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Nick Sprau, MetaViewer Paperless Automation for Microsoft Dynamics

MetaViewer and Fast Track Makes Retailers’ Holidays Bright

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The retail landscape has changed considerably over the past decade, from brick and mortar stores to multiple customer touch points via mobile devices, and the result has been a real headache for some retailers trying to keep their books straight and current. Further, with the holidays quickly approaching and many retailers expecting a spike in sales and activity, success relies heavily on the effectiveness of the internal financial process and the accounting department’s ability to handle the increased number of invoices and financial data. Customer demand and constantly moving inventory can place a significant strain on AP and AR departments and supply chain as they manage the financial and logistical implications of increased sales. Further, many retailers who began with a few stores find themselves with dozens or even hundreds of sites to manage across various geographic locations.

With paper invoices—which are received locally to each retailer but paid centrally—the accounting department may be blindsided. Hundreds and thousands of invoices and bills are likely sitting on the desks of store managers, and accounting has no idea that this significant financial burden is out there. Furthermore, delays and shipping costs inherent in transferring paper to and from distant retail locations mean headquarters has little negotiation power with vendors and often misses the opportunity for discounts granted for on-time payments, while they often sustain penalties for late payments.

Fortunately, the combination of Microsoft Dynamics, and Metafile’s MetaViewer software, has provided a solution that is slashing the cost of invoice processing for savvy operators of multi‐location retailers. Even better, the only skills the individual outlet managers require to use this advanced technology are the abilities to scan and email an invoice. This Web‐based service allows the accounting department at headquarters to receive electronic versions of paper invoices with equal ease from retailers located across town or those across the globe.

When a local store receives a shipment, the manager places the accompanying invoice in a scanner (rather than overnight mail) and emails it to the accounts payable department at headquarters, where the invoice is utomatically recognized and loads into a Web‐based solution. Now, by logging into a website, the store manager can view the electronic invoice and verify it, enter data, and code and approve it. If any delays occur in this process, the system issues automatic alerts and reminders.

With the online approach, accounts payable knows every invoice that is in the retailer’s system—no more surprises when they arrive at headquarters. MetaViewer technology can integrate with the enterprise’s Microsoft Dynamics platform and provide the kind of insights needed to better predict cash flow. And for some companies, the cost of processing an invoice in this centralized fashion has dropped to just a fourth of the original expense.

For retailers with many locations, the Web is a great equalizer and eliminates many of the challenges inherent with multiple locations in multiple geographies with multiple people responsible for the different stages of the accounts receivable and accounts payable process.

Furthermore, for those retailers that need to get up and running quickly, Metafile’s new Fast Track Implementation solution is the perfect solution to integrate MetaViewer and Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms.  Designed to get accounts-payable staff up and running with an automated paperless system in just 30 days, the Fast Track solution is designed to handle three key types of documents: invoices based on purchase orders; non-PO invoices; and related documentation, such as packing slips, AP checks and other transaction records. With Fast Track, retailers can rapidly capitalize on technology that can eliminate paper from their AP processes, improve the speed and the accuracy of financial reports, cut the costs of storing and managing paper documents and allow the company to take advantage of vendor incentives for on-time payments.

The heavy flow of invoices and holiday activity makes AP/AR automation essential to coming out on top. It is imperative retailers have the ability to quickly capture, analyze and react to data in order to increase sales and influence how they can save money in the long term, while also adding order and full visibility to the overall financial process. Equipping the financial department with the right technology will enable them to successfully manage resources.

Nick Sprau, VP of Marketing
Metafile Information Systems, Inc.

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