Tag Archives: Smart Admin

US Treasury e-Invoicing Imminent

A Federal Register notice published by the US Treasury Department this summer has detailed the government’s intention to implement an Internet Payment Platform by the end of this month. This latest release comes almost exactly a year after the US government signaled its intention to implement an e-Invoicing solution to reduce costs and waste across its departments.

US Department of Treasury e-Invoicing Imminent

With the platform going live this month, all new payment requests for financial year 2013 will be processed electronically. The new centralised, web-based system promises to execute payment requests securely and more cost effectively than current paper-based systems. The e-Invoicing system will also help automate the internal workflows of the Treasury, with routing and approvals actioned automatically based upon various specified criteria.

Continue reading

Dynamic Discounting / Invoice We Trust

Dynamic Discounting - Invoice We Trust

Regardless of how “good” a business may be, ultimately its fate rests on a solid cash flow. In order to continue trading, every company needs money to come in so that they can purchase raw materials, which can be processed and converted into saleable goods and in turn create more cash.

As harsh economic conditions continue to bite, businesses are delaying payment to their suppliers to moderate their own cash flow, but in doing so jeopardise the viability of the other members of their supply chain. So how does a business encourage its customers to pay on time, or better yet, early?

Continue reading

Supply Chain Issues Cost UK Tech Firms Dearly

Supply Chain Issues Cost UK Tech Firms Dearly

Although tech giant Apple may have a superb supply chain to thank for much of their continuing success, a recent report by insurance provider Zurich suggests that medium-sized UK tech companies are not so fortunate. In the document, entitled ‘Weakest Link: UK Plc’s Supply Chain’, analysts reported that 88% of the 500 businesses surveyed had experienced at least one significant and costly disruption to their supply chain.

Continue reading

PDF Invoices saving you time and money? Think again!

Many providers and even some governments have been touting PDF versions of invoices as a genuine form of electronic invoicing. Whilst PDF attachments sent via email are certainly electronic, many of the benefits available through automated e-Invoicing systems are lost.

PDF Invoices saving you time and money? Think again!

A study published by AIIM (http://www.aiim.org/Research/Industry-Watch/Paper-Free-Capture-2012) reveals that PDF file attachments are in fact costing more than they are saving. How is this possible? Consider the following findings:

Continue reading

Business Processes Part 3 – Actions Post Implementation

Once the business case has been made for the introduction of processes and relevant systems have been identified for automation, the final stage is to implement the processes themselves. Whether the processes are for a small business, or a multinational corporation, the post implementation guidelines remain roughly the same:

Business Processes

  • Let the process grow and adapt. Process outlines which remain too rigid cannot scale as business needs change. By all means formalise the process, but allow the opportunity for future organic change and enhancements.
  • Involve others in process creation and implementation creating a shared ownership and common vision for improvement. Doing this will also overcome many of the political barriers which could otherwise prevent process realisation.
  • Maintain a culture of continual improvement. There is always room for the creation of new processes or the refinement of existing ones. Incremental changes will keep processes relevant to business needs and prevent them from becoming a hindrance in future.

Any process, internal or external, can help a business increase its levels of efficiency, but attempting a one-time, big-bang implementation is unlikely to have the permanent benefits desired. Processes need to be frequently revisited to allow for the identification of smaller improvements which will keep the process relevant. Changes in business model, customer demands or supplier will all necessitate changes to business processes – inflexible and infrequent analysis of processes will preclude this.

The responsibility for implementation of processes generally lies with management, but ultimately, all staff should be encouraged to participate in a continual process improvement.

Processes can exist as part of a supply chain management system, or as an internal operating procedure.  The scope is virtually limitless. Clearly, where computerised automation is required, a suitable platform will need to be sourced which provides the necessary framework in addition to flexibility for future refinements. Why not give Celtrino a call to discuss the Smart Admin platform and how it could help with your business process implementation projects?


Make Sure “Lean” Does Not Mean Inflexible

The wider financial crisis has forced many businesses to cut back in order to secure their future. Cost savings through efficiencies have been a high priority for many. Some of these cost savings have  initially been realised through reduced headcount but as the downturn continues and growth remains delayed, businesses are looking at supply chain effectiveness to maintain the downward pressure on costs.

