If manual data entry “isn’t a problem,” why is it such a problem?
You’ve got a plan for just about everything, and that plan extends to just about everyone. In a post-acute care setting, you know what people are going to eat in the morning, what they’ll do in the afternoon, and based on how healthy they are and continue to be, how they’ll live out the rest of their days.
Managing these plans is not only a good thing, it’s your job. But more often than not, people in your position are so distracted by day-to-day duties they end up putting off the assessment and improvement of critical functions and processes—issues that impact the strength of your business and the quality of care you deliver.
Take invoice and AP processing, for example. Why would you worry about such a thing when there are plenty of other concerns to go around? After all, your manual data entry system works. You’re doing things the way you’ve always done them, and it functions just fine:
- You get an invoice.
- You assign a GL code.
- You type it in.
- You walk it from department to department to get approval.*
- Then you allocate expenses across those same departments.
*Not an exaggeration. Some finance leaders are even driving to people’s home offices to get signoff.
So, yes. Your system works. But how much time does it take? How much money does it waste? How many mistakes do you have to deal with?
Is paperless part of your plan?
Don’t think about the move to paperless as a process that has to be done, think of it as an opportunity to tackle things like working capital, expensive inaccuracies and the unnecessary costs of having high-value staff focused on low-value work.
Consider the costs and risks of the status quo:
- Paperwork isn’t just another cost of doing business. You can eliminate that expense, so why wouldn’t you?
- Gartner estimates that companies spend between 1 to 3% of their revenue on office printing1. That doesn’t even account for the cost of filing, shipping and storing documents—let alone the cost of the actual paper.
- With paper, it’s hard to scale because processes are slow and can’t ramp up quickly—it’s harder to be flexible as staff and facilities change.
- Enforcing business rules becomes harder to do and difficult to communicate across multiple departments and staff.
- Manual entry means reduced accuracy, and if (when) there’s a mistake, they’re hard to find. You can’t just do a “search” through paper like you can in an automated system.
Quantify the value and benefits of going digital:
There’s an opportunity buried in that pile of paper invoices. Going digital is a security issue; it’s a savings issue; it’s a cashflow, control and working capital issue. It’s so much more than a simpler process—it allows you to protect payment and credit card data, and it lets you see what you’re spending this month before the numbers come in next month. Paperless processes also allow for:
Disaster prevention: If Judy knows where everything is and Judy retires, you’re sunk. A digital system works no matter what, and if something does happen, there’s always a digital trail you can follow.
Better terms: If you currently process 50 invoices a day, a digital process will allow you to do 500. Productivity increases, and because you can turn things around faster, you can get better terms from your vendors.
Cost and time savings: Less manual entry takes less time, because instead of coding accounts, vendor names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., for each location, you can just copy and paste. You’re saving time while lowering the risk of mistakes. And you can turn those kinds of operational efficiencies into early payment discounts.
Simplified, streamlined routing and approvals: This is the real value of going digital. You simply scan your invoices, link them to the vendor and GL, and you’re done. The information is all there for everyone who needs to see and approve it.
Don’t leave any more money on the table.
Again, manual data entry might not feel like a problem right now, but as more and more of your peers move to digital processes, they’re going to improve working capital, improve relationships with vendors and, by repurposing staff to higher-value tasks, improve the value of their care.
It’s going to become a significant concern. So if you look into digital now, look for a solution that not only has the features and performance you need, but one that’s easily integrated with RCM and is geared to post-acute care facilities like your own. That’s your best bet for moving beyond manual data entry.
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