Buying ads doesn't sound so hard. But the reality of paid media is much different.
The media buying process includes many important steps – from researching multiple platforms and negotiating buys for media space to developing creative and launching and measuring a campaign.
There’s clearly a lot that goes into reaching the right audience and increasing conversion rates.
One often overlooked part of the media buying process is accounts payable and client billing. It is not uncommon for large media buyers to have reams of paper invoices for their various clients.
Without an efficient way to process invoices for the ad time and space that they purchase, media buyers could quickly find themselves with a cash flow issue. After all, ad platforms want to be paid promptly for any time and space they provide. Relying on spreadsheets and other manual processes makes it hard to tell suppliers when they will be paid. What’s more, ineffective invoice processing makes it difficult for media buyers to be sure that their client’s money was well spent. Media buyers need the line-item data from invoices to accurately audit the ad buys made on behalf of their clients.
Media Buyers and Planners cannot afford to let administrative tasks such as invoice processing take away from time that they should be spending on higher-value activities such as identifying target audiences and designing a media buying strategy. For instance, the time that media buyers and planner spend reconciling hundreds of line items is time they can’t spend satisfying client demands.
Integrating AP automation with your media planning software streamlines the accounts payable process for media buyers.
Automated accounts payable solutions import Broadcast, Print and Digital invoices received via e-mail, through a supplier portal, or from a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) landing site. Invoices sent through the mail can be digitized by a third party for standardized processing. Line-item details and other information from supplier invoices is extracted without the need for manual keying and compared with the data in the insertion order in media planning software such as MediaOcean, Strata, Advantage and others.
Invoices with data that matches what’s in the media planning software are uploaded for payment. Leading accounts payable automation solutions integrate seamlessly with media planning software, eliminating the need to re-key data or maintain siloed solutions. Unmatched invoices, or those that require further review based on the media buyer’s pre-defined business rules, are digitally routed to the appropriate person. The accounts payable solution provides visibility into the status of all invoices, as well as complete logging and audit trails of all actions taken on an invoice.
Why integrate invoice processing software with media planning software?
Integrating an automated accounts payable solution with media planning software enables media buyers to post more of the invoices they receive from suppliers “straight-through” without human operator intervention. Having invoices e-mailed to a centralized location for processing also reduces missing, lost or misrouted invoices. All this reduces AP costs and decreases the possibility of errors or delays. AP automation also better positions media buyers to pay invoices to terms, which contributes to stronger supplier relationships and fewer inquiries from frustrated suppliers about the status of invoices.
In turn, faster invoice processing enables media buyers to bill their clients faster for the ad time and space they purchase on their behalf – reducing the chances of a cash crunch caused by slow billing. If you pre-bill, automation makes the clearing and reconciliation process much faster with less work.
Integrating invoice processing software with media planning software provides media buyers with real-time visibility into what’s been spent on the client’s behalf, and what’s planned. And eliminating manual tasks such as keying and/or reviewing hundreds of invoice items frees accounts payable staff to focus on higher-value activities such as data analysis and customer and supplier management.
Media buying is hard. But processing invoices for media buys doesn’t have to be.
If your media buying organization wants to simplify the way it processes supplier invoices, IPS wants to chat with you!
Contact IPS to speak with one of our media payables experts today!