From manual processing to as-a-Service in Accounts Payable.
as-a-service in Accounts Payable is the latest in technology designed to make lives simpler and easier.
Most of us still underestimate the power of devices that can fit in our hands.
An everyday example is a calculator.
We all have a calculator on our smartphone.
Before reaching such heights what were we using?
The history of the calculator began with the hand operated Abacus in Egypt in 2000 BC.
An Abacus is a rectangular frame with horizontal rods.
On each rod, there are a certain number of beads that can be moved to help counting.
These beads represent tens, hundreds and thousands.
Easy maths in a visual way.
Introducing the slide-rule!
By the 17th Century the slide rule had overtaken the Abacus in many industries.
It consisted of a sliding stick that could visually answer multiplications.
The slide rule was still used in the eighties as a pocket calculator because it was so successful.
Mechanical devices continued to be used until digital tools became the standard.
Each time increasing their capability to perform tasks.
To the point where we are today.
Whatever the reasons for technology advancing the results remain constant.
This is no different in the world of Accounts Payable.
The calculator was a key step in the developing world of Accounts Payable solutions.
It has resulted in the systems and technology that are available to us today.
With increased trade the development of systems to track and verify transactions had to keep pace.
A pace that seems to constantly increase as more demands are made of technology to support growth.
Invoicing in the early days.
Invoices have been around in various forms since about 3000 BC.
The earliest known writings come from, what was, Mesopotamia.
A receipt for clothing that had been shipped……
OK, so maybe more of a goods receipt note.
As with the calculator, invoicing techniques have also evolved.
The ability of the human brain to process, verify and approve these invoices as they are received is still a limiting factor.
And this impacts many, whether a small business or a large one.
It wasn’t until the middle of the last century that advances in technology became available.
Opening the doors to where we are today.
From manual processing to…
The manual process that started more than 5000 years ago still remains manual for many companies;
- Receiving the invoice by hand.
- Cross checked.
- Coded by hand.
- Written (now typed) into ledgers by hand.
- Approved by hand.
- Payment made by hand with cash or the signing of a cheque.
This continues today, with direct impacts on quality, volume that can be handled and cost.
Large corporate’s side stepped this hurdle with the outsourcing of these very manual task.
Only for them to be carried out manually by a 3rd party.
Whilst this could reduce the cost it rarely improved the quality.
The Accounts Payable industry has more recently been embracing technologies to benefit business.
This has resulted in awareness of the value an efficient, forward-looking, AP department can bring.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
The introduction of OCR technology provided a powerful gateway to transform AP departments.
Remember, even this technology didn’t stand still.
Once we had developed tools that would offer some benefit to us, we continued to expand on this.
Now we are talking about ICR (Intelligent Capture Recognition)
ICR takes capture to the next level by making use of the latest technology to further boost the systems performance.
The advent of the cloud
The early stages of the ‘The Cloud’ , started in the late sixties in a vision called the “Intergalactic Computer Network”.
This plan was for everyone on the planet to be connected by computers.
And able to access information from anywhere.
The Intergalactic Computer Network evolved into the Internet.
Of course, the history of the internet is far more detailed than we will go into here!
If you haven’t, give it a Google.
When you have an hour or two spare…
But with more people accessing this information security started to become vital.
In fact, by 2014, security had become the primary focus for most businesses and users.
Cloud security has become a fast-growing service, because of its importance to customers.
Cloud security has advanced significantly in the last two years.
It now provides protection that includes protection from accidental deletion, theft, and data leakage.
Comparable to traditional IT security systems.
The services offered by the Cloud are quite different, and fall into three basic categories of service:
- IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) deals with raw computing capacity.
- PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) supports writing software for computer systems that need it.
- SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) provides software. This is the most often used part.
The development of the cloud created the opportunity for instant scalable solutions.
as-a-Service for Accounts Payable is one of these.
Allowing and enabling businesses of any size from virtually any sector to make use of the technology.
Of course, in Accounts Payable this means more companies can remove manual processes.
This did come at a cost. Primarily the flexibility of the solutions.
However to offer these benefits the solutions were often based on 1 size fits all.
Many companies are still completely manual when it comes to processing their invoices.
For those that have stepped up and are using automation too many still use paper capture solutions.
A world away from Capture-as-a-Service for Accounts Payable.
With improved technology companies should rethink their approach for collecting and digitising information.
This information is available through many sources and in many formats;
- Web forms.
Cloud Services have emerged over recent years as people look to embrace applications like Capture-as-a-Service for Accounts Payable.
The huge diversity of channels and formats more than justify the use of services that are easy to use.
Creating more productive environments and in the elimination of manual data entry.
Accounts Payable can rapidly optimise these applications because of the intelligent learning.
Resulting in measurable benefits in the AP process that also impact positively on the environment.
ITESOFT, offers such a solution.
Streamline for Invoices includes AI, RPA and machine learning for future proof technology.
Combining the best of the cloud and on-premise technology to offer scalable, flexible solutions
Delivering high quality capture and processing rates, at a price that opens this up to virtually everyone.