A broken P2P process generates vendor inquiries. When a vendor contacts your organization about an invoice, AP has an opportunity to do more than solve the immediate question or problem. Vendor interactions offer AP a chance to fix process problems, reduce inquiries, and improve vendor relations. But in customer service, AP often can’t see the forest for the trees. Accounts payable customer service staff are focused on the immediate call or email. There is an appropriate urgency to it. But in failing to take a broader perspective, AP misses the opportunity to resolve underlying problems, which would better serve the vendor and eliminate future inquiries. The 2020 Accounts Payable Customer Service by Financial Operations Networks finds that 53 percent of organizations have a response-time policy that governs vendor inquiries. Certainly, if you want good vendor relations, you want your team to be responsive to your vendors. But there is a potential problem lurking in a “response time” policy. Be careful what you ask for. Commonly, AP faces a slew of emails or phone messages. The response-time metric reinforces the notion of "getting through them." The person focuses on answering the inquiry and moving on to the next. But if there is a process-related problem,...

Someone is out to get you. Hackers are working full time. And with your team working from home now, you face greater risk. Cyber-criminals are constantly working to find soft spots or weak links in your organization to exploit. And hackers study human behavior and are good at manipulation. When everyone first started working from home, their organizations addressed security items like VPNs, Wi-Fi security, bolstered passwords and multi-factor authentication. But even if those ducks are lined up, there is a key vulnerability that remains: people. Employees working at home must be alert and cautious to maintain security. Fraudsters employing social-engineered cyber-attacks seek to exploit fear, uncertainty and doubt. People under stress make a good target. The bad guys use common tools to break into systems: email, text messaging and phone calls. As the pandemic spread and the remote working environment was hurriedly set up, attacks that referenced COVID-19 leapt way up. (We are now halfway through autumn, and COVID-19 is on the rise again.) But not all attempts to breach security fly a COVID flag. The common pre-pandemic techniques still work. You might get an email that looks like an internal system-generated notification of a voicemail. It includes a link to access the message. If...

Ready, set … check your vendor tax IDs. We’re well into the 4th quarter. It's time to think about 1099 reporting. That means having correct tax IDs for your vendors. First, you need to be sure you have a tax ID for each vendor. Second, you will save trouble later if you take the time before you file 1099s to verify your vendor TINs through the IRS TIN Matching program. (It’s better to have done this at vendor onboarding!) And as you get set for 1099 reporting, be aware. This time around (as you read here a year ago) you have a new form 1099 to file. 1099-NEC To report non-employee compensation for 2020, you must file the newly revived form 1099-NEC (non-employee compensation). The change is an effort to sort out the confusion resulting from the shift in reporting deadlines enacted in the 2015 PATH Act. The Act required you to submit 1099-MISCs by January 31 if they included non-employee compensation reporting in box-7. “NEC” reporting now has its own form. Never fear, our old friend 1099-MISC is also still required. Use the 1099-MISC to report royalties, rents, health care payments, etc., as before. Those are due to recipients by January 31st and to...

Have you gotten yours? Not tricks or treats, nor a political surprise. The other October surprise: CP2100s! Twice a year, in spring and fall, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends out forms CP2100 and CP2100A. They address missing or incorrect taxpayer-identification numbers (TINs) on 1099 payment reporting. Whether you get a form 2100 or 2100A depends on the number of bad TINs. If you are a recipient, you must act. Your response depends on the particulars of each notice. Here’s a quick refresher on what to do. Incorrect TINs First, check the vendor TIN in the IRS notice against the TIN in your records. Are they different? Then an error was apparently made in the 1099 filing. Correct your records as necessary. You do not have to send a B-notice to the vendor, but ensure you report the vendor’s correct TIN next time. However, if the TIN in the CP2100 matches what you have as the vendor’s TIN, the TIN is incorrect. In that case, you have 15 days to issue a “B Notice” (“B” for backup withholding) to the vendor. The B-notice explains that they need to send you a corrected TIN (stat!) or you will begin backup withholding. If you do not receive a...

