The best products and companies are the ones that arise out of a customer need or desire. That may seem like an obvious thought. How then does one explain the existence of products like the ones pictured above? They are “sunlight-powered dancing toys” and they do exactly what their name implies. Set near a window, they shimmy back and forth, endlessly finding their groove. Someone desired this? Apparently, many people. My own parents have at least 10 of them.
People want what they want, and there is no end to the diversity of silliness that people desire. Whether frivolous or not, products come into existence primarily to serve a need. If there’s a market for something, it will exist.
While the products and companies we at FileSolve deal with – and those you work with in your professional lives – may be a tad more serious, the principle is the same. For all of us, desires and needs are no less real. They are the progenitors that bring about products and companies that bring about more change.
One of the areas we’re happy to serve is the realm of accounts payable. We all pay the bills, and large companies are no different. If you think you’ve got it tough trying to keep your monthly personal banking receipts in order, imagine companies with hundreds of vendors and thousands of customers. Helping those pros better manage the invoice processing operations – and reaping more benefit from it – is one of the primary things that drive us. Revenue cycle analytics is hardly a thrilling term, but its impact can be astounding.
“’In this day and age, the reality is that no one likes manually processing invoices,” says Meredith Ritchie, FileSolve’s director of business process outsource solutions. “In today’s AP environment, it’s all about efficiency. Being able to process more invoices faster and more accurately enables companies to both take advantage of vendors’ early-pay discounts and to focus their efforts on more important revenue generating tasks than labor intensive key entry and scanning.”
It’s that straightforward. Statistics bear out her point, too.
What drives up the cost per invoice represented by this chart? Pesky humans. According to American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) research, labor costs can eat up as much as 62% of total AP costs. Humans get tired. Fatigue leads to decreased production and increased errors. In an environment where an automated Accounts Payable (AP) processing system isn’t present, that means more humans are brought in to rectify the problem – which can lead to more of the same issues. It becomes a vicious circle.
“The technology exists to help streamline standard, repeatable AP process workflows,” says Ritchie. “There’s really no debating its inherent value; the question becomes ‘How can it be done better and faster?’”
Accounts Payable Processing Experience
FileSolve’s experience helping with AP processing has been a result of talking with individuals in the industry, and learning about their needs, their expectations and even their apprehensions. Making the transition to an automated AP solution can be intimating if it’s brand new. The consultative approach is an essential part of any such transition.
I can remember my freshman year of high school, trying to learn algebra. My sister, who was a whiz at the subject, would get so angry with my lack of understanding that she’d throw erasers at me. We’d finally work our way through one problem and she would tell me to do the next one the same way. I’d tell her I couldn’t, because the numbers (and letters – it was algebra) were different. The lesson? Unless you understand the principles underneath the problems, true solutions can never be achieved. Therein lies the magic of business process consulting.
“Businesses deal with invoices every day. As our economy becomes more Internet-based and the volume of work grows and grows, transitioning the AP process to an electronic system is just smart,” says Ritchie. “Finding ways to enhance efficiency is really a way to make a business – any business – stronger, more stable, and more responsive to its customers’ needs. Finding those new ways forward is exciting.”
In fact, it might even be something to help you find your sunlight-powered dancing groove.