Nobody enjoys dealing with bills. However, regardless of whether you work in the manufacturing or service industries, it is critical to manage invoices. If it is not done correctly, you may face severe consequences such as not being paid or being paid late, which can impact your cash flow. For instance, you can’t pay your employees or cover your overhead if you don’t get paid. If you’re in the manufacturing industry, this becomes crucial as you have to manage thousands of payments daily along with manufacturing orders and production requests.
Manual invoice processing can stir up errors such as wrong entries, missing invoices, data duplication, etc. Moreover, it is time-consuming and can raise customer suspicion about your business practices.
However, you can fix all these challenges by bringing in an invoice management system. In this article, we will show you how. We will also explain the must-have features of the invoice management portal.
Invoice Management Challenges and Solutions
How do you send invoices to your customers? Generally, a paper invoice or a separate email, SMS, or Whatsapp. The invoice will be sent instantly, but there are some cons in these ways.
Say you send the paper invoices to your hundreds of suppliers. After a month or more, you realize that a few vendors haven’t paid because they didn’t receive the invoice. This can then impact cash flow or even force you to start the invoice process again.
While handling paper invoices, it’s common to miss out on a few. Besides, it keeps piling up, and you can’t precisely track whether you have sent the invoice or the payment is done.
To avoid this problem, you need to bring in an invoice management portal that will automatically send invoices to the right customers based on their orders and purchases. You can get notified when the invoice is received, opened, or viewed. It will ensure that there is no miscommunication between your suppliers and you. With a portal, your vendors can even manage their invoices themselves. They can keep track of their invoices, and even you can check whether all the invoices are viewed on time, right from the portal. If you want to notify your vendors about the invoices or send via email, SMS, or Whatsapp, you can do so directly from your invoice management system.
While sending an email or message, make sure the details of the vendors are accurate. For this, add verification features to ensure that you associate correct details with the customers’ details. Make sure that portal provides auto-alerts when invoices are unviewed for a specific time.
Manual invoice processing is time-consuming as your account payable team has to check and verify invoices by checking purchase orders and contracts. If some information is missing, they may have to send it to a higher authority for cross-verification. If you have to handle thousands of invoices per day, this can be tiresome, time-consuming, and resource-heavy.
Circumvent this problem by automating your billing process with an invoice management system. Instead of making your team check every invoice manually, you can create a comprehensive checklist of information for every invoice in your invoice portal. This will prompt you to add all the invoice details so that nothing is left behind.
Next, you can give every customer a secure log-in for the portal. Enter the details such as customer, invoice number, payment terms, due date, sales representative, and discounts and offers, if any. They can automatically generate and download the invoice and upload the payment proof in the portal. This way, you won’t have to send them invoices.
Data Entry Errors
Mistakes are common. You might forget to itemize the product or service or perhaps charge twice for the same product or service. Maybe you put the decimal points wrong, shifting from $1000.00 to $10,000.0 obligation.
An invoice management portal will do the math for you. Instead of having to calculate the numbers manually, the system will calculate them automatically. You can set the parameters, add mandatory field marks to fill the form, and ensure that you fill all the fields like PO numbers before sending. With features like Final Preview, you can avoid errors in the invoices.
As customers can manage their invoices themselves, they can track and report errors. Besides, features like digitalization of invoice slips, e-invoices, productive workflows, character recognition speed up the invoice processing and decrease the error rates.
The invoice management system streamlines the relationship with your vendors and clients.
Duplicate invoices can be a major challenge if you’re dealing with paper invoices. Duplication due to a mistake on your or your supplier’s side can make the invoice tracking complex. Say you have already sent the bill to the customers about the payment but forgot and re-sent it. Or, in another scenario, you’ve already charged the customer for a specific product but mistakenly charged them again. These errors are common in paper invoices and can lead to high costs and waste of resources.
Dig down and prevent the causes. When you have an automated system to track all the invoices, you don’t have to go through each invoice manually. For example, you can filter all the invoices for a specific client and go through them to check if there were any duplication of products/services/payments.
