Web services normally send their invoices to the account owner, which is usually the person who signed up and who is the one who will use or administer the account. The account owner is most likely not someone from the finance department.
The finance department needs the invoices for tax reporting purposes, amongst other things. This would happen at least once a year, but more likely, multiple times per year.
Gathering all the invoices … is time consuming and onerous.
Gathering all the invoices from the various service account owners every time finance has a deadline is time consuming and onerous. Many finance teams lean on the IT manager to provide them with the invoices, and government revenue services do not care about your own deadlines.
One of the most effective solutions to reduce the time wasted is to get the invoices delivered directly to the finance department. That way they have access to the necessary invoices whenever needed without waiting for others in the business. Ideally the invoices should be sent to an email account that is accessible to all relevant financial staff, rather than to an individual, because sending them to an individual would again create situation where people unnecessarily depend on others to get their work done.
reduce the time wasted … get the invoices delivered directly to the finance department.
Many web services provide the option of sending billing related information to other email addresses in addition to the account owner. It does take some time to log into each service and set up a billing email but your time investment will be repaid in full the next time an invoice is sent, and every month thereafter.
Unfortunately that is not the whole picture. A lot of web services do not provide the capability to send invoices to additional recipients, and worse, some do not send invoices at all. They require that you log in and download the required documents each time.
The services that send invoices only to the account owner make life unnecessarily difficult, but at least it can be overcome with some extra effort. The person that receives the invoices should set up an email filter that automatically forwards all the invoices to the billing email address. Getting email filters properly set up for each of these web services will take some time, but, again, it will pay off quickly.
Those web apps that don’t send invoices at all cost your company a lot of money in wasted productivity. If it is possible at all, switch away from the service to another product that do email invoices. If that is not possible then the business will have to budget for the wasted money and live with it.
If someone needs to gather invoices from service account owners each time the finance department needs them, then the following steps will help to quickly reduce time wasted:
- Set up a dedicated email address for billing related mail. The account must be accessible to all the relevant people in finance.
- For services that cater for additional billing email addresses, configure them to send invoices to the billing address.
- For services that send invoices only to the account owner, set up an email filter in the account owner’s email account that forwards the invoices to the billing address.
- For services that do not send invoices at all, switch to a different product, or budget and live with the wasted time and productivity.