When a vendor does not receive an expected payment, they contact you to find out what’s up. If payment has been late in the past, many vendors will not wait until payment is due. They’ll call to confirm that you got their invoice, or to ask when to expect payment (putting you on record). There are many reasons for vendor inquiries. But there is a correlation between imperfect processes and vendor calls. The most commonly identified challenge to good “customer” service is some aspect of the procure-to-pay (P2P) process itself, says Financial Operations Networks’ 2020 Accounts Payable Customer Service Survey. Get the Big Picture, then Drill Down Vendor calls and emails can point you to problems in your procure-to-pay process. Pay attention to the frequency and type of inquiries you are receiving. Don’t just answer the individual questions. Step back and look at the big picture. It’s tough to do when you are scrambling just to get all the inquiries addressed. But sometimes you have to push back the urgent to focus on the important. What is behind those questions? Have you got a gap, or gaps, in your P2P process? Seek out the root cause of the problems and address them. Maybe it’s sequencing. As...

Disruption happens. And when it does, expectations are replaced by uncertainty. In the case of the Coronavirus, that uncertainty has no apparent endpoint. The consequence is tremendous anxiety. If you are a leader, your staff looks to you for direction. Leaders must manage the anxiety that can lead to bad decisions or behaviors[1], and decreased productivity. In the aftermath of 9/11, businesses realized the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Many companies without it did not survive. The difficulty of such planning is that it cannot see that for which it is supposed to prepare. Planners draw up plans against best-guess scenarios such as fires, floods and earthquakes. Now those scenarios include terrorist attacks and mass shootings. It's a grim job, and planners labor in the face of the unknown. But who anticipated the possibility of a pandemic shutdown? Very few. Nine months in, there is still a lot of uncertainty. The end is not yet in sight. What can leaders, whose crystal balls are no better than their staffs, do to manage the anxiety and keep things moving? How do you provide direction, inspiration and hope? You don’t have all the answers. But in the face of the uncertainty, you have...

It is that time of year. IRS Notices 972CG, proposed penalty notices, are out. The IRS typically starts mailing the notices in late July. The process continues through August. How do you “qualify” for a 972CG? Try filing 1099s late. Or fail to file at all! Penalties are also assessed for filing 1099s in the wrong format. Do you have more than 250 1099s to file? Then you must file electronically, not on paper. The other big way to get a penalty assessment is to file 1099s with incorrect or missing taxpayer ID numbers. (We told you to get and check those W-9s!) And you’ll get zinged for “any combination” of the above. See the penalty rates here. But—good news—you might not have to pay the full amount shown on the 972CG. The form is a proposed penalty, not a final assessment. It is possible to reduce the amount or persuade the IRS to waive the proposed penalty altogether. To avoid part or all of the penalty, though, you must act promptly. You have 45 days to respond to the Notice. If you look at the list of offenses and see that they’ve got you dead to rights, just return the acknowledgment, payment slip and your...

Are you looking to solve a problem through technology? When shopping for IT solutions, the first step is to figure out what functionality you really need. Having identified the problem, it is often helpful to talk through solutions with colleagues in your own and other organizations. Talking to vendors also can be helpful—they have expertise worth tapping. Just be clear about the "discovery" phase versus the shopping phase. When you have a clear idea of what you need and have identified vendors that might offer the solution, here are seven things to think about: full cost, ease of implementation, user accessibility, security, flexibility, scalability, and support. Full cost: Understand how the solution is priced. Don’t ask, “What’s the cost?” but “What’s the total cost? What comes standard and what is extra?” Don’t get surprised by hidden costs. Implementation: How long will it take to implement? What will it require of your internal IT department? What will it require of your staff? Of other users? What is the average ramp-up time to get it working properly? User accessibility: How easy is it to access, and how intuitive is it to use? What kind of training is necessary? Who will handle that? Depending on...

Have you ever received an invoice from a vendor you’ve never heard of? Of course. You check the master file, but it’s not there. And it’s due in 30 days. Just kidding—it’s due by the end of the week. Last week. If you're lucky, the buyer's name is noted on the invoice. Or maybe the buyer is the one that forwarded the invoice to you. Employee buyers mean well, but their focus is on getting what they need for the job they have to do. It's not on the details required to pay the vendor. That there are 12 tasks involved in onboarding of a new vendor eludes them, even though you explained everything in a  Zoom meeting last month. They don't have time to think about payment reporting, compliance issues, bank verification or even the need for a correct address. If they need authorization to purchase, that's as far as it goes for some. Others may go a bit further. And a few conscientious ones try to get everything that's needed from a vendor, but their own work deadlines interrupt their seeing vendor onboarding tasks through. Control, efficiency and timeliness are lacking in many of the purchases made throughout an organization. Employees do...

