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Frustrations with processing invoices

What are your biggest frustrations with processing invoices?

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Hi guys, a little help on some research I'm doing please.

So, the processing of invoices of is often pushed by many software vendors as this big, aching problem for finance teams. But I wonder: to what extent is this true on the ground?

What are your biggest frustrations with the processing of invoices? And if you're finding it easy, can you identify how you've simplified it? 

Replies (8)

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By Grundy
12th Jun 2018 15:32

Paper cuts

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Jun 2018 15:52

Purchase or sale?

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By andy.partridge
12th Jun 2018 17:02

Hi guy, no idea what the big aching problem is. I need to understand the perception before I can demolish it.

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By Manchester_man
13th Jun 2018 06:34

I think the aching problem you speak of has arisen as a result of cloud accounting software not having a 'batch invoice processing' function, possibly.

With desktop software such as VT and Sage (although I never really used sage) we had rapid entry screens where we could post up a batch of invoices very quickly and then save.

The nature of cloud accounting means that each invoice has to be processed one by one with each invoice uploading to the cloud as the save button is pressed. Most require a due date and some kind of description - good for generating invoices but not so good for posting up a batch of 300.

The trade-off was of course not having to enter up the bank statements, thanks to bank feeds.

The problem has all but disappeared thanks to the likes of AutoEntry, Entryless, Receiptbank although this presents an additional cost.

I still throw occasional incomplete records jobs through VT+ as this maximises on fee recovery.

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Replying to Manchester_man:
By Selaen
13th Jun 2018 08:59

I'm very much in Manchester_man's camp here - as much of an annoyance as Sage desktop is, I can do a batch entry and it takes me about 15 minutes to push through our invoices for the day, half an hour for the AP person (lord knows what they're doing to spend that long, but that's another issue...). Moving to cloud, I have to put every.each.invoice in separately, and whereas there's positives (I can do approvals at the same time so it removes the need to have paper copies), it takes such a long time. We can't use OCR due to the nature of our business, so we have to manually enter every invoice separately. That, or buy a bit of kit that does it from *gasp* excel upload!

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Routemaster image
By tom123
13th Jun 2018 10:15

For AP:

Depends on how much analysis you do.
We do three way matching, so:
1) Obtaining all delivery notes from stores.
2) Fiddly invoices (generally from Europe) where it is difficult to see unit and extended prices.
3) Processing price variances.
Biggest of all:
PARTIAL DELIVERIES OF ORDERS, meaning, on a 50 line invoice, it takes ages to find out what is missing.
Another grief is - multi line purchase invoices not presented in the same order as the items on the PO.

(I fondly recall the days when I only used Line50, and posted the whole invoice straight to one nominal, which I tended to have in memory.)

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By andy.partridge
13th Jun 2018 10:21

Terrible that members have to guess the question because the OP won't engage.

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By Paul Scholes
13th Jun 2018 10:26

Francois - there can be a world of difference between sales invoices and supplier bills, which are you interested in?

With regard to batch posting, this was important in the old days for sales invoices, where the invoices were produced outside the bookkeeping and so had to be entered quickly into the books, memories of the last century and clients sending huge envelopes of copy invoices.

With computerised systems this became less relevant as the invoice is produced and sent to the customer from within the software and, for bookkeeping firms, this is made possible by allowing clients to produce their invoices on your cloud app.

If this is not possible then most businesses can produce a spreadsheet of the period's invoices to be imported into the app.

With supplier bills, batch processing was, and still can be, a quick way to get the entry into the books however, as mentioned above, this too has become redundant for many businesses by the use of Receipt bank et al.

Again though, if batch processing is not possible, it can be just as quick to create a spreadsheet of bills to import.

In response to those who still grieve at the loss of batch processing there are 30 cloud apps out there and at least one, Clear Books, has a batch (bulk) processing feature.

So for me there are not really any headaches over the sales invoicing side of things, I match my clients to the cloud app that best suits the volume and type of invoices they produce and, for those who produce invoices outside the books, say through a cloud marketing app, most now integrate with Xero.

The supplier bill side of things has given me some grief recently when I started to use the new Auto Entry integration with Clear Books (I'd used it in Xero and preferred it to RB) when, after 6 weeks of seamless integration, I spotted that CB's API is incapable of importing the bill image or recognising anything other than UK VAT purchases, ie you have to manually add the image and edit the bill for overseas stuff, after import. So I dropped it.

I have also had issues with different systems, both bookkeeping and bill processing over differentiating supplier bills from employee expenses. In this case CB wins out with RB in that when importing the bill entries from RB you can select and import bills or employee expenses.

So to summarise I suppose the headache is caused by the wealth of choice these days over how to do things, compared to 10 years ago when you were limited by what the software could handle.

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