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5 ways to upgrade your document capture on Business Central and NAV

5 ways to upgrade your document capture on Business Central and NAV

Transform your incoming document processing with these 5 tips

Graeme Farquhar

The sudden rush towards remote working practices in 2020 led many organizations to implement changes to upgrade their document capture processes on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics NAV. 

For many companies, the pandemic compelled them to change almost overnight, given how suddenly employees found themselves forced to work from home. The processes they had in place to capture incoming documents such as invoices and statements were instantly redundant.

Many of these changes were mere sticking plasters, designed to cover the time spent working remotely. As return to offices take place globally, it could be easy for the upgrades to be phased back out and for organizations to fall back into old, out-dated paper-based processes.

For those organizations that fall under this category, or those who had out-dated procedures prior to the pandemic, upgrading document capture processes should be seen for what it is: an opportunity to make life easier for your employees and make them happier, while gaining greater efficiencies across the organization.

In this article, we identify 5 ways your organization can upgrade your document capture processes on Business Central and NAV.

Challenges of out-dated processes

Relying on outdated processes that are predominantly paper-based presents a host of issues across the business. Manually filing and processing documents is time-consuming, boring and often a waste of a finance team members’ talents: a deflating feeling for any employee. 

Manual processes also increase the risk of human error and payment deadlines being missed. Increased job frustration and reduced job satisfaction is not a healthy combination. 

A paper filing cabinet, or not having a shared electronic archive to store documents, can lead to poorer customer service. If a customer calls with a query about an order they have made, a customer service representative should have all the necessary information in front of them. If they don’t, they need to waste theirs and their finance team colleagues’ time in finding relevant documents. 

This slows down the service they provide; worse still if they end up asking the customer to resend the documents.

All the above issues have been exacerbated by the move to working from home. Only by taking action will life become easier and more efficient when everyone returns to office.

Benefits of upgrading document capture on Business Central and NAV

Given the challenges highlighted above, the benefits of upgrading your document capture are clear. These include:

  • Time-savings: Finance teams no longer need to spend time manually filing and processing documents. Having an automated process frees up time to focus on more important and engaging tasks
  • Less employee frustration: Manually filing documents is not the reason why any finance team member chose their career path. It’s a monotonous and thankless task. Freeing team members from this task will enable them to flourish and use their talents to greater benefit for their organization. This reduces their frustration and is much more likely to lead to happier and more productive employees
  • Centralized storage: Storing documents in an electronic archive (such as SharePoint online) means that even employees without a Dynamics licence can still access the information they require. Filing documents and indexing them automatically and consistently with metadata makes searching later much easier. In addition, filing documents outside the Business Central or NAV tenant avoids eating into internal storage space (Business Central currently offers 80GB). That users can access documents from Business Central or NAV offers ease of use, but without the cost of purchasing additional expensive storage capacity
  • Better customer relations: Having up-to-date information available to the right people speeds up and improves the level of service delivered to customers. A paper-based storage system means somebody (either the customer service team member or the finance team) must physically search for and retrieve a document in question. Offering secure access and an ability to retrieve documents quickly from the centralized archive removes the time spent doing this
  • Cost-savings: By digitally storing documents received in paper form, there is less need to store the originals in a filing cabinet or room. This can reduce insurance costs and frees up space in the office to be used more productively

5 ways to upgrade

The benefits above present a strong argument for upgrading document capture on Business Central and NAV. We’ve identified 5 ways to do this using an add-on such as Zetadocs Capture, which will enable your organization to take advantage of these opportunities:

1. Drag & Drop

The ability to drag and drop electronic documents received such as emails, PDFs and images into Business Central or NAV is a real time-saver. 

Drag & Drop functionality is not offered as standard in Business Central or NAV, but is enabled by Zetadocs Capture. A user simply drags and drops the document into the Zetadocs Factbox. This creates a helpful audit trail of documents related to that Business Central or NAV record and provides further context to a user as all documents related to a particular record are visible. 

This is particularly helpful for a credit controller, who needs to see details of communications and documents exchanged when chasing payment.

Each document dropped in the Zetadocs Factbox gets stored in an electronic archive and can be linked to its transaction, allowing easy access directly from Business Central or NAV.

2. Processing paper documents

Documents such as invoices from suppliers and proof of delivery notices are often received in paper form. These need to be processed into Business Central or NAV.

This can involve a member of the finance team going through each document one by one and manually entering the details, and sometimes there are circumstances when it is preferable to manually file paper documents that have been scanned in and converted into electronic versions.

It could be that documents received should be assigned to departments other than the finance team, or different members of the finance team may have responsibility for specific types of documents.

