Taking Accounts Payable Automation Mobile
January 28, 2013
It’s no secret that mobile devices are the fastest growing category of computers. iPhones, Androids, smartphones and tablets are on the streets, in the office, on beaches, everywhere. They’ve become the computing device of choice for many, and in particular for on-the-go hard-chargers. There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps, most of them focused on entertainment.
So why aren’t enterprise software apps, like accounts payable, leveraging mobile devices? The answer lies in the fact that they were built for a different environment – networked PCs and servers. Integration requires development of the software to integrate them, but it also requires re-thinking some fundamental principles.
While a few early integrations extended some accounts payable apps via a browser or e-mail, they didn’t address security requirements. Something as simple as leaving your iPad on your desk while you get a cup of coffee invites one of the most common instances of corporate fraud: an unauthorized individual could pick up your iPad and approve a fraudulent invoice in a matter of seconds.
But what about using the mobile device to capture images of documents, such as invoices, receipts and related information? Capturing images via the mobile device will speed processing and reduce errors – a great thing for sure – but security requirements can’t be overlooked and image quality must be enhanced.
In terms of maintaining document security within the enterprise, capture applications need to provide secure chain of custody and ensure that the information is only available to process participants. As for quality, let me ask you a question: have you ever captured an image of a document with a mobile device? Quality typically suffers from poor image registration, poor lighting, and irregularities (such as folds or stains in the document). These quality issues will undoubtedly impact the automated capture and data extraction process by slowing it down and potentially resulting in data entry errors, lost revenue or annoyed suppliers.
However, that has now all changed. There is technology available today that extends true mobility to accounts payable automation that combines mobile capture with AP automation software. Suppliers and employees can now use the cameras embedded in their mobile devices to capture an invoice, receipt or other document. Patented imaging technology perfects the document image, including registration, contrast, lighting and other enhancements to ensure it is functional downstream.
Additionally, a secure chain of custody that ensures the privacy of invoice information is incorporated in solutions available today. When integrating mobility into accounts payable you must be able to securely extend the discrepancy review and approval process to iPhones, iPads, and Android (News - Alert) devices. Users are required to sign on to an AP automation software, which conforms with enterprise security standards. All associated information, including an image of the original invoice and ERP data, can be accessed on the mobile device. All appropriate functions are available, including “approve”, “reject”, “return to supplier” and others.
The mobile device can truly be an extension of AP automation. The result is faster invoice approvals, increased on-time payments, happier suppliers and improved internal controls. Are you ready to take AP automation mobile?
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Edited by Brooke Neuman