As a resort manager, you have a lot on your plate. You need to keep your rooms stocked and clean, your accounting in order, your procurement process tight, your employees well-trained and happy, and, most of all, your customers having the time of their lives.
This means you have soap, linens, drinks, and food to order and pay for, numbers to crunch and budgets to adhere to or adjust, invoices to produce and process, trainings to run, paychecks to write, and complaints, questions, and comments to tend to.
With all this going on, the last thing you need is a pile of invoices, checks, money orders, and receipts waiting to stress you out and dominate your valuable time. Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to this reality. Today, there are ways to automate your invoice and payment processing in a way that will save you time, money, manpower, and stress.
The Dangers of Manual Invoice and Payment Processing
Invoice and payment processing has been around since, well, invoices and payments have been. In order to run a successful hospitality business, you need to procure the products and services that go into your business and process the payments that come with these products and services. The efficient flow of money in and out of your resort can make or break it.
For decades, businesses have been writing out and receiving physical invoices as well as writing and distributing receipts. It’s important to have a record of your financial practices, but physical documents are in danger of being lost, disorganized, or even destroyed in a natural disaster such as a fire or flood.
What’s more, manual invoice and payment processing is prone to human error such as incorrect calculations, incorrect categorization, or even illegible handwriting. Completing these tasks by hand, or even manually with a word processor, is time-consuming and error-prone.
You often need a designated employee or even an entire department dedicated to handling these matters. And each employee you bring on needs training, pay, insurance, and benefits such as holidays and paid time off.
What Goes Into Invoice and Payment Processing?
Invoice processing is a vital process. You need to process and pay your invoices in a timely manner in order to keep your resort stocked, your books in order, and your business-to-business relationships strong.
Invoice processing is also a somewhat involved process. The first step is receiving or capturing the invoice. The invoice may come as a paper document in the mail, a fax, an email, or a PDF, Word, Excel, or Google document.
If you are processing invoices manually, someone (or multiple people) needs to look at each invoice and enter relevant data like vendor ID number and total price into whatever ledger system your company is using. This is time-consuming and extremely error-prone. And the more information that needs to be recorded, the more chances there are for mistakes.
The next step is routing the invoice to the appropriate employee for approval. For example, the invoice for an electrician visit may go to the facilities manager, while the invoice for a freelance software engineer would go to the CTO. When done manually, routing involves a lot of departments, attention to detail, and time.
The next step is to authorize and submit for payment. The approver looks over the amount billed and what service or good is being billed and notes any discrepancies. If there is an apparent error the authorizer will send the invoice back to the relevant stakeholders for reconciliation.
If there are no errors, the approver will send it to the billing department for payment. This step may seem simple, but if the approver is out of the office or takes too long to approve an invoice, late fees may occur and business relationships may be harmed.
The next step is to process the payment. This may mean writing a check if you’re on the manual processing train, or it may mean clicking a button on a payment app. Any way you do it, it needs to be on time to avoid late fees and maintain strong business relationships.
Lastly, you’ll need to keep a record of the transaction. This may be in a physical notebook, a Word or Google document, or an Excel spreadsheet. This step is important for budget analysis as well as tax purposes.
Benefits of Automated Invoice and Payment Processing
As you can see, there are a lot of steps that go into invoice processing. This, unfortunately, translates to a lot of time and a lot of potential errors. Luckily, there are companies that offer software that can handle invoice processing for you.
With automated invoice processing, you can streamline your received invoices with a common email id. This way, instead of sorting through snail mail and multiple employee email addresses, all the invoices come to the same place for easy organization and processing.
Also, with automated invoice processing, you can go touchless for over three-quarters of your invoices. This means that you skip over the opportunity for input errors, the risk of over or underpayment, lost invoices, and inaccurate tax payments or calculations.
Touchless invoices equate to no data input labor and time, no routing to and waiting for authorization from approvers, and no waiting time between the approver’s office and the billing department. Many of your invoices can go from being received to being paid and filed away in little or no time.
With automated invoice processing, you can save labor and money by having software do the work instead of a full-time employee who needs training, full-time pay, and benefits.
Types of Payment Processing
There are many types of payment processing, some newer than others, some more convenient and cost-effective than others. You have received an invoice from another business in your business-to-business procurement process. This could be an invoice for a shipment of new bed linens or an invoice for a third-party cleaning service.
It’s been received, routed to the appropriate approver, and sent to the billing department. Alternately, it has been received and automatically moved through those steps by invoice software. Now it’s time to pay the invoice.
The first payment option that may come to mind is the “old reliable” — paper checks. People have been writing checks for decades. Maybe it’s the way you saw your mother pay the bills growing up. It seems stable and smart.
However, this form of payment may not be as “reliable” as you may think, though it is as “old.” Paper checks are susceptible to rampant fraud. What’s more, they take days to process and are more expensive per transaction than, say, an ACH payment.
Another payment option is an ACH (automatic clearing house) payment. This is an electronic bank-to-bank payment. It allows you to skip checks, cash, credit cards, or wiring. It is faster and cheaper than using checks.
The best way to process a payment is through secure, fast, incentivizing applications like BirchStreet Pay. This solution allows you to make all your departments’ payments through one place. It simplifies the procurement process by centralizing 100% of your payments, even if they are made by different locations or departments.
It has enhanced safety features to keep your money safe from misuse and fraud. Instead of writing checks, you can use their simple interface to make payments with the tap of a button. It also has full reporting and analytics capabilities so that you can have a real-time view of your funds for accounting and compliance purposes.
What’s more, BirchStreet Pay will pay you for using their services. From your very first payment, money that you would already be spending to keep your business running, you can start earning cashback rewards.
The Bottom Line …
Automated invoice and payment processing will improve your resort’s processes. Instead of going around collecting invoices from the outside mailbox and various employees’ email inboxes, automated invoice processing tools will direct all your invoices to one common, central email address. You won’t need to scan and upload paper invoices to your online filing system because they will already be online!
With manual invoice processing, each invoice would need to be collected and routed to the correct department for approval before it was sent to the billing department. With automated invoice processing, over 80% of your invoices can be processed touchless. This means skipping the lag and waiting times between departments. Not only that, but the software won’t make mistakes like the ones to which humans are prone.
When it comes time to actually pay the invoice, automated systems once again comes out on top. You can skip the paper checks, cash, or credit cards by utilizing easy-to-use payment applications.
Instead of spending precious minutes completing each of the many, many payments it takes to keep your resort running, you can make these payments with the press of a button or set them up to be paid automatically.
Automated invoice and payment processing will save you time, hassle, manpower, and money. By choosing the right products to handle these tasks for you, you can even earn cashback for paying your suppliers.