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Electronic Forms: Cutting Through the Paperwork

PairSoft August 13, 2020

AP Automation
Since the dawn of business, there have been forms to fill out. First by hand, then with typewriters, and now electronic devices and ERP solutions. From fulfilling sales orders to joining programs, collecting business information has involved entering data in one way or another. Even mail-in advertisements from newspapers in the 1800s asked customers to write in their orders and send them on a form. Although this process was designed to save time, it really hasn’t evolved over the last 100 years. Yes, there are fancy electronic forms that make it easy for the person filling them out, but handling the data always seems to be an afterthought. Has the focus on user experience led to a lack of performance on the business end of electronic forms? What’s the answer to driving efficiency for both sides?

Too focused on cloning paper forms

Most electronic forms available today have a common feature they showcase. They attempt to replicate the paper form as closely as possible. In fact, some solutions even tout how much their hardware and software act and even “feel” like real paper. Although this is fantastic for the user experience, it may leave the data collection and backend process wanting more.

The thought process for electronic forms typically goes something like this:

  • There are a ton of customers or vendors filling out paper forms
  • It’s getting out of hand and taking too much time to process the information
  • Let’s create an electronic form that looks like the paper form
  • We’ll collect the information and somehow import it into our ERP system

Can you see any problems in that thought process? The key point of migrating the data into the ERP system is one of the last items on the list. Sometimes these paper forms have been in place longer than the team working on the project! There’s a more efficient way of collecting and managing the data than starting with cloning the paper form.

How PairSoft electronic forms can help you

If you flip this thought process on its head, you can work on the business process first. After all, vendors may need to fill out forms from time to time, but you’re being bombarded with them constantly.

Here’s a more efficient way to break down the forms process:

  • What data do we need from our vendors?
  • Can we verify this information and easily integrate it into our ERP?
  • How can we present this to vendors in a clean web-based form?
  • Do we need to have any verification checks or issue-handling workflows?

Putting the business process first ensures that you’re not creating more complexity and focusing too much on how cool the form looks. Your vendors will need to follow the process you outline if they want to work with you. Just because it doesn’t look like the old paper form will not cause too many waves. Here are three ways PairSoft electronic forms can help.

  • Integrating with your NetSuite, Intact, or other ERP solution to make data handling a snap.
  • Creating the correct fields while adding intelligence to your web-based forms.
  • Addressing various data-related,  reviewing, approval, and physical handling issues by routing forms to predefined workflows.

PairSoft helps drive peak performance by focusing on the data processing and integration over cloning the paper form itself. So, if you have forms that seem to bottleneck your business, PairSoft can help!


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