Invoice processing services
Invoice processing services are a critical part of the activities of any organization. These are activities that generate a flow of money from one party to another. For one party, the buyer, it results in acquiring goods and services needed by their business, based on which they will create their own goods and services and generate revenue. For the other party, the seller, it is the culmination of all their effort and the reason for their existence, the generation of revenue. It means that their proposition has value for a client who is willing to pay money to acquire it.
Money is a key resource and flows through all activities of a company like a lubricant.
In a B2B (business to business) relationship, the seller raises an invoice based on the terms agreed with the buyer. It is a crystallization of all that has preceded and seeks to indicate the completion of a transaction, or a step in the transaction, creating a liability on the buyer for settlement, usually through transfer of funds.
What needs to be noted is that while the document is initiated by the seller, invoices processing services refer to the set of activities done by the recipient, the buyer, that will eventually end with a settlement through money transfer.
oWorkers is deeply embedded in business-critical processes of our clients around the world, such as invoicing. Having chosen to focus on our core strengths, we are already recognized as one of the top three players in the world in back office BPO services, no mean achievement considering that we have been in business for a little over 8 years.
Why outsource to an invoice processing company?
Each company has a unique positioning in the marketplace and a unique proposition, based on which it has a vision to achieve success.
Toyota and Volkswagen may be a part of the automobile industry, but they both have their own strategies and strengths and product suites which they seek to achieve success through.
AXA and Allianz may be large insurers, but they will have their unique set of products and services based on their understanding of market needs.
Regardless of the industry they work in and the strategies they adopt for success, what is common amongst all organizations is the need to create supporting processes either because of regulatory requirements or because they need to participate in a common marketplace.
Filing of tax returns, hiring from a common talent pool, adhering to safety guidelines at the workplace are examples. Invoice processing services are also an example of the same.
This creates a need for outsourcing.
Most companies are expected to possess expertise in their area of work. Car manufacturers will perhaps have trained mechanical engineers and insurers will have a talent pool of actuaries and insurance sellers. What they often do not have is the skills to effectively handle the support requirements that exist.
While some may have the scale and financial muscle to hire qualified resources, for many others, outsourcing would probably work better.
oWorkers is uniquely placed to enable you to benefit from its specialized skills in this area, across the three global centers it operates around the world, while letting you focus on your core area of work.
Despite the advancements in digital technology, invoice processing services remain a largely manual process. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of all corporations receive manual/paper invoices.
Why is that?
The main reason is that the generation of the document happens in the systems of the seller, often at the tail end of their sales or operating activity. In most cases, the systems of the buyer and seller do not talk to each other, resulting in that document being treated as an ‘alien’ object by the system of the buyer. Even if the two applications are the same, being enterprise systems, the implementation could be unique to each company, making anything coming from the same, but differently set up system, ‘alien.’
This creates the need for manual work which the current invoices processing company may not be comfortable with, not being their core line of work.
In such a situation, outsourcing to a professional invoice processing company like oWorkers, can work like a dream. With its entrenched position in local communities, oWorkers draws a steady stream of talent and is able to staff all client projects with suitable people.
Advantages of outsourcing invoices processing services
While all advantages of outsourcing are available to companies that outsource this work, a few need special calling out:
As opposed to handling an activity, in which they have little experience or knowledge, the outsourcer will get the expertise of an invoice processing company that does it for a living and is an expert in it. At the same time, their own resources can continue to focus on their core business.
BPO providers like oWorkers have fine-tuned the art of hiring ‘horses for courses.’ They hire resources with adequate skills and train them up to be competent.
A supporting activity often does not get attention in a company. The attention is usually on their own business that generates revenue. This also results in lower capacity to invest in technologies to support the activity.
For a specialist provider, however, since it is a revenue generator, it gets senior management attention. They also invest in the latest tools and technologies in order to create efficiencies and win more business.
For the security of your data as well as to ensure financial transactions are executed safely, oWorkers operates from super secure facilities & protocols with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). We are also GDPR compliant.
Specialists in any field often come armed with advanced educational degrees and experience, and can be expensive to hire. If a company gets these resources to handle invoices, it can be a costly proposition.
