The Great Eight: Here Are the Top Standout Benefits of Going Paperless

At Mosaic, we’re in the business of matching the right paperless solution with your unique company and the needs of your team. 

That said, some things are universal. The below list comprises the one-size-fits-all, exciting, and sometimes surprising benefits of getting into the green game and leaving behind those mountains of paper behind forever.

1. You’ll have way, way more time on your hands.

Even for people who are still lucky enough to have jobs that let them work from home, navigating current economic challenges can be tough. With remote work on the uptick and the line between work and home becoming ever more blurred, exhaustion is on the rise. According to one recent survey, “Over two-thirds, or 69%, of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home.”

Bearing that in mind, freeing up your time and mental energy to focus on what’s important has become more critical than ever. Going paperless at the very least cuts out the endless hassle of storing, organizing, and filing (not to mention frequent trips to take out the recycling as it piles up at home).

Going paperless also means that you can share files, back up reports, or whatever else you need to do simply and easily from your mobile device, while on the go, which means no delays or having to wait around before getting to that next item on your to-do list.

 

2. It’s healthy for the environment.

Statista reports that, worldwide, we produce around 420 million metric tons of paper and cardboard every single year (of that, the United States accounts for 72 million metric tons!). To put that in context, that’s equivalent to around SEVEN separate Great Walls of China, one of the weightiest and most gigantic structures in the world. 

Lots. Of. Paper.

Not only that, but despite numerous campaigns and calls for reducing the amount of paper we use, the consumption of these natural resources is growing. In 2015, TIME magazine wrote about a new report stating that humans cut down 15 billion trees per year, much of which goes toward printing and writing paper specifically.

What’s extra dandy about going paperless is that it not only behooves you from a convenience standpoint AND makes you feel good about investing in the future of this planet. As famed writer and environmental advocate John Muir put it: “The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.”

Get your heart right, step into that light, and ease up on the paper trail for a while, why doncha?

 

3. You’re less at risk for potential legal trouble.

Over the past ten years, the landscape of records management has changed dramatically. 

Beyond just being an inconvenience, an outdated content management system can have negative implications such as civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance and rapidly growing costs. Does that catch your attention? It did for us. 

Luckily, significant advances in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) have been shown to benefit a wide variety of organizations in this regard. It’s easy to get up-to-date in no time.

 

4. Bolstered security = greater peace of mind.

Privacy and data protection are big ones these days, with cyberthreats at top-of-mind for some of the most prominent players in the industry. Just recently, Wired reported on the troubling rise in government-sponsored hacks ramping up during the pandemic.

Of course, your business may be looking at risks that look a lot less like an international spy thriller and a lot more like just messing up or losing all of your essential data or putting your customers’ information at risk.

No matter what you stand to lose, you need to make sure you have the right data security measures in place — which no longer means just having a paper shredder on site. If you’ve got a cloud-based accounting system, you need to look into how you’re going to protect your customers’ financial information.

The best news is that we work with companies of all sizes – so you don’t have to be a giant to get air-tight security in place for low-stress operations.

 

5. Two words: Bragging rights.

Okay, so maybe the water cooler talk may not precisely revolve around who saved the most paper that day, but we’re just saying that it could lean in that direction. Think how much fun you’ll have bonding with your coworkers once paper processing is a thing of the past!

Here, we’ll get things started with this freebie: “Wanna hear a joke about paper? Never mind, it’s tearable.”

 

6. You’ll save lots of moolah.

Four years ago, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC) and partners released findings that “paper is the largest waste category, and that if [large] companies reduced paper waste by just 1 percent, it would save them nearly $1 billion.”

Think about everything that goes into the paper process, too, even beyond just the paper itself: printer upkeep, ink, postage, office space for files, and employee time. Take all of that off your plate by investing in an overhaul that takes you into the digital future. Your savings will skyrocket.

 

7. Getting to communicate with clients faster.

Electronic communication is nothing if not efficient. You can send over the right papers in a flash rather than having to rely on old, antiquated means of transferring. And since we’ve already outlined how much more secure this method is, it’s a no-brainer.

 

8. All of your dreams will come true — you’ll be respected, wealthy, admired by all, and will have no problems ever again! 

… Okay, like the bragging rights bit, this one may be a bit of a stretch. However, you’ll certainly be saving yourself lots of time and headache in your day-to-day, and with something like that, who’s to say that the rest won’t fall into place?

AP Automation Explained

Accounts Payable is a crucial arm of any successful organization. Managing outgoing expenses and vendor and supplier partnerships is not an easy task, and without an effective process in place things can slip through the cracks.

