Best Accounts Payable Automation Software

Hard to believe there are businesses still using manual data entry in their accounts payable workflow. But a shift is taking place. Finance professionals are realizing that investing in accounts payable automation software and digitalization is the only way to stay relevant in the market. Want to see why?

Let us show you how we can help you with your accounts payable automation strategy.

“Accountants recognize the impact technology can have on the growth of their firms and are prioritizing tech investments to move their businesses forward. Nearly half expect to invest in and adopt automation tools (48%), artificial intelligence (48%), and blockchain technology (47%) over the next 12 months.”
Intuit QuickBooks Accountant Technology Survey

Manual data extraction breakdown. $2.03 per invoice. 105 keystrokes per invoice. 111 seconds per invoice. 12.5% invoices needed rework. 3,840 invoices per month per FTE. 5.5 minutes to rework invoice. Manual processing is inefficient compared to invoice processing automation.

Manual invoice processing is inefficient, expensive, and boring.

A day in the life of a CFO…

Invoicing, budgeting, coffee, record keeping, coffee, book entries, financial reporting, cash management, coffee, financial planning, compliance, loan negotiations, coffee…  

So many numbers. So much room for error. My eyes are blurring just reading the list of tasks. 

But, this person is responsible for managing all the financial activities of the business. Keeping it financially viable and operational. Keeping it alive.

Automation of the accounts payable workflow frees up finance professionals’ time so they can focus on more strategic tasks. Digital technologies give them the power to improve and accelerate decision making, mitigate risks, and predict future financial outcomes.

Prophix’s 2023 Finance Leaders Survey of 700 finance executives in North America and Europe found that more than 65% of finance leaders want to have half their tasks automated by the end of 2023

To do this, they need the right tools. This post walks you through the AP process, what can be automated, the benefits of AP automation, and I’ll finish with some automated accounts payable software you could invest in…

What’s the accounts payable process?

Accounts payable, or procure to pay (P2P), manage every debt or liability owned by your business. The AP process workflow includes…

Invoice received

Unpaid invoices are received electronically – EDI, PDF, or receipt via a supplier portal – or in paper format. OCR or more advanced automation using AI scans the paper invoices, to extract and store the captured data in the cloud. 

Review

The accounts payable team will then review the received invoices. Checking vendor identification, issue date, totals, payment date. Invoices will also be matched against purchase orders, goods receipts, etc. 

Approval

Once reviewed, the invoice passes for approval, quantity and price verified. 

Record & archive

The expense will then be manually entered in company books, and the invoice data archived.

Payment

The accounts payable department will send electronic payment or checks following authorization and recording of data.

What is AP automation?

AP automation is a process that enables your accounts payable team to process invoices digitally rather than manually. Using AI document processing to perform the repetitive and tedious manual data entry tasks your AP team is currently gritting their teeth through. Automating the end-to-end process of accounts payable eliminate errors and save time

Check out our P2P Automation Drives More Value From Every Transaction blog post for more details.

Why automate accounts payable?

Eliminating manual tasks reduces the cost of your AP document processing. The flexibility of an AP automation platform such as Rossum, means that as your company scales up, so does our offering.

Managing your payments and cash flow more efficiently, ensures the payment process is quick and increases your chances of receiving early payment discounts, and avoiding late payment penalties.

What are the benefits of accounts payable automation software?

The top benefit of automating the procurement process is… increased profits. Other benefits of AP automation include…

Save time

Cutting out the manual stages of invoice processing will speed up your workflows end-to-end. Yes, there will still be people in the loop, but the number of human touches per invoice will be significantly reduced

Save money

Labor costs will be reduced due to the elimination of manual tasks, along with the cost of postage, paper usage, document storage, delivery costs, invoice production, etc. The reduction of errors improves the quality of the financial data. And, a faster process means late payments will be avoided, with early payment discounts likely.

Improve efficiency

Payment and invoice automation reduces approval times and increases productivity. Integrate with your financial system and the information flow between systems will be unbroken. Enhanced efficiency drives better relationships with vendors and partners.

Increase accuracy

With fewer humans in the loop, the level of errors is reduced. Payment errors – duplicate or fraudulent – will be reduced as invoice data will be validated automatically against ERP information. Bottlenecks will be eliminated and data inconsistencies identified early in the process.

Generative AI is Fueling a Surge in Invoice Fraud… discuss.

Increase brand trust

Consumers expect full transparency and personalization, so when a business is upfront about its processes, trust increases. The best AP automation software also creates open communication across the board, with your team and vendors having full access to purchase orders, invoice status, and payments.

Execute compliancy

Compliance rules are built in, making the process transparent. This means suspicious activities and fraud can be flagged in real time. AP automation tools also help businesses develop robust audit trails.

Working with manual processes in your AP department makes it an easy target for invoice fraud. For more information on fake invoices, recognizing red flags, and avoiding being hit by an invoice scam, check out How To Identify Fake Invoices.

What AP tasks can I automate?

While there are many tasks you can automate in accounts payable, cutting processing time and increasing accuracy are the biggies, as they’re going to lead to cost savings. AP automation software will improve payables-related tasks such as…

Data entry

Automating the data entry of your AP documents is fast and eliminates errors associated with manual data entry.

