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New Vendor Onboarding: Hands On or Hands Off?

Are you crafty? Handy? Do it yourself? Many of us like doing things by hand — some things, anyway.

But let’s face it, there are other things we’d rather not have to do manually. How about in our P2P lives? More specifically, how are organizations accomplishing vendor onboarding these days? Have companies automated, or is it still largely a manual process?

This question is included in the latest survey from VendorInfo. The new survey will be released soon, but here is a sneak peak at the answer to this question. When it comes to onboarding new vendors, the process for most organizations is : still manual.

Yes, a year away from 2020, and the majority of organizations are still pushing paper forms out to new vendors to fill out and send back. The good news? There appears to be movement in the right direction since last year’s survey.

Sixty-two percent of participants indicate they onboard new U.S. vendors manually. That’s down from 69 percent a year ago. When foreign payees are specifically called out, the percentage is 63, which actually represents a big improvement over 2018.

Roughly a quarter of organizations utilize both manual and automated processes for onboarding. Those that say their process is automated (only) comprise just seven percent for U.S. vendors and four percent for foreign vendors.

Of course, if margins of error for both surveys are considered, the change may have been slighter or greater.

In new vendor onboarding, as in every other area of the P2P process, it is best to get away from the paper. For example, a paper W-9 filled out by hand and mailed back not only takes more time but also means someone manually entering data, with the potential consequence of mis-keyed information. If the document is faxed back, there may be the possibility of a machine-reading it, though the processes there are still less efficient than a fully automated electronic process.

The same is true with other important information on new-vendor forms. Organizations need that information, whether a remit-to address or account information for ACH payment, not to mention such information related to tax reporting as where the money was earned or the rental property is located.

Organizations want to minimize paper. So do vendors. That’s one of the ways a vendor portal benefits companies. A self-service vendor portal allows organizations to make all requisite forms available to vendors electronically and conveniently. Vendors complete and submit the forms and the data never has to be rekeyed. Along the way, a self-service vendor portal offers several additional capabilities to make vendor interaction and information exchange easy, saving both the organization and vendor time and money.

Because vendor onboarding, despite its important validation and compliance aspects, is outside certain main process flows of P2P automation, it remains a manual process for a majority. Still it is shifting, albeit slowly.

To see how VendorInfo’s onboarding solutions can benefit your operations and your company click here to request more information or call (678) 335-5735.

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