Shared Services Visibility
Shared services promise lower costs, better process efficiency, and improved service to stakeholders. However, organizations that continue to rely on paper-based manual accounts payable and accounts receivable process will never achieve the full benefits of shared services. To reach full potential, you must address the poor visibility caused by the paper-based payables and receivables processes.
A lack of integration and visibility across the order-to-cash cycle keeps businesses from achieving their objectives. Decision makers across order processing, billing, collections and customer service cannot be confident that they are working with the latest information regarding an order or payment, especially if they do not have all access to all the same applications or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
5 Ways Poor Visibility Undermines Shared Services Initiatives
- Long cycle times
Firstly, paper documents can quickly become lost, misfiled, or misrouted. Additionally, it can even become “stuck on a decision-maker’s desk, without the knowledge of shared services managers.
- Information silos
Accessing all the information related to an invoice or incoming payment is impossible in a paper-based shared services environment. This is a significant hindrance of shared services visibility.
- Poor cash management
Managing cash in a paper-based shared services environment is a challenge for finance leaders.
- Weak control and tracking
Paper documents are easily lost or misfiled. Moreover, it’s hard to ensure separation of duties or to determine which documents are missing, or whether a document has been routed to the wrong individual, stolen or destroyed ahead of pre-set retention cycles.
- Delayed financial close
In a paper-based shared services environment accounts payable and accounts receivable staff cannot easily locate the information they need to resolve an exception. Additionally, shared services visibility is partially responsible for how difficult it can be to tell whether documents have been modified, misfiled or lost.
Business cannot afford to have their shared services initiatives undermined by fragmented systems. More companies are deploying enterprise information platforms to provide them with a complete view of their critical payables and receivables information.
The Solution to Poor Visibility
Shared services visibility is, as we’ve explored so far, is critical, so how can organizations enhance it? With an enterprise information platform, shared services staff can work electronically with all essential content. This is the case regardless of the format. However, it can do this while doing other tasks as well. This includes automating workflows and notifying approvers of pending documents, streamlining dispute resolution, and retrieving documents from a single interface. Learn more about AP automation in this whitepaper.