Going mobile for finance activities is a growing phenomenon. As of 2016, over half of all smartphone owners with a bank account used mobile banking at some stage during the previous 12 months. The reason for this comes down to the convenience of it – it’s quick and simple to perform actions, request information, and monitor your account. So why not extend the convenience of consumer-based apps for business use? Today, mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, can be used for finance-related areas, such as procurement and accounts payable tasks, freeing busy professionals from their office desks. Having the ability to work on the move can help in various ways.
1. Remain in control
In this modern era, you can have busy and unpredictable schedules that disrupt the working day. Meetings (both scheduled and impromptu) can lure you away from your desk for hours on end, preventing you from carrying out otherwise quick and simple tasks, which could, in turn, hold up subsequent approvals or invoice payment.
Busy professionals often need work applications on their personal devices, in order to complete tasks quickly and easily if they are away from the desktop. Apps for procurement and AP tasks enables you to stay connected to the office at all times, without the need for access to a work laptop or desktop computer.
Having the ability to raise a requisition in a familiar, mobile-optimized shopping experience, and to approve or reject requisitions and invoices in just a few clicks allows you to keep on top of your work queue. It’s especially handy if you work with a team in a different location, on a different time zone, and need to be able to respond to queries outside of standard office hours.
2. Keep on top of tasks
You want to be able to respond to requisition or invoice approval requests in 1 or 2 clicks. With many desktop or web applications, it’s necessary to open the app, sign-in, and navigate to the correct item before you can act on pending tasks in your work queue – adding unnecessary steps to something that shouldn’t be complex.
With mobile, you are notified via email every time a new task appears in your queue. You can then easily approve, reject, or add comments to requisition and invoice approval requests – without the need to access the full interface – by clicking the appropriate button on the email.
Fig. 1. Steps taken to approve a requisition on mobile
3. Have complete visibility
By being able to access your work queues on mobile devices, you instantly gain visibility over what you need to do the next day, to respond, or to seek clarification no matter where you are. This helps you to plan early for your working day and ensure that your workload is managed effectively, whether or not there are unplanned interruptions during the day.
4. Stay productive
Carrying out tasks on a mobile device when you can’t via a work laptop or desktop computer boosts productivity. You don’t need to worry about intermittent WiFi or VPN connections and boot-up issues that could prevent you from accessing the web app on your work laptop for prolonged periods of time. You can perform the necessary tasks via an email or web address on your mobile device using trusted WiFi or data connections.
5. Work on the go
Mobile allows you to capture pictures of relevant documents on the go, using your device’s camera. Employees on the shop floor or the AP team in the office can upload photos of invoices and goods received notes with a few clicks, and mobile cameras and OCR technology makes it much easier for documents to be captured by the system. Once the content is correctly captured and verified, the process of approval and payment can begin without delay.
Fig. 2. A sample invoice captured on mobile
6. Identify problem areas
Mobile allows you to complete work faster by giving you the ability to easily monitor the progress of invoices and payment and find out what or who is causing a delay in the process. Once identified, you can take steps to rectify these delays and prompt people for approvals if necessary.
All of these aspects make the entire P2P process much easier, quicker, and transparent. Wherever you are or whichever time zone you’re in, you can easily access your own work queue, act on your pending tasks, and monitor the progress of relevant invoices.