Fat fingers!

Invoice matching

Three-way PO matching means you can match invoices and other related documents such as purchases orders and shipping receipts, quickly and accurately. 

Coding invoices

AP automation increases the efficiency and functionality of your invoice approval workflows. Set rules that automatically add the right general ledger code for each invoice

Approval routing

Sending approvals automatically to all the necessary approvers in the invoice processing cycle enables more efficient tracking in the workflow.

What’s the ROI of accounts payable automation software?

You’re in finance. You know that when deciding whether to spend money on a new bit of tech, the ROI is part of the yes/no decision.

When calculating the ROI of accounts payable automation software, it can impact different departments in your company, so there are a number of factors to consider. Financial and non-financial…

Financial ROI of accounts payable automation software

Numbers may vary, according to your industry, volume of invoices, and your current spend. But, the following are ROI proof points…

  • Reduced cost of manual invoice processing
  • Supplier questions about payment status reduced
  • Losses due to human error minimized
  • Increase in early payment discounts
  • Reduced employee costs and churn

Non-financial ROI for accounts payable automation software

Non-financial ROI includes…

  • Frictionless workflow processes
  • Increased control
  • Simple auditing and reporting from a unified platform
  • Strengthened relationships – customers, vendors, suppliers
  • Employee satisfaction – reduced churn

How does accounts payable automation software work?

Accounts payable automation software captures and digitizes paper invoices, then passes the invoice data through a virtual workflow, ending in payment to suppliers. Features include dashboards and analytics tools to help AP teams diagnose and fix issues, creating a frictionless AP workflow.

OCR technology is used to extract the data from the invoices. The Rossum document processing platform uses machine learning to recognize patterns and learn like a human. Improving accuracy over time. 

Creating your own business rules or regulations – approval hierarchies, acceptable variances, PO matching, and acceptable data variances – reduces the need for humans in the loop.  

How to choose the top accounts payable automation software

The best accounts payable software will help you create a seamless workflow automation, allowing you and your team to spend more time on business strategy tasks. When choosing the best AP automation software, you should consider…

Determine your goals

Determine your company’s goals for accounts payable automation. What requirements do you have for AP automation software? Which steps do you want to automate? Do you need multiple languages? Cloud or on premises solution? 

When completed, create an RFP and deliver to vendors that meet your needs.

Any questions, check out How to Write an RFP, with a free RFP template included.

Assessing the vendors

Assess the proposals from each vendor. What features do they offer? How much does it cost? Is there onboarding, ongoing support? Ask for a demo or a free trial?

Best accounts payable automation software

Accounts payable automation software will streamline your AP process by automating repetitive tasks such as invoice data capture, data extraction, approval workflow, and payment processing. 

Manual data entry errors will be eliminated and processing time reduced, leading to increased efficiency, cost savings, better financial management, and reduced employee churn struggling with tedious and mundane tasks. 

There’s a heap of great AP automation solutions out there, and I’ll add more over time. Check out my accounts payable automation software comparisons.

Ready?

Rossum | AI document processing

Rossum's AI-powered accounts payable software removes manual data entry errors that result in late payment charges and penalties.

AP automation software. Reads like a human. No rules. No templates.

As I said, there are a lot of AP automation tools to choose from. Selecting one for your business comes down to the specific needs of your organization – budget, size of team, volume of documents…

You’ll want an intuitive UI that’s easy to navigate and understand, so you can start automating your AP workflows as soon as possible. 

Allow me to introduce you to Rossum…

Rossum website. Accounts payable automation software. Extract invoice data in seconds.

Capture invoice data without templates.

Our AI-powered, cloud-native document processing solution brings machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), and robotic process automation (RPA) to the table. Enabling you to pre-process, extract, process, validate, segregate, and handle all your accounts payable documents. It offers…

Sage Intacct | ERP finance software

Cloud-based finance software.

Sage Intacct ERP finance software for automated accounts payable software. The future of finance starts right now.

“From scale-ups to global enterprises. Best-of-breed, cloud finance software.”

Improve your accounts payable performance and productivity when you integrate Rossum with Sage Intacct. A cloud-based ERP accounting system, endorsed by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). 

This comprehensive AP automation software has an intuitive user validation interface and customizable reports from its dashboard. Easy to navigate, and with a strong customer service team, you can improve operational efficiency, manage your IT costs, and find real-time insights.

Features include…

  • Real-time customizable reporting
  • Approval workflows control
  • Electronic funds transfer
  • Duplicate payment alert
  • Reporting dashboards
  • Time and expense management
  • Project accounting
  • Revenue management

BILL | Accounts payable automation software

Automating the future of finance.

BILL website screenshot. Make accounts payable workflows quick and easy.

“Create, send, and manage invoices, so you can get paid faster.”

Connect Rossum with BILL and you’ll increase the efficiency of your AP workflow. This cloud-native AP software uses cognitive data capture and fast validation to ensure quick and accurate invoice processing.

Targeted towards small and medium-sized businesses.