Most clients of oWorkers note savings of almost 80% when they outsource work. This is particularly true for clients from Western Europe and North America. They also love the pricing choice they get from oWorkers, to pay on the basis of input material or on the basis of output.
Best practices in invoice processing services
Through experience and involvement of a committed team of processors and supervisors, oWorkers operates with a set of best practices that delivers benefits to all clients. New clients are eligible for these benefits when they sign up. Improvement is always work-in-progress.
Upfront verification of invoice
Upfront verification is important to ensure that there are no errors once the data has been digitized, including basic checks such as ensuring it is meant for the company it is addressed to. If errors creep into the digital journey, they can leave a trail of issues. Verification also ensures that the payment is not delayed when the time for it comes. This keeps the buyer in the good books of suppliers.
Working with handpicked resources, out of the large pool of applicants, combined with our dedicated training team, oWorkers, an invoices processing company, executes on client engagements of various types, including verification of invoices that need to be paid. We are also able to support short-term requirements to support client volume peaks and can turn around such requests in 48 hours.
Check for duplicate payments
This has been the bane of many accounts payables teams, creating unwarranted stress on cash resources with the added complexity of recovery of funds. Even invoice processing services using automated solutions are prone to such issues.
With a system of checks and balances, such as exception reports, oWorkers is able to eliminate the possibility of duplicate payments. It helps to be working with employed staff, as opposed to contractors and freelancers that many competitors rely on. With longer tenures they develop the skills to do better. Both current as well as past employees consistently rate us above 4.6 on a scale of 5 on external platforms like Glassdoor.
Technologies are advancing more rapidly than many other things in this world. Even for inherently not-automatable activities like invoices processing services, solutions like OCR/ICR/AI/IDP are being leveraged and are able to handle up to 80% of the workload. Automation frees up resources to perform activities where they can add greater value.
oWorkers is second to none in deploying automation for client projects. With the relationships it has developed with technology companies, it is in a position to access the latest technologies, regardless of the activity.
Fine tuning the payment time
Paying an invoice too early or too late can have negative consequences.
Pay too early, and you lose the benefit of money in your account for a few more days earning interest, or avoiding paying interest on borrowings to that extent.
Pay too late, and you run the risk of being blacklisted by the supplier.
When our clients pay us, they pay for quality and efficiency. Optimizing the payment window saves money for clients. It is no surprise that many admit to saving almost 80%. In addition, oWorkers is also able to prioritize payments based on terms, rather than paying the First In First Out (FIFO) that many seem to follow.
Create performance standards and measurements
‘If it can’t be measured it can’t be managed’ is a well-known adage. Without specific goals and measurement systems to track them, many organizations have been known to flounder. Our professional management systems require standards and measures for every activity, including invoice processing services.
These standards, or KPIs, form the basis of our engagement with our clients and these also form the basis of our staff members managing their deliverables. We will help you establish and refine these standards and measurement systems.
Paperless processing and archiving
While related to automation, paperless management and archiving is an independent best practice too.
While automated systems will usually have workflows that take care of approvals required, an invoices processing company might still be following the practice of taking approvals on physical pieces of paper. Securing them in a digital as well as physical form becomes an equally important activity, in addition to archiving the document received that worked as the starting point.
oWorkers has fostered a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural workforce which has given it the benefit of organically developed multilingual capability. Whether processing on paper, or through workflows, this core competence is helpful in managing client transactions from around the world.
Implement a Purchase Order based system
A Purchase Order (PO) based ordering system is considered to be the gold standard for large corporations where the sheer volume and variety of orders places makes handling invoices a cumbersome task. Many future challenges can be eliminated up front by implementing a PO based ordering system.
oWorkers can help its clients implement a PO based ordering system. With state-of-the-art secure facilities that are further augmented by our ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015), our technological capabilities are second to none.
The oWorkers suite of Invoice Processing Services
- Verification of invoice data such as values, material, etc.
- Matching invoices to their purchase orders
- OCR/ICR/AI technology-based data entry
- Scanning of originals
- Archiving both hard copy as well as image
- Extracting relevant data from line items and header
- Receipt creation
- Transaction logging
- PO receipt creation for supplier invoices
- Chat, email, and phone assistance
- Monitoring workflow
- Triggering approvals
- Triggering payments