Accounts payable teams looking for Accounts Payable software struggle with the following:
1. Limited cash flow visibility:
Not knowing your cash flow requirements is a crucial challenge for small businesses. You probably have manual processes and paper invoices or no single place to capture your invoices.
2. Not able to close books on time:
Your team is working weekends to close books on time because not all invoices get approved on time. The team spends 50+ hours processing matching invoices with purchase orders.
3. Delayed vendor payments:
You cannot pay vendors on time because the invoices are not approved, which leads to business disruption.
Companies who have successfully automated accounts payable software enjoy the following benefits:
There is a wide range of accounts payable automation solutions in the market.
To help you find the best accounts payable software for your business, we provide you with an in-depth comparison of 12 solution providers in the AP automation software category.
Account payable software automates the accounts payable process from receiving the invoice to paying the vendor.
AP (Accounts Payable) software increases the AP team’s efficiency by automating the invoice capture process. It also reduces invoice processing time by automating the invoice matching process with purchase orders and receipts.
With a payable automation solution, the AP team spends less time processing invoices and more time managing cash flow for the company.
With 100’s AP automation software options, it is not easy to pick the right solution. This guide intends to present you with three different types of options.
There are three categories of AP automation software.
The best-of-breed AP automation software is designed only to process AP effectively.
In other words, they are not general-purpose accounting solutions. The system helps the AP team improve their Key Performance Indicators (KPI) like invoice processing time and on-time payments.
This category of vendors covers the general-purpose accounting packages.
The list includes small accounting packages like QuickBooks and Xero to large accounting systems like Sage and Netsuite.
Payment platforms are designed not just to process the invoices but also to pay the vendors.
These solutions are a mix of accounts payable automation and payment solutions.
A payment platform also has vendor management capabilities.
The following section will cover 12 accounts payable solutions in three different categories.
Note: ProcureDesk is our product. We’re proud of what we’ve built. It includes features we would have liked to have ourselves, having previously used a manual paper-based invoicing process. Stop struggling with processing invoices on time and learn how to streamline your accounts payable process. Learn more and schedule a demo.
ProcureