December 6, 2012 EIPP and AP Manager Quality of Life
When we discuss the benefits of Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP), it is usually around efficiency gains, reduced error rates and additional tangible benefits like dynamic discounting. But one of the greatest benefits is the improved “quality of life” for the AP manager.
Traditionally, the payables department deals with a lot of fires that normally stem from a supplier that needs to get paid, or someone that got paid when they shouldn’t have. There are other issues like an invoice being improperly coding, or audit questions around if all the correct signatures were all collected, but more often the panic raising issues deal with some supplier who hasn’t been paid and no one knows why, or a supplier who was paid when they shouldn’t have been. The crisis usually starts with a conversation between some employee and a supplier where the employee is saying something like, “that should have been paid already, let me see what’s going on”, followed by some disparaging remark towards the payables department and emails cc’ing everyone’s boss.
Enter EIPP. Organizations are amazed with how smoothly payables runs when invoices are visible from day one. When a supplier submits an invoice through a web portal, or uploads a file, the invoice is immediately visible to everyone in both organizations (at least with a high quality EIPP solution). Anyone, including the supplier can see where the invoice is, and if it has been approved or matched or paid.
All of the mystery and distrust melt away. There’s no finger pointing of who was responsible for losing the invoice. Did the supplier really send it? Did the manager really approve it and forward it on? Did a payables clerk accidentally file it in the wrong pile? All of those issues disappear with electronic invoice presentment and payment.
The result of EIPP is a more visible and uniform process, which in turn, means less fire fighting. As one manager after implementing electronic invoice presentment and payment put it, “we became seen in the best light ever”. And that’s what EIPP should do. It should lower your per invoice cost and it should make your payables department look good. And if your payables department looks good, the blood pressure of your AP manager should drop a few points back down towards normal.