Are you crafty? Handy? Do it yourself? Many of us like doing things by hand — some things, anyway. But let’s face it, there are other things we’d rather not have to do manually, especially some of the P2P processes. So how are organizations accomplishing vendor onboarding these days? Have companies automated, or is it still a manual process?
According to surveys by Financial Operations Networks when it comes to onboarding new vendors, the process for most organizations is manual. The majority of organizations are still pushing paper forms out to new vendors to fill out and send back. Approximately one in four organizations utilize both manual and automated processes for onboarding.
In onboarding new vendors, as in other areas of the P2P process, it is best to get away from paper documents. For example, when you receive a paper W-9, someone must manually enter the data, with the potential consequence of mis-keyed information. (And email is not secure for sending attached sensitive documents.) If the document is faxed back, there may be the possibility of a machine-reading and storing it, though the processes there are still less efficient and secure than a fully automated electronic process. The same is true for new-vendor forms. Organizations need that information, whether it’s a remit-to address or account information for ACH payment, not to mention such tax-reporting information as where the money was earned, or the rental property is located.
Organizations want to minimize paper. So do vendors. That’s one of the benefits of a vendor portal. A self-service vendor portal allows organizations to provide their own requisite forms electronically and conveniently to vendors. Vendors complete and submit the forms securely online. The data then does not have to be rekeyed. A vendor portal offers several additional capabilities to make vendor interaction and information exchange easy, saving both the organization and vendor time and money.
Because vendor onboarding, despite its important validation and compliance aspects, is outside certain main process flows of P2P automation, it remains a manual process for a majority. But it does not have to be that way. There are portals that securely automate gathering, approval workflows, validation and loading into the vendor master file of vendor information.