Many business executives have heard of BPO (business process outsourcing) but think of it as merely call centers or other customer facing roles that are outsourced abroad. But today, many BPO services focus on the backend of your operations and can actually improve your relationship both with your customers and vendors, achieving significantly more for your business.
Business process outsourcing companies that specialize in the receipt, digitization, processing, management, and e-storage of critical business documents can significantly reduce costs, improve customer service, minimize errors, increase your ROI, and more. Here are some ways a BPO company could help you:
Mailroom outsourcing: Both digital documents and hard copies
If your business relies on a significant number of incoming documents that need to be processed quickly, including invoices, insurance claims, beneficiary changes, or order fulfillment, an outsourced mailroom can help eliminate the challenges of receiving, distributing, and processing these documents while increasing the efficiency in which they are processed.
Mail and emails are sent directly to a BPO partner for the immediate receipt, digitization, and preparation necessary for you to process the documents quickly and accurately, or they can even be processed by the BPO partner. This dramatically helps you with staffing issues, meeting regulatory compliance guidelines, hitting fast turnaround deadlines, and can overcome issues caused by a mass volume of incoming documents and multi-location coordination.
Document digitization, storage, and management: Access any document at anytime from anywhere
Even after documents are processed, a BPO company can help you store, retrieve, track, and distribute them more securely, more cost effectively, and more efficiently. By scanning, indexing, and then storing processed documents in cloud document management software, you can easily, within seconds, access any of your important documents from any mobile device or laptop, helping you improve customer service, less disruptively respond to audits, establish security protocols down to the document level, and improve productivity in your organization.
According to one study, in the U.S. it costs $20-$30 in labor to file a document, $120 to find a misfiled document, and $250 to reproduce a lost document. This also doesn’t factor in the cost of storing physical documents, whether in your office or in a storage unit. Your ideal BPO partner will not only have expertise in the digitization and indexing of your documents, but can also provide document management software specialized for your needs. Alternatively, if you already are using other software for the management of your digitized documents, a qualified BPO service provider will be able to output the documents and data to the format needed to load into your software.
Accounts payable processing: From receipt to payment
According to a Hackett Group study, top performing firms had 62% fewer supplier inquiries than their competitors, highlighting how important it is to reduce inquiries and improve response time when an issue does arise. Having a BPO partner who works with you to automate your accounts payable processes from invoice receipt through payment, could make or break your relationship with your vendors, and save you time and money.
With outsourced AP processing, all your invoices can be mailed directly to a P.O. Box monitored by a BPO partner who will then receive, open, prep, and scan them at their outsource facility. Or if sent digitally, emails can be sent to a dedicated email account where your digital mailroom partner will receive, extract, index, and prepare them for processing. Digitized invoices are then routed through your organization for expedited review, approval, and processing.
Normally it takes companies about 3-5 days to get the image data from documents into an indexed format, ready to be processed. According to a AIIM Finance and Accounting study on Automating Core Information Workflows, the average turnaround time when outsourced is under one day and the drain on AP staff to keep up with incoming invoices is eliminated.
And after they’ve been processed, with a BPO service the digital invoices can also be stored, accessed, and tracked from internally hosted or cloud-based document management software integrated with your accounts payable software, enabling one-click viewing.
Your quality assurance partner
While you can outsource your full process to a BPO company, you can also select specific areas within the larger procedure to be outsourced. For example, maybe it is most efficient for your staff at various branches to scan and manually enter data from invoices or other transactional documents into your system. Since this task is not being done by scanning and indexing specialists, this process can result in very high error rates, especially if you are asking staff who have other roles such as store managers, part-time AP staff, HR staff etc. Under these circumstances, you can expect a very high percentage of indexed data to be inaccurate resulting in processing errors that can cost your business money, customers, and poor relationships with vendors.
A BPO company can act as your quality assurance partner and check manually entered data against the scanned files to make sure there are no discrepancies. If a discrepancy is found, they can fix it or if necessary, provide error reports for your review. It is another set of eyes to ensure the most accurate and timely processing of your critical documents.
Flexibility that meets your needs
It can feel overwhelming to keep all these factors in mind, but business process outsourcing can remove a lot of headaches, reduce costs, and optimize internal processes. You are looking for a long-term partner, so they need to be able to grow with your business. Find a company that is willing to work with you, whether it’s outsourcing your entire process or creating solutions for specific services you may need.