Undoubtedly most supply chains will benefit from some degree of rationalisation and consolidation making good use of the cost savings that arise as a direct result. However when it comes to making cuts, it is very easy to get carried away creating a supply chain that is efficient but inflexible.

As we have discussed previously, uncertainties relating to the supply of raw materials and potential disruptions caused by natural disaster or civil unrest require a company to be agile in order to adjust to the unforeseen. If too many resources are stripped and the supply chain becomes so inflexible that there is no slack or room for adjustment, the results could still be catastrophic even in the face of tiny fluctuations.

Ultimately, your business will need to decide how best to adjust your supply chain, which parts to improve and which to remove whilst leaving your business in an operational state. The ERP system used to manage your supply chain will also need to be equally flexible and customisable to mirror accurately the changes in structure.

Using a period of rationalisation also allows decisions to be made that will define the future of the supply chain. Many companies are taking the opportunity to invest in strengthening their core systems; those tackling the challenge with a long term view are investigating off-site, cloud-based solutions with the capability to shift in line with the company’s own changing needs.

Celtrino’s own Smart Admin platform provides all the flexibility required to remain competitive regardless of the wider financial environment. To find out more, why not give us a call?

Supply Chain Management: Preparing for Material Shortages?

Supply Chain Management: Preparing for Material Shortages?Much is made of the impact that natural disaster can have on the supply chain, but businesses in the manufacturing sector are also having to think more strategically about sourcing materials which are becoming ever more rare as we consume more. The British Geological Society has gone on record to state that 52 commonly used minerals are now classified as rare. More troubling still is that 27 of these can only be obtained from China.

Alarm bells ring for supply chain managers whenever their business is forced into a single channel as the margin for knock-on effects on production and stock level is nullified. Where China is the only supplier of elements critical to high tech product development, the best that a business can do is source a number of suppliers to provide fail-over in the event of a disaster. That or stockpile materials, driving up prices in the market and increasing costs through warehousing and the like.

Sourcing additional suppliers can be costly and inefficient, particularly where a high degree of integrated supply chain management between buyer and seller is required. Each new supplier requires significant investment for full onboarding, in both time and money. The provision of a hosted supply chain portal or method by which systems can communicate automatically with minimum onsite intervention can reduce many of these costs whilst delivering the benefits expected of an integrated system.

And although these mineral shortages are currently restricted to high tech electronics manufacturers, other materials are certain to become scarce, affecting the wider manufacturing sector as a whole, regardless of output. The conscientious supply chain manager will be not only scouting for alternate materials and providers, but planning for the capacity required to support and maintain the business relationship.

Does your current supply chain management system provide the flexibility required to add additional capacity as and when required? Can it communicate cross-border without major intervention? If not, perhaps you’d best give Celtrino a call to discuss their Smart Admin platform which can do all this and more.

e-Invoicing Up 20% Globally According to New Report

A new study commissioned by e-Invoicing provider Basware in conjunction with consultancy Billentis has found that the use of electronic invoices for B2B transactions rose by 20% during 2011. The report found that although many businesses elected to implement e-Invoicing for their own benefit, legislative changes in several countries also had a large part to play in the increased rates of adoption.

e-Invoicing Up 20% Globally

Mexico led the way with legislative changes, mandating that any business trading over a certain threshold must exchange electronic invoices – an approach set to be adopted by Greece, Spain, Norway and Kazakhstan during 2012. The Scandinavian countries, the Benelux union and German also introduced legislation designed to encourage the uptake of e-Invoicing, although most adoption throughout these states was as a result of businesses identifying their own economic benefits for doing so. Finland went one step further by insisting businesses submit invoices to state bodies electronically.

The study also found that the legal status of electronic invoices still varies between countries. In Japan and China, although electronic invoices can be exchanged, they are regarded legally as a copy requiring a paper invoice to be raised for regulatory purposes. Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia however grant electronic invoices the same legal status as a paper version.

