Digital technology has taken over business as a whole. Some areas, however, remain stubbornly resistant to changes that could bring large-scale productivity and agility boosts. According to CFO magazine, small and medium-sized businesses can overcome the difficulty of managing large quantities of physical paperwork, an anachronistic inefficiency that could get in the way of effective operations, by employing EDI solutions.
The news source reported that many SMB owners still use paper to pay their bills and manage their various financial obligations. CFO cited Aberdeen information that demonstrated physical payments are still the rule in the SMB sector. This is made more puzzling by the fact that the first EDI programs emerged more than 25 years ago. Managing financial information in non-digital ways, according to the source, has contributed to a large number of companies unable to track files through their systems.
The source demonstrated the effects of EDI through a sampling of interconnected SMBs. After adopting a low-cost EDI strategy, the firms' leaders reported reduced time and effort spent on the billing process, as well as gaining the ability to improve their record keeping merely by accepting payments through electronic rather than paper or telephone-based methods.
"[The biggest EDI benefit is] not paying for a person to manually rip apart invoices and stuff. Not having to purchase envelopes and postage," said supply company credit manager Sherri Norton, according to the source. "Our labor costs for processing invoices and statements have greatly decreased. And since we’re not dealing with mail time for payments to get here, days-to-payment has decreased. And that’s a good thing."
Transferring data through electronic means has become more secure in recent years, meaning that moving financial functions into the digital realm no longer holds the worries it once did for firms. With entire infrastructures moving online, keeping billing in the physical realm could create a major slowdown within an otherwise fast system.
Fast and secure
For proof of EDI's security pedigree, companies can look to its use in the healthcare industry. According to Healthcare Finance News, companies in the health industry can take on EDI to transform and streamline the patient billing process. Healthcare is a field with considerable security and regulatory compliance requirements, meaning that technological advancements accepted there have progressed to a such a point that they are appropriate for widespread business use. The source recommended using the data gleaned from EDI payments to optimize processes in the billing department.