What Is the Real Cost of That Invoice?
What Is the Real Cost of That Invoice?

When It Comes to Expense Processing, We’re Our Own Success Story


We have experience and knowledge in creating efficient financial processes and can do so for your local government to create huge savings.


When we talk about accounts payable, it is often boiled down to a list of invoices that are paid by a municipality. Rarely is the true cost of invoicing evaluated as a whole. Such costs involve: the time employees spend at each stage of the process, the potential for mix-ups and lost records, the potential overpaying of an invoice, lost discount opportunities or penalties due to late payment, correcting data entry errors and their downstream impacts, and filing and looking for documents. In addition to these costs, accounts payable also has a physical cost; things such as the space devoted to storage and filing which should be considered when assessing the effectiveness of paper records. When choosing a solution, teams often mistakenly opt to implement case-management software in an attempt to remedy loss. However, this can easily end up siloing content and mask the discovery of future and bigger picture insights.

Municipalities That Still Rely on Manual, Paper-Based A/P Processing Have Very Time-Consuming Steps Including:


Receive invoices by mail;

Open, sort and deliver the mail;

File, sort & store documents;

 Communicate with other departments:

  • Scan / email;
  • Fax;
  • Interoffice mail;

Manual purchase order and possibly cheque matching:

  • Sorting, data entry, copying, or creating references;
  • Exceptions – require further communication with vendors or departments.

Document retention

Inconsistent processes (sometimes approval comes by phone, sometimes in person, sometimes by email);

Important instructions: comments on Sticky notes, back of pages, margins.




At every stage in the process there is the potential to misplace, damage, or delay invoicing, but, more importantly, at every stage of the process, there are also small costs that add to the total value of the invoice. The total cost for processing an invoice can sometimes become disproportionate to the invoice itself. Consider an invoice for $10 worth of office supplies. When you start adding a significant amount of staff time and resources to pay the bill, you increase the costs beyond what is necessary.  Consider that same scenario for an organization that may process hundreds or thousands of bills per year – the costs add up and are significant.

There are solutions on the market to aid companies in automating their invoicing. However, many of these solutions are inappropriate for the unique needs of a municipality. Issues such as transparency, compliance, and retention must be addressed due to the unique needs of public organizations. Ricoh has been designing automated invoicing and financial workflow for municipalities for more than a decade. An example of a typical automated invoice processing is shown below.


Processes are automated wherever possible to create efficiencies, reduce errors and increase visibility for the whole organization. In the sample workflow, only the items depicted in orange require staff intervention and wherever possible the processes have been designed with the utmost efficiency.

This Workflow Can Accommodate Many Other Features as Well, Such As:

When an improved financial workflow can save a lot of time per invoice – what does that translate to when you are processing hundreds or thousands of invoices? The overall savings and increased value from this workflow can be staggering.



Ricoh strives to help your municipality create productive and cost-efficient workflows. Visit our website for more information.