The way the industry is moving, it’s no longer a question of if your organization will automate, it’s a question of when and how. To further understand the necessity of automating accounts payable, we’ll look at the technical definition, specific use cases, and how you can implement AP automation.

Defining AP Automation

In technical terms, Accounts Payable automation (AP Automation) refers to the technology used to streamline and automate accounts payable processes, removing manual tasks and providing better visibility and control over important financial data.

AP Automation isn’t just a piece of software you install on your computer, it’s a set of connected tools that work as one unified solution to simplify your organization’s processes.

These tools can include:

Using manual methods, the average invoice takes two weeks to process and requires approval from two to five people before it is fully processed. If your organization is processing hundreds of invoices monthly, relying on manual payment processing is simply inefficient. In a study on AP automation by the Ardent Group, best in class companies process invoices in less than 4 days while others can take over 13 days to process them.

By implementing AP Automation, your organization can:

  • Decrease invoice processing costs
  • Decrease invoice processing time
  • Capture more early payment discounts
  • Avoid late payment penalties and interest
  • Improve visibility over cash flow and liabilities

Cost-Driven Reasons to Automate AP

Manually processing an invoice tends to vary in cost. Some organizations with relatively streamlined processes may pay as low as $15 per invoice, while others may pay upwards of $40 per invoice. This accounts for labor, software systems, outsourcing, overhead costs, and other miscellaneous expenses. Unfortunately with manual processing comes human error. With each error made, your organization is faced with overpayments, duplicate payments, unused credit notes, and unclaimed discounts which ultimately drives costs up as well. Just a few mistakes over time can quickly cost your organization thousands of dollars.

With automation, the cost can be reduced to as low as $2 per invoice. AP Automation moves invoices along quicker than employees, and it eliminates the error associated with manual data entry (or any mishaps that may happen in the office). It’s more efficient, which means it works quicker, which means it can save both resources and money over time. The more efficient the system, the greater the cost savings.

How do I know if I should implement AP Automation?

Every organization is different in terms of need, ability, timeline, and budget to automate their current processes. Having executed hundreds of AP Automation projects, we’ve noticed patterns among our most successful deployments. If the following problems apply to your organization, you’re a perfect candidate for AP automation:

  • Process 500 or more invoices per month.
  • More than 2 full-time AP clerks
  • You are outsourcing your AP
  • Too many late payment penalties
  • Missing early payment discounts
  • Invoices processed in more than one location.
  • Manual data entry errors
  • Misplaced invoices and other documents take up to much time
  • There is a lack of visibility of cash flow

More often than not, some organizations that need a solution the most don’t realize it. Their current state of managing their processes is “good enough” so they’re resistant to change.

Why Implement AP Automation:

Beyond the clear cost incentives, AP Automation is a solution you can easily implement now to help your organization succeed long term.

  • Reduce the time required to process invoices
  • Eliminate the manual processes associated with routing, approving, and GL coding invoices
  • Process invoices faster and more accurately reducing payment errors
  • Reduced paper and improved operational efficiency
  • Better data visibility
  • Means real-time access across your organization
  • Streamline vendor invoice processing and manage discounts to improve cash flow
  • Ensure record retention compliance and keep documents safe and secure
  • Say goodbye to filing cabinets
  • Saves headaches come audit time – have peace of mind that you will find documents you need

How to implement it

As previously mentioned, AP Automation isn’t software you can simply download and install. There are many moving parts to an effective system, but by working with a partner that can design a solution that fits your exact needs, moving to a fully automated process becomes so much simpler.

Mosaic has vast experience in implementing smart automation solutions, and we constantly evolve to offer innovative solutions to transform our clients’ business processes.

Give us a call at 1-800-387-7859 to discuss your current AP process and learn how we can help transform your business. 

The Future of Accounts Payable

Focusing on the future of your business is always important, especially during times of change or uncertainty. When you’re faced with circumstances you can’t control, you should focus on things that you can. Evaluating your current processes and determining if they’ll be sustainable long-term is one of the best things you can focus on at any time, but especially right now. One process that is often overlooked due to misconceived notions that it’s working “well enough,” is Accounts Payable. After all, it can be a department where it’s difficult to see problems until they’re too big to handle. If your invoices are usually paid on time and you haven’t had any major problems, then seeing the value of investing in a solution to automate your current process may require a deeper look. 

Understanding what the future of accounts payable looks like as a whole can help influence your decision to focus on accounts payable within your organization right now. We’ll walk through some insights and trends that are guiding the future of accounting, and share how we can help implement this investment.

Mosaic’s partner, DocStar partly sponsored a report from Levvel Research reviewing insights from 2019 and predicting what the future of accounts payable might look like. 

What they found

Solutions are becoming more accessible.

