Put Your Invoice Management System in the Cloud to Keep AP Running in 2020
Remote work shouldn’t slow your accounts payable (AP) team down. You’re about to discover how a cloud-based invoice management system can help improve your AP process quickly and securely – quarantine or no quarantine.
Healthy AP Means Healthy Business
COVID-19 sounds evil and futuristic, like a murderous droid. Novel coronavirus sounds sinister and literary, like a malignant curse. Whatever you call it, this ruthless bug could be forcing you to rethink key business processes that will enable you to run a virtual office successfully.
One of the more important processes you’ll want to stay on top of is your accounts payable (AP) flow, your invoice management system in particular. The last thing your suppliers want to hear is that you’ll be late paying them because you’ve stopped or limited your AP operations, especially if COVID-19 is impacting their output and bottom line.
Automation and the Cloud Reduce AP Costs
Reducing or eliminating manual labor in your AP processes makes economic sense no matter what state the business world is in. A 2015 Ardent Partners study states that when you automate invoice process flows you can reduce costs by up to 80%. According to our own calculations, this figure hasn’t changed; switching from manual to intelligent cloud-based invoice data capture can save your company up to 78% in yearly invoice processing costs.
What Are Cloud Services?
Cloud technology enables you to use services on virtual servers rather than your organization’s own physical on-premises servers. In the context of service provision, using cloud computing is kind of like ordering take-out food while using on-premises servers is like cooking your own meal at home from scratch.
There are three types of cloud services:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The cloud invoicing management software solution we’re covering in this post falls into the SaaS category. You get on-demand access to a platform that imports invoices and other documents, extracts data from them, then exports that data according to your business needs.
You’re already in the cloud
Every time you use social media, shop online, or stream music, movies, and other content, you’re using cloud-based services. Whenever you and your colleagues chat on Slack, have calls on Zoom, or collaborate in Google Docs, you’re working in the cloud. So as innovative as cloud-based invoice management systems may be, they’re as easy to implement into your AP workflow as any of the other cloud applications you and your team are using.
Cloud computing solutions offer your company several benefits that help ensure continuous business growth. Depending on the service and the business process you want to move to the cloud, some of these advantages may be immediately apparent while the effects of others could take some time.
Short implementation times, hassle-free integration and onboarding, and regular updates make many cloud-based services easy for you, your team, and your colleagues in IT to work with. As part of your business systems, a cloud invoice management software solution enables anyone in your company to quickly access captured data and use it to carry out their tasks. For example:
- customer service representatives can resolve more claims per day
- financial experts can access data for reporting and auditing quickly
- teams and employees that work directly with suppliers can manage their budgets more easily
“With [Amazon Web Services (AWS)] a new server can be up and running in three minutes (it used to take [our company] seven and a half weeks to deploy a server internally) and a 64-node Linux cluster can be online in five minutes (compared with three months internally)… The deployment time is really what impressed us.”Dave Powers, Associate Information Consultant at Eli Lilly and Company*
Your team can use cloud-based software anywhere they can connect to the Internet. This overlaps with the benefit of convenience, as you get anytime, anywhere service on any device. The reliability of cloud services is vital for members of your workforce whose bandwidth at home is significantly lower than it is at your offices. This is especially true for staff working in rural areas.
Not only is the initial cost of a cloud solution typically lower than that of on-premises solution, the recurring costs could cut direct and indirect expenses as well. Even a monthly fee that increases as you grow can be more cost-effective, as cloud-based services cost less to monitor and maintain.
“Line-of-business leaders everywhere are bypassing IT departments to get applications from the cloud… and paying for them like they would a magazine subscription. And when the service is no longer required, they can cancel that subscription with no equipment left unused in the corner.”Daryl Plummer, Managing Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner*
Better scalability and resiliency
The big three cloud service providers – Amazon, Google, and Microsoft – are continuing to prove themselves capable of handling massive spikes in demand. Cloud solutions running on any of these services enable you to scale up processes like invoice processing when you need to, all while ensuring consistent performance.
