You know most businesses are slow to carry out major changes, right?
To most finance professionals, change is scary.
It means looking at processes differently. It means considering how much time is devoted to projects. It means examining how the budget is divided.
But it doesn’t have to be scary. It can excite, it can make everyday tasks more efficient, and it can revolutionize the world of B2B payments as we experience it.
Try telling your fellow business professionals that they should automate their invoices. They’ll smile politely and ask, “Why would we risk changing how we handle invoices and payments?”
Or at least, that’s how they would have responded a few months ago. Try today and you’re likely to hear a dissimilar answer. The Black Swan event, COVID-19, has forced businesses to take a second glance at how they handle their invoices as most of the workforce shifts to working from home.
People aren’t in the office to receive paper invoices and manually enter the information and authorize payment.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever to have a business continuity plan in place for handling invoices. Our invoice automation solution makes remote approval easy.
Here we’ll go over: the historical issues with paper invoices, the current impact of remote working, and the future of invoice automation.
Retrospective: The Issue with Paper Invoices
With the advent of technology, time-tracking has become a popular hobby for professionals. We look at how much time we spend on a variety of tasks including: social media, chores, and work.
We do this because life is short. Time is precious.
Despite this, too many companies still rely on paper checks and manual processing of invoices. These processes are inherently time consuming and often require multiple people to enter information and approve payments manually. Besides being time consuming, there’s no way to track paper invoices and little to no security.
This is where invoice automation comes in. We believe that processing invoices should be efficient, secure, and easy to track. Here at Medius, our invoice automation solution uses a four-way matching process with two separate OCR engines.
You’ll never lose an invoice or miss a payment when using an automated solution. The ability to handle everything remotely or in the office at your leisure is more relevant now.
Other benefits include:
- Emailed and mailed invoices scanned with 99% accuracy.
- Successful invoice fraud attacks reduced by 85%.
- Stress-free workflows that allow you to put bill payments on autopilot.
Protect yourself from fraud and ensure you have a way to approve invoices remotely at the same time. Black Swan events are unpredictable by nature — we should all take coronavirus as a lesson on why it’s important to prepare for anything.
Current Day: The Impact of Remote Working
Before coronavirus, remote working and flex working were becoming more common. According to Tech Republic, the number of Americans taking part in remote working of some form increased by 159% between 2005 and 2017. Today, this number is higher as the majority of people practice social distancing and operate under shelter in place orders.
While the increase in people working from home was impressive, it was still only a small portion of the overall workforce, per the 2018 US Census. If it weren’t for COVID-19, it may have stayed a perk for the lucky few.
But COVID-19 appeared on the world stage and it will have a lasting impact on the business industry and on B2B payments specifically. Experts at Market Watch, propose that while some things will go back to normal once this blows over — the wide use of remote work isn’t one of them.
Today’s world allows us to try out and experience the benefits of remote working firsthand. Employees are settling into new routines and finding strategies to stay productive. Companies are seeing the enormous buildings they lease for astronomical numbers with fresh eyes. We’re all learning that some meetings really could be emails.
If you ask Financial Review, it’s also the ideal time to take advantage of technology and automation to make humans more efficient. Contrary to popular belief, automation doesn’t necessarily equate to humans losing jobs. Instead, automation can help us get tedious things done quickly so we can devote our time to tasks that benefit from human touch.
Projection: The Future of Invoice Automation
Trying to predict what the world will look like on the other side of the coronavirus crisis is like trying to spot a black cat outside in pitch darkness. There may not even be a cat out there to find.
And yet, we’re all attempting it.
Why? Because it’s better to attempt to plan for the future, even if that future isn’t certain, than to not plan at all.
With that in mind, let’s squint and try to spot that cat.
- Vendors will be more essential than ever.
According to Finance Online, 91% of business executives think their partners and vendors will have larger roles. Establish trust with your vendors early via invoice automation. It allows you to track and approve invoices with ease.
- Companies will get serious about moving away from the paper check.
In a recent interview, our Global VP of Payment Operations, Julie Negrete-Anderson, talked about what might kill the check. Current events may be the ultimate answer, as COVID-19 changes how we all understand and approach B2B payments.
- Technology is in the process of bringing about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The future for financial technology is bright and limited only by our imaginations. Companies like ours do our part by offering automation services that save time and money.
- No-Touch payments will become widely used in B2B payments.
Our VP of Payments, Strategy, Neal Anderson, contributed to a recent article on the impact of Black Swan events by PYMNTS.com. He thinks that companies will move to no-touch B2B payment methods in the coming months. The ability to move money or approve an invoice at the press of a button is more attractive than ever.
Planning for the future is an essential goal for any business.
Ensure your invoices will be taken care of in case another Black Swan event happens. Stay ahead of the curve, improve your efficiency, and approve invoices at home or in the office with invoice automation. We’ve helped hundreds of clients maintain business continuity by digitizing invoices and enabling off-site check printing.
With our help you can return to the office with automated approval processes and customized workflows!
Originally posted April 2020. Updated for quality and accuracy October 5th, 2022.