Drive Excellence into Your AP Invoice Processing

Invoice Cost Assurance Process

Invoice-processing tasks can be grouped in four distinct group, each with their own unique processing instructions and required user skills.  These areas are;

  • Invoice collection
  • Invoice Validation
  • Invoice Discrepancy (Dispute) Management
  • AP Integration

The question is, are you processing your invoices efficiently?  Measured performance against documented processes are the key mechanism by which businesses can ensure they are operating efficiently.

The first task is to review the current processes and determine where the task instructions and documented processes fall on the business process maturity curve.  These five maturity phases are;

  1. Ad Hoc
  2. Repeatable
  3. Controlled
  4. Managed
  5. Optimized

The key to achieving a high-performing process is to understand the current performance of a process, to identify the level of performance required and establish a design to achieve the desired performance.

To achieve a high performing process, the process (steps) must be measured and then optimized.  Assessing the maturity of a process area requires breaking down the key elements of the process and asking questions such as:

The listed questions are some of what you might ask, where a complete list will be driven by your business specifics.  Objectively answering these questions, is a means by which you can evolve each task area along the maturity curve and elevate your invoice processing task(s) towards a process-focused methodology.

To achieve the optimal efficiency, you need to address your process in each of the following areas;

  1. Process Definition and Documentation
  2. Process Performance, Measure and Recommendations
  3. Process Improvement Implementation

Process Definition & Documentation

As people come and go, herculean efforts are often needed to get work done and can pose significant risks to business operations.  With time, users unknowingly add their own shortcuts and steps into the process.  Documenting the steps to complete a process, from input to output can help ensure a process is followed consistently time and again.  The task here is to define a process hierarchy, developing an inventory of processes and sub-processes within the organization and showing how various processes interrelate. Essentially, this hierarchy forms a skeletal roadmap for defining how work is done end-to-end, and how departments may interact.

 

  • Is the AP Invoice process documented ?
  • Are desired outcomes clearly defined and aligned with task objectives?
  • Does the documentation provide guidance to address possible anomalies ?
  • Does the process have clear ownership and performance accountability?
  • Is the process streamlined and optimized
  • Is the process consistent and standard when compared to other business processes

 

Process Performance, Measure and Recommendations

To understand how a process is operating, you objectively measure how the desired outcome is achieved, provided the assigned resources;

  • Is the output quality exceptional or just satisfactory ?
  • Are more resources needed to be exceptional ?
  • Is the task consuming too many resources (and is a drain on the company?),
  • Is the task completed in a reasonable time frame ?
  • Can the process be optimized ?
  • Is the process 100% manual ?  How much of the processing can be automated with computer robotic.  Repetitive, structured tasks can likely be completed with robotic automation. Has this been considered ?

Once you understand how the task is completed, and to what degree of excellence, you then methodically and logically assess how can the process be improved. Process Improvement opportunities are then quantified and prioritized based on benefit potential and level of effort to address.

Continuous Process Improvement

A sustaining focus on process management and continuous improvement is key, process improvement is continuous.  Building on the results from the work described in this memo, you will have the basis by which to continuously measure your performance and initiate action to remain optimized.

Automation Drives Profitability.

Contact Telecom offers a robust workflow application that ensures your business rules are consistently applied and that the applied processes are followed to the T.  Once implemented into BDA, your business processes will move up the Maturity to Level 4/5.

With Contact Telecom Invoice Workflow solution, every aspect of the invoice life cycle is managed;

  • Invoice Collection – All your invoices, collected and stored online, digitally
  • Invoice Validation – Invoice exceptions are addressed, audits applied
  • Invoice Discrepancy – integrated dispute creation, submittal, tracking
  • AP Integration – automated feed to/from existing accounting system

Using a solution like Contact Telecom Invoice Workflow services, you are ensured your invoice cost assurance process is completed consistently, in an optimized, programmatic manner with every invoice, every time.  We work with you to implement an efficient invoice collection and processing program that best supports your business.  Let us work for you. Call 978-270-3004 today for a free process review and assessment.

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Five Top Reasons to Consider SaaS to Move your Business Forward.

Many financial analysts are reporting, companies are profitable today, not because new revenues are being generated, but because lower cost of operation is being realized. One approach to obtain a lower cost of operation is to consider outsourcing select business processes, using a SaaS model.

Five top reasons to consider using SaaS to move your business forward.

