Blog

Take Your Purchase Orders Paperless

Andrew Daniel

Andrew Daniel
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If you work for a school district in the Southeast, you may be lucky enough to know our account representative, Brian Hinson.

Brian’s been working in the world of software for 16 years and was previously employed by our partner CSI.

A few weeks ago, someone asked Brian for a document detailing the process of going paperless with purchase orders. It occurred to him that we didn’t have the details documented publicly—until now.

As we mentioned before, our focus in 2012 is to help you more clearly understand how we can help you do more with Softdocs (or, go further with fewer resources) in regard to the business processes that you deal with on a day-to-day basis.

So, what would paperless purchase orders look like? What would the process involve?

If you’re new to Softdocs (or if you currently have our solutions but still use paper within this particular business process), click here for a detailed, unbiased look at going paperless with purchase orders, including the pros and cons of different options.

Or, for a more entertaining look at the process, read on.

Paper Purchase Orders 
The process that gives you a headache.

• A purchase requisition is filled out and passed around for approval.
• Once approved, the information on the form is used to create a PO.
• A copy of the PO is emailed to the school.
• The school prints out the orders and holds them in a folder that inevitably receives coffee stains and dirty looks.
• The items ordered come into the school and are received.
• Invoices are snail mailed (something your grandkids know nothing about) to either the school or district office.

School
• Assuming the correct documents can be located, the school takes the invoice(s) and matches it to the correct PO.
• The school looks for any discrepancies between the invoice and PO.
• In the event that more materials come in than were ordered, then the school attaches a ratification checklist to the invoice and PO.
• For blanket PO’s (ones that are left open to receive materials) the school writes the amount on the invoice and notifies Accounts Payable to issue a check.
• If the PO is to be closed, it is documented on the invoice.

District
• The district receives the invoice for a school.
• They mail the invoice to the designated school.
• The school follows the steps listed above.

• When the invoice is ready to be paid, the folder of documents is sent to Accounts Payable in the district office.
It includes:
– Purchase order
– Invoice
– Supporting documents
– Ratification checklist
• POs that can be closed upon payment of the invoice are printed (sometimes on a different color paper). If the color of the PO is white, then it is probably a blanket PO. Sometimes, but not always.
• The invoice information is filed into a squeaky filing cabinet.
• The checks are issued. Each check may pay multiple invoices for a given vendor.
• A copy of the check is attached. All POs, invoices, and related documents are stapled together.
• The documents are then filed by vendor and check number and you wonder if WD-40 would fix that squeaky cabinet. It doesn’t.
Imaging backlog:
• The AP clerks then have to remove the staples—the ones that took you 20 minutes to find—from the documents and scan the invoices and the ratification checklist.
• The process is done, you think. You’re still waiting to hear back from so-and-so about something-or-other.

PAPERLESS Purchase Orders with Softdocs
The simple process that boosts productivity and allows you to concentrate on more pressing tasks.

• Fill out an online requisition in Doc e Fill.
• Assign the form to one or multiple people for approval.
• Once the requisition has been approved, a Purchase Order is automatically created and a copy of the requisition is filed in the vendor’s electronic folder in Doc e Scan, our enterprise content management solution.
• The Purchase Order is then automatically faxed or emailed to the vendor and a copy of it is filed in the vendor’s electronic folder as well.
• The invoice from the vendor is sent to the Accounts Payable office.
• The accounts payable office scans and indexes the invoice to match it to the purchase order in the vendor’s electronic folder in Doc e Scan.
• Once the items purchased arrive, the receiver completes a ratification form using Doc e Fill, identifies the items received and attaches a scanned copy of the supporting documentation matching it to the purchase order they used to purchase the items.
• The ratification form and supporting documentation is routed to the Accounts Payable department to trigger payment.
• The form and supporting documents are filed in the vendor’s electronic folder in Doc e Scan automatically.
• The accounts payable check is then printed using Serve and it triggers a match on the purchase order number which causes all documents associated with the purchase order number to be re-filed using the accounts payable check number in Doc e Scan, which includes a copy of the check, purchase order, purchase requisition, invoice, packing slip, and any other document that was indexed using the purchase order number.
• The end user can now do a simple search using the check number to access all documents.

Contact us for more information on paperless purchase orders. We can’t wait to make this process easier for you!