Are you on top of your supplier invoice management?
Losing track of your stock is never fun, and finding out you’ve also lost money as a result ofpreventable mistakes can be even worse…
If you’re having issues with invoicing, it’s important to be sure that your supplier lists are accurate so invoices are error-free.
There can be no doubt: making use of a digital stock management system is worth the effort.
However, getting started with stock control can be challenging, particularly if you’re a growing business. If you’re frequently changing retailers to find the best deals, or managing large volumes of work it’s not a surprise that invoice management of these suppliers can get complicated and frustrating.
Do you know exactly what is getting in the way of seamless partnerships with your suppliers?
These are some of the most common problems with supplier invoice management you’ll come across, and we’ll look at the systems that can help solve them:
Invoice management refers to the organisation of important payment data.
You’ll generate invoices for all sorts of reasons. These include the jobs you complete, but also the supplies, parts, and inventory you need for these jobs.
A supplier invoice management system helps you keep track of all this data through software.
Software makes the purchase of products and the processing of payment for these items simple. They’ll help you track parts, suppliers, and more, with ease.
But to make it simple, it helps to understand the problems that can get in your way…
Problem #1: “Our suppliers format their invoices differently.”
One problem that makes invoicing a challenge is having multiple suppliers and vendors whom you buy from. Invoices can look different, and be processed in different ways, and that requires time and energy to review.
You could be forgiven for thinking that so long as you have all the details you need to process a supplier invoice, there’s no harm in it taking a little extra admin time to sort out.
However, it’s true that invoicing accurately takes time and inefficiencies can slow down productivity. If you’re constantly looking for information in different places, it can be distracting.
Not only that, but tedious activities can make it harder to fall into a flow state, which makes repetitive admin tasks feel more difficult, frustrating, and this can increase the likelihood of errors.
Delays, of any kind, will add up in the long run, and can even cost you money.
To avoid costly problems, it helps if you can run every invoice through a tool that turns them into a standard format. Dedicated software exists to help, but an easier solution should hopefully exist in your job management software, so be sure to check for an automated invoice-importing feature.
Not only is it much easier to add information to an existing database, but automated supplier invoice importing can make reading, analysing, and completing data entry so much more straightforward because the management system takes care of it for you.
We all make mistakes, but there’s a difference between picking up the wrong screwdriver and misplacing a decimal point. One is embarrassing, the other can be expensive!
Something as simple as inputting the wrong digit or symbol can damage your bottom line, all because you have to:
recall an invoice
chase money that shouldn’t have gone out
handle service calls with frustrated clients
Such tasks can also damage your reputation. You’ll find a few suppliers who will want to continue working with a business that’s not paying attention.
For many field service businesses, invoicing errors are most likely to occur due to mismanaged stock and parts; this is a particular problem if you’ve not properly assessed your chosen suppliers.
Manual invoicing, simply, is more prone to errors.
For instance: an engineer may be so focused on getting a repair job done that it can be easy for them to forget to record all the items they’ve used. If that data is inaccurate, then the purchase order your admin team sent off will miss parts that you might need later down the line.
While no two jobs are the same, with the right systems in place you can easily track and manage payments for stock and parts. This ensures that all jobs are invoiced in the same way (and that they’re correct).
This means human error is only ever mildly embarrassing, rather than financially damaging.
Problem #3: “We’re having to do double data entry; it’s time-consuming!”
To solve another of your invoicing problems, you need to think about how you regulate your processes and manage data. For instance:
How do your engineers and staff keep track of your stock data?
Are they relying on paper job sheets and lists?
Do they have access to stats on/off-site?
There are many ways to track your data. However, the best solution is to have an all-in-one database that lets you see information clearly. This way you can access it easily and apply it practically.
When you think about all the information you need to complete a supplier invoice, I’m sure you’d agree it needs to be accessible.
This way, whoever is responsible can have a straightforward and pain-free experience getting the necessary details to create an invoice.
Of course, avoiding double data entry is great. Even better is making sure that your staff can do their work, no matter where they are.
This brings us to our final problem:
Problem #4: “We can only raise invoices in the office.”
There’s nothing worse than having to traipse back and forth between working in the field and working in the office, just to do some admin work. By today’s standards, this work should be doable on a mobile or tablet device.
It makes a lot of sense to upgrade to a digital invoicing solution. Not only for speed, but because engineers can complete jobs and improve the customer experience at the same time.
These are contemporary solutions to age-old problems and modern technology is here to lend a big helping hand.
Speaking with Jibran Qureshi of Clear House Accountants, he discussed the need for businesses to go truly digital with accounts.
When we spoke with Jibran, he said the biggest issue is working with large companies that simply haven’t taken the steps to roll with the times. This is something that will have hurt businesses that weren’t caught up ahead of the pandemic. With the world now more digital than ever, these solutions are essential to success.
Of course, it’s still a challenge:
“The biggest problem we see is that the traditional way of doing things is so ingrained with [large companies], that processes haven’t changed and haven’t grown with the company … If you go back 15 years,” Jibran went on to say,“accounting was largely done on a piece of paper, so we had all these ledger books, but if you look at accounting now, things have changed! […] You can use data to assess, in real-time, how your business is performing.”
Being able to invoice at speed is just one benefit of going digital with your data, but being able to extrapolate and apply the data you’ve obtained and put it to practical use quickly is another.
It can dramatically improve your decision-making, and help you build a more secure bottom line, especially when you can rely on your system to assess data and manage supplier invoices with ease.
Making the most of your supplier invoice management system:
By improving your supplier invoice management system, you can prevent all sorts of pains from impacting your business and negatively influencing cash flow.
While you may have diligent engineers and on-point admin staff, why not make their lives easier with a tool? Software can empower them to do more and do it accurately, giving everyone more confidence!
Of course, it can be all too easy to fall at the final hurdle; the last thing you want is for payments to be delayed and invoice messages missed. That’s why we’ve put together this free guide: