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What does your perfect invoice look like?

What does your perfect day look like? The likelihood is, that your answer is going to depend on what type of person you are. However, it’s also likely that your day will share a set of common values – you’ll feel happy, at ease, with an overriding sense that all is as it ought to be.

The same is true in the world of invoice processing. You might head up a P2P department in a large pharma, or you could take the AP lead at a public sector organisation, and although company culture and some processes are likely to be different – the view of a perfect invoice is likely to share a lot of the same characteristics.

As Henry Ijams, Chief Advisor at PayStream Advisors pointed out at BaswareEXP, a “perfect” invoice is one which is processed electronically, against an existing purchase order, received centrally, touchless and posts on the first pass. Of course there will always be exceptions that need some element of manual intervention, but with the right workflow processes in place, even those can be routed efficiently in a best practice environment.

One of the key enablers to creating that environment is collaboration. And that doesn’t just mean collaboration across the different purchase to pay functions, but should include the buy-in of C-level executives too. Technology has been a key enabler in creating a better collaborative culture – with more progressive organisations creating shared KPIs across the purchase to pay area – such as contract compliance and DPO rates. If it all seems too good to be true, it’s a world that “Rock” Persuad of Take2 Interactive (of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, amongst others) is beginning to recognise.

It all seemed a long way off back in 2008, when all transactions were manual, all invoices went through the budget holders at separate locations, and vast quantities of paper meant long processing times, errors and frequent late payment fees. In fact, Rock said that they usually had to run payments every day, mostly because many were already late. And if you add to that a mushrooming Master Supplier File, full of one-time only vendors, angry suppliers and corridors filled with paper filing cabinets – the picture looks anything but perfect – in fat a bit of a nightmare.

Something had to be done, and ultimately the company decided a solution from Basware offered the best resolution to their problems, due partly to their capacity to be able to accommodate Take2’s “crazy business rules”. As a result, the head-count was reduced by 70%, they had greater visibility for cash management, and with the help of mobile – achieved anytime, anywhere invoice approvals – something enthusiastically taken up by their CFO.

Rock says that the next stage is to apply analytics and explore the possibilities of BaswarePay – a form of supply chain financing Basware has created in collaboration with Mastercard.

So while it’s true that our own ideas of perfect are likely to be many and varied – like Rock, we all know when something feels right.