Importance of the invoice processing job description

Importance of the invoice processing job description

At some point the job needs to be done. There is only so much one can do in terms of planning and thinking and strategizing and organizing, though they often provide scope for dithering and delaying. In simple terms, it is not done till it is done.

In a world of specialized skills, the requirement of people for each type of work is getting sharper and sharper. It is expected that the closer the match the better the performance on the job.

Why should the job of processing invoices be any different?

Granted that digital technology has taken over many of the functions that were carried out manually in the past. But that is true across the board and is not specific to invoice processing. The buttons, however, and perhaps mercifully so, still need to be pressed by human beings in the know. That is where the buck currently stops; with humans.

It follows, therefore, that a company that has a need for processing invoices should either look for suitable people internally and train them, or search externally for people who can do the job for them. An invoice processing job description is perhaps a great starting point when trying to fill a position for processing invoices.

oWorkers has earned a name for itself in the data based BPO services space in a short period of 8 years. It is now counted as one of the top three players in the world, no mean achievement.

 

What is a job description?

A job description, or JD, is a document that defines the essential job requirements, what responsibilities an incumbent is expected to shoulder and carry out, and skills expected to be beneficial in performing the role. It might even cover the measurement scale, or Key Result Areas (KRAs) that will be used to measure the incumbent’s success in execution in a given period of time. It is also variously known as a position description, job specification and job profile in different companies, mostly referring to the same document known as a JD.

Though a JD is expected to exist for every role and provide clarity and direction to an incumbent, one of its most frequent uses is in job postings and advertisements to provide information about the role to interested candidates. Providing the right JD helps in attracting the right candidates which enhances the efficiency of the process by keeping unqualified applicants out.

A JD is an invaluable support tool for the recruitment team of a company, with often even the process of selection through interviews being based on the same. After selection it forms the basis for the employment contract as well as creating the baseline for the employee’s performance appraisal.

An invoice processing job description performs all these functions.

It must be added that a JD is often the result of a meticulous study and analysis of the role over a period of time across multiple incumbents.

oWorkers is adept at creating job descriptions as it hires for a variety of roles requiring a wide set of skills for the many client projects it supports. It helps that it is a preferred employer in the communities it operates in. It serves to attract walk-in talent without having to advertise for it, saving money that gets passed on to clients through the pricing mechanism.

 

Invoice processing job description

As earlier discussed, the job description needs to provide adequate information about the job it pertains to, to an incumbent as well as a candidate seeking that role. Over the course of time, job descriptions have acquired similarities in the way they are presented. A standardized JD template is what we will use to discuss the different aspects and sections.

Overview

This role in the accounts payable team is responsible for processing invoices that are received from vendors and suppliers of material, goods and services to our company. A person in this role is expected to carry out the required responsibilities as per the policies and procedures of the company, along with applicable laws and regulatory guidelines. Processing should result in the most optimum business outcomes while maintaining a harmonious relationship with suppliers. The person should also be on the lookout for opportunities for improvements and efficiencies in the process.

The JD expertise comes in handy even when oWorkers is called upon by clients to hire in a hurry for an unplanned requirement that has suddenly emerged. With the ability to hire an additional 100 people within 48 hours, oWorkers saves clients a lot of money in the form of salary they would have otherwise paid to an idle bench.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities can be vast. The following is an indicative list of what a person in the role could be called upon to do:

  • End to end responsibility of invoice processing from receipt till payment
  • Reviewing each invoice as it comes in, sending it back in case of errors and acknowledging it if in order
  • Creating and maintaining a system of payment before penalties become applicable and at the latest time possible
  • Managing the approval process in a timely manner
  • Ensuring availability of funds in accounts when payment has to be issued
  • Managing the relationship with vendors
  • Identifying and recommending opportunities for improvement of invoicing terms
  • Handling queries from suppliers related to invoices
  • Archiving invoices and other relevant documents
  • Ensure that service level agreements are met as they relate to invoice processing procedures.
  • Creating relevant accounting entries where required
  • Generating MIS and reports for all activities, including control and exception reports
  • Handle multiple projects and client accounts
  • Check purchase order (PO) number before processing of invoices
  • Initiate online data capture for ERP systems
  • Research data trends to analyze future market scenarios
  • Ensure complete accuracy of financial statements and tax data

Other responsibilities could be added to the invoice processing job description from time to time.

oWorkers pays social and local taxes for its employees and is rated 4.6 and above, on a scale of 5, by both current and past employees, on external platforms like Glassdoor.

