No one wants to deal with paper anymore, especially
in the world of telecom expense management (TEM) – also known as technology expense management. So, most TEM providers will work with their enterprise clients to move as much of their invoicing to electronic media as possible.
Processing TEM invoicing electronically is more operationally efficient and cost-effective, especially for monthly recurring activities. No further explanation is necessary for those of us who have been unfortunate enough to have processed reams of paper at one point or another in our lives.
The tremendous value of electronic invoice data versus paper is realized by the compounding of value in four big ways.
4 Key Reasons Why Electronic Invoicing is Better Than Paper
1. Speed of invoice transmission and receipt exponentially increased
Once the expense management team and technical staff have enabled data transmission/receipt via electronic data interface (EDI) or carrier online portals, subsequent invoicing is quick and as painless as possible, certainly much less so than manual paper invoicing and processing methods permit.
2. Electronic automation reduces TEM invoice processing errors
Human beings will make far more mistakes than computers. Once the initial electronic data interface connection is set up correctly, you and your team won’t have to worry about basic invoice management mistakes that result from normal human errors or fatigue.
3. More immediate real-time data availability for expense management analytics and reporting
The benefit of more immediate operational and expense feedback is greater visibility and control that you and your TEM management team will have over your network operations and expenses.
4. Greater savings for you and your expense management team
Because of all benefits conferred via the increase in speed of data transmission, the reduction in processing errors facilitated by automation, and the increases in communications network visibility and control for your TEM team, more realized savings naturally follow.
It’s also worth noting that processing invoicing via electronic feeds also allows for the more efficient tracking of payment history and detail at the account level, beyond the obvious value of more efficient carrier payments and the reduction in late payment fees that results from electronic processing.
3 Big Benefits of Electronic Invoicing and Payment
At Tellennium, the following three processes are expedited via electronic media for TEM invoice processing. These processes help us maintain tight financial links between our enterprise customers and the work we are performing on their behalf as their TEM partner.
Each potential TEM provider you interview will have their own processes and approach to automating invoicing processing, but we’ll outline a few more detailed electronic feed benefits from our perspective
1. Invoice loading is quicker, easier, and more accurate
At Tellennium, we will proactively reach out to each carrier and initiate the transfer process to our platform by moving all vendor invoicing over to our TEM platform (MoT), a one-to-three-month process depending on the performance of each carrier.
In all cases, we will work to establish electronic (EDI) feeds wherever possible; sometimes it will not be possible to avoid manual paper processing and we’ll need to utilize carrier web portals and work to process paper as efficiently as possible as described below (in the OCR Imaging section).
Any invoices received by our customer during this process time frame will continue to be paid directly by our customer. Invoices received by our team roll into our automated processes and carrier web portals are also used for the collection of invoices where available and necessary.
After implementation is completed, our team fully oversees and leads invoice processing activities going forward.
OCR Imaging – At Tellennium, we utilize an optical carrier recognition engine to scan paper invoices when electronic invoicing is not available, allowing us and our customers to search those invoices for dollar amounts, phone numbers, and names as necessary during audits and other pertinent analyses.
Data Entry and Balance Validation – We upload electronic invoice data into our TEM platform and evaluate all vendor charges including taxes and all fees. Our TEM platform facilitates and expedites our ability to work with data quickly and accurately.
2. Invoice coding & AP transmission enhanced
Invoice processing activities are streamlined and enhanced in this regard.
Coding Allocation and Verification – We manage all coding allocations per our customers’ direction, but their unique logic dictates processing rules.
Invoice Transmission (Batch) to Client – At Tellennium will deliver a batch transmission for the exact amount of funds necessary for the specific payment cycle. This is usually for each week, but configurable as per each customer’s needs.
Our customer will fund a unique bank account set up for this purpose. The transmission will be designed to upload directly into their accounting system.
Customer Approval -a configurable customer approval workflow will be built into the application to further streamline invoice processing.
3. Invoice payments are streamlined
At Tellennium, our customers will set up a designated funds account. And this bank account is set up specifically for payments related to their company; it will be funded accordingly even if payment of invoices is to be provided by the Tellennium TEM team as per the agreed-upon statement of work.
Payment Execution to Vendors – Our team will execute all payments within three business days, most often within the same day.
Payment Reconciliation – If making payments on behalf of our customer, we will reconcile invoice payments to confirm the vendor received and posted the payments accurately.
If not making payments on our customer’s behalf, we will validate balance discrepancies and engage our customer’s accounts payable department to resolve payment-related concerns.
We do not charge for executing payments. And we also reconcile billing activities if making payments.
Conclusion - 3 TEM sourcing takeaways
Invoice processing is a core function within the world of TEM. In this article, we’ve tried to highlight key areas for your consideration regarding the move to electronic invoicing and automation.
Every organization will have its unique priority needs. You will want to consider where your TEM organization is regarding electronic invoice processing before engaging your next potential TEM partner in discovery sessions on how they can assist you and your team in this regard.
If you’d like to consider Tellennium in your TEM vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo of our solution.
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