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Anti-Virus Software for Finance

Antivirus

We all use some kind of spam filter to eliminate the threat of Spam from our mailboxes. Getting a Virus will certainly waste your time, and possibly cost you a lot of money. To eliminate this threat most of us pay our £29.95 a year to Symantec, Kapersky or whomever. Even then quite a few slip through: advertising “Ṽ ǐ ἅ ǧ ṛ ἅ ” or a stock pick which is a “proven winner”.

At the same time you can try to manage your Junk filters in MS-Exchange, specifying which types of messages should be considered as spam. An alternative service is offered by companies such as Postini (now part of Google) which act as a subscription service which stops Junk Mail. It seems that this is a good approach for IT departments as it is “always on” and it supports any device an employee may be using (especially Bring-your-own-Device mavericks). But the best capability of these cloud-based filters as that they

prevent bad stuff even entering the building

Our Accounts departments receive lots of “bad stuff” either in the post, as a scanned image or even via an EDI document network. The “bad stuff” takes the form of an invoice or order which will waste time and possibly cost money. Examples are

  • An incoming invoice that charges different overtime rates to those specified on the contract
  • An incoming sales order that quotes a product which is not offered to that customer
  • An incoming Credit Memo which refers to an Invoice Number which is actually for a different customer

These can be practically as toxic as getting a virus, and the approach should be the same: prevent bad stuff from entering the building.

Non-networked businesses have to receive all of the documents, including the “toxic” ones. Scanning and the EDI channel don’t have the equivalent of Anti-Virus so the examples above are merrily routed into the Purchasing or Sales Finance Departments, where hopefully they are “quarantined”. Take the first example, in order to check this “sick” invoice, a finance clerk would have to find the contract, look up the rates, locate the error, then request a correction from the customer. In many jurisdictions, once an invoice has been deemed as “received”, it can only be reversed via a Credit Memo, requiring yet more administration.

Built-in Anti-Virus approach of the Business Network

Now compare this approach with the built-in Anti-Virus approach of the Business Network. Each party can configure business rules which act like spam filters in eliminating toxic documents from being downloaded and infecting the accounts system.

Moreover, the sender gets immediate feedback if one of the rules is breached, so they have the opportunity to correct without wasting the time of the other party. The upshot is that once a document has passed through all of the filters on the network, it often flies through the accounting system on the other side and can be booked as a sale or invoice immediately.

Even my Mum makes sure she has Anti-Virus software up to date on her PC, so she can’t download bad stuff. But businesses have not yet taken similar steps to stop themselves being infected: not with viruses, but poorly-formed “toxic” documents which will end up costing time and money.

About the author
James Marland
Vice President of Network Strategy - Ariba (Twitter: @JamesMarland)

James is responsible for defining and rolling out strategies for the Network with particular focus on Europe. He joined Ariba at the launch of the Ariba Network in 1998 after previously being a Solution Consultant at SAP America. In addition he ha... Read More >>>

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