Ashley Jones, 27-year veteran of the Sales & Marketing team at Merlin Business Software, tells PBM about the firm’s new Automated Accounts Payable (AAP) solution.
“Work efficiency is the ability to get the most output from the least possible input. It means doing more with less. Working smarter, not harder. When you improve efficiency, you’re able to get a larger output from the same amount of input — or even less. For employees, this means being able to get more done in a finite amount of time: the workday.”
At Merlin, we don’t just pay lip service to great advice like this — it forms our work ethic, driving us to research and develop new and different ways of working to help our customers maximise every opportunity. Life rarely seems to stand still at Merlin as a result, and this is evident in our 2022 launch of a new and exciting solution for our customers called Automated Accounts Payable or AAP for short.
Regardless of the industry that the company works in, practically all accounting departments work the same when it comes to handing supplier invoices. Things don’t seem to have changed much for years, if not decades, in terms of the manual input of bills. But what if that was all to change? Overnight?
Remember when we used to do laundry by hand? Remember when we had to get up out of our seat to change the TV channel? Those things were very much the norm for a long time before technology superseded and improved them, so why do so many companies still post their supplier invoices by hand?
Imagine for a moment that technology could take over the entering of supplier invoices, and do so far quicker and more accurately than mere humans could? Imagine the time saved and the ability to repurpose those human resources to more practical and productive tasks within the business…
Well, Merlin’s AAP solution does just that. Having simply trained the system to recognise each supplier’s invoice layout, AAP decodes the information in to data electronically, and presents it to the ledger. It even flags up anomalies for your attention, perhaps where the invoice value doesn’t match the original purchase order that you placed with the supplier. However, these instances now very much become the exception rather than the rule.
AAP caters for invoices that are sent by suppliers electronically, so those received by email as PDFs are generally the norm, though it will cater for a number of different image formats. As for those invoices that still arrive in the post, they can be quickly digitised by practically any low-cost document scanner or multi-function photo-copier/scanner devices that grace most accounts offices these days.
Past experience of integrating Merlin with other third-party AAP solutions, suggest that the whole process can be improved by upwards of 80%-90%, where the remaining invoices need some form of manual intervention, so we know the potential positive impact that this technology offers our customers.
Already, the take-up of AAP from loyal Merlin customers has been impressive, and this only seems inevitable to grow as it generates more momentum — after all, why would anyone want to key in supplier invoices anymore?
A version of this article appeared in the March edition of PBM. Click here to read the full digital issue.
A Supplier Member of both NMBS and BMF, Merlin Business Software is designed to give builders’ merchants and related businesses “all the tools they need to succeed”. Stating that it “knows how important it is to be quick and easy to use”, the firm’s range of software solutions encompasses standard core modules such as Sales Order Processing, Stock Control, Invoicing, Sales, and Financials, to the Trade Counter and e-commerce solutions on offer.
With key features including a Comprehensive Customer History, Barcoding as Standard, Customer Special Pricing, Repeat / Scheduled Orders, Special Offers (by date range), Linked Item Suggestions (Link Selling), Alternative Product Suggestions and Remote Sales Opportunities, the company asserts it “works with you to help grow your business by streamlining your business processes (and) saving you time and money.”
See the link below for a brief video overview of how Merlin can help your business to achieve its goals: