Shared Services for Accounts Payable

By NE Docs | September 19, 2013

As organizations grow and evolve, optimizing cash flow increases in importance. Streamlining invoice processing throughout your organization, particularly if it is decentralized today, can help make sure that you establish clear visibility, control and optimization of your cash flow – particularly when utilizing an AP Shared Services model, whether in-house or outsourced.

A Universal Need

Depending on your industry, you may find yourself in the position to expand in a number of different ways, all of which affect cash flow:

  • Healthcare: larger hospital groups are purchasing smaller practices to gain economies of scale and control over a patient’s healthcare experience.
  • Manufacturing: manufacturers are either building new facilities or growing through acquisition across a number of different markets
  • Retail: if a retailer survived the past “Great Recession,” they are more than likely in a position to grow
  • Multinational Conglomerates: these organizations are finding great deals where they can acquire, grow and sell organizations

Consistency

As these organizations expand, controlling cash becomes even more important as the stakes grow exponentially. One area where an organization can gain some economies of scale and consistent processes is accounts payable. For accounts payable, this means establishing the following invoice processing activities:

  • Single Address: invoices are sent to a single location rather than received throughout the organization
  • Common Process: a common workflow standard is created for process invoices, exceptions and managing payments throughout the organization
  • Common System: a common invoice repository is made available for all scanned paper and electronic invoices and accompanying correspondence that is available and quickly searchable from across the organization

Benefits of Invoice Processing Shared Services

The benefits of having a shared service model for accounts payable can be quite significant:

  • Invoice Accountability: invoices are no longer sitting on someone’s desk in an outlying office but are received and processed in the same way, in the same timeframe, every time
  • Process Tracking: with a dedicated team to manage invoices, the invoice is processed faster and more efficiently
  • Process Commonality: while there will always be exceptions, your organization will benefit from a predictable model

Improved Financial Management

Finally, the AP Shared Services model offers significant financial management benefits. Management can have near immediate access to liabilities at any given point in time, rather than waiting for reports from different groups in a more distributed environment. This enables the organization to more efficiently accrue for short and long term liabilities. In addition, the organization can use the data to better forecast and predict cash flow issues, and be able to better manage cash. This not only makes the organization more efficient, but also improves an organizations ability to borrow cash in a more predictable means.

NEdocs: Your AP Shared Services Partner

With extensive experience with accounts payable processes, NEdocs is uniquely positioned to help you design and implement a shared services model. We offer a series of best practices based on the your organizational needs and goals for streamlining invoice processing.

We can help you make decisions surrounding the following elements:

  • Software selection
  • Systems integration
  • Digital mailroom services
  • Electronic workflow
  • Outsourcing as an option

We can also work with you to analyze your current AP processes and costs to create the business case needed to approve a shared services model with your executive team.

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