Asbestos Removal for Financials

At my house there was an old shed covered with an asbestos roof. Last spring I decided to have the roof removed. It came as a pleasant surprise to observe the manner in which the roof was removed by a very specific division of labor. There appeared to be a clear division of tasks between the various parties needed in the process of remediation.

Firstly, I had to contract one company for conducting an inventory and risk analysis. Then another company removed asbestos which was verified by yet another company. And sometimes, on random basis, the municipality comes over to check the whole situation.

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Faulty Invoices: The silent time-robbers in your company

Received invoices that do not meet your business requirements and then return to the sender. It is in many companies a daily recurrent source of annoyance. Examples of inaccuracies include: the lack of payment information, order or invoice number, incomplete statement of amounts or incorrect statement.

The time-robbing manual process

The process of returning that incorrect invoice contains many successive manual actions that are often performed by different persons. This leads to a significant increase in the chance of new errors. Practice: First, the (order) invoice is taken from the application to counteract further processing. The employee copies the document or stores it digitally and sends it to the correct colleague or department.

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Change management: what a change…

The introduction of new e-invoice solutions implies much more than a technical change for most companies. However, all eyes are on the technical part of such introduction, whereas other critical success factors are typically underestimated or even ignored.

Why is such a restricted focus unwise?

Rob Coolen, Projectleader ICreative explains: “People, not technology, determines the succes or failure of most software implementations. When implementations are not centered around the various stakeholders that are somehow affected by the implementation, almost always results in resistance towards the new solutions. Resistance that is caused by ignorance, uncertainty and sometimes fear.

For example, an employee might fear losing his job due to a tidal wave of automation. Or because he or she does not know what is expected of him or her in terms.  Read more

Is your current purchase to pay solution futureproof?

It is no secret that technology is developing rapidly. This fact alone makes the choice for a supplier that delivers independent, reliable, and adaptive solutions of paramount importance. But how do you select the right supplier? Sjoerd de Heer, Solutions Architect ICreative explains: “For the sake of those rapid developments, a supplier should not only adhere to these values, but must also offer continuity and flexibility, and the latter two not always go together very well”.

Futureproof solution

“Independence, no doubt, is key. And by that I mean, a degree of independence of the business software that is being used today and tomorrow, so that newly acquired software can be smoothly implemented within the software environment that is in place. This is one of the reasons why we work with an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)”, argues Sjoerd. In plain language: The usage of ESB simplifies the communication between us as a supplier and our customers, due to applying a so-called message bus. You could consider this as a translation mechanism between all sorts of applications, that can be fully customized for the customer situation. A mechanism which disconnects the process from content.”

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And the winner is….the cloud-solution

Cloud versus on premise. A lot has already been said. Companies start to see the advantages that come along with a solid cloud-solution for purchase to pay automation and choose not to replace their on premise solution. Despite this growing trend, a great many professionals are hesitant to make the move towards cloud-solutions. For instance, because they assume that cloud-solutions are flawed with security risks. Or because cloud-solutions are supposed to be more expensive than on premise solutions. 

Unknown makes Unloved

Cloud-solutions offer a number of advantages. One such advantage is its scalability. The costs of a cloud-solution, for instance, can be tailored to the exact number of users. This is not the case with an on premise solution, which entails fixed costs regardless of the number of users. Costs that are associated with investment, interest loss, power consumption, and costs for implementation and maintenance. These are all fixed costs that won´t adapt overnight to changing business requirements. And yet business usually changes rapidly. Read more

Ideal world of e-invoicing still wishful thinking

“Look, we all want an ideal world,” says Danny Kind, senior product manager at ICreative. “A world in which you no longer receive any invoices on paper from your suppliers and in which all digital invoices have the same file format to allow for automatic and error-free processing. In a way, it would be as if we all spoke the same language.” However, until this ideal world becomes a reality, recreating it is the best possible alternative.

