Accountants: take the first step towards a digitised invoicing process

Benjamin Franklin already knew this in the eighteenth century: “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes”. Invoicing administration gives SMEs yet another certainty. All SMEs have to deal with it and consider it a necessary evil in which they prefer to invest as little time and budget as possible. Unjustly, you may think: and you’re quite right. But the days when billing administration was no more than a cost centre are behind us. With the right platform, you also put your customers on the road to a digitised invoicing process, so that your work as an accountant will run even more smoothly.

That’s how it is today

We don’t need to tell you that manual, paper-based business processes are inefficient. A study conducted by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) shows that processing an incoming invoice takes almost nine days and costs more than eight euros on average. Often, the processes and the various tools used are simply not aligned to one other. Many accountants add e-mails, Excel files, updated Excel files and even final Excel files to these paper files. Not only that: these manual processes are error-prone. One out of every 20 documents is wrongly classified.

Of course, there are accounting firms that use accounting packages (some of which are quite old) in combination with online tools like Dropbox. Does that sound familiar to you, too? It’s true that this is already a bit more efficient, but there is room for improvement. After all, how often doesn’t it occur that invoices and receipts are stored digitally, but are not – or at least not automatically – linked to the right file in the bookkeeping program? With 40 per cent of companies receiving more digital than paper invoices, one would think that there has been an improvement, but unfortunately this is not the case. About 35 per cent of the invoices we receive electronically are still printed and subsequently stored in a paper archive. Add that to an error margin of 1 in 20, and you realise that this is an inefficient process.

Bookkeeping tomorrow

As an accountant, wanting to take the step towards a digitised invoicing process is a good beginning. Not only will you work faster and more efficiently, you will also create a win/win situation for both you and your customer. But what is important to keep in mind?

First and foremost, it is necessary to examine the flow of your current processes. You’ll undoubtedly already have a good idea of this, but it wouldn’t hurt to find out how your colleagues are tackling the same issue. They are also familiar with such processes and can give you a wealth of information that you can use to optimise the flows for a digitised invoicing process. We do not recommend transferring the current processes to a digital equivalent on a one-on-one basis. Try to see the full picture and find out what goes wrong sometimes.

Once the optimal flows have been determined, you can see which digital solutions you want to integrate into your digital invoicing process, ranging from image capture to various dashboards. A new way of working like this is different from what you and your colleagues are used to, but after a while you will notice that the new processes are a lot more efficient. And of course, the experts in the field of digital invoicing will assist you with advice, tutorials and training.

The future is digital, and a digitised invoicing process is the first step. After all, in addition to invoice administration, change is also a constant in the business world. The advantages of a digitised invoicing process are numerous: fast (or faster) processing, fewer errors and the ability to give your customers real-time insight into their cash flow. Speaking of a win/win situation! What are you waiting for?

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