Storing and Managing Invoices
Unless you store the paper invoices systematically, they can be easily misplaced. Monitoring each and every invoice can be complex. You may need to view previous records in case of disputes or renewals. You may need to check payment history, delay in invoice payments, etc. Digging into spreadsheets or files can be time-consuming. Your account payable team may also spend time answering queries from suppliers.
With an invoice management portal, you can easily segregate the records of the suppliers through a secure log-in. You can easily view the records of the suppliers and their invoices. You don’t need to go through the big files or spreadsheets and turn the pages and apply filters to view the records.
Delay in Invoice Approvals
One of the major challenges of manual invoice management is getting approvals on time. If you’re not available at the moment, it may delay the process and the payment. And if there are some issues in calculation or details, your suppliers may have to call or email you.
Use an invoice management system and give secure access to each and every supplier. This way, if they find any changes or feel there’s a miscalculation, they can leave comments there. The system will notify you about the same and allow you to make the changes or upload the updated documents. You can add the remarks for your suppliers. By doing so, you both can be on the same page, and payment processing can be quick. Besides, you can easily track every activity.
Sending Invoices in Different Channels
Invoices are generally received through different channels like courier, fax, mail, SMS, WhatsApp, etc. Having multiple channels for sending invoices can be difficult, especially sorting out the group of vendors to whom you send invoices via courier or fax. It can cause confusion and errors if you’re doing it manually–some of which include paying an invoice twice, invoice duplication, paying the incorrect amount, etc.
Besides, it can be challenging to trace past details, considering the nature of different platforms.
With a custom portal, you can view, manage, and trace all the data from one place. You can trace any information that you require or the errors and avoid future issues. You can even allow sending out invoices through different digital channels directly from your portal so that all the data is safely stored and managed in one place. An invoice management system will ensure that your suppliers can view data on their preferred channels while ensuring that a copy is always safely stored in the portal.
Benefits of Automated Invoice Management System
Automation can pretty much simplify all the invoice processing. It can be a lifesaver. Here are the reasons to opt for automated invoice management.
Do you know processing a paper can cost you between $8 and $60? Further, you may need ink, paper, printing machines to generate invoices, leading to extra expenses. Apart from this, labor and storage costs would add up too. Manual routing, misfiling, multiple handling can cost you money. And automating all these tedious processes will help you save money and reduce errors.
The classic way of invoice processing means manual data entry, which can cause errors. Moving to automation means fewer human errors, no duplications, auto-reminders, efficient reporting and budgeting, and 360-degree insights.
The biggest benefit of the invoice management portal is time-saving. As your team doesn’t have to do everything manually, they can focus on valuable tasks. Besides, self-service can further lessen their burden by allowing suppliers to manage invoices themselves. Unnecessary follow-ups will be gone.
Archiving paper records is a nightmare. If you need anything, you have to go through a room of folders and records to find one piece of paper. With invoice management systems, the story is different. Here, everything is available at your fingertips. You can easily access information related to invoices, payments, suppliers, or more. Also, storing the data in digital forms will save physical space and time.
So, now that you know about the solutions and advantages of an invoice management portal. Where should you start?
CRMJetty: Your Best Portal Development Partner
In a manufacturing industry, it’s difficult to generate, manage, and dispatch invoices manually, considering the other internal challenges such as demand forecasting, inventory management, cost, operations, labor shortage, and sales leads that you need to overcome.
If you’re looking for an invoice management system for automatic handling of invoices and processing, our customer portal can be of great help.
Here are the features of the Invoice Management Portal:
- Centralized Approach: An invoice management system takes away the hassle of maintaining physical records. With a secure log-in, you and your customers can view and retrieve all the invoice-related details in one place.
- Role-Based Access: With a manufacturing portal, you can give your users limited access to the documents, invoices, and other relevant information based on their roles.
- Paperless Storage: You don’t have to manage everything offline. You can generate and manage invoices directly from the online portal.
- Real-time Insights: You can see analytical reports of invoice volume, status, payment analysis, overdue reports, process bottlenecks, and more for better clarity.
We offer a ready-to-launch customer portal with all the features that you require to manage your invoices. It provides dedicated space to manage proposals and compares vendors and suppliers, CRM access, invoices, payments, etc.
If you need any kind of customization, we can help you with it too. If you need, we can even build a custom portal from scratch exclusively for your business.
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