Working from home is challenging productivity. Several factors play into that challenge. Leading issues are children, space, privacy, lack of time boundaries, and importantly, the lack of professional social connection. Stanford University Economist Nicholas Bloom, a noted work-from-home advocate, expects a productivity decline in the large shift to remote work, at least for a time. He also posits a dip in new ideas tied to the lack of interaction with other workers. Bloom is quoted by Adam Gorlick in a Stanford News article as saying in-person collaboration is necessary for creativity and innovation. Several surveys indicate productivity and morale challenges to those who have suddenly found themselves clearing space to work from home. A survey by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) found that despite companies’ adaptions and successes in shifting to a remote workforce, respondents report problems. They’re working more but feeling less productive and engaged. Hours are irregular, and workers are feeling stressed. IT workers are an apparent exception, according to a survey by Sectigo. “… nearly 50% of those polled reported that productivity had increased since they were asked to [work from home] WFH, while 35% "feel it's stayed consistent," and only 16% noted an actual decrease in productivity.” But...

Stop Calls and Emails, Enhance
Service and Increase Profit!

InvoiceInfo saves labor hours and cost by helping suppliers and internal staff easily and instantly get answers online to their invoice-payment questions.

If you are like many finance leaders today, you are being challenged to reduce costs more quickly. InvoiceInfo delivers real bottom-line results almost immediately, allowing you to deploy your customer service staff to focus on more productive, bottom-line oriented tasks.

Let us show you how InvoiceInfo's vendor self-service portal can help your organization eliminate invoice inquiry emails and calls while enhancing service to your accounts payable customers.


Get Up and Running Quickly and Seamlessly

InvoiceInfo and VendorInfo are standalone applications that can be up and running in as little as two weeks, with little or no IT resources required.

The faster your online portal is up and running, the sooner you will start reaping the benefits. InvoiceInfo and VendorInfo are dedicated solely to helping AP and procurement departments slash the time and expense of servicing vendors, while improving customer service for their suppliers.

InvoiceInfo and VendorInfo are simple solutions with big results. They are easy to implement and easy to use. Here’s how one customer described the process: “You give vendors a URL, provide instructions about what they need to know and tell them to go use it.” It really is that easy.


Improve Productivity with a Self-Service Solution

For most organizations, deploying a technology solution is a significant investment, and like most investments, the decision point ultimately comes down to the expected return on that investment.

According to a recent benchmark study by The Accounts Payable Network, 60% of AP customer service calls are from vendors while 40% are from internal customers. Vendor issues actually make up even more of the AP call volume than the 60% identified. Many times when a vendor has an issue, the vendor contacts their buyer or purchasing representative, who in turn contacts AP. Even though the call comes from an internal customer, the question originated with the vendor.

Vendor calls affect productivity in your organization exponentially. When vendors call the requisitioner, they are affecting that person’s productivity. Your internal customer’s productivity shrinks when fielding the vendor’s call and again when making the follow up call to AP and getting back to the vendor. Finally, AP’s productivity suffers as a result of the internal customer’s call, the payment status research and the follow-up communication.

With a minimal investment of IT time and talent, you can start reducing customer service calls and expense in a matter of weeks. In addition, you improve vendor relations since you are giving your vendors what they want — answers to their questions immediately — a win-win for everyone involved!


Easy and Economical Solution to Serve Vendors Around the World

InvoiceInfo can help you provide best-in-class customer service to your vendors around the world at a fraction of the cost.

Many organizations today have offices and operations throughout the world and are dealing with many time zones, different languages, and in some cases multiple ERP systems. InvoiceInfo currently supports different languages and can easily work with multiple ERP systems in different locations.

