Is your business going for the clouds? Why not bring invoice processing!

The Digitisation is still upon us. Everyone has smartphones, various profiles and applications - we are constantly online. Even grandmother is online and plays Wordfeud with both friends and unknowns, who are also in the “Word-Cloud”. Everyone sends e-mails and most people have a presence on for an example Facebook - and it is becoming easier for the user and more intuitive to navigate in all these online platforms because the principles of how to orientate themselves in the user interface are recognisable. In line with the digital development it has become common to store private data via iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and have your archive and backup service online. We are convinced that it works and is safe. Because it is security that we seek to avoid being exposed to violations of foreign stakeholders who could misuse information about us, and so that nobody can access our private data, images, etc., and we feel confident that these data will not be deleted by accident, breach of data security or similar incidents. We have an expectation that these systems work and make our lives easier in many ways, especially when it comes to solving everyday tasks and communicating with those who don’t sit right next to us.

But when the online world is still upon us with its promises of timeliness, constant availability, paper that never disappears and logs on just about everything that takes place in the human world – is it not time for the digitisation to bring some benefits within the problem areas, that cause your grey hairs? Management of confidential documents, accounts, business papers, etc. Which requires solid documentation and storage, not to mention - unimaginable amounts of resources of your time that you and your co-workers could have used differently.

Steps to consider when using cloud-based invoice processing automation

Are you considering using automated management and processing of supplier invoices? In general, the workload is increasingly being moved to the Cloud to take advantage of the good cost and operational efficiency benefits of this newer type of platform. In accordance, we see a clear market trend for companies using cloud-based financial solutions with everything that they imply; Lower costs, more streamlined workflow and no demanding maintenance of the solutions.

Previously, there was a tendency for the finance departments to be slow movers in regards of taking digital trends into practise and entering the online and paperless world. With the newer cloud-based technologies, however, the finance function has started to ride the wave. Using Cloud-based solutions not only workflows become more effective, processes also become more transparent - and it's cost-effective. There are several economic elements that can be difficult to calculate but when dealing with these solutions they diminish -  resulting in an overall picture of costs that is much clearer, and without unforeseen surprises. Part of the ambiguities that you can take away are, for example, personnel costs for operating IT solutions and systems, system maintenance, backup, hardware, operation and hardware replacement, training in using systems and support. Therefore it is no surprise that experts predict that the demand for cloud-based financial management applications will increase over the next few years.

But what does it imply for a company to move invoice handling up in the Cloud? Here are a few things you ought to consider.

 

1.     configuration versus customisation

While SaaS solutions offer great functionality comparable to locally hosted solutions, they are not quite as adaptable – meaning it can be harder to make changes in the solution. For companies switching from a customised account payable management solution, it might be more complicated when making the transition to this type of management solution than ones switching from a more generic solution. However, the strength in these solutions is that they offer strong configuration options that meet customer needs. Often, a modern solution for electronic processing of supplier invoices will include the functionality that you previously had to customise. In addition, the modern solution will most often be developed with the proviso to be able to adjust to the rapid development within these systems. These types of solutions also allow automation of workflow and post processing of financial or other documents.

 

2.     Cloud or Saas?

Contradictory statements about Cloud-services have caused confusion and mistaken belief that Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud hosting are the same. However, there is a significant distinction between the two. When speaking of SaaS you refer to a cloud-based business model in which an organisation or customer pays to use a service owned by a SaaS supplier within that specific business area. Consequently the service will be delivered "in the Cloud". Hosted solutions involve a third party. They are hosted in a data center, which is both owned and managed by the IT department of the third party.

To describe a SaaS solution you can try to imagine it as running in a “cloud environment” where the same technical solution is used by all customers who thus work in the same application/software - but without compromising on security and data integrity between Customers. This means that more companies work in the same software but without having any access to any other data but their own. The advantage for the software provider and the customer is that they quickly and swiftly can run updates to all customers at once - opposite to hosted solutions, which are forced to update their customers solutions one by one.

 

3. Resources in the company

When choosing a solution, it is important to keep in mind that the successful implementation of an automated and electronic invoice management solution should not be dependent on the lowest price but focus on which applications or services that meet your needs and can be adjusted accordingly when the market is changing – in order for you to get the most effective solution for your business, long term. In general, for SMB’ businesses the implementation of a cloud-based solution is quicker and simpler than locally hosted solutions. This provides a clear advantage in accessibility for companies with limited resources for IT or technical knowledge. The costs of implementing these solutions are lower - and you will be ready to use the solution much faster.

 

A brief summary

Companies that have chosen to use Cloud services often mention the low implementation cost, the ease of always having the latest software update, and the fact that it does not require maintenance or updating on their part as the main advantages of this type of solution. Potentially, there are significant cost savings to be gained in administration and time. In the light of the first obvious benefit, it will also be possible to optimise processes and provide more flexibility in terms of functionality changes, plus these solutions provide a high level of user-friendliness. Most likely, optimisation of financial management with this type of solution will contribute to growth in the company.

If your business is moving your invoice processing online, you can read more about how it works here.