Augment AP’s role in your organization
Relieving AP specialists of manual invoice processing gives you much-needed resources for
- financial forecasting and planning
- stress testing
- procurement and logistics support
- supplier relationship management
- supplier contract negotiations
The Cloud Keeps Your Invoice Data Secure
Security is a priority when it comes to your business data. This is, in fact, a major benefit of cloud-based invoice management. Major cloud infrastructures and services like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform all feature best-in-class security. This helps keep data transmission and storage safe when you’re using platforms and applications built on these services.
“Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies.”Vivek Kundra, Executive Vice President at Salesforce.com*
The experts that big cloud providers attract are continuously improving service capabilities to protect your data while ensuring you’re compliant with privacy and security regulations. So when cloud servers get a security update, the services that run on them get a security update. Additionally, you can rest assured that the cloud-based service providers have their own security measures in place to keep your data safe both at rest and during transmission.
Now Is the Time to Transition to Cloud-Based Invoice Management
The COVID-19 crisis and remote working doesn’t have to slow your company down. An intelligent invoice processing system will keep your AP workflow running smoothly while your workforce is working at home. When it’s time to get back to the office, the software will free up time and resources that you’ll need to maintain operational efficiency in a new business landscape.
Businesses are already seeing the advantages of using a cloud-based invoice processing platform. One of the key benefits they’re gaining right now is uninterrupted AP operations. As Chris Wilkinson, Solutions Designer at Land Securities Group, the UK’s largest commercial property development and investment company, says:
“We managed to get @RossumAi running just in time to keep business continuity, as we now don’t have to have anyone in the physical office dealing with incoming paper-form invoices.”(via Twitter)
All process transformations have their challenges, but switching to cloud-based invoice management can be a relatively quick win for your AP function. You can have the entire solution up and running in days – from trial and consultation with automation experts through integration to onboarding employees and training the platform’s AI.
By the time you’re ready to resume operations, you could very well have gained significant ROI, depending on how long your organization needs to run remotely. Even under normal circumstances, cloud-based invoice management consistently ensures fast ROI.
How to Migrate Your Invoice Data Processing and Storage to the Cloud
It’s important to understand that switching to a cloud-based infrastructure can be a time-consuming process, regardless of the circumstances. However, if you look at making the transition on an operational basis, you may discover some quick wins, like automating your invoice process flows.
You may need to prompt vendors who still use paper invoices to finally start billing you digitally. This change creates a long-term win-win situation for you and your suppliers. When things go back to normal, your more efficient AP process ensures timely approval and payment and you could gain opportunities for early payment discounts.
Beyond Invoices: Rossum’s Intelligent Document Processing System
Running on AWS out of Ireland, Rossum can process any type of semi-structured document, such as insurance claim forms, property documents, and purchase orders. To achieve this, we’ll work with you to train a dedicated AI engine that captures data according to your specific needs.
“We have been forced to stop paper transactions; we even had to skip the testing phase for some of our new accounting databases and went straight to production. Without Rossum none of this would have worked. All our invoices are already going through Rossum; I can’t imagine our AP process functioning without it.”Michal Cipa, IT Manager at Cosco Shipping Lines (Rossum client)
Rossum is a Purely Cloud-Based Solution
With Rossum, you get regular updates, enterprise-grade security, consistent maintenance, and simple scalability that only cloud technology can offer. This enables us to ensure safe, swift, and reliable document data capture whenever you need it.
The Cloud Can Help Your Business Thrive During and After Crises
To survive the coming months, or possibly years, your business will need to be quick to innovate and adapt. Cloud services are much more than a survival tool – they can help drive your company’s growth and profitability.
In the context of your AP team, cloud-based invoice management solutions can have a profound impact on their role in your organization. During and after this troubling time, they’ll appreciate software that relieves them of manual work while giving them the opportunity to do more stimulating, value-generating tasks.
Join Our Next Webinar: Remote Work in Accounts Payable
To gain more insights into remote work and how you can manage it successfully, join our webinar Remote Work in Accounts Payable. Hosted by Rossum Co-Founders Tomas Gogar and Petr Baudis, this webinar will take place on 31st March at 6pm CET. You will learn:
- What obstacles remote work creates
- How remote work can make your processes more efficient
- How to process documents from home
Please note: this webinar has passed.
*Quotes from 20 Cloud Computing Quotes That You Must Read