Technical skills and experience

The following set of skills and experience is expected to aid discharging the responsibilities of the role in an effective manner:

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting.
  • A minimum of 2 years’ experience in a similar role, where invoice processing was a significant part of the role.
  • Advanced proficiency in invoicing software, such as Tally and FreshBooks
  • Knowledge of bookkeeping
  • Proficiency in standard software applications such as Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook Express
  • Advanced ability to collaborate, manage client requests, and answer queries
  • Ability to review invoices and verify tax information
  • Understanding of AP process and AP automation solution
  • Familiarity with the company’s policies and procedures
  • Knowledge of the legal framework governing invoicing and invoice processing

oWorkers is at the top of their game in technical skills and environment. What their invoice processing job description might not say is that they operate from secure facilities & protocols designed to maximize client data security with their ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). Additionally, they are also GDPR compliant.

General management and organizations skills and experience

Additionally, the following abilities are expected to complement the technical skills in the discharge of duties:

  • Ability to coordinate with internal departments
  • Ability to achieve high accuracy standards and right-first-time
  • Willingness to operate in a team
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to communicate with confidence and accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Good interpersonal skills

When the going gets tough, the team you want in your corner is the oWorkers leadership team, that has over 20 years of hands-on industry experience in general management as well as organizational management.

 

Best practices of invoice processing

Many companies might also attach other documents and information pertaining to the role that are designed to assist the incumbent or a new person in doing a good job. An invoice processing job description might also include a note on the best practices of the process.

Establish a Purchase Order process

A Purchase Order (PO) based buying process is often recommended in large companies and can, indeed, help in establishing agreement and clarity prior to the company getting committed to an expense. Further, it becomes an ‘outstanding’ item in the books until matched off against an invoice. Thus, chances of duplicate payments reduce as the PO would have already been extinguished by the first invoice. And lastly, it speeds up processing after receiving the invoice.

The ability to support clients in 22 languages gives oWorkers the strength to issue POs and handle vendor invoices in many languages. They are a partner in growth, not an impediment.

Create a measurement and tracking system

The basics of good management apply to invoice processing equally.

Professional management establishes expectations of performance and output up front in order to avoid surprises at a later point, and is usually done in agreement between the person in the role and the organization, through the person’s manager. These become the measurement standard against which the actual performance is delivered. Development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), updating them as needed, and tracking them is an important aspect of the job.

oWorkers takes transparency to what some might call an extreme. They make their pricing mechanism, generally a well-guarded secret in companies, also transparent.

How do they do this?

They make it transparent by offering clients a choice between a dollar per unit of input and dollar per unit of output. Most clients say they have never been offered a choice in pricing methods. And most of them say they appreciate it.

Invoicing and payment terms are best standardized

Since a B2B contract is a unique construct, it needs to be verified and understood by the people responsible for managing compliance with the terms. Language can also create opportunities for interpretation in multiple ways, causing differences. Hence, the invoicing and payment terms for all purchases are best kept standard, greatly reducing the scope for interpretation and misunderstanding. It also reduces the effort of reviewing and understanding that needs to be invested where each contract is unique.

Clients of oWorkers have been quoted as saying that oWorkers has helped them save costs to the tune of 80 percent of pre-outsourcing costs.

Exception reports can identify compromises

No process is foolproof. Exception reports should be defined and run, if automated, or prepared, if manual, at agreed frequencies. Exception reports can help identify processing errors such as duplicate payments having been made.  

Though an invoice processing job description may not specifically say so, as a 24×7 operation, exception reports can be generated and verified any time of day or night.

Dual control mechanism

Dual control over critical processes that have the potential to create a liability or commitment or expense for the company is essential so that the checking and control can be exercised before the compromise has been made and not after. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that a single person with all the controls can cause havoc. It can be through the innocent act of making a mistake or a not-so-innocent one of taking advantage and perpetrating a fraud. Having a dual control in place, with the second level check being commensurate with the value or quantum of risk, is known to substantially reduce the possibility. This is management 101.

Working with employed resources is a decision oWorkers took at the start and have stuck with it. In comparison, some of its competitors rely on freelancers and contractors to deliver. With the help of a loyal, employed workforce, oWorkers has built a supervisory layer from within, through promotions. This layer of staff is effective in supervising transactions.

Leverage technology

While it could create some challenges, not leveraging technology has ceased to be a relevant reason today. With such a wide variety of options being available, it is expected that forward-looking organizations use technological tools to bring efficiencies to their business.

It is possible that some small companies may not find it worthwhile to invest in some areas of processing as their volumes might be low. That is exactly the kind of situation that BPO providers like oWorkers, who specialize in back-office work, cater to. Their ability to aggregate volumes enables them to invest in the best technologies that deliver efficiency to their client processes.

oWorkers has developed deep relationships with technology providers. This enables them to use the latest technologies in many processes, including invoice processing.

Periodic reconciliation

A regular process of reconciliation has been one of the basic tools of checking and control in most financial processes. This could be either viewed as an extension of the ‘exception report’ best practice or a standalone one.

The earlier the identification of a mismatch, the greater the probability of a speedy resolution.

With a team of Quality Analysts (QAs), oWorkers has invested in quality. The QAs act as the eyes and ears of the management and bring to light any issues that may require their attention. They also identify issues before they impact client delivery.

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