Successful business leaders know that managing cash flow is critical, especially for organizations experiencing rapid growth. A well-governed and efficient invoicing process ensures that cash outflows receive appropriate review before approval and that vendors and business partners are paid on time by Accounts Payable.
With the right technology and underlying processes, an end-to-end invoicing solution can become a powerful asset to an organization, delivering a predictable approach to managing payments.
However, when either the technology or the process is not well designed, this core function can become a liability that slows down operations, fails to exert proper oversight, and increases the risk that unauthorized payments are issued.
Not all AP solutions are created equal
Many organizations, as they mature, recognize that the best way to scale the Accounts Payable function and reduce the errors inherent in manual processes is to implement some type of automation. While the software market offers a vast array of on-premises and cloud-based solutions that seek to meet this need, not all Accounts Payable solutions are as nimble as the organization may need.
This is especially true when the Accounts Payable functionality is embedded within a broader financial management system, as this can make customization difficult and expensive.
These challenges are neither unique nor static, and as organizations grow and evolve, the manner in which they manage Accounts Payable must evolve as well.
How Nintex improved our own process
At Nintex, our previous solution was part of a Software as a Service package that included invoice management and reporting. Despite our best efforts, this solution was unable to meet our rapidly growing requirements, and its limitations were beginning to affect critical business functions, such as invoice approval, fulfillment, and reporting.
We needed a solution that would compliment and enhance our established business processes while maintaining a high degree of flexibility to support rapid growth and evolution in our company and processes.
Nintex’s IT department started working with the Finance department to help define and prioritize their requirements. It quickly became clear that the Nintex process management and automation platform could not only deliver a better experience, it also could empower our teams with a far more collaborative way of working.
Our Accounts Payable team worked closely with Nintex’s internal IT business analysts. Together they designed a solution that dramatically reduced the time required to enter and approve invoices, improved the ability to identify and resolve errors, and simplified data exports for reporting.
Invoice approvers now use a customized form with all the information required to execute an informed approval, and Nintex workflow drives a process that aligns with our specific requirements.
Evolving with our needs
While the new solution significantly improved the AP team’s throughput and efficiency, one of its greatest benefits is the speed with which IT can now improve AP processes in response to user feedback. For example, as someone who approves invoices on a daily basis, I can filter feedback through our business analysts and see modifications go live in days, in full compliance with our formal change management procedures.
The rapid prototyping capability and close collaboration with the Account Payable team have made this one of the most successful solutions that IT has deployed on the Nintex Platform. The results validate the importance of inter-departmental partnerships in IT’s efforts to drive business value and implement positive change with technology.
We have now processed more than 9,500 invoices across 3,000 vendors.
Best of all, with Nintex’s inherent flexibility, the solution will remain relevant as the underlying business processes evolve — and even improve as the people who use it imagine better ways of working.