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Best Practices for Accounts Payable: An Insider’s View

DocuWarians is a blog feature that introduces you to the people behind the product. In this post, Gigi Kelso, Manager of Collections and Accounts Receivable tells us about her experience working with and without digital document management. 

My responsibilities at DocuWare are ...

I’m the manager of accounts receivable and order processing, but I’m also in charge of accounts payable.  I use DocuWare on a daily basis.  With DocuWare’s workflow capabilities, every invoice is indexed, stored, reviewed, approved and processed in less than an hour. This used to take at the very least a day and sometimes over a week with the paper-based, manual processes I’ve used at my previous workplaces.

My background prepared me for this role because ...

iStock-1127161956I went back to school as an adult to get my bachelor’s in accounting at Mount St. Mary College. After graduation, I was hired by a large cable TV company that used DocuWare. I left that job and went to a smaller company that didn’t use a document management solution. I found checking and approving invoices extremely labor and time-intensive. When the paper invoices were sent for approval there was always the risk of losing them. What happened most often was that they were put aside and forgotten until the AP specialist contacted the approver and asked them to return the approved invoice. By then, payment was late, and the credit of the company was damaged.
 
This company had a whole room that contained the filing cabinets for the paid invoices. When we needed to verify a payment date or check number, it took 15 to 20 minutes to go to the filing room, find the correct cabinet, dig for the invoice, and call the vendor back with the information they needed, Using DocuWare, the information is available immediately. 

One of DocuWare’s most useful features is ...

email croppedI love the convenience of using Connect to Outlook. I just hit one button within Microsoft Outlook and an invoice that’s been emailed to me is automatically dropped into my inbox. This triggers a customized workflow that facilitates ease of processing. 

An award-winning SheltieIn my free time ...

I’ve been showing and training dogs for about 25 years. I competed in conformation showing (a beauty pageant for dogs), obedience, agility and herding.  I also have an exciting new interest — my husband and I have recently started ballroom dancing lessons. 

Gigi's expert perspective on digitizing AP

  • Don’t try to reproduce paper-based processes when your company goes digital. Take the opportunity to eliminate extra steps. Ask yourself why you’ve followed a certain procedure in the past, and whether all these actions are still necessary.
  • When you define your workflow processes, don’t get bogged down in trying to account for every exception. Instead, incorporate instant flagging of non-standard invoices and iStock-1126387414 (1)automatically route these exceptions to the right person.
  • Be sure to take full advantage of the time and energy you save through office automation. You’re processing invoices faster, so make the most of it by leveraging early pay discounts, gaining control over cash flow management and building better vendor relationships.
  • Seek out opportunities to coordinate your workflows with other departments that intersect with the accounting function.  The benefits of workflow automation can extend into HR, procurement, sales, marketing and almost every department in your company.
  • Save time by automating retention schedules. Your staff will no longer have to manually keep track of the age of each document and sort it by date, then remember to discard the files on schedule according to industry, state and federal legislation. With a document management system, it’s easy to capture information like the storage date and invoice date and use that data in an automated workflow. 
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