The market looks much different now than it has in the past. With more and more software options available, businesses of all sizes and industries now have access to the same resources that were previously only available to enterprise accounts. The solutions on the market today are more widely available, more cost-effective, and more flexible. Businesses can choose what they want their deployment model to look like and can customize it to be on-premise or in the cloud. 

Back-office operations are being better supported.

Customer-facing processes typically are the focus for most technology initiatives, which can benefit an organization’s overall success but doesn’t solve key issues. Companies are recognizing that investing in technology for back-office operations can benefit financial and operational health just as much as targeting customer-facing initiatives. These processes in the past were typically put on the back burner to focus on front-facing efforts, under the guise that back-office processes didn’t have as much of an impact. For many of those processes, specifically Accounts Payable, their success carries much of the organization’s success. Businesses are realizing this, and are investing accordingly to focus on their company’s overall wellbeing vs. simply looking good on the surface.  

Scalability is key.

Simple, single-point solutions are no longer effective for businesses in today’s environment. Businesses are seeking out solutions that can scale and transform entire departments rather than a single pain point. Automation within Accounts Payable can be utilized to enable scalable growth. This creates a competitive advantage and can help companies leverage their AP Automation investment across different areas of their business, including Human Resources and sales, further helping organizations gain a competitive advantage and succeed long term.

How to tell if AP Automation is right for your organization

While there’s no checklist of the exact qualifications a good AP Automation candidate has, there are patterns among organizations that indicate whether or not they can benefit from an AP overhaul. More often than not, organizations that need a solution the most don’t realize it. Their current state of managing their processes is “good enough” so they’re resistant to change, but they don’t realize how many small issues are adding up to create a much larger problem. 

Some key indicators include processing 500 or more invoices per month with more than 2 full-time AP clerks, or if you’re outsourcing your AP or are processing invoices in more than one location. If your organization is finding itself saddled with late payment penalties and are missing out on early payment discounts, have manual data entry errors, misplaced invoices and other documents, and a lack of visibility of your cash flow, that’s also a crucial indicator of your organization’s need.

Even if you don’t hit all of the checkmarks, your organization may still be a good candidate for AP Automation. Making the decision to transform your current process isn’t one that should be made lightly, but it is also one that comes with little risk and high reward. By working with a partner who has seen projects of all types be successfully deployed, you can feel even more confident in your decision.

How Mosaic can help

We’ve deployed a wide range of AP Automation projects, and understand the individual needs of organizations and departments. We can work with you to assess your needs and determine the process that will work best for you. Give us a call at 1-800-387-7859 to discuss your current process and how our solutions can simplify it. 

How to Automate Purchase Requisitions

At some point or another, an organization needs to purchase products, services, or other items for their business. Some of these are recurring purchases like stationary or cleaning supplies, but what about other necessary purchases that are less frequent? Successful organizations need to manage these purchases in a way that ensures funds are being responsibly spent and are being tracked. The most common and effective way to do this is through purchase requisitions. We’ll cover what a purchase requisition is, how they work, and how Mosaic can help your organization automate this process to be even more effective for your organization’s needs.

What is a Purchase Requisition? 

Purchase requisitions are a key document in the accounting process for many organizations. Unlike a purchase order, which is the document used to acquire goods or services, a purchase requisition is a document that employees utilize to request the purchase of goods or services, essentially it’s the step required before the purchase order. 

How do purchase requisitions work?

Traditionally, a purchase requisition starts with an employee wanting to purchase something, whether it’s a physical item, digital software, training, or a service, in most organizations, employees need to get internal approval from their manager, department head, leadership, or accounting. Some organizations require a purchase requisition for every form, others have a set dollar threshold, and others only require it for specific departments.

For some organizations, this may be a physical form that employees need to fill out and drop off to those who need to approve it, for others, there may be no real process beyond employees emailing their request, which makes it impossible to track and difficult to approve. 

Typically the information needed to complete this request includes, Product description and quantity, name of vendor, price, name and department of purchaser, and other company or department specific information. 

Purchase requisitions are important to plan for future spending, avoid mistakes or unpaid invoices, and can simplify the procurement process. 

To better understand the importance of this process, consider this:

An employee in one department at an organization realizes that they are running low on a specific item that they use daily, so they simply go ahead and purchase it using their company credit card. A few days later, before the shipment has arrived, an employee in a different department realizes the same item is running low, so they do the same thing and purchase the item, in the same quantity, to be used for the same purpose. Without either of them realizing it, that item has been double purchased and now the company is paying double what they should have. Now in this scenario it’s not the end of the world, but if this scenario happens frequently, it leads to overspending and a surplus of items. 

