Your Accounts Payable Knowledge Center

Don’t We Need Those Ink Approval Signatures?

We still hear people worried about using an electronic process for approving invoices for payment.  Below are a few of them.

  • Our accountant says we need signatures.

“Our accountant requires us to have signatures on approved invoices for audits.” Well, they are not legally required.  Electronic signatures and approvals have been legal since 1998.  Having an electronic approval meets the legal requirement and speeds up the approval process at the same time.

  • How will we know if they have been approved?

When you automate your approval routing you can track approvals in the system.  Every time someone approves an invoice, it will be recorded electronically and cannot be altered.  With everyone using their own login and password, you know exactly who approved an item.  You also know when they approved it.  Additionally, you can see how many invoices people have waiting for approval.

  • Auditors will be looking for signatures.

No, auditors are not looking for signatures.  They are looking for approvals.  The auditors know that electronic approvals are legal as long as the system is recoding them in an unalterable format.

  • My boss loves his paper.

Well, there is not much you can do to fix that.  Try having the auditors explain to your boss why paper is no longer needed. It that doesn’t work, print the invoices after you process them electronically.

  • What if the system crashes and I lose all of my invoices?

If you use a cloud system, just make sure that they have the backups and even replication to ensure that files are not lost.  If you are using a system in-house, make sure that your IT team is taking off-site backups.  What would you do if your building burned down and all you had was paper invoices? Backing up paper records is far more costly than electronic records.

These issues are just obstacles to overcome. Electronic records and electronic approvals are legal. Electronic records are far more secure and easier to protect than paper records.  You just have to put the plans in place to deal with them. 

Topics: Workflow, Records Management, Document Control, Accounts Payable, Business Process Automation, SaaS