Tackle content services – starting with accounts payable

I don’t know about you, but when someone promises, “The sky’s the limit!” in technology, I immediately think, “Lots of work for Carolyn. … And there might be scripting.”

As you hear the philosophy behind the content services movement, you might be inclined to think the same thing. It sounds great, but will it be more work for you?

First, the good news: Hyland is approaching content services with the same philosophy that has made OnBase such a popular enterprise content management system – you shouldn’t have to be a database administrator or a developer to manage your solution. By adding the flexibility and support for a modern IT architecture with the same point-and-click configurability and maintainability that OnBase has always offered, you can add content services to the top of your priority list without worrying about the time it will take to implement.

Now, the work begins: I’d be lying if I said there wouldn’t be any work ahead. That said, there are some great, low-risk (but high-value) ways you can start using content services in your accounts payable (AP) department to make a difference in your processes and payment cycles.

Why start with AP?

With any big project, the best advice is always to “start small.” But in this case, I would say start with a small project that’s a big win. And the great thing about AP is that most organizations aren’t starting from scratch when it comes to automation.

What I commonly see is that organizations often put a lot of work into optimizing processes in an ERP or financial application. But the records within your ERP are just one component of the procure-to-pay cycle. There’s also a never-ending stream of unstructured AP content that lives outside the ERP that AP teams have to deal with – everything from invoices and packing slips to purchase orders and receipts, along with all the notes, revisions, and exceptions tied to each.

Small changes = measurable improvements 

Making small changes to your AP process can improve the day-to-day efficiency of your Accounting department. Unless your AP department is still completely paper-based, you probably have some scanning solution to digitize your paper invoices, and a strategy for handling electronic documents.

But ask yourself: how much time does your AP staff spend manually keying information from these documents into your ERP? Do they have to validate the information themselves, like matching an invoice to an existing PO?

If the answer is yes, then you can make immediate improvements to your AP workload by automating the capture of data from those documents!

Improvement #1: There are many solutions for capturing data using OCR and validating it against information in your back-end databases. Look for a solution that can also read metadata from electronic documents to automatically index files to the right location in your document repository – completely eliminating the need for staff to manually file, sort, and store paper documents.

Medium changes = major improvements

How easy is it to find your AP content like invoices, receipts, or copies of checks? Is your team always searching through file folders (real or electronic) for the information they need?

Let’s face it, if you are saving files into network file folders, it’s time for an upgrade! This is a really just a lateral move from physical file cabinets. Yes, you don’t have to deal with space-hogging furniture to store the documents, but it’s just as difficult to find the documents when you need them.

Improvement #2: Ideally, these files should be accessible from your ERP/Financial Management application screens. That way, workers don’t have to navigate beyond the invoice record to see the content they need. If you’d like a cloud-ready solution for securely providing access to AP documents, you can use web-based viewers to access documents by clicking a link on the ERP screen.

AP Automation, achieved and supported

If you’re ready to fully optimize your AP solution, you definitely want to consider a full integration with your accounting system. In addition to providing access to documents, a “fully integrated” solution will communicate with the ERP to share or update data in both systems. For example, we’ve developed AP automation solutions for Infor Lawson, SAP, and Workday to provide a secure integration built for modern IT environments.

If you have a different ERP or accounting system, don’t worry! We integrate with JD Edwards, Dynamics, and more. What’s more, our AP experts have created automated solutions for thousands of customers and can help you streamline your processes for more efficient pay cycles and less manual work for your employees.

Content services – the future is now!

When we talk about content services, it sounds like a formidable undertaking, but like all projects, tackling one area at a time can make it manageable. Accounts payable is the perfect place to start, because most organizations have digitized some part of the AP process already, and small changes can lead to immediate gains for your organization.

Carolyn Kane

Carolyn Kane

Carolyn Kane has been an OnBase product evangelist since 2009. With a background in digital communication and design, she specializes in integrations, electronic forms, signatures, and correspondence management. She shares her enthusiasm about OnBase with people all over the world during training events, conferences, and on the OnBase Community.

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