Business leaders are always looking for ways to accomplish more using fewer resources and less time.
The more productive they can be, the stronger their business will be as a result.
Technology has made this easier, allowing leaders to spend a variable monthly fee based on volumes to access cloud-based solutions that improve efficiency.
Accounts payable is one area that can significantly benefit from refinement. Accounting professionals have gone from spreadsheet-based “automation” to full-service software that automatically calculates and schedules payroll, sends late notices to creditors, routes and processes invoices, offers reporting on cash flow, and much more.
But with so many solutions available, how do you find the right software to fit your business’s needs?
Read our accounts payable automation Checklist to Help You with your Decision.
Will the solution save you money?
Before you begin shopping, take time to calculate your current accounts payable costs, including employee salaries, postage, equipment, and supervisory staff. Determine your cost per invoice. If you’re still handling paper invoices, it’s likely that this number is high and can be improved. As you’re shopping around, separately calculate the full costs of your AP processes after automation, including employee salaries. This will help you choose the solution that will save the most money.
How does the solution handle businesses with more than one location?
Some businesses need AP services for more than one location, whether it’s a warehouse, multiple office spaces, branches, or storefronts. Look for an AP automation solution that can meet the needs of all locations.
Is the AP solution mobile friendly?
Even if you aren’t currently using smartphones or tablets as part of business operations, you likely will someday. Consider solutions that can be operated from a mobile device to make your software as scalable as possible.
What kind of files can the system handle?
Invoices can be submitted in a variety of formats including EDI, CSV, XML, PDFs and more. Conduct a quick inventory of the types of documents your team regularly handles. This will give you a list of the file types you need your solution to accept. If many of your client invoices come as PDFs, for instance, you’ll need to ensure your chosen solution supports that.
Is the AP solution capable of uploading the approved invoice files and GL codes to ERP systems?
The capability to upload the approved invoices files to your ERP will save hours of tedious data entry and will also eliminate errors.
Is the AP solution capable of auto coding repetitive vendor invoices?
The ability to download the GL file from an ERP system to the AP solution to provide automatic coding of repetitive invoices from the same vendor will save time and reduce errors. The auto coded invoices must allow GL coding changed during approval process also.
Is the AP solution capable of receiving payment files for card, ACH and check to append to the paid invoices?
It’s important that the payment information for a paid invoice is attached to the invoice. This assists team members fielding calls from vendors regarding payment and also supports the vendor portal information.
Does the AP solution provide a vendor portal?
Allowing vendors to log in and review the status of their invoices in the payment process can save the accounting team and other team members significant time by eliminating vendor calls.
Does the accounts payable system have a robust search?
One of the most useful features AP software can offer is visibility and searchability on current or past accounts payable spend. Instead of spending hours searching file cabinets for a specific invoice, you can simply enter search terms and locate the document you need.
Does the solution provide an audit trail?
Being able to track the journey of a payment or invoice from start to finish is invaluable. Look for a solution that will satisfy the demands of an external auditor or the questions of a concerned investor or client.
What kind of reporting does the solution offer?
Reports are one of the best tools businesses have at their disposal. Look for an AP solution that offers details on account reconciliation to pinpoint errors, as well as invoices aging to help highlight payments that are significantly overdue and therefore need action.
Automating your accounts payable is a big step that will save you time and money. By putting time and effort into determining your business’s needs before you choose a solution, you’ll know exactly the features that are most important to you. Once you’ve identified those features, you can begin your search, using this checklist to help you make sure you don’t miss any important features when you make your choice.
Visit our accounts payable product page to learn more about Centreviews AP solution.