Invoice Maze

anthony_12c Registered Posts: 40 💫 🐯 💫
Currently working with a company who have a very complicated invoicing structure and i am looking to simplify/streamline the procedure.

The company has grown from a small family sized business to a large organisations but the invoicing side hasn't kept up and as a result is based around extracting information from excel to form the invoices, this can be slow and error prone. When the information arrives it is recorded into Access then extracted to Excel.

Invoicing is performed monthly.

They have numerous national clients who require invoices that include sub companies as well as information broken down into categories (such product A, B and C, these product amounts can often be in the thousands).

It is the extracting and collating this information to get to the step of creating the invoice that is time consuming (almost a full time job).

How can the process be simplified? Can it be automated or semi-automated?


  • Gem7321
    Gem7321 MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    This sounds like a Sage job to me. I'm not overly familiar with the products feature in Sage but it does work. If you use the quotation process this should save time when it comes to generating the invoice but again I'm not too familiar with it.

    Sage Act! may also be useful
  • NeilH
    NeilH Registered Posts: 553

    Firstly you need to evaluate the current software/systems. Do they hold they all data you need to be able to the job, if they don't, can it be entered? If the data is in a database, then it can be extracted. However, that is easier said than done, especially as the data often needs to be worked with in order to produce the information you need. Not only that, but there's the initial entry of the data, which seems to be causing you the problem.

    The ideal solution here would seem to be an ERP system, such as Sage as Gem mentioned. Usually such a system will automate the process from sales order processing, time and materials tracking (as appropriate) for each order/job through to "automatically" producing an invoice. In addition they usually have customer and supplier management and communication tools, budget data, reporting tools etc. ERP systems vary in size and complexity and some are tailored or geared towards specific industries or sectors.

    How large is the business, turnover etc?

  • anthony_12c
    anthony_12c Registered Posts: 40 💫 🐯 💫
    Thanks for the replies.

    I have used sage v12 through to 2010 but more for strictly bookkeeping procedures with other companies.

    Neil you hit the problem on the head in your first paragraph, all the data is currently entered into Access, which is then extracted to Excel, it is the 'reworking' of the Excel data into forming invoices that is the issue.

    Although this is not a manufacturing company as such, the processes are the same, material arrive (from about 20 different companies) that is then 'booked in' (recorded in Access), it is then produced, and shipped on to the customers, each product has sub categories which both management and the company placing the order like to keep track of. Output is frequently in the high thousands per week. Also some work is ad hoc, and prices are not standardised so cost calculating is an added issue.

    The company employs around 50 staff, with turnover in the low millions.
  • Dcollins
    Dcollins Registered Posts: 179 🎆 🐘 🎆
    I've done something similar, apart from the purchasing. We entered customers' orders direct to the accounting system (Iris Exchequer). It would handle goods purchased, departments etc. too, but we didn't need to use that.

    Roughly what we did was:

    1. Set up stock codes for each sales item (we had over 3,000, some used only once, so they were categorised and very specific), with default prices etc.,
    2. Set up customer accounts,
    3. Special prices and instructions for a particular customer and/or stock item could be set up,
    4. Sales staff entered all orders direct to the system (at first this meant we often had to set up new stock codes or customer prices, which is where things can go wrong, so we had a checking procedure to make sure this was done correctly), that was most of the hard work done,
    5. Customers received a printed/emailed sales confirmation,
    6. A despatch note was raised from the sales order (for part, all or multiple sales orders)
    7. Then the despatch note on the computer was simply converted to an invoice.

    The advantages were that everything was on one system, everything was traceable, we could easily see outstanding orders and invoices were issued as soon as possible. .

    It took a bit of setting up, and was worth planning stock codes so that they could be easily understood by everyone. Staff were only allowed access to the part of the system relevant to their jobs, which helped to control it.

    Exchequer's not one of the cheapest packages available, but it's aimed at SMEs and is modular so you only buy what you need. From a management accounting point of view it is excellent, it gives you a huge amount of control, and I loved using it. I think I'd have crawled into a corner and cried if someone made me use Sage for everything I did on Exchequer.

    Anyway, that's what we did.
  • atrium
    atrium Registered Posts: 2
    Experience with Sage X3.

    Dear Sage Users,

    I would like to ask you if you have experienced similar problems with Sage X3 that I have mentioned below. If yes, please advise me how can I fix them.
    I am the first customer of Sage X3 in Poland. Since September 2014 there has been an extensive implementation of Sage X3 software in my 120-person company for 60 software licenses. My company has been using Sage X3 since August, 1st 2015. The overall cost of our investment so far amounts to 280.000 EUR.
    After one year of my experience with Sage X3 I can say that each day is marked with new defects emerging in Accounting and Finance and Inventory and Warehouse modules.
    Unfortunately, the Sales and Inventory Management Modules of Sage X3 possess very serious flaws that have been discovered in August of last year and have not been remediated so far. The most important flaw of Sage X3 concerns the phenomenon of uncontrolled change of prices of goods in different warehouse locations. This defect results in our inability to accurately account the result of the company and provide reliable financial data to tax offices, external financial auditors, banks, and to calculate sales commissions. For example, during transfer of one product of 100 EUR value from warehouse A to warehouse B, Sage X3 unexpectedly and randomly changes its value into 103 EUR or 95 EUR or other value. The values of goods can be decreased or increased without any logical reason. Over the course of last 9 months, there have been numerous attempts of repair. There have been many announcements from Sage Poland that the problem has been eliminated. In reality, the problem continues to exist and is deepening. The issue concerns both old and new deliveries, also two large recent deliveries, each of them encompassing few containers of goods.
    Problems with X3 implementation are causing significant financial losses to my 120-personnel company.

    Beside malfunction of purchasing prices mentioned above, there are also other problems in Polish version of X3:

    Accounting and Finance
    • no module fixed assets
    • Inconsistent data provided by the various modules of Sage, eg. different statements of the same warehouse in Accounting and Sales modules. Three different statements of the same warehouse, show three different inventory amount.
    • In PL version no proper reports of profit and loss account, balance sheet, etc.
    • no automatic posting clearing counterparties in this settlement with cash reports

    Purchasing Management/Material Requirements Planning
    • no automatic integration of data
    • values of minimum stock have been entered into Sage X3, but optimal replenishment recommendations not working

    Manufacturing Management
    • no production module of the working properly and thus no possibility to connect production to accounting system

    Sales Management
    • incorrect prices of goods accepted for sale
    • Sage X3 changes prices of goods transferred from one location of warehouse to another
    • customers’ balances mistakes, also incorrect information of debts of the customer 'total balance' and even a few minutes of disappearing balances in SAGE. The program then gives the debt of "0". Bizarre is that the issued invoice can be seen in the Cashier and Sales module only after posting, so it is after 1-3 days.

    It is possible to see scanned examples mentioned above at,

    Pozdrawiam, Best regards

    Maciej Juchkiewicz
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