. We used to be willing to wait, but now we want everything fast.

Think about the news. You probably digest your news via your smartphone or on-demand. Does anyone actually watch TV at the time the program is actually aired? Where you used to settle in with a physical magazine or newspaper—your medium is now digital. You have engaged a new process for your personal content delivery.

Streamlining-procurement-processesSo, how is it at work? Do you find your business processes match your personal processes? While business process automation across the enterprise has become more top-of-mind for organizations, it is the staff who are clamoring for the speed. And who is the most vocal? Your accounts payable and accounts receivable departments.

Think about it. If your AP and AR departments operate faster, you manage your money better. Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) go down and savings go up as you capture the early payment discounts. The dynamic with your vendors sending invoices and receiving payment is improved. It is monetarily beneficial to the company.

What are you doing: Leading the group, just an average player or a laggard that’s not even in the game?

Ask around; you may find your peers are ahead of you. With automation, you eliminate paper, speed up the process, introduce controls that never could work in the paper-intensive world and suspend the internal manual process that employees had to do to make Purchase Order (PO) requests, track down the PO and issue the approvals. Layering mobile capabilities on top of the automation— further pushes out the speed with alerts you can get anywhere. Everyone stays ‘on time’ with their review because you have better monitoring capabilities, process review, analytics and transparency for the CFO to see how the team is doing.

Screen_Shot_2015-09-01_at_10.52.32_AM

According to the Aberdeen Group, there are significant transaction cost savings with AP automatio (see chart). The statistics are impressive as we can see a 30% to 65% improvement truly demonstrating that Time IS Money. Big Money.

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The study goes on to say that the leaders who have adopted AP automation have seen the greatest improvement in their metrics for DPO, Financial Reporting and Early Savings Discounts. These benefits of the improved operations illustrate the value to the company and the AP staff.

These statistics beg the question about your organization.

Where do you stand with business process automation in your enterprise—or more simply in your AP/AR department? Are you a leader or a laggard?

The message is clear; there are gains to be made.

Revamp the operation and clear out the paper. Embrace the change. You have a source of cost savings plus you have an opportunity to improve your vendor relationships. What do you have to do to find that money?

Information-Technology-PageThe study concludes that there are four things to consider within your organization to ensure everyone embraces the change especially by understanding the value of the change. What to do next? Select the technology, engage the employees, collaborate with suppliers and implement the technology.

At Konica Minolta, we can help you navigate among the options for selecting the technology that best addresses your business problems. We work with you right through implementation. Our consultants understand what you need to improve your AP/AR operations, and we can guide you to the solution that’s right for you. Let us tell you more about Konica Minolta’s ECM solutions to help you capture cost savings, smooth processing and gain transparent oversight that automation brings.

For complete information on Konica Minolta Enterprise Content Management Solutions please visit: KonicaMinoltaECM.com

Tags: BPM, ECM, Workflow, accounts payable, Going Green, go paperless, enterprise content management,

How To Streamline Processes In Your Accounts Payable Department

Posted by Brianna Smith on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 @ 03:16 PM

AP-AutomationThe key to success for any business is maintaining a competitive edge. To achieve this, more and more businesses are beginning to focus on improving their Accounts Payable (AP) departments with an enterprise content management (ECM) solution. To stay competitive, businesses need fast, accurate invoice processing. Unfortunately this is often difficult to achieve because keeping track of paperwork, faxes, emails and inquiries can be a costly, time-consuming job.

An ECM solution can help reduce costs and improve profitability for businesses. In order to make this happen, manual and time-consuming processes must be automated and optimized. AP departments across the country are already stretched thin and operating on tight budgets, strict requirements and must deal with a range of tasks — from satisfying vendor demands, to meeting increasingly stringent financial controls.  Simply put, whether a business becomes successful or not hinges on the success and efficiency of the AP team.

Accounts-PayableBecause all Invoices are different they require approval on many levels, and generate huge volumes of paper and electronic documents that are difficult to effectively manage, an ECM solution would help to streamline the workflow of AP departments. ECM solutions offer automation tools, which not only increase productivity and efficiency, but also contribute to overall cost reduction. Even better, by automating the capture and centralizing the repository of invoice documents, documents can be accessed instantly.

In addition, implementing an ECM solution into an AP department will:

  • Extend Existing Processes to be More Efficient.

Automated Accounts Payable workflows remove the paper-based bottlenecks that exist in many companies and systems. This enhances financial systems and provides increased visibility and enhanced collaboration capabilities.

