Troubles invoicing in the hospitality business

The inconvenience of invoicing in the hospitality business

It’s end-of-month time again; running a smooth and efficient invoicing process is vital to any successful business and should be fairly simple to orchestrate, but why do we make life so difficult for ourselves?

The mountains of paperwork (which rapidly builds up as the weeks go on), the issue of duplicate invoices (did we send that one already?), dealing with late payments (often because there are duplicate invoices you could end up paying twice), which harms cash flow and ultimately is money down the drain. Then there are the general visibility issues associated with the invoicing process, (being unable to identify where you are with your invoices at any given point). In many cases, there is simply no determined procedure at all. Invoices simply come in through the door, dissolve into the ever-evolving mass of chaos before they come out of the other side (if they come out at all).

The point is, we know paperwork is an issue for the hospitality industry; we’ve touched on this topic in previous blogs, but using out-dated and unreliable invoicing processes just makes everything ten times worse than it needs to be. For pubs and restaurants, a key worry is voicemail messages that are left by chefs in relations to changes to orders and deliveries – these unpredictable conversations usually result in credit notes having to be issued not to mention delivery errors being made.

Another pain point is staff placing various orders manually over the phone because there is no record of any expected deliveries or orders – this is a silent assassin in terms of missed invoices too because the chefs will likely be too busy to deal with these kinds of admin issues on the day itself as they’ll be elbows-deep in ‘service’ – so guess what happens? It goes on the back burner earmarked as a ‘deal with later’ task (which stands a high chance of being forgotten about or mislaid). We’ve all had those miracle invoices that seem to turn up out of the blue some months later and nobody knows anything about them.

Why we need purchase to pay systems

As an industry, we really need to get better at managing the complicated food purchase to pay process and in turn, our invoicing procedures. Confirm a process and stick with it, eliminate human intervention where possible and instead use relevant technology to automate the transaction process between supplier and buyer via a paperless system. If every transaction is approved first by the buyer and with the suppliers, at the same time the goods are delivered, you will inevitably reduce those costly delays and remove the need for credit notes and confusion with your suppliers.

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