1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO):

a. Avoid upfront costs of traditional software perpetual licenses and servers.
b. Redirect their in-house staff from the tedium of ongoing support.
c. Rapid deployment: SaaS applications can be rolled out when you are ready.
d. Easier Integration: The SaaS application vendor brings the application know-how, working with you to integrate your business rules in an expedited fashion.
e. Low Risk Innovation: The SaaS vendor is driven to bring the most efficient solution to market, to help their clients achieve their business goals. The multitenant architecture of SaaS enables those clients to realize technology advancements without the cost and risk of implementing untested solutions themselves.

2. Intuitive, easy access: A good SaaS solution is designed with the end-user in mind, to make the application easy to use and obtain the desired output.
3. Highly Reliable and Secure Service Delivery: A SaaS vendor knows, to deliver an acceptable customer experience, they must deliver a solution that performs as though it is native on your desktop. Secondly, it must do so, securely. SaaS vendors have proven they can deliver.
4. Access to Best Practices: When talking with a SaaS vendor, inquire about how non-proprietary activity can be shared. Many SaaS vendors and their clientw have forums they contribute to and share within. Keep in mind, you must give to receive.
5. Vendor/Customer Alignment: In comparison to a software purchase or license, the SaaS subscription model brings the vendor closer to the client, as they have to “earn” their business every month. This works to keep the relation more vibrant, as the vendor will be more accessible and quicker to resolve the client’s requests for fixes and enhancements. The vendor will want their client to be an active user and drive training and other forums, to increase the likelihood of renewals, service expansion and referrals.

When deploying SaaS, satisfied users that got what they were looking for, reported;

• significantly lower infrastructure costs and staff support requirements,
• Higher productivity,
• more systematic software updates and upgrades,
• greater functional capabilities, and
• improved application reliability and performance.

Can these business improvements help drive your company to new heights ? Consider Contact Telecom’s BDA SaaS BDA solution for your wholesale invoice processing and data management needs.  Contact Telecom has been helping their clients achieve improved business efficiencies since 1998, driving profitability through automation.  Let BDA help you make 2013 a more profitable year.

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Invoice Audit Productivity: From 19th Century Textile Mill to SaaS

 

The Mills of Manchester, NHBy Peter Yelle

Contact Telecom’s offices are in a converted 19th century textile mill. In fact, the heavy timber floors above and below you in each office are the same ones that supported the spinning machines, looms and thousands of workers in the mill.

Working in a place like that is a daily reminder of how automation has taken us from sweat factories to air-conditioned offices in just a few generations. Wonder what those factory workers would say if they knew that 160 years later a SaaS server in the same mill would do the work of hundreds of employees? Continue reading

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All You Need Is to Simplify Your Telecom Business

How many of the dozens of CLEC and wireless telecoms born during the dotcom bubble are still in business today? Very few, actually. Some of those operators were lucky enough to merge or get sold, but the vast majority either went bankrupt or quietly folded their tents.

And what was the cause of these many business failures? Well, you could point to many causes: regulatory change, network overinvestment, competition, lack of capital, and overconfidence, to name a few. But in many cases, these “causes” mask one over-arching cause … the inability of managers to make informed decisions in a fast-changing business climate.
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An Automated Self-Audit Approach to Telecom Cost Assurance

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Software vendors have been offering automated solutions for telecom cost assurance for several years now, yet many telecoms are still working from Excel spreadsheets and paperbound processes.
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Evolve and Define Your Audit Process: First Step to Implementing a Cost-Assurance SaaS

The rewards of implementing a cost-assurance SaaS are twofold. You will not only capture more invoice errors, you’ll make the invoice review and audit process more efficient, typically driving 70 to 80 percent of your costs out of the process.
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Is Your Company Penny-Smart and Dollar-Foolish in Auditor Productivity?

When my son and I were out driving together, we drove up alongside a fire engine. On the fire engine was a sign in small-letters saying, “Keep back 500 feet.” At which point my son asked, “How are you supposed to keep back 500 feet when you can’t read the warning from 50 feet?”
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Why Smart Operators Invest in Margin Assurance

If Charles Darwin were alive today, he’d have a field day surveying the telecom industry because it’s a living laboratory of his theory: “survival of the fittest.”

In fact, since the dotcom bubble burst a decade ago, two-thirds or more of the small to medium-sized U.S. operators who once roamed the land are either extinct or were swallowed up by the larger players. The survivors are the CSPs who figured out how to adapt. Continue reading

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How to Recognize a Good SaaS from an Ugly One

It’s hard to miss the hype around SaaS. It’s one of the hot new industry topics on moving your business to the cloud and reducing your operating costs. But if you’ve never implemented a SaaS before, where do you start? And what makes a good solution?
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