Every organization faces constant pressure to become more efficient and do more with less. One of the most effective ways to address this challenge is to create efficient automated workflow. Today, digital workflows are essential to managing the activities of your accounting department. These workflows help improve productivity and enable your accounting department to do more with less, while also supporting good decision making.
What is digital workflow?First, let’s start with workflows in their simplest form. In essence, a workflow is a means for routing a task to multiple people or departments in order for them to review it, make decisions about it and then pass on to the next person or kick off the next step in a process. A digital workflow enables your staff to automatically route digitized information to other process owners with significant gains in efficiency and transparency.
How Mercury Air Group reduced billing time by 6 days
Los Angeles-Based Mercury Air Group provides jet fuel, air cargo services and transportation, as well as other services for international and U.S. commercial airlines, general aviation and the U.S. government. With a network of over 1,000 third-party fuel suppliers MercFuel, a division of Mercury Air, needed to move to a digital solution to better process over 12,000 invoices each month.
MercFuel, a contract fuel provider, leverages its buying power to provide its customers at more than 2,000 airports all over the world with better fuel pricing. Accounting transactions are very complex in the aviation industry because one fuel ticket may turn into multiple payable and receivable invoices split between various vendors acting in different capacities. MercFuel may get an invoice from one vendor, but not from another. The company needs every invoice before it can bill its own customers. One challenge was to implement a system flexible enough to centrally store all types of documents received at all different times during a billing cycle, as well as be able to integrate with Merc’s accounting software, MAS 500, and their in-house Fuel Sales Processing software, Solar.
Transaction details such as location, number of gallons and date, electronically flow from airport gas stations directly into the company’s accounting program through Solar. Solar improves the fuel transaction data collection process, providing quick, easy, and accurate invoicing. To help the accounting team answer questions about these invoices, the data is electronically printed to PDF and automatically stored in DocuWare, which is a searchable document backup to what was purely electronic information.
DocuWare and MAS 500 are tightly integrated so information like payment document numbers, vendor names and status are pulled directly out of the accounting system and automatically added as index fields to the appropriate documents in DocuWare. Updates made in MAS 500 are automatically reflected in DocuWare index fields, keeping the systems in sync.
“We integrated DocuWare with our existing accounting systems. The integrated solution mimics our physical workflows and has made keeping up with our growing accounting workload much easier. Utilizing a digital solution that is flexible and customizable allows us to continue to find more efficiencies. It just makes sense,” Rob Lovejoy, Chief Information Officer at Mercury Air Group explains.
With DocuWare in place and supporting documentation available within seconds, MercFuel now bills their customers 6 days faster, increasing cash flow. Whether an invoice is a receivable or payable or if it originated in the California, Nevada or Texas office, any staff member can look up the status in seconds due to the transparent nature of DocuWare. With hundreds of users in multiple locations, the system became crucial after just two weeks of use because of the new efficiencies in document retrieval and approval processes.
Managing complex processes
You can use a digital workflow to bring multiple team members together to review an invoice and approve or reject it. These workflows can be serial (one step after another), parallel, or they can change based on decision points chosen along the way.
With paper-based workflows, you can only take action when you and the document are physically in the same place. With a digital workflow, however, you can be anywhere and still be part of the workflow, using a computer, tablet or smartphone.
If an invoice comes in while you’re out of the office, for example, you will receive a notification via email. When you’re using a document management system with mobile capabilities, it’s easy to quickly pull up the relevant documents, review them and approve or flag them, all from a smartphone,tablet or other mobile device.
These are just a few of the ways that document management software and digital workflows can help your accounting department streamline its activities. By implementing a document management solution with automated digital workflows combined with integration with your accounting system, your organization can do more in less time, and with fewer employees. It also helps you deliver information to your accounting team more quickly, giving them everything they need to make informed decisions.
Editor's note: This post has been updated for accuracy and new content has been added.
Learn more about how automating workflows in your accounting department will benefit your organization. Start your 30-day free cloud trial of DocuWare for Invoice Processing.
Joan Honig is Marketing Content Manager at DocuWare.