Greater visibility, better control, efficient processes and cost reductions. This is what Accounts Payable Integration from HSBC can deliver. Steve Ellis reports on this, the first phase in a brand new Accounts Payable proposition.
In spite of recent technological developments, the Accounts Payable (AP) function is still a largely paper driven system, swamped with huge volumes of paper invoices, presenting businesses with the same headaches of high costs, laborious processes and a lack of visibility and control.
Although the AP department has been presented with a number of potential routes to improve the operation of the department, initiatives such as electronic invoicing, invoice brokers, and in-house invoice scanning and capture solutions have all failed to address the core problem. Electronic invoicing relies on all your suppliers implementing new technologies, while invoice brokers present issues for management in terms of vendor on-boarding and are not appropriate in all environments. Meanwhile, scanning and data capture software can be difficult to implement and operate, and bring with them a new set of challenges.
Recognizing that organizations need an efficient electronic AP solution, HSBC has developed a practical solution that delivers benefits to AP without requiring the acquisition of new skills or new technology for you or your suppliers. Accounts Payable Integration is the first in a series of new solutions to be launched that forms HSBCs new Accounts Payable proposition.
This new offering from HSBC also reflects the imminent regulatory and infrastructural changes within Europe in particular, the drive for a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and corporates demands for value added services in the AP arena.
The initial focus of the SEPA initiative, as defined by the European Payments Council (EPC), centres on the simplification of executing euro payments within the 12 eurozone countries and the adoption of standards and practices to drive down the costs of these cross-border payments.
The recent requirement for all impacted payments to carry BIC (Bank Identifier Code) and IBAN (International Bank Account Number) information will therefore initiate a stream of activity within the corporate community, as the need for obtaining comprehensive data relating to supplier bank account details becomes increasingly more important.
In light of this, the Accounts Payable Integration solution from HSBC has been developed to facilitate the collection of BIC and IBAN data on invoices generated by suppliers, simply, quickly and accurately.
Eliminating paper, generating efficiency
This new solution from HSBC eliminates the laborious process of capturing invoice data and allows you to reap the benefits of leading-edge technology, without any investment in training or the capital expenditure of software and hardware.
Accounts Payable Integration accepts all types of invoice and converts them into a useable data format as required by your business. All forms of electronic invoice are managed, but, more importantly, we can process every kind of paper invoice, transforming paper to electronic almost instantly.
Typically, an AP department will take between five and ten days to get an invoice into the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system; with the HSBC solution, this could be reduced to as little as four hours, with a guaranteed SLA of less than 24 hours.
The processes identified within an AP function are labour intensive, involving largely manual processes and a lot of paper. And because the function relies so heavily on manual tasks, errors are frequently introduced into the system, costing time and money to resolve. Accounts Payable Integration removes this element of risk from the AP process entirely.
With businesses seeking cost reduction across every area, the finance function needs to be more efficient and cost effective than ever. Accounts Payable Integration provides benefits across three key areas: reduced costs, improved processes and compliance. (See table one).