Automated Invoice Exception Handling

If you work in the Accounts Payable world you’ll be more than familiar with Invoice exceptions. This ongoing problem can be the prime cause in delaying payments and causing frustration with your team and suppliers. Common Issues such as no purchase order number, incorrect quantities, net amounts or incorrect supplier/legal entity can be costly if not identified and corrected efficiently.

Many businesses manually process invoice exceptions, if you’re one of them, then it’s time to consider an AP makeover. Automated invoice exception handling can transform the way your team works, save you some valuable time and improve your payment times all in one. Read our invoice processing white paper to learn more.

The intelligent data capture software to achieve this is pretty clever. It extracts data from your invoices, checks for errors, missing information and any other exception data, based on your rules and requirements.

Cleardata’s invoice processing team can help you throughout your automation journey. The company uses intelligent data capture software which can check invoices for any number of issues, suppliers can be notified of errors on their invoices or they can be flagged up with your AP team. Invoice Exceptions can range from:

  • Non-invoice mail items such as reminders, statements and supplier letters entering the invoice process.
  • Missing information including PO numbers, company names or invoice dates.
  • Inaccuracies such as invoices raised against closed POs, line item discrepancies, incorrect legal entities and mathematical errors.
  • Anomalies including invoices from non-registered suppliers and duplicate invoices.

Why automate?

Automated Invoice Exception Handling - CleardataEffective exception handling is vital for companies to pay suppliers on time, which is an important ingredient of supplier partnerships. Paying your invoices punctually will reduce the number of phone calls your invoice team face on a daily basis, freeing up time to spend on key accounts payable tasks and may also help you negotiate some early payment discounts.

The Prompt Payment Code states:-

  • Suppliers should be paid within agreed terms at the outset of the contract
  • Without attempting to change payment terms retrospectively
  • Without changing practice on length of payment for smaller companies on unreasonable grounds

Digitising your accounts payable department’s invoice process can offer the following benefits:
  • Automation can be achieved based on your rules for checking and matching invoices
  • AP teams can be reallocated to dealing with key Accounts Payable tasks
  • Reduce manual processing costs
  • Efficiently handle peaks and troughs in your invoicing without taking on additional staff
  • Save money on hiring more employees to capture the information from invoices

Invoice Process Review

If you’re looking to save time for your business, reduce frustration for your team and improve payment times, it’s worth doing a review of your existing processes. Handling invoice exceptions manually can be a long winded process. With invoices arriving in multiple formats, e.g. by post, email (multiple formats), fax or e-invoices the amount of time processing can be extensive. Chances are invoices are being checked against purchase orders or supplier files, queried with originator of the PO and or the relevant manager. This can all take time and probably involves searching through paper files, data entry, emails and sending documents.

Digitising Paper Invoices – Paper invoices can be difficult to deal with. With accounts payable teams scanning invoices on arrival, it can take a while before true invoice exceptions are dealt with. Issues with scanning can cause problems in itself, with AP staff spending a large proportion of their time dealing with scanning issues e.g. double feeds, quality of scanned images and general scanner maintenance.

What’s Possible? Outsourcing invoice scanning can remove this problem immediately freeing up staff time to deal with true invoice exceptions. Invoices can be diverted to Cleardata’s bureau to be opened, sorted and scanned using high production scanning technology. Images are then quality checked by two separate operators, providing high quality scanned images.

Emailed invoices can also be outsourced to a virtual mailbox. These can be opened by our team and information can be automatically extracted from the digital documents for automated exception handling.

Invoice Exception Handling - Cleardata
Automated Invoice Exception Handling Service

Cleardata’s specialised invoicing software captures, classifies, extracts and validates the data from your company’s invoices. The documents will then be approved by your accounts payable department. There may be invoices that need extra approval depending on the business unit and value, where exceptions need to be managed.

Before having your invoices processed your company would set certain rules that each invoice needs to require before being submitted for payment. If any invoices do not coincide with the necessary rules, then it’s marked as an exception and will be digitally sent to the permitted employees for approval.

Automated handling of exceptions allows the queried invoices to be sent directly to the appropriate manager to be resolved quickly and easily. This saves your AP team significant time in comparison to manually sending documents to several members of your team and validating the information against other systems, which can cause long delays in payments.

Reports can be provided to identify common invoice exception issues, allowing your AP team to discuss this with your suppliers and resolve the problem for future invoices.

Cleardata provides a number of invoice processing  services that allows your company to transform their existing invoice processes into an automated and well-organised, secure and cost effective solution.

If you’d like to speak to an invoice management expert, then call our team on 0800 046 8081 or email us at sales@cleardata.co.uk for more information on how invoice exception handling can help your Accounts Payable team.