Is Invoice scanning obsolete?Times change. And so does technology. Is invoice scanning obsolete?

Eight years ago, I was like most vendors. I preached the virtue of scanning invoices. I waxed eloquent about how it saves time with filing and storage costs.

Today, I’d have to ask why any organisation would do invoice scanning. It means investing in a scanner. Not to mention doing all that manual work – something I’ve found accounts payable staff hate and usually aren’t very good at.

Then what happens when the scanner breaks? Most companies can only afford one. That means a single point of failure that will stop the entire accounts payable process if the scanner goes down.

Why this conversion to anti-scanning? After all, I own a scanning bureau.

Have I gone completely crackers?

No. I’ve just changed with the times.

You see, nowadays you can get invoices via email as most suppliers have invoicing systems that can produce electronic invoices. Since they’re electronic you can bypass the invoice scanning stage.

Studies show that 72% of suppliers are willing to invoice electronically and I expect this will only increase. The few paper invoices that arrive can be usually be scanned on your modern photocopier.

In the Accounts Payable Benchmark Report, we refer to those companies who still scan as having achieved Level One of automation. Organisations that fully embrace automation, Level Three automation, invest in more technology and, as a result, achieve far greater gains in productivity.

Is Invoice scanning obsolete?

There’s a time for “old school” and there’s a place for changing with the times. Your accounts payable department could be that place.