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Gaining Control of Vendor Information With Integrated Forms

Learn how you can use electronic forms to automate and manage information including wire transfer authorizations, purchase order verifications, invoice corrections, new vendor information and more.

November 12, 2007
Sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.

Is your Accounts Payable (AP) department always behind when it comes to collecting and entering vendor data? Are you still managing AP with the fax machine? If so, it might be time to consider using integrated forms to increase accuracy and efficiency for your AP or other departments. Information such as wire transfer authorization, purchase order verification, invoice corrections and new vendor information can all be managed with electronic forms. Imagine sending an e-mail with an attached form to your vendor and all they have to do is fill in the highlighted fields and then hit a submit button. The data is then sent to you in a format that is ready to be imported into almost any accounting system.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is by creating Adobe Acrobat forms. The forms can be created in MS Word and then saved as a PDF. Or with Acrobat 8 Professional, you can create the form directly in Acrobat with its great new form features. The most exciting is that authors can enable usage rights so anyone can fill out, save, and submit a form with the free Adobe Reader. This feature makes forms distribution and processing a reality for today’s small and medium sized businesses and accounting firms. Another time-saving feature is that Acrobat recognizes form fields based on existing form layouts and then draws the necessary text boxes, radio buttons, and check boxes for you.

The PDF Form Hierarchy

You can start with simple vendor forms, and as you get more comfortable with PDF form creation, you can build upon your existing collection to make them even more functional. You can create a variety of PDF forms and field types in Acrobat 8 Professional including:

  • Fill and Print: Completed on-screen, these forms provide legible content. They can then be printed and distributed by traditional means. Acrobat users can also save these forms and work with them electronically. Adobe Reader users can print and physically send the forms, but cannot save them.
  • Forms with Logic: These PDF forms allow simple calculations to be made with the entered data, thus eliminating mistakes.
  • Fill and Submit via e-mail: The same as Fill and Print, but includes a Submit button, which transfers data off the user’s desktop and places it as an attachment in an e-mail message, with the recipient’s e-mail address already in place. When the recipient receives the attachment, the form data can be collected and managed.
  • Fill and Submit to a Database: This PDF form is the most integrated and complex of the group. For this form to be implemented, you must have a server capable of receiving form data (the same way HTML forms are submitted) and processing that data. PDF forms interpret Web scripts (such as CGI scripting) in the same manner as HTML forms.
  • Fill, Sign and Submit to a Database: This PDF form includes all the features of the electronic form submitted to a database, and allows a digital signature.

Integration Is Easy

You don’t have to be a database guru to build an effective solution. Once you create your PDF vendor form, you can follow the step-by-step instructions in Acrobat to integrate it with your database, or select to have the data files sent to you via e-mail. If you select to receive email files, you can then import this information or compile it outside of your accounting system.

Faxing and collecting forms is becoming archaic in today’s world. Your vendors are looking for quicker ways to submit their information and receive payment. Your accounting team needs to run more efficiently. Instituting an integrated forms system utilizing secure PDFs is a cost-effective and easy-to-implement way to achieve the efficiencies your business demands.

To learn more about how Adobe Acrobat PDF solutions can work in your organization, please click here.