The key to good customer service is to provide the information that the customer wants when they want it. Whether your customer is a vendor waiting for a payment or a colleague that needs information on payment status, they want their information right away. If your organization has vendors and offices in other countries, they can be challenging and expensive to serve. But, with InvoiceInfo, your international vendors and internal customers can access the information they need when they need it.

With InvoiceInfo, you won’t have to staff your customer service team with 24-hour coverage in multiple languages to provide high-quality customer service around the world.


Enhance AP’s Role As a Strategic Partner

Learn how InvoiceInfo can help AP do more with less while continuously improving productivity and bottom-line results.

Many automation technologies such as scanning, workflow, e-invoicing, ACH, and electronic invoicing require significant investments of money, time and talent, making it difficult to get buy-in from upper management. Not InvoiceInfo!

If your goal for your AP department is to reduce costs quickly, call or email us today to learn more about how InvoiceInfo can help you achieve this goal through a quick, inexpensive and easy implementation of a vendor self-service portal.


Enhance Vendor Relationships

InvoiceInfo helps suppliers’ AR departments with simple and convenient access to invoice payment status online at a cost savings for all involved.

It may seem that the organization paying the vendor should hold all the cards in the relationship. But sometimes the opposite is true. Past-due payments and customer service perceptions can harm supplier relationships and disrupt the supply chain.

Your vendors and vendor relationship managers are living in a dynamic, fast-paced environment, so when invoice information is required, it is needed quickly and expected to be of high quality. With InvoiceInfo, your suppliers get answers to invoice inquiries real time, 24/7 with no need to leave messages and wait for responses. Studies show that confidence in data increases when suppliers access invoice and payment information themselves.


Give Procurement and Buyers the Tool They
Need to Respond to Vendors Quickly

Not only can InvoiceInfo be used by suppliers to learn the status of invoice payments, it can also be used internally within your organization.

In addition to reducing calls from vendors regarding invoice status, you can also reduce internal emails and calls from co-workers wanting to learn the status of invoice payment, and save time and effort and boost efficiency and productivity across the organization. Studies show that 40% of AP customer service calls are from internal customers. Many of these are from requisitioners who have received calls or emails from the supplier checking on payment status. These calls are often more expensive for the company because the internal staff member has taken the call or received an email from the supplier, contacted AP for the payment status and had to return the call or email the supplier.

By providing the vendor with a convenient and credible online option to get the answers it needs regarding payment status, you can eliminate multiple calls/emails between the vendor and the requisitioner saving time and money.


Eliminate Difficult Vendor Calls and See
Productivity and Staff Morale Soar

Reduce invoice payment inquiries and “promote” your vendor service team to more satisfying and profit-producing tasks.

By sharply reducing inbound calls and emails regarding receipt and payment status that your AP staff must handle individually, your staff can focus their efforts on more productive, cost-saving activities, learn new tasks, feel more confident and boost their careers.

According to a recent American Express survey on customer service, more than one-third of consumers have lost their temper with a customer service professional in the past year. Of those who lost their temper, three in ten “hung up the phone.” Your staff will no longer have to deal with difficult collectors who can be upsetting and disruptive. Your staff will feel that their time and talents are being put to better use and will feel better about themselves, their jobs and their organization. Reducing these calls can be a real productivity and morale booster for your AP department!


Simplify and Streamline Vendor Onboarding

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, the average organization spends about $20 in labor to file each paper document, approximately $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document and $220 in re-creation of a document.

Wouldn’t it be great to have all your W-9’s, W-8’s and other registration documents completed online and instantly filed online for easy access when needed? With Vendor Self-Service Onboarding Module, VendorInfo, you can onboard your new vendors in one convenient location and eliminate paperwork and hassles.


Verify the Accuracy of Vendor Information and Stay in Compliance with IRS and Treasury Department Regulations

Government regulators are increasing the complexity of regulations and penalties associated with vendor-related non-compliance.

Penalties for incorrect 1099’s have more than doubled in recent years. Over the last several years, OFAC has levied more than $1 billion in fines against American companies or subsidiaries that did business with restricted businesses, organizations and individuals on its SDN list. In addition to fining these companies, the Treasury Department posts the names of infringing organizations along with fines paid.

VendorInfo Onboarding Module verifies the accuracy of vendor information and helps protect your organization by avoiding embarrassing penalties and fines.

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