The cash flow of a business is crucial to its success, yet many finance professionals fail to realise its significance over time.
Poor cash flow management can completely cripple your business, and invoicing customers too slowly is one of the most common mistakes businesses make. Something as simple as automating that process can dramatically improve cash flow and performance.
When a business does not have formal records and processes in place, it is hard to know when somebody has not paid an invoice or whether the business owes money.
Financial data that is up-to-date is essential for predicting future financial health to maintain good cash flow. Payment on time is necessary to avoid a strangled cash flow. Being paid what you are due is important but being paid on time is even more important.
With the shift to Cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), organisations have moved away from slow and inefficient on-premise servers and towards technology that allows them to be more flexible.
A growing number of finance managers realise this and are encouraging businesses to invest in tools that can dramatically improve financial productivity, accuracy, and security.
In this article, we will discuss how businesses that have increased the pace of digital transformation in all departments, including finance, have already reaped the benefits of Cloud automated invoice processing.
What is Cloud automated invoicing?
Cloud invoice processing is a way in which businesses can accurately save, analyse, and process invoices through automation which eliminates manual input requirements from the finance team.
In short, it has become one of the most sought-after tools in Accounts Payable.
The skyrocketing change in work environments has been one of the major factors behind the increasing popularity of Cloud invoicing solutions.
In the past, it was usually necessary for management and their teams to work on-site. Since finance teams are now constantly on the move or working from remote locations, company policies have (and continue to) change.
Teams are just as comfortable working at home or in a cafe as they are at the office today and require the right technology to carry out their tasks effectively and securely.
In the days before automation, finance teams had to review invoices manually, try to understand the data, then send them to systems to complete their records. Anomalies in invoices were rarely detected, and suppliers were contacted regularly to resolve any problems.
The majority of invoices are still manually submitted without purchase orders, so training is a vital part of modern accounts payable automation.
By capturing invoice details through automation in the Cloud, finance teams can identify duplicate invoices, extract relevant details, and create accounting entries all at the click of a button.
Benefits of Cloud automated invoicing
It is typically the finance department's responsibility to invoice, but if invoicing is done inefficiently, it can cause a whole host of issues for other departments.
If the invoices aren't accurate, they will need to be redrawn, with payment terms extended accordingly. Moreover, if they are sent late, the company's cash flow is also at risk.
Cloud automated invoicing software makes everything about running a business so much easier. As well as simplifying processes, Cloud invoicing ensures your data is secure and won't be lost forever if your laptop is stolen or suddenly fails.
Cloud accounting software can really help you manage multiple clients at the same time when it comes to accounting, billing, time tracking, and project management.
Simplifying your business processes should always be a priority and doing so can benefit your finance teams' productivity and the quality of your output as a department.
Here are some key benefits to consider
Say goodbye to manual processes
Every minute counts when leading the finance function, which is why you need as many automation tools as you can get your hands on, and with Cloud automated invoicing, these tools usually come as standard.
Invoice reminders can be used, for example, to remind clients to pay on time when their invoice is late.
Also, your Cloud-based software can automatically send an invoice on the same day every week or month if you set up recurring billing. You can speed up your processes by using online invoicing in a variety of ways, from automatic late payment fees to immediate quote-to-invoice conversions.
Reduce the time it takes to create an invoice
Invoices of the past were typically lengthy and repetitive, requiring the same details to be written over and over again.
The finance team became accustomed to manually creating an invoice before adding the many varied pieces of data required using Excel spreadsheets. In addition, if they wanted to turn an estimate or quote into a deposit or final invoice, they would have to start a new document.
A Cloud automated invoice can be created in just a few minutes, and financial data can be stored in a Cloud library accompanied by an easy-to-use tagging system.
Also included in an automated invoice are details such as client information, invoice numbers, payment terms, and other types of data related to hours spent on a project for example.
View everything in one place
You can see everything in one place with Cloud invoicing software. You can control all aspects of your invoicing procedures as well as your connected time-tracking and project management functions from one point of focus.
Invoice automation software also reduces human error by eliminating duplicate entries and automatically reconciling payments into your Cloud accounting software, which means all information is accurate.
Invoice from anywhere
Regardless of where you are, you can still send invoices within minutes with Cloud automated invoicing. It doesn't matter where you are, your Cloud invoicing procedures are just the same and all the relevant data is available.
In other words, you will not have to worry about cluttering up your computer with client details and payments.
Make it easier for customers to pay
A seamless and easy invoice payment experience ensures a great customer experience. As well as simplifying the process of sending invoices, Cloud automated invoicing offers multiple payment gateways for your clients.
In addition, it allows you and your clients to choose the payment solution that best suits your needs.
Rather than getting bogged down in manual number crunching, finance teams can focus on value-adding tasks thanks to automatic tracking and recording of payment details.
How Advanced Financials aligns Cloud invoicing to your business objectives
Colchester Borough Council has used Advanced’s software since 2001, including financial management, eProcurement, and Advanced Data Automation which integrates with these systems to deliver a fully automated process.
Suppliers can now email invoices to the Council, the data is then read in the cloud, captured, stored and entered into the invoice register for approval. It is then matched, in the financial management system, to receipted invoices before being processed.
“Manually keying in data from 20,000 invoices a year and scanning documents is a very labour-intensive operation. With an eInvoicing system in place we can save a significant proportion of time for the accounts payable and scanning team, enabling them to re-direct their efforts to more value-added activities.
It also reduces the risk of payment terms not being met as paper documents are not being passed around the council, and it benefits suppliers by reducing postage and printing costs.”
- Steve Heath, Finance Manager at Colchester Borough Council.
Get in touch with one of our experts today to eliminate manual invoice consolidation and gain clear visibility on cash flow by bringing your finance team into the future with Advanced Financials Cloud accounting software.