Best Practices for Invoice Processing

Universally, companies are seeking ways they can increase efficiency within their administrative functions while reducing costs. Automating invoice processing is a great step towards saving significant time and redirecting your employees to more pressing, useful business tasks.

Purchase Invoices

Typically, invoices arrive in paper form via the postal service or through email as an attachment. Almost all invoice processing systems use optical character recognition, so it is imperative that you receive quality invoices that can be easily read in order to avoid unread or misread invoices. It's also important to use a quality scanning device when inputting paper invoices to insure reliable optical character recognition. Ideally, if suppliers can send digital invoices via email, then it's best to go that route. This will save you significant time overall.

How to Separate Multi-page Invoices

If your invoices arrive through the mail and you're hoping to scan them in in one batch, there a few different ways you can go about this. You can use a separator sheet--either blank sheet or barcoded--between every invoice, you can use a barcode sticker on every first page of an invoice, or you may setup the scanning software to separate the invoices based on specified keywords. It can be a matter of trial and error to see what works best for you, but the final option is the most time-efficient if you put in the initial effort to finetune it. If your invoices are arriving digitally, then this process is much simpler because then each file is able to be identified as a new invoice.

Pertinent Data to Capture

The details of this depends on what exactly the data will be used for. If it's simply to store the data for later, then you'll only need to retrieve search data such as invoice number, invoice date, purchase order number, etc.. If it's also going to be imported directly into the accounting system, then all notable financial data is necessary, including any data retrieved from an external system. This includes cost code, supplier reference, and VAT code. It is imperative that your invoice processing system has the ability to automatically extract line item data if/when necessary.