10.03.14 |
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The Future is Mobile, Even for Accounts Payable Operations

FutureToday, the number of networked devices in use equals the global population. Within just a year, the number of devices is expected to be twice the global population. Every minute, 1,300 new mobile users are being added and 204 million emails are sent and growing exponentially1. There is no doubt, the future is going mobile.

Consumers are using more smartphones and tablets than desktops and laptops. While worldwide PC shipments declined 6.9 percent (2013 compared to 2012)2, sales of smartphones have increased by 42 percent (2013 over 2012)3, according to Gartner. Though the business-to-business (B2B) world is lagging behind currently, it is catching up quickly. Online banking is a great example of how this trend is picking up in the B2B space as well. Now, you no longer need to go to your bank teller or ATM machine to deposit a check. Many banks offer the flexibility of depositing a check by simply snapping a picture of the check with your phone and uploading it.

So why not use the same concept to automate the invoice submission process? Allow suppliers to leverage their smartphones or tablets to take a picture of the invoice, add a few key fields of data and submit the invoice to approvers in the buying organization. For suppliers, this means no more printing invoices, stuffing them in envelops, putting a stamp on it and mailing it to the buyer. On the buyer side, they no longer have to deal with opening the envelopes, sorting the documents, scanning the paper invoices, extracting the data and manually routing the invoice for approval. Dozens of manual, labor-intensive steps can be substantially reduced  by providing this capability.

As we mentioned in the previous post on this blog – “Multiple Methods for Invoice Submission: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All Suppliers” – giving your suppliers more than one way in which they can submit invoices can drive supplier adoption and in turn contribute to the success of your electronic invoicing initiative. So mobile invoice submission can become another arrow in your quiver for this purpose.

And once the invoice has been submitted to the appropriate approver within the buying organization, why not use a mobile device to approve the invoice as well? If your users can access the invoice on their mobile device, view the relevant line-level detail and attachments, add any comments needed and approve/dispute/reject the invoice from the device itself, it can save time and effort needed to log into the application from a computer and process the invoice. This functionality could be especially valuable to approvers who are frequently out of the office and would have the ability to access and approve invoices on the go from anywhere – whether on an airplane or in the field.

It’s time to jump on the mobile bandwagon and start thinking about your mobility strategy as it pertains to accounts payable operations. Don’t get left behind.




1 http://whatsthebigdata.com/2013/05/10/data-explosion-an-internet-minute/
2 http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2647517
3 http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2665715


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