I would like to introduce Rand Johnson as the author of this, our latest blog. With over 33 years in Long Term Care serving in such roles as administrator in facilities ranging in size from 35 beds to 388 beds, consultant, Senior Vice President of a prestigious LTC-focused reimbursement consulting firm, and Marketing Director for Prime Care Technologies, Rand contributes a broad as well as deep perspective to our team of bloggers. In today’s blog, Rand focuses on how automated invoice processing saves time and money. While he addresses LTC in particular, the content can readily apply to any business.
With a slow economy compounded by increasingly restricted reimbursements, cash flow management for LTC providers is a must. To accurately manage cash flow, executives must be able to accurately track spend to date in order to reliably forecast future spending. Automated invoice processing enables providers to manage cash flow to the vendors/suppliers and to accurately track their spend in real-time.
I’ve been in the LTC business for a good looooonnnnng time starting in the days when expense management was disjointed and departmentalized. Everything was by hand - the creation of purchase orders, the weekly calls to the vendors to place orders, the creation of endless forms and reports, the weekly spend-to-budget “fudge-it” reports (Really, how many actually reconciled these reports with the general ledger? Who had the time?), the handling of reams of POs attached to the invoices, the batching of same to be shipped to the corporate office, etc. Every link in the chain was under such a strain that a break was not an “if,” but a “when.” It was laborious at best and rife with risk for errors and unpleasant surprises. (I’m sure some administrators remember finding a batch or two of invoices which had yet to be processed in the former Business Office Manager’s desk drawers. That’s the stuff sleepless nights are made of.)
Those days are and should be long gone – a necessary evil in the evolution of business office workflow management. There is hope and it’s called automatic invoice processing. And it’s available today. The IT revolution has become more than data processing. In reality, it is a useable and useful tool especially in the form of procurement automation. Here are some of its features with their explicit and implicit benefits. Automated invoice processing:
- Automatically tracks spending for proper accounting, real-time reporting, accountability, and spend forecasting
- Affords complete control of invoice processing – you set the rules, such as approvals, contract compliance, workflow, etc.
- Delivers time and money savings - because the process is fully automated, it requires little to no manual steps in the workflow
- Reduced processing errors – the less humans are involved, the fewer the errors
- Automated processing of all types of invoices
Automated invoice processing also facilitates and reports on reconciliation of invoices to purchase orders and contract terms. It also aids in the tracking of back-ordered items and only paying for what you receive.
As I mentioned earlier, the automated payment process is not dependent on human intervention with its inherent distractions and shifting priorities which are too often moving targets. Invoice processing is automatic, reliable, and - through its reporting features - actionable as needed.
You should really look into and consider automated invoice processing to save time and money, to reduce errors, and to get some much-needed restful sleep. You owe it to yourself.