Accounts payable is just one area of office management where problems arise because of the sheer complexity of transactions, and the vast amount of paperwork that is generated.
A disproportionate amount of time and administrative resources is consumed just getting invoices approved for payment. The problem becomes compounded when invoices are lost when being circulated for clearance and even more time is then lost in the retrieval process.
Typically these documents include purchase invoices from suppliers, sales invoices to customers and purchase orders generated by customers.
Even if missing documentation is successfully recovered from the system, the delay will have caused major inconvenience. If it is not recovered, the effects on business are routinely disruptive, and in extreme cases, disastrous.
TokOpen is a powerful document management and workflow software solution that goes far beyond conventional document capture and storage. Uniquely flexible, the package allows systems to be configured to meet customers' specific needs.
How TokOpen works
Automated data entry allows invoices to be scanned, indexed and stored in the system, avoiding time-consuming manual entry. Automated reading can take two forms: either header reading (reference number, client name and amount); or full line item reading. Alternatively, invoice information can still be entered manually if required.
Once in the system, invoices are electronically routed through a workflow process that includes notifying all authorised staff when an invoice is waiting for their approval. Online reports are automatically generated where invoices awaiting approval are delayed or missing. These reports are configurable, so they can be set up to cover other factors critical to successful payment completion.
Internal security is built into the system, and access controls ensure that only authorised staff can open invoices or related documents. Audits are automatically maintained on all documents as they progress through the system, so each time they are accessed or amended, time, date, identity and activity details are logged.
Where associated documents are in the system, these are stored in the same file alongside invoices so they can be located quickly and easily. Access can be gained from other systems, in which case folders and documents are displayed in a standard Web browser.
Invoice approval is integrated with the rest of the accounts payable process, and invoices can be accessed via systems like SAP or JDE.
TokOpen in action - a case study
TokOpen is currently being used by a major Japanese multi-national, with multiple office locations in the UK. One office processes purchase invoices for all the other offices in the UK, and they are initially processed using the Oracle Financials system. For all new invoices, a barcode is generated and attached to each document.
An Accounts Clerk then scans all documentation into TokOpen. This is carried out from a dedicated scanning and indexing workstation, using TokOpen Sorting Office.
All documents are stored here and then uploaded on a daily basis to the TokOpen server, which is at another UK office location. Sorting Office reads the barcode and then looks up the original data in Oracle to extract additional index data such as invoice number, supplier number and site code.
Standard browser access
Most documents are retrieved via the users' standard Web browser, using TokOpen Web, and a total of 260 staff use this means of access. A restricted number of users also have access to the TokOpen Desktop, and access is provided to individuals based on an approval hierarchy.
Invoices are handled using an efficient electronic workflow process. Once scanned, Invoice Status is set to Invoice Received. TokOpen ensures that users can only view documents that have been assigned to them in a particular workflow.
A strict authorisation hierarchy is in place, based on the size of the invoices being handled. So if a member of staff attempts to authorise an invoice that exceeds their authorisation limit, TokOpen automatically routes it to a staff member at the next authorisation level. This continues up the authorisation hierarchy until the invoice reaches a member of staff who has had clearance to sign off that invoice value, and payment is completed.
TokOpen brings together powerful and efficient document management, with easy-to-use, Web-based access.
Tokairo is an international provider of Document Management (TokOpen) and Education systems solutions (TokAM). Tokairo has its headquarters in the UK, with a sister company in the USA responsible for the Americas.