How the Purchase Requisitions process can be automated

To avoid the situation described above, it’s important to establish a clear and easy-to-use process for employees to utilize for future purchases. Just using a standard form isn’t enough to create an efficient and effective process, but with web forms and document management, you can easily create a process that works for your organization’s needs. 

By building your purchase requisition form as a web form, employees can access it from anywhere at any time. You can create the fields to match the requirements, and can even include fields such as department, e-signatures, and others that pertain to your existing accounting process. 

It’s important to utilize a holistic approach with purchase requisitions in this process rather than simply using a form and completing the rest of the tasks manually. If a form gets sent via email to a manager who needs to approve it, they may not see it, or may not properly notify the employee of the approval.  

AP specialist then needs to manually enter it into their ERP system, which is prone to mistakes from misreading the form, accidentally clicking the wrong keys, or other human error. Once the information is gathered from the form, where does it go? Does it get printed and filed away? Does it go into a shared folder that isn’t searchable or secure? While creating a web form solves one problem, it leaves others unanswered, but automation can change all that. 

With a complete automation suite, things can be streamlined even further. Once a web form is created and is completed by an employee, it can get automatically sent to their manager, who can quickly approve it and notify the employee of the approval. That form can then get automatically pushed to your ERP, where your accounting department can then properly plan for the costs, and also get filed into your document management system, which will establish a record of spending history with that employee. 

This process is simple and secure, and can save your employees time, money, and resources. 

Mosaic has experience in creating custom automation solutions for purchase requisitions for organizations of all sizes and across industries. Give us a call at 1-800-387-7859 to discuss your options.  

Understanding Procure to Payment Automation

One of the most common problem areas for organizations is Accounts Payable. Typically this part of the organization relies on outdated processes, antiquated technology, and overall operates nowhere near as efficiently as it should. Because of this, you may end up with late payments, frustrated vendors, and burnt-out employees. Automating Accounts Payable is a crucial step in creating a completely automated organization.

When looking to improve your organization’s Accounts Payable processes, a good place to start is within the Procure to Pay (P2P) process. Some common pain points within your process may be that it differs across departments, the technology you use is inadequate, there’s too much paper in the process, and that you are using several disjointed systems.

Almost half of organizations don’t have centralized procurement, which alone can cause a completely inefficient process cross-departmentally. By not having a simplified, standardized procurement process, you risk late payments and hiccups within your process. In fact, 25% of organizations don’t even have a formal process for managing and monitoring budgets, which if left unaddressed, can be detrimental to an organization.

What does a typical P2P process look like?

  1. Create requisitions
  2. Approve requisitions
  3. Create a purchase order
  4. Approve purchase order
  5. Accept or reject receipt
  6. Evaluate supplier
  7. Approve invoice
  8. Pay vendor

 

Typically each of these steps are done manually. You have someone create the requisitions, someone else to approve them, someone who creates the PO, someone who approves it, and each step is passing paper back and forth between employees and departments until you reach the final step. The biggest issue is that there is a large margin for error within each of these steps. Maintaining consistent communication throughout the process can be difficult, and may lead to problems.

How can you automate each of these steps? It may be assumed that you would need to implement a separate solution for each part of the process, but a holistic, smartly integrated automation suite can solve your workflow woes all in one place.

Invoice Matching

Easily match vendor invoice, purchase order, and product receipt information. A state-of-the-art ECM (such as DocStar) makes matching and routing invoices to their correct recipients is incredibly simple. Many top organizations get started by using an ECM then progress to a system that combines workflow enabled logic with Artificial Intelligence to make their process even smarter (and faster). Quickly identify discrepancies with little manual work by utilizing Smart Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Create & approve requisitions and purchase orders

By utilizing our web forms product you can create custom forms for requisitions and purchase orders. These can easily be completed by employees and immediately sent to managers for approval.

ERP Integration

Utilizing an intuitive system that integrates with your ERP is crucial. The key to a successful fully automated P2P process is working with an ECM and solution provider that has pre-built integrations, and the experience to do it successfully. The best ECM providers can work to create an integration in areas where you use an API or where prebuilt integration does not exist by leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to scrape the UI, extract the data, then push it to your line of business application. With integration, key tasks can be automated with close to no manual efforts and it’s much simpler to monitor procurements and budgets.

How we can help

Automating your entire P2P process can seem overwhelming, but we’ve had over 20 years of experience in helping customers simplify complex processes. With pre-built in ERP integration, Artificial Intelligence capabilities, and smart OCR and RPA, Mosaic can create a fully customized automation plan for your procure to payment process. We’ll help you save time, money, and resources while moving towards complete automation.

Schedule a demo with us!

Call 1-800-387-7859