The revenue cycle deals with the delivery of products or services to customers and consequent collection of cash from customers. The standard transaction flow in the revenue cycle can be characterized as follows: sales order comes in from the customer; credit department approves credit; warehouse assesses the inventory and releases goods; shipping department ships the goods; the customer is billed based on the sales order and shipping documents; and eventually cash is collected from the customer. Traditionally, the sales department received sales orders by paper, fax, EDI and, sometimes, even verbally. The incoming sales order is in fact a purchase order from the customer, often times in the customer company document format. The purchase order then gets converted to the standard sales order and processed. If an order arrives through EDI, then purchase and sales order formats are pre-approved and based on partner agreements. The majority of companies will input the sales order in their accounting system. It will be routed to the credit department for credit approval. The credit will be approved based on prior history of the customer or, if the customer is new, by obtaining relevant credit information. The approved sales order will be forwarded to the warehouse. Here, inventory availability will be checked, goods will be released and stock release documents will be generated. The shipping department will ship goods when those arrive on the shipping docks. The documents involved are a shipping notice and bill of lading.