Commenting on the results of the report, Karri Lehtonen, Vice President of Basware said, ‘Legislation regarding financial records varies between regions. Paper based invoicing requires a business to understand these legal variants to trade globally. e-Invoicing technology removes this headache as it automates compliance with countries’ different legal requirements.’

Further to Lehtonen’s observations, the use of an outsourced global platform for electronic invoicing has the potential to transcend diverse national legislation allowing businesses to focus on their customer’s requirements, without constructing complex EDI systems to cross borders. As more countries make e-Invoicing mandatory, the process will become more complex for businesses operating in multiple markets; a cloud-based platform such as Celtrino’s Smart Admin reduces the technical and regulatory burden on a business whilst allowing them to trade anywhere and everywhere.

5 Ways to Reduce Administration Costs

Despite the turn of the year, 2012 looks set to be another year of austerity and cost reductions. Several well known names from the UK high street have set the tone by reporting less than impressive Q4 results and some are even entering administration.

Here are five suggested ways to reduce operational costs through increased backroom efficiencies.

Administration costs, Smart Admin, e-Invoicing

  1. Adopt e-Invoicing
    By converting to digital invoicing, a business can make immediate savings on staffing, stationary, postage. Factor in slightly less tangible factors such as time and the argument for e-Invoicing is hard to ignore when investing to make greater savings.
  2. Create dynamic pricing and discounting structures
    Offering customers discounts for settling payments early may reduce profits, but a healthy cash flow and balance book is preferable to a sheaf of outstanding invoices. A scale of sliding charges and fees can require intensive intervention to oversee however, so companies introducing such a system should look at implementing our third recommendation simultaneously.
  3. Automate your workflow
    To combat costly human error, introducing automation can speed each step of the payment process by removing the need for manual intervention. The less manual processing that is required, the smaller the margin for error and the less workforce required for accounts payable.
  4. Centralise
    Bring your financial operations into one department. Managing finances across different departments is time consuming, and if time is money, delays in financial processing cost your business. Cut the delays by bringing financial control into a single centralised location and you will recognise associated cost savings.
  5. Digitise your paper
    Your clients may not have an electronic invoicing and payments systems and so they will continue to return physical paperwork. As a result you will need to find a way of capturing this information and getting it into your own accounts system.

Using an electronic invoicing platform like Celtrino’s Smart Admin can help achieve each of these goals and thereby slash costs as a result. Interested? Get in touch to find out more!

e-Invoicing, Beyond the PDF – Part 2

As discussed in the first part of this article, electronic invoicing can be as simple as simply emailing a PDF version of the traditional accounts paperwork to a customer. However, this reliance on email comes with a risk that the invoice may be lost or delayed. This time we look at how Dumping Double Entry benefits your customer, and therefore you too.

How it usually works

Although the concept of buying and selling is simple, the paperwork associated with the process tends to be more complex than expected. A customer sends a purchase order when they want to buy a product from your business. Your company delivers the item and an invoice to the customer. Somewhere along the line, the invoice is paid and everyone is happy. Except it never quite seems to work like that.

e-Invoicing, Beyond the PDF 2The order is manually entered onto your system upon receipt of the purchase order, and an invoice is also created manually when the goods are despatched. When the invoice is received, your customer must then manually enter the details into their accounts system, whether you send a paper copy or a PDF attachment. All the information in the entire purchase process is entered twice  – once into your customer’s accounts system and once into yours.

This duplication of data entry leaves plenty of room for human error. The accounts clerk at your customer’s business accidentally enters the wrong line item total when processing your invoice and suddenly everyone is chasing everyone else to identify where the problem occurred. All the while, the outstanding invoice remains unpaid.

How it could work

Celtrino’s Smart Admin platform prevents this issue from ever occurring because all the data is only ever entered once. Your client submits their purchase order from their accounts system to Smart Admin, which converts the data and enters it directly into your accounts system. You in return submit an invoice directly from your accounts system via Smart Admin and it is entered automatically into theirs.

Because the invoicing data is correct at the point of entry and manual intervention minimised, there should be no more need for chasing up invoices because the details have been transcribed incorrectly. You and your customer therefore both save time and money. And no chasing up, means shorter delays to payment.