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Receiving Email Invoices...and Quickly Processing Them

You receive more and more invoices by email? We’ll show you how you can organize your incoming mail in a way that all received invoices can be processed very efficiently – regardless if you receive an invoice in paper format or in electronic form. The most important thing to remember: store all invoices in one bucket!


There are many options to define the capturing and approving of invoices in a company. Here’s a proven approach with DocuWare…

1. All invoices are collected in one electronic mailbox
The accounting department configures one central mail box with an unique email address (e.g.; ALL invoices are sent to this address regardless if they have been received in paper or as an attachment to an email.

- Paper invoices can be scanned – for example in the mail room – and then can be mailed as PDF to a central email address. Many times this is done with a Multi-Functional Peripheral (MFP) which can be set up with this central email address.
- Email invoices can go directly to the central mail address. Please ask your vendors to send all invoices in the future to this one central address. In case an invoice is sent by mistake to another email address of a colleague then this invoice can be forwarded to the central address by this colleague.

2. Importing invoices into the DocuWare tray
From the central mail box, all invoices are transferred automatically by using the modules Connect to Mail or Connect to Outlook right into a DocuWare tray or directly into a DocuWare file cabinet. In this further example below we assume that the invoices – paper and original email invoices – are moved to a DocuWare tray where they will be manually checked.

3. Check invoices
Now it is the accounting department’s turn: They will check if the invoice complies with the legal aspects regarding mandatory information that needs to be contained in an invoice. Only then are invoices accepted by the tax authorities, otherwise they need to be modified by the vendor.

4. Archive invoice and start the approval process
The accounting department stores the invoices from the DocuWare tray into a DocuWare file cabinet where they are stored securely and legally compliant. When filing the invoice or later on when working with the document, each time index criteria are automatically assigned. This is important since this index criteria can be used to derive which persons and departments have received and approved each invoice.

In addition, using the DocuWare Intelligent Indexing feature, index information such as vendor name and invoice date can be read automatically directly from the paper invoice or from the original email invoice. This means that these index criteria are already pre-assigned during the filing of a document which facilitates the whole process.

How the invoice is further processed further depends on the internal setup of a company. Many times, at this point a liability is recorded within the accounting system so it is clear that an invoice needs to be paid.

5. Approve, post, pay
In many companies, invoices first need to go through an approval process – a workflow – before they can be posted. This lets you align the invoice to the internal purchase process. Or the invoice needs to be routed to the responsible cost center manager. And there are invoices which have been paid by direct debiting or which have been paid privately by an employee. With DocuWare, all these different scenarios can be covered in an optimal way once the specific processes have been analyzed thoroughly.

The approval process with DocuWare is based on two different DocuWare modules: Task Manager or Workflow Manager. An invoice after being stored in a file cabinet then appears – with the index criteria – in a list or as a task within the DocuWare client of the respective employee. With a simple click, the total or partial amount can then be approved by an employee.

Whatever the approval process looks like – after the process has been ended, the invoice will be posted in the accounting system and then paid. With DocuWare, all data was gathered during the capturing and approval process can be transferred to the accounting system, e.g.; the invoice number, invoice date or cost centers. This information can be used as a default for certain fields in the posting step which facilitates the whole process.