The same language

The construction sector, the healthcare sector, the banking sector, municipal organisations: they all have their own specific methods. One might send its invoices as PDF files, another prefers to send paper invoices and a third opts for a completely different format altogether. Danny: “This calls for a platform that translates all these different languages into a single accessible format in the form of XML.” In English: an e-invoice. This is possible with the help of a Basware Network, which, it should be noted, can also be used for the invoices you send to your own clients.

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Automation begins where digitisation ends

“The market has been demanding the digitisation of document streams for years,” says Jeroen Rozeboom, Sales Manager at ICreative. In particular, the digital processing of incoming invoices. This can only produce benefits: transparency of the process, invoices and attachments retrievable at any time, simplicity of auditability, sharing knowledge and so on. The sooner a document is digitised, the better – that’s the motto.

Digital tunnel vision

In recent years, full automation, or robotisation, of the Accounts Payable (AP) process has become increasingly popular. Invoices must be fully automatically matched with orders and/or contracts, preferably on a line-by-line level, so that no human intervention is necessary in the processing of invoices. ‘Straight Through Processing’ is the goal. Because this can produce significant cost savings, accompanied by qualitative improvements.

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Allow more faults to save costs

At the start of each purchase to pay implementation, the project group defines under what conditions an invoice will match with an order. These conditions are defined with common sense and are based on years of experiences. Sometimes it’s even a policy within the company that differences can’t be larger than amount X. given this fact our consultants will translate this common sense to the Alusta environment and every time an invoice doesn’t meet the criteria it will be transferred to manually matching.

But what does this mean?

It means that an invoice needs to be taken apart and researched by the AP clerk. In most cases this price difference can’t be tracked by the clerk and he/she will send it out to the person that made the order, the buyer. The buyer will look at the invoice and see that there is some logic behind the price difference, that prices aren’t updated in the purchasing system or other various reasons why the difference is correct. After this the invoice will be approved by one or multiple people and be released for payment. If a price difference isn’t trackable the buyer will contact the supplier and ask for an credit invoice.

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E-Invoicing: Stick to the Norm!

Much has changed in recent years on my visits to companies in the Netherlands. Every rational person knows by now that electronic invoices are better and more efficient than the use of paper or PDF files. Better for the sender who no longer incurs costs for producing and sending paper invoices. Better for the receiver who can process invoices more quickly and efficiently, which in turn benefits the sender. And better for the environment; less paper, less felling of trees, a smaller environmental footprint and thus a better world for future generations. E-invoicing is therefore a no-brainer.

Nevertheless, e-invoicing is not widely supported. We are all busy with ongoing projects. Busy dealing with day-to-day issues. Thus, a subject such as e-invoicing is often neglected. All the more because it is difficult to envisage in advance how e-invoicing should be organised and what cost savings can be achieved. We therefore tackle more tangible projects such as replacing the ERP system or transferring office automation to the cloud.

Besides, e-invoicing also has implications for suppliers and clients. They therefore need to be involved in the implementation of e-invoicing. Because a company can have hundreds, or even thousands of business partners, suppliers as well as clients, it is a considerable undertaking to communicate with all these companies in order to implement e-invoicing and put it into operation.

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How much control do you have over your purchase to pay process?

Now that the economy is clearly picking up again, the way in which you set up your purchase to pay process requires more attention than ever. Cost savings, transparency, doing more with fewer people at a lower margin, while at the same time engaging in more intensive client contact, more sales meetings, an increasing flow of purchase invoices and successful conclusion of this first calendar month: it may sound familiar to you. However, the same applies to the turmoil that can arise if your purchase to pay process is not set up optimally. 

Unburdening with a capital U

“We regularly receive signals from the market, but one word crops up far more than others’, explains Jeroen Rozeboom, Sales Director at ICreative, the specialist in purchase to pay and e-invoicing solutions, ‘our (prospective) clients demand Unburdening. It is not unusual for companies to find that when business is good, automated processes that had been perfectly effective until then can no longer cope with increased procedural demands. Independently operating departments, different applications, administrative employees who spend more time checking than leading the process proactively: all thorns in the side of the finance manager and the business controller. After all, they are responsible for overall process improvement and continuity and it is difficult to get a handle on that if the processes and relevant automation are not integrated.”

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