The origin of the vertical filing cabinet is an unsolved mystery. According to the 'Vertical Filing Cabinet' section of the Early Office Museum website, there’s some controversy as to when the vertical filing cabinet first appeared. But whenever it arrived, it’s a genuinely terrifying thought that the filing cabinet just showed up one day and we all started using it without questioning its existence. That’s a little weird, right?
Some sources claim that a gold medal was presented at the World’s Fair of 1893 for a vertical file. However, The Early Office Museum found no evidence to substantiate those claims. Research by author Ester Ellen-Poe suggests that commercial introduction of vertical filing may have occurred in 1900, when a company named the Library Bureau published a catalog that included a vertical filing cabinet.
115 years later, the filing cabinet isn’t the modern marvel of efficiency and convenience it once was. With the advent of computers and electronic directories, the filing cabinet has become a cobweb-covered crypt for lost invoices and forgotten documents. Lurking deep within the cavities of the cabinet is a monster lying in wait: the pale and sharp-edged creature we call paper.
The Monster In Your Filing Cabinet
We’ve become so accustomed to working with this beast that we don’t see how destructive it really is. It feeds off time and money, wreaking havoc on workflows. It begins costing your organization money the moment it enters your workplace. You slice open the envelope and let the invoice out, and it immediately sets out on a path to chew up as many resources as possible.
The monster starts by feeding off your employees’ time, requiring some poor soul to receive the invoice, open it, compare it against a PO, and then route it on so that it can be coded and approved. Then, someone still has to check the budget, enter it into your accounting system, and add it to the general ledger before you can even think about cutting a check and filing the thing away. All this is to say nothing of the paper envelopes and postage required. Just how much the monster consumes varies by organization, depending on how many invoices and payments the business processes and how many AP professionals it employs.
On average, companies pay more than $22 to process and pay a single invoice. Don’t think for a second that you’ve conquered the monster simply because you’ve worked all the way through to the payment process. Days, weeks, or months down the road, someone is going to have a question about an invoice that will necessitate you walking over to your filing cabinet with cold beads of sweat forming on your forehead. You’re not scared of what you will find –you’re now scared of what you won’t find.
AP automation tames the beast and puts it to work for you. Invoices are processed electronically and stored in a secure, cloud-based environment so you can enjoy 24/7 access anytime, anywhere. With real-time visibility, improved accuracy, and fraud detection you will maintain greater control over every invoice and payment your company makes.
Slaying the Beast of Inefficiency
How do you stop a werewolf? Silver bullets, of course. How does one deal with a vampire? Exposure to sunlight or a stake through the heart will do the trick. But how do you slay the beast of inefficiency? You need the power of AP and payment automation!
In an automated system, the AP department’s eInvoicing software receives an electronic version of the vendor’s invoice, either with or without a separate electronic purchase order. The system pulls information from the invoice and uses it to auto-populate electronic documents, checking it against multiple sources. Automated routing and approval workflow capabilities eliminate the long paper trail of manual invoice approval processes, shortening approval periods and getting invoices paid much faster than convoluted and indirect tactics.
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The system flags exceptions and routes them to an AP associate, who determines whether to call the supplier or research the issue further. As for reporting and analysis, AP professionals can log in to the system to study reports that are available, subject to their access credentials. AP specialists can access reports on transactions handled, while managers can see the performance of the team, and the C-suite can view daily, weekly, or periodic metrics such cash flow.
Free eBook: The Scary Truth About Paper-Based AP Processes
Everyone is afraid of change, but there’s something even more terrifying about staying the same – especially when it comes to your accounts payable process. Interested in learning more about how paper is putting your company at risk? Download this free eBook supplied by AvidXchange: The Scary Truth About Paper-Based AP Processes
In this informative guide, you’ll learn how automating your AP and payment processes means eliminating paper invoices and checks from your organization while reducing your processing costs by more than half. You’ll also learn how automation protects your organization from fraud and invoice scams by enforcing strict adherence to business rules. To receive your free copy of this document, click on the image below!