Invoice approvals are important for the smooth functioning of your accounts payable. Empower your team to make faster decisions and improve cash flow management with InvoiceAction. Take control of your approvals!
As a financial professional, it is imperative to clearly understand all financial processes within your organization to ensure efficient and effective financial management. One of these processes that should be noticed more is the approval of invoices. In this blog post, we will dive into invoice approvals, why they are essential, and how they can benefit your invoice management.
Invoice approvals are an essential part of any company’s financial management process. It reviews and approves invoices before they are paid to vendors or suppliers.
The approval of invoices usually involves verifying the accuracy of the invoice details, ensuring that the goods or services have been received, and ensuring that the prices or fees charged align with the agreement or contract terms. This step is essential to avoid any overpayment or payment for services not rendered.
One of the main reasons why invoice approvals are crucial is to prevent fraud. With approval of invoices, companies can confirm that they are only paying for the goods and services legitimately received and not for any suspicious invoices.
Proper invoice approvals can also help manage expenses, stay within budget, and improve cash flow. This is because the invoice approval process flags any discrepancies or errors in the invoice, ensuring that any overpayments or duplicate payment errors are corrected before payment is processed.
Besides safeguarding from fraudulent activities, the benefits of approval of invoices can be manifold. One such benefit is reducing processing time and costs. Invoices can be processed more quickly and efficiently since errors and discrepancies can be flagged in the approval process, reducing the time spent on resolving such issues.
Additionally, under a manual invoice approval process, approvals can only fall through with proper tracking, whereas through an automated system, the invoice approval routing is transparent and auditable.
Centralizing the invoice approval process allows for better data capture, more visibility into the invoice approval process, and trend analysis to improve operational inefficiencies in invoice processing.
The process of invoice approvals, also known as invoice approvals workflow, involves several steps to ensure the accurate and timely processing of invoices within an organization. Here is a typical outline of the approval of invoices workflow.
The process of approval of invoices begins with receiving an invoice from the vendor or supplier. The invoice contains details of the products or services and the amount due.
The invoice is verified to align with the purchase order or contract terms. The invoice is then matched with supporting documents, such as delivery receipts or service completion reports, to confirm that the goods or services were received as expected.
The invoice is reviewed by the relevant stakeholders, such as department managers or project leads, to ensure the accuracy of the charges and compliance with company policies. If necessary, the invoice may go through multiple levels of approval based on predefined thresholds or authorization hierarchies.
Once approved, the invoice is coded with the appropriate account codes and entered into the organization’s accounting system. This step ensures accurate recording of expenses and facilitates tracking and reporting.
The next step in the invoice approving process is that once the invoice is approved and entered into the accounting system, it proceeds to the payment processing stage. The payment can be made through various methods, such as electronic funds transfer (EFT), checks, or online payment platforms.
Finally, the approved invoice and all related supporting documents are stored and archived for future reference and audit purposes. This step in the invoice approving process ensures that the organization maintains proper records and can easily access them.
It’s important to note that the specific steps and workflows of the invoice approving process may vary depending on the organization’s size, industry, and internal processes.
Some companies may have automated invoice approval systems, which streamline the process and reduce manual effort and errors.
The invoice approver is typically a designated individual or department within an organization who has the authority to review and authorize the payment of invoices. The specific approver may vary depending on the company’s structure and internal processes. Here are some common roles that may serve as invoice approvers:
In many organizations, the first-level invoice approver is the department manager or supervisor responsible for the goods or services provided on the invoice. They review the invoice to ensure that it aligns with the department’s budget and that the goods or services were received as expected.
The finance or accounting manager is often involved in the invoice approval process to ensure compliance with financial policies and procedures. They review the invoice for accuracy, proper coding, and adherence to company guidelines.
The project manager may be the invoice approver for any invoices related to specific projects or contracts. They verify that the services or deliverables outlined in the project scope were completed satisfactorily before approving the invoice.
In some cases, high-value or exceptional invoices may require approval from senior management or executives. This could include invoices for large purchases, significant contracts, or expenses outside the ordinary business course.
The accounts payable team plays a crucial role in invoice processing and may also serve as the final approver. They ensure that all necessary checks and balances have been completed before initiating payment.
It’s important to note that the approval hierarchy and process can vary based on the organization’s structure and policies. Some companies may have predefined approval workflows in place, while others may rely on ad-hoc approvals based on specific thresholds or circumstances.
Implementing invoice approvals can be straightforward. The first step is to create a transparent invoice approval process and communicate it with the team. The approval process should list all details required to approve an invoice, the hierarchy of approvers and their sign-off scope, and how to manage exceptions.
Secondly, organizations can adopt a digital invoicing solution that streamlines the entire invoicing process, including invoice scanning, data entry, and approval routing. This can help eliminate duplications and errors in the invoice system.
When it comes to invoice approvals, following best practices can help streamline the process, ensure accuracy, and maintain strong financial controls. Here are some recommended best practices for invoice approvals:
By implementing these best practices, financial controllers can enhance the invoice approval process, reduce errors and delays, maintain financial controls, and promote strong vendor relationships.
InvoiceAction by Artsyl is a powerful software solution that facilitates and streamlines invoice approval. Here’s how InvoiceAction helps in the invoice approval workflow:
InvoiceAction automatically captures invoice data from various sources, such as paper documents, emails, and electronic files. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the chances of errors. The captured data is then validated and transformed into a standardized format for further processing.
InvoiceAction intelligently routes invoices to the appropriate approvers based on predefined workflows and approval rules. This ensures that invoices reach the right individuals for review and approval in a timely manner. Invoice approvers can be assigned based on the invoice amount, vendor, or department criteria.
InvoiceAction provides real-time visibility into the status of invoices in the approval process. Approvers receive notifications and alerts when new invoices are assigned to them, ensuring they stay informed and can take timely action. This improves communication and expedites the approval cycle.
InvoiceAction applies rule-based validation to invoices, checking for discrepancies, errors, and potential issues. It can flag invoices not complying with predefined rules, such as missing information or pricing discrepancies, allowing for easy identification and resolution of exceptions.
InvoiceAction seamlessly integrates with different ERP systems, allowing for the automatic transfer of approved invoices and associated data into the accounting system for payment processing. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the risk of errors during data transfer.
By leveraging InvoiceAction, businesses can significantly streamline their invoice approval process, reduce manual effort, improve accuracy, enhance stakeholder communication, and accelerate the payment cycle.
In addition, InvoiceAction’s automation capabilities and intelligent document routing ensure efficient approval workflows and help businesses achieve greater control and visibility over invoice processing operations.
In conclusion, invoice approvals are an integral part of financial management that should be noticed. It is the first line of defense against fraud, duplicate payments, and pricing errors. Implementing an appropriate invoice approval process can benefit organizations by reducing processing time and costs, improving cash flow management, and increasing transparency and data capture.
As a financial professional, it is essential to understand the importance of an efficient invoice approval process in achieving more effective financial management.