In an ideal world, an auto repair shop or a car dealership should run like a well-oiled machine. Lots of new and used inventory to manage, service appointments clients and mechanics, and of course replenishment of parts all tracked. Vehicle financing, incentive packages, and customer invoices all easily found, resolved, and as needed paid. Plentiful staff to keep an eye on purchase orders, goods received notes, estimates, and other various invoices and documentation from multiple suppliers. It sounds like a lot and in fact, it is. However, this is also the reality of the automotive industry. All of these different parts of the business exist and all need to run smoothly in order to keep both vendors and customers happy.
Imagine then how just one late payment or lost document can throw a wrench into this complex, interdependent operation.
Avoiding this very issue is why repair shops and dealerships rely on the use of automated invoice processing as a key part of their software. Digitizing and automating the workflow can make the material difference for small, medium, and large businesses alike in this industry, saving them time and money on every PO and every invoice.
Less Paper, More Profit: Choosing the Right Software for Auto Repair
Here’s a simple rule of thumb: the less paper, the better. The fewer manual accounting processes, the more efficient and eventually profitable an automotive business will be.
Purchase orders and invoices should be born digital, enabling modern software to read them and extract all relevant information, fast. At the very least, invoices that still come in on paper or as a fax need to be scanned and run through optical character recognition (OCR) as a type of pre-treatment.
The good old paper invoice is a prime example for unstructured data that stands in the way of automation. It requires back-office staff to decipher it, manually enter the information, often leading to mistakes and errors that can delay processing and payment. The worst-case scenario would be an invoice with incomplete data or gone missing. Valuable times goes by until such an exception is solved. The resulting late payment can irk a vendor and may lead to a delay in restocking parts, which in turn will damage the customer experience.
Why any Auto Needs Software in the Workplace
Technology and software are no longer just an internal auto feature. In fact, technology has become so accessible and affordable in this day and age that there's no need to run an automotive shop the manual way and certainly none to risk the worst-case scenario described above. Instead, a smart, cloud-based platform can solve most headaches of this complex workflow. Invoices, expense reports and other documents are immediately captured and stored for easy processing and access both immediate and in the future.
Digital transformation quickly eliminates and difficulty resulting from either space or time. Even a car dealership with multiple locations or affiliated repair facilities in more than one state can quickly gather, capture and send all AP-relevant documents to the main office. Electronic capture means no more courier charges, no more delays, and no more misplaced documents. In addition, digitalization means less chance of fraud or errors that would have a snowball effect throughout operations.
Intelligent software, powered by machine-learning algorithms, extracts all important information from the invoices and documents before indexing it, so later searches for a specific item or amount are as fast and easy as a web search. No more time-consuming expeditions to open file cabinets and dig into folders to find that one order for mufflers, bumpers, or screws and then to check on its status while a vendor is on hold.
Instead, the platform independently matches invoices with purchase orders or goods received notes and, based on previously set customized preferences, then routes them for approval to the right people in the organization. Recurring orders, say for replenishing routine spare parts, can be set up to be automatically approved and queued up for payment. Higher value items or one-off orders, on the other hand, can be routed for a specific review and approval process.
Auto Repair Software takes the Pain out of the Paint Shop
Given the specific needs of automotive invoicing, a state-of-the-art automation system such as Yooz can be easily customized and fine-tuned to ensure smooth and speedy processing. Reliably handling invoices from start to finish includes the ability to review documents on mobile devices from anywhere at any time. It’s one of several features that many smaller, automotive-specific solutions can’t deliver. This means that updates can be accessed immediately in front of the customer, providing them with such things as auto stock information or repair status.
But is the investment worth it? Is there a benefit to adding automotive invoice software?
The answer is yes, with the results of invoice automation speak for themselves. Automotive businesses that have digitized and automated their invoice workflow report 80% lower processing costs and achieve cycle times measured in days or even hours instead of weeks or months. Having all relevant information in one place, supported by real-time dashboards and an intuitive keyword search, freeing an auto shop to focus on what counts: selling or servicing cars and meeting the expectations of both their vendors and customers.
Better visibility across both inventory and service obligations saves time and translates into a better experience for all involved. Who, after all, wants to make an appointment only to be told the part didn’t arrive in time?
Automotive Software Optimizes Cash Management
On the business side, invoice automation means better cash management, including options such as to fast-track the suppliers of products that are in high demand. Being able to serve your customers on time, every time will drive loyalty, growth, and higher profits in times when new and particularly used cars are a hot item. And time, especially for fast-moving service businesses like auto repair, is a major challenge.
The good news is that invoice automation can take the pressure off and reduce the daily challenge to juggle the books, follow up on inventory, and of course maintain quality customer service. That’s also true for setting up payments. Smart automation means you don’t need to cut and mail out checks anymore, nor follow up to ensure that the payment arrived. The same interface that lets a repair shop or dealership track everything from the moment a purchase order is issued also handles customer and supplier payments. An end-to-end system makes B2B transactions as painless and simple as B2C transactions.
Cash-Back with Every Invoice: How Software Helps Unlock New Revenue
Every automotive-related business from car dealerships to auto repair shops welcomes the possibility of new revenue. Implementing end-to-end automotive invoice software does just that. By ensuring timely payments business unlock the possibility of early payment discounts or cash-back benefits (or at least avoid late payment penalties).
Finally, invoice automation works with existing dealer management systems. A platform like Yooz is seamlessly integrated to push information back into the finance systems many automotive players already use to handle the other parts of their operations that go beyond accounts payable, such as appointments, vehicle repair statistics, and all aspects of their customer relationship management.
Taken together, digitalization plus automation is a little bit like an all-wheel drive for your back office. It lets your business accelerate without slipping; it reduces spinouts from errors and mistakes; it keeps the team and your network of suppliers securely on track. And, last but not least, it delights customers through the entire journey.
Invoice automation is definitely worth a test drive.