Do you ever have a day when you check your home mailbox and it’s nothing but bills, bills, bills? No one loves getting bills, but receiving them is just the tip of the iceberg. The real invoice processing fun begins when you have to make time to review them for accuracy, budget for them, pay them, file them and so on.
And that’s just you — one person or household. For an enterprise, the number of invoices coming in each day, week or month is even more overwhelming.
But sheer volume is just one challenge enterprises face when processing invoices.
Challenge: Receiving Bills Consistently
Vendor cash flow is directly tied to customers receiving bills and paying for service. Yet often customers don’t receive those bills in time, for a variety of reasons.
Paper bills, especially, experience significant delays in getting to the finance department. That’s because a paper bill has to go through multiple links in the chain. This includes things like generating billing data, sending billing data to a printing organization, physically printing the bill, and so on.
Then it’s in the hands of the postal service, removing any element of control for both vendor and enterprise. Despite this long and painful method of doing things, Billentis Market Report for eInvoicing states that 70% of all invoice processing globally is still paper-based.
But even electronic bills can come late. Either way, delayed bills can result in cash management issues, service disconnections, late fees and more for an enterprise.
Challenge: Billing Inconsistencies
Whether paper or electronic, many bills that enterprises receive are not accurate. Month over month, enterprises see charges suddenly show up that are at odds with a contracted rate. Or they see charges that simply shouldn’t be there, or credits that were never applied. Getting to an accurate billing amount can be a constant battle, and sucks up a lot of staff time. Even worse, if the errors aren’t caught, the enterprise ends up overpaying.
Challenge: Dealing with International Vendors
Every enterprise knows that dealing with international vendors is a tricky area. While some complain about challenges with domestic carriers, these companies are lightyears ahead of some international players.
For example, Domestic Carrier A hosts very detailed billing and usage reports on its portal. It also offers online ordering directly from its website, as well as detailed inventory reporting that can be pulled whenever a customer needs it.
Compare this with, for example, International Carrier A. Although it is a major company providing telecom services in the world’s second-largest economy, it provides none of that. No portal, no online ordering, no user-downloadable reporting.
Good news! These challenges are solvable with the right approach and technology expense management provider.
Invoice Processing Solution: Technology Expense Management
In truth, the best way to solve invoice challenges is by using a technology expense management (TEM) platform. TEM platforms are well versed in these challenges and have figured out how to solve them through a combination of deep experience and automation.
For example, Tangoe’s TEM solution processes more than 7 million technology bills per year, from more than 3,100 sources around the world. The invoice management system in the Tangoe Platform automates and simplifies processes. It eliminates human error, catching more issues (like billing inconsistencies) than employees often can. Plus, it saves finance staff the time spent reviewing invoices, allowing them to focus on higher-level work.
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How Invoice Processing Works
Tangoe receives invoices from enterprises and vendors in any form. We then review them for accuracy, and present them for approval in the Tangoe Platform. To make things even simpler, we can pay the bills and allocate transactions, streamlining your back office.
We’ve also continued to invest in automation. Our Platform-integrated enterprise invoice automation ensures all financial information aligns with general ledger codes, cost center account codes, and HR information systems. Our automated electronic PDF invoice downloading technology supports 200-plus domestic and international vendor portals. And our patented optical invoice recognition (OIR) technology supports more than 5,000 unique PDF-based invoice formats.
What’s more, Tangoe has international reach and expertise. We have local knowledge, language expertise and relationships cultivated over years with many international vendors. This allows us to provide a set of best practices that companies can use to get the billing or inventory details they need to process their invoices month over month.
Invoice management is just one component of a TEM. But with so many bills related to hardware and software within an enterprise, finding a way to solve invoice processing an important piece of the puzzle.