How to transform your accounting department: The connected credit union, part 2

the-connected-credit-union

Accounting. Just saying the word used to give me the chills.

Thinking about it takes me back to my college days, when early morning accounting classes were not my strength. Oddly enough, after graduating, I went on to work for a large financial institution.

But today, when I talk with credit unions about their account departments, I smile. I have a secret weapon that I can share to help relieve their accounting woes – enterprise content management (ECM).

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the impact ECM, or document management, can have on a human resources department. Now let’s see how this technology transforms the accounting department and takes credit unions one step closer to becoming entirely connected – and more efficient.

Here are three specific examples of how ECM transforms accounting departments from paper parades to digital paradises.

1. Accounts receivable
As order forms and purchase orders arrive at your credit union – whether by mail, fax or email – ECM ingests the documents, automatically capturing and validating critical information before pushing it into your back-end systems. No more tedious and error-prone manual data entry needed.

But that’s not all. Later, as payments come in, ECM automatically captures, identifies and extracts critical data from remittances, checks and related documents. The solution then validates the information, balancing remittance totals against check amounts, reconciling payments with open invoices and automatically updating accounting systems.

The increased speed and accuracy miraculously transforms accounts receivable from an area overflowing with paper to a dazzling digital department.

2. Accounts payable
In every credit union, invoices roll in from different locations and people and come in all sorts of different formats, making the AP process a real challenge. Optimizing the process, ECM captures, organizes and delivers those accounting documents, along with supporting content, to the appropriate individuals for review, coding and approval.

By leveraging the same ECM solution that improved new employee onboarding, your credit union also benefits from fast and accurate invoice processing. And, with ECM tying your systems together so they can communicate, you create a “spillover” effect of optimization across departmental lines.

3. Vendor management
ECM also improves vendor management by centralizing and streamlining vendor-specific compliance documents, contract details and critical issues. You store all vendor-related content within the ECM system, making it instantly available to all who need access to it.

However, you need to choose your ECM system wisely. The right system will provide flexibility, like allowing your staff to access existing information or capture new information directly from Microsoft Outlook – allowing them to conduct business from an application they already know and use every day. Your ECM system should also include notifications that automatically alert employees about deadlines and upcoming expiration dates, so your staff stays focused on important tasks instead of tracking documentation.

But that’s not all. Leveraging ECM across your enterprise, you automate business processes from invoice approvals to payment processing. By electronically managing the documents and information that drive accounting processes, your credit union maximizes the benefits of fast and accurate invoice processing. Like an increased ability to capture early payment discounts.

Where was all this stuff when I was studying accounting in college?

In the third and final part of this series, we’ll take a look at how your connected credit union can leverage an ECM solution to always be ready for audits and proactively remain in compliance with evolving regulations.

Michelle Harbinak Shapiro

Michelle Harbinak Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro brings more than 15 years of experience in the banking industry to her role as Financial Services marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of ECM as a tool for banks, credit unions and lenders to help automate paper-based processes and proactively manage regulations.

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