As with any manual process, this can be inefficient and time-consuming. In addition, if there are several members of an organization working on processing documents that have been scanned in, your Business Central or NAV system can get clogged up with duplicate documents, unless there is a clear process in place to avoid this.

Using multi-user document queues with Zetadocs Capture eliminates this risk and makes it easy to assign documents to the right department or person to process. 

When scanning in a paper document received, you can select which document queue it should be assigned to. You may separate the documents by department (e.g. sales, marketing, customer service) or by document type (e.g. purchase invoices, sales orders).

This enables better organization of processing documents. Furthermore, documents can be “checked out” of the queue once processed, protecting against inadvertent posting or deletion by another team member. This reduces inefficiencies and avoids wasted time.

3. Automated filing using barcodes

Using barcodes will enable you to automate the process of capturing and filing paper documents. 

By simply printing out a barcoded sticky label and applying it to a document, you can drastically reduce the amount of time spent on this task. 

Your Business Central or NAV system assigns a unique barcode that is specific to each record in the system. You print out the unique barcode that relates to the document you are processing and stick it on the document. Then, use your scanner to create electronic versions of the documents. 

Zetadocs Capture reads the barcode and assigns the scanned copy of the documents to the relevant record in Business Central or NAV, filing them automatically. You can schedule this to run as a background task, so you can set it up then get on with other tasks while the documents are processed.

To help organize your electronic archive, Zetadocs Capture Essentials uses a three-tier folder structure in SharePoint. Folders are labelled by date, customer name and document type, which makes it easy to find a specific document. Configurable metadata is also added to archived documents, which provides easier search and retrieval.

4. Customized filing

Your organization may have specific business needs that require some customization of any tool you implement to upgrade your document capture on Business Central and NAV. 

If you select Zetadocs Capture to upgrade your document capture, you can use the Zetadocs Capture Plus SDK to apply additional business logic to suit your requirements. 

For example, you may want to set-up your own folder structure, rather than use the three-tier structure offered by Zetadocs Capture Essentials. If your organization has multiple companies, you may wish to keep the three-tier folder structure, but add an additional tier above for each company.

Alternatively, you may want specific documents to be available on a customer portal or add custom metadata tags. An example of this would be to add a salesperson code to documents received. This allows each salesperson to search in SharePoint for documents related to sales they have made, regardless of whether they have access to Business Central or NAV. This streamlines document retrieval and is also useful for auditing.

Our team would be delighted to discuss any specific requirements you have, to help you evaluate whether Zetadocs Capture is the right solution for you.

5. Automated Data Entry

An alternative method of inputting a common document: supplier invoices, into Business Central or NAV is to use automated data entry. 

There are various options available that utilize Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to extract key data fields from supplier or vendor invoices. The extracted data is then used to create purchase invoices or credit memos inside Business Central. By using automatic extraction of key fields, an accounts payable team can save the time taken to rekey these purchase documents manually.

This is helpful when an organization receives lots of invoices from the same suppliers. However, extensive training of the software is required each time a new supplier’s invoice arrives or if an existing supplier changes their invoice layout.

Zetadocs Capture will soon be enhanced with an automated data entry add-on. This will use Artificial Intelligence to extract key value pairs from your supplier invoices such as total, invoice ID, and line items and details such as item name, item quantity, item price and more.

The software automatically recognizes the data from every new supplier invoice it is sent, overcoming some of the issues mentioned above. It structures these key value pairs into an extracted data bundle for each recognized document. The software uses values in the extracted data bundle and matches these against the correct vendor and invoice line items directly inside Business Central, and then creates a Purchase Invoice against the appropriate vendor.

We are delighted to say that the automated data entry functionality of Zetadocs Capture will be available for purchase very soon. To be one of the first to know when it is available, please click here.

Summary

This blog post has provided you with 5 ways you can upgrade your document capture on Business Central and NAV. 

As companies around the world start returning to their offices or operating in a hybrid model of working from home and from the office, there is a risk of out-dated document management processes returning to the workplace. 

The methods suggested in this blog post would stop that from happening and ensure the advantages of upgrading your document capture processes are felt throughout your organization. 

Happier employees with more time to focus on more productive tasks, cost-savings, greater efficiency and better customer relations are just some of the benefits associated with automating document management tasks.

The solution

There are numerous options available if you are looking to upgrade your document capture processes. We have highlighted some benefits of our own solution: Zetadocs Capture

If you’d like to know more about, please contact us. Alternatively, read some reviews and get the Zetadocs Capture Extension for Business Central from AppSource.

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