Features include…

  • Invoice processing
  • Approval process control
  • Cash management
  • Duplicate invoice alert
  • Electronic funds transfer
  • Fraud detection
  • Purchase order reconciliation
  • Vendor management
BILL allows you to easily automate accounts payable at scale. Improving the customer experience and boosting cash flow.

Quickly generate invoices. Give customers an easy way to pay. Boost cash flow.

  • Multiple ways to import your invoices into BILL
  • Approval workflows tailored to your business rules
  • Flexibility and control over the payment process
  • Auto-sync between BILL and your accounting software

Stampli | AP automation & invoice management software

Automate AP without reworking your ERP.

Stampli's AP automation solution, to automate accounts payable workflows.

“See how finance teams process invoices, approval workflows, and more with Stampli’s AP automation solution.”

Let me introduce you to Billy the Bot™ who automates almost all of your capture, coding, routing, fraud detection, and a whole of other tedious manual tasks. 

Stampli gives you full visibility and control over your accounts payable process, reducing manual errors, fraud, and compliancy issues.

This software, developed specifically for AP teams promises automation without having to rework your ERP or change existing processes. 

Features include…

  • Automated capture, coding, approvals
  • Centralized collaboration
  • Full accounting process module
  • 2-/3-way PO matching
  • Approval routing
  • One-click access to all conversations
Stampli's Billy the Bot who automates capture, coding, routing, fraud detection, and other manual tasks.

Meet Billy the Bot™

Payhawk | Accounts payable automation software & invoice management

“Control, manage and process company invoices at scale.”

Payhawk accounts payable and invoice management software. Website homepage showing examples of workflow.

Smarter accounts payable and invoice management software.

Payhawk helps AP teams optimize payment methods and handle invoices more efficiently. With the platform boasting a saving of more than two hours per day on manual finance processes.

Features include…

  • OCR data extraction in 60+ languages
  • Intelligent machine learning that learns over time
  • Supplier-driven expense categorization
  • Manage supplier data in sync with your ERP
  • Intelligent verification of supplier bank details

Coupa | Invoice management

Streamline accounts payable and improve cash flow.

Coupa - automated invoice management - website. AP automation software to streamline accounts payable and improve cash flow.

“Rescue your AP department with efficient, accurate, and timely e-invoicing processing.”

A source-to-pay solution created to reduce manual processes and increase operational efficiency. You’ll be swapping paper invoices with e-invoices.

Automating the invoice process helps you benefit from early payment discounts and avoid late payment fines. 

Coupa - invoice processing automation software. Graphic showing the four stages of invoice processing.

Make data-driven decisions, mitigate risks, and unite teams on company spending.

Create frictionless purchasing and accounts payable processes.

  • Streamline intake and purchasing process and track in real time
  • Create an AP process with automatic two- and three-way matching
  • Work with suppliers at purchase order level with fast notification of issues
  • Protect your cash flow with AI-driven fraud controls
  • Create reports and share with stakeholders

Bonsai | Accounts payable automation software

“Win new clients, get paid faster, manage your finances.”

Bonsai accounts payable automation tool. Homepage showing finance workflow. Running your business in one place.

Comprehensive business management tool.

Bonsai is a great AP automation tool for start-ups and SMBs looking to automate their financial processes. From payments and invoicing, to banking and taxes.

You can integrate with your current accounting systems and CRM software to automatically process invoices, match invoices with purchase orders, and create purchase orders.

Features include…

  • Customize to your brand
  • Automatically track expenses and income
  • Send automatic payment reminders
  • Built-in invoice templates

Accounts payable automation software FAQs

How does AP automation improve the invoice approvals and payment process?

AP automation software can identify relevant approvers. Automatically send notifications and reminders. Streamline invoice processes. Reduces the number of humans in the loop. Late payments will be minimized, so penalties will be reduced.

How can AP automation solve problems with invoice-related communication?

AP automation creates an accurate, real-time record of comments and questions relating to a specific invoice or customer. 

How does AP automation software stop duplicate payments?

Validation checks built into AP automation software check all invoices and identifies duplicates, eliminating duplicate payments. 

Does AP automation software help prevent invoice fraud?

Controls can be added to your financial processes to prevent fraud and increase security. Approval limits can be applied to specific accounts and extra approval requirements can be implemented. In-built reporting tools increase visibility, so fraudulent or suspicious activity can be identified quickly.

Will AP automation solutions integrate with my financial/ERP systems?

Yes, they can be seamlessly integrated with existing ERP and financial systems, to enable real-time data flow.

Free eBook: Cost of doing nothing | Zero in on accounting automation

It’s time to take the leap. Our free eBook – Cost of doing nothing | Zero in on accounting automation – takes a deep dive into the true cost of doing nothing. Of persevering with manual document processing in accounts payable. It highlights the benefits of accounting automation, questions to ask an IDP vendor in your RFP, and the impact of doing nothing. Our goal is to help you devise an action plan for your business’ prospective AP automation strategy.

We can show you how to automate your accounts payable processes?

The AP process is time-consuming, labor-intensive, repetitive, and… critical. Which begs the question, why isn’t it automated as standard?