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What is INVOICE PROCESSING? What does INVOICE PROCESSING mean? INVOICE PROCESSING meaning - INVOICE PROCESSING definition - INVOICE PROCESSING explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Invoice processing involves the handling of incoming invoices from arrival to post. Invoices have many variations and types. In general, invoices are grouped into two types: 1. Invoices associated with a request or purchase order 2. Invoices that do not have an associated request (no purchase order).
Most organizations have clear instructions regarding processing incoming invoices. Different sets of instructions are commonly found in most organizations regarding the handling of purchase order invoices or non-purchase order invoices. The main department that processes invoices is known as accounts payable department. The process involving a supplier invoice is also known as purchase-to-pay.
A typical process involving paying a supplier invoice begins at the arrival of invoice at the door of the organization regardless of the methods of arrival such as via email, postal mail, facsimile, etc. Once the invoice arrives, the accounts payable clerk must ensure that the document is indeed an invoice. Then the clerk classifies and sorts the invoice into various categories. The definition of various categories is not always the same across different organizations but is normally defined by each organization.
Once its category defined, the invoice is forwarded to the responsible person for that particular invoice. This is normally the person who has placed that order. If there has been a purchase order involved when placing that order, the invoice must then be matched against the purchase order to ensure that the amount invoiced is correctly stated on the invoice. If the amount is right and the goods have arrived, the responsible person will have to approve the invoice by signing off on it. If the amount invoiced exceeds a certain amount that is limited by the organization, the superior of that person may have to approve the invoice as well. This, of course, differs from organization to organization.
Once the invoice has been approved and there have been no variances, the invoice is posted into the accounting system.
A manual invoice process can sometimes exceeds 15 steps before the final posting is done.
Technology has long enabled the automation of invoice processing from arrival to post. This means that at arrival of the invoice, the same accounts payable clerk will only need to scan the invoice into an automation software. The automation software then converts the invoice's scanned image into a text researchable document. The different fields on an invoice can also be defined into the software so that it remembers which fields it should capture and register into the ERP systems, for instance, the amount purchase, the quantity, the supplier name, the supplier code, and so on. The benefits of an automatic processing work flow may include reduced human error, on-demand reports, and data resilience. Automated invoice processing solution vendors include Oracle AP Solutions, Basware, Tipalti, Palette Software, IQ software, Smarty Software, Itesoft, docSTAR, Top Image Systems, Kofax, Artsyl Technologies, ABBYY, CharacTell, iPayables, Transcepta, Automation Centre, Compello, Tradeshift, Ariba, Hyland Software, Open Text, Perceptive Software, ARDEM, Esker and ReadSoft. Most automation software today integrates into common organizational ERP systems such as those offered by Dajon Data Management SAP, and Microsoft.