Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

Accounts Payable Pilots a Paperless Workflow

by Eric VanLieshout

Any gloss through the Accounts Payable area of the Administration and Finance website will make one thing clear: Accounts Payable handles some complex procedures. And we thank them for that.  But paying bills just got easier, for everyone. Teaming up with OTS, Accounts Payable has taken a huge step forward and automated their invoice approval system and is currently testing one department.

Accounts Payable is one of a few departments testing ImageNow document management software. This program allows paper documents to be quickly and easily digitized, enabling a more streamlined workflow. Now accounts payable can send an invoice directly to the appropriate person in the appropriate department for verification. Once verified and electronically signed (or rejected), the invoice can be immediately returned to AP for payment. The new processing promises to improve efficiency and accuracy while reducing turnaround time and saving paper – in theory.

Implementing this new system requires a big effort. The set-up is extensive. Accounts Payable teamed with OTS to document and refine the workflow within AP. This information was then coded into a computer program to integrate ImageNow into the current computer and network systems. Although time consuming, this work allows ImageNow to adapt to Accounts Payable’s established methods, rather than having Accounts Payable restructure itself to the new software system. As such, the payoff for these efforts could be huge.

Though still in the pilot stage of the implementation, ImageNow and the automation it brings is “working great,” Accounts Payable Supervisor Julie Hall testifies. In time, their success will spread across Towson University, as the program is so widely adaptable. “As we move it out to each area, we work closely with departmental personnel to design the internal routing system that will meet their needs.  After they have been trained and have tested the system, we encourage feedback that allows us to tweak the setup to improve performance if necessary.  The next area to go live with the system is Facilities,” she explains.

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