  • Do More with less and extend the useful life of Accounting and ERP solutions.

Expedite the processing and payment of invoice documents and promote data sharing. Duplicate data entry and management across multiple disconnected systems are eliminated. With ECM, AP Staff, managers, vendors and even third parties can have secure, self service access to AP documents at any time and from anywhere.

  • Process Invoices Faster

ecm-SolutionsAn ECM solution will support the full life-cycle of Accounts Payable from Invoice Receipt through Payment.

ECM solutions for AP leverage intelligent software and existing vendor information to automate document indexing and trigger electronic workflow. This allows users to skip manual processes and allows them to find documents quickly and easily.

Interested in finding out our an ECM solution can streamline your AP department? Contact us!

 

Tags: Document Management, BPM, ECM, Workflow, accounts payable

Can I Use My ERP for Invoice Approvals With OnBase?

Posted by Cindy Bialy on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 04:34 PM

When developing an Invoice Management Solution, are there options for when and where a customer invoice approvals happens?  

Is OnBase able to work with an ERP such as SAP or PeopleSoft's approval workflow?

ap-close-up-picture-of-an-invoice-with-red-paid-stamp

A customer definitely has options when it comes to streamlining and automating their invoice process. OnBase has a very dynamic workflow that allows for approvals via email, mobile devices, or directly from an OnBase client.  It allows multiple approvals, load balancing, and rule-based routing that are all point and click configurable.  It also allows access to supporting content such as Purchase Orders or Vendor Contracts to help in decision making.  After all approvals are gathered in OnBase, the invoice can automatically be posted into the ERP system.  When coupled with OnBase's Capture Solution, utilizing OnBase for approvals makes a very seamless and powerful story.

If you want all the power and capabilities of invoice automation but you already have an approval process set up in your ERP system that you want to continue using, the OnBase integrations can certainly work with those current approval process.  OnBase has the capabilities of sending verified Header and Line Item data captured in OnBase to an ERP's invoice approval system (such as SAP, Lawson, and PeopleSoft) for approval.  The approver will access the data in their familiar ERP to approve, while also having access to the originating invoice image and supporting content to make their business decisions from the same ERP screen.

If you are looking for more details around your specific invoice process and our integrations, then contact me now at cbialy@kmbs.konicaminolta.us to see how OnBase Integration Solutions can help streamline your AP Processes.  Or join us for our next Accounts Payable Automation webinar.

Tags: OnBase, OnBase workflow, accounts payable

Check Out What A Paperless AP Process Looks Like

Posted by Cindy Bialy on Wed, Feb 04, 2015 @ 09:48 AM

Paperless-APSort invoices, enter data, match to PO, and route for approval - repeat as needed.  Accounts Payable (AP) Professionals know this process in their sleep, but when invoices stack up, it can seem never ending.  The fact that the majority of invoices are received in paper format and require manual data entry is the number one challenge in the invoice management process.  Manually processing invoices drains you of your most valuable resources: time and labor.

AP faces inefficiencies in three major areas:

  • Slow approval and payment cycles resulting in missed documents and late payment penalties.
  • Difficulty in accessing information with data in many systems, and documents stored separately.
  • Fixed costs -- paper costs, duplicate data entry, storage costs, and shipping costs.

It doesn't have to be that way.  Invoice processes can actually be stress free.  Paperless AP processes are starting important trends, including:

  • APindexReducing manual data entry to increase time spent on value-added tasks.
  • Speeding approvals with automated notifications and reminders.
  • Increasing productivity by integrating your ERP and working in the same system.
  • Increase visibility.
  • Improving process controls and tracking.

Check out what an paperless AP process looks like.

One thing is clear: Technology holds the key towards transitioning accounts payable from a cost center into a profit center and making the AP professional's job strategic and even more relevant. Clearly the benefits of invoice automation are tangible and achievable.  Despite its potential value, many organizations have yet to fully embrace invoice automation. A significant challenge for many organizations with respect to invoice automation is determining how to move forward within the current process and technology environment. Many times AP managers know they need to automate, but have no idea where to begin, how much to automate or what technology to use.  

sidelinesHere is your chance to move your organization beyond paper pushing to delivering strategic value.  Let us help you. Your organization has been on the sidelines of AP Automation, but the time has finally arrived to join the game. Take the first step and contact us now for a complimentary evaluation of your current system and the solution options available to you.

Tags: ECM, accounts payable, go paperless, enterprise content management,