What is Vendor Invoice Management (VIM)
VIM is an Opentext product which is embedded in the SAP ERP system. It optimises and simplifies the process of receiving, validating, managing, routing and monitoring of vendor invoices and facilitates easy collaboration with stakeholders within the Procure to Pay process.
It gives the opportunity for firms who want to establish a more efficient and simpler invoice management processes to ensure accuracy and minimize manual errors.
What are the common problems with an Invoice Management Process
- Multiple people/teams involved in the processing of a vendor invoices, which means having to distribute the invoices and associated information multiple times.
- Multiple stakeholders means several copies of an invoice can exist causing a lack of transparency and different versions of the truth.
- The invoice processing cycle time can be very long and involve multiple manual steps, leading to loss of early payment discounts.
- Difficult to reduce or prevent duplicate payments, postings and even lost invoices
How does VIM solve these problems
- Automate paper to post invoices. This eliminates paper early in the process, and is made possible by the OCR tool called Intelligent Capture.
- Invoice data sent via email or in the post can be automatically extracted, and validation checks applied, where workflow and approvals are triggered to enable posting of the invoice.
Implementing Vendor Invoice Management (VIM)
To maximise the zero touch approach as much as possible, a customer organisation structure for scanning & OCR validation should be in place. i.e who is responsible for scanning the paper invoice sent in the mail, who should validate the scanned invoices and the OCR extraction results?
VIM is based on SAP standard workflows, so Basis support maybe required to smooth out any potential bottlenecks and ensure efficient system performance.
Some customers may feel a separate archive system is not required and choose to store all invoice documents on the SAP database. There should be a thorough review of current and anticipated invoice volume including any additional supplement documents that suppliers may send along with their invoices. Storing all invoice document on the SAP database could have major performance impact on other processes in SAP.
There should be a strong emphasis on having the minimal amount of customisations in the VIM design as possible. Because the more customisations may directly lead to an increase in technical system support costs as well as increased costs and time for system upgrades.
Common pitfalls to avoid
There needs to be a good sample of paper invoices used to train OCR to help improve the extractions results before Go-Live.
To truly gain the benefits of VIM, organisations should have a centralised invoice process. This means all invoices should always go to a central team instead of different individuals from various departments. Therefore, an assessment of the impact of moving to a centralised process should be performed to gain buy in from the important stakeholders.
Communicating with suppliers about your new VIM system and using the opportunity to inform them of what information you expect on the invoice and how they should be submitted.
Does the customer have an Internal invoices/payment request process? VIM can be used for such internal processes although its not a standard approach.
To enable the emailed invoice functionality. Email server configuration outside of SAP is required. Therefore this should be addressed as early as possible to ensure sufficient resource is available.
Increased accountability on the procurement team (i.e booking GR’s and help resolve issues).
What usual problems do customers encounter
Under estimate the manual maintenance required for Chart of Authority COA which controls approvals of invoices & VIM Roles user maintenance. (these potentially can be automated with custom enhancements).
Tax Code determination. The VIM baseline configuration to determine tax codes on invoice, usually is not sufficient to meet customer needs.
During the design aim to stick to VIM standard processes as much as possible.
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