American University’s Accounts Payable department recently began utilizing a new campus-wide imaging and workflow solution called WebNow to help process the approximately 70,000 transactions that take place annually. WebNow allows Accounts Payable to scan and image all reimbursement and disbursement documents and work solely with electronic invoices. The new process is expected to improve efficiency by reducing invoice processing time significantly, and also helping to ensure that the disbursement process is more transparent and accurate.
“Managing paper invoices from thousands of vendors and supporting numerous departments located in multiple locations around Washington, DC was highly inefficient,” explained Robert Lancaster, Director of Accounts Payable. “We often were faced with administrative challenges such as lost and missing invoices, delays in approvals, long payment cycles that exposed the university to possible late fees, and lost opportunities for discounts. The document retrieval process for audits also proved to be time consuming and expensive, as all invoicing records were paper based and held mostly at off-site storage facilities.”
Using the WebNow solution, Accounts Payable now will be able to integrate seamlessly with Ellucian Colleague (Datatel), AU’s financial platform, and allow for the entire invoice cycle to be monitored and tracked online in real time, from receipt to approval to payment. WebNow also saves mail and storage fees through its significant reduction of paper generation, and helps towards the university’s sustainability goal of zero waste.
Vendors are encouraged to send invoices directly to Accounts Payable for processing via email. If invoices are received by AU departments other than Accounts Payable, those invoices should be scanned and emailed to AccountsPayable@american.edu.