AP automation is not achieved simply by integrating an electronic invoicing solution to and ERP system. A significant percentage of invoices received by any organization cannot be matched with a purchase order and receipt record first time and they require a sophisticated invoice workflow to anticipate and mange the exceptions to the simplistic invoice process. Consider first the details of the invoice workflow in the contest of the purchasing process.
The invoice workflow process illustrated is very high level and assumed that the process is straightforward i.e. there is a purchase order; there is an exact match between the P.O. and the invoice (perhaps even a single line P.O.) and that the goods are reciepted correctly. In reality however there are numerous exceptions to this simple scenario. Examples include:
- Many P.O. lines
- Partial shipments
- Multiple P.O. referenced on a single invoice
- Returned all or some goods (partial receipt)
- Poor or no receipting process
- No P.O. referenced on invoice
- No P.O. in respect to the invoice
These exceptions need to be managed and in an automated environment, the process for exception management needs to be understood in great detail.