Excel Upload of Payables Invoices
By ramakrishnan.balaji on Jan 11, 2008
I keep hearing from customers about having the ability to enter invoices through Excel. Whenever I hear that, I used to wonder why they would need that as the current system (EBS R12) already has quick invoice entry and the regular invoice workbench for invoice data entry. Also if the customer really wanted to go electronic they could go with the XML approach of loading invoices. In my personal opinion going the XML way makes more sense as it eliminates the need to enter invoices manually into the system. But I guess we are still living in the paper dominated world where all the documents are still sent through paper.
Coming back to the excel interface I am not really sure about the true benefits of this approach. This is not to say that there is none, as there are a few that I can think of. Ease of data entry, ability to enter invoices faster and no need to train users as most of the computer users are already familiar with the excel tool. But if I were to go a step further then I see some issues here. Notably that there could be errors during data entry as the excel template might not have all the online validations that are normally found if the user were to enter these invoices using the quick invoice/invoice workbench pages that is currently available in EBS R12. Because of data entry issues, the user might be forced to go back into the ERP system to fix the data entry errors. To me, this looks like doing double work.
Currently in EBS R12, we have the quick invoice entry (which also has very minimal validations) where the user can enter both PO matched invoices as well as non-PO invoice. Following this the user has to run the invoice import program which will create the actual invoice. If the user does not like this approach they can always enter the invoice directly using the invoice workbench.
Since customers are looking for the excel based invoice entry, I have a few questions that I would like to ask.
1. Is this primarily used by internal AP dept? Or is the excel template given to the suppliers asking them to enter their invoices in excel?
2. If this is used by AP dept, then are they using it for entering non-PO invoices or are they using it to enter PO invoices.
3. Currently on the quick invoice page there are very minimal validations. Since excel is going to have very minimal validations, what is the advantage here? Why can't the user use the quick invoice page and why do they need excel?
4. If the AP dept is using this for entering PO matched invoices, then wouldn't it be helpful if they can enter it in quick invoice page or the regular invoice entry. Using the online pages gives you lot of flexibility in the sense that the user can pick and choose select PO's schedules etc. Given this, why would the user want to enter data in excel which does not have any validations.
5. Also if users were to enter the data in excel and if there were some mistakes, then they would have to go back to the online component to fix the data errors. This is doing double duty as the user has to first enter the data in excel and then have to go back to the online component to fix the data errors. Wouldn't they be better off if they enter this data in the online component directly?
6. What kind of benefit does the customer have (AP dept) if they use excel. Is it cut and paste? If so, since the invoices are not the same, how can they cut and paste? Are they doing cut and paste only under the scenario where there are multiple invoices coming from the same supplier?
I would like to hear from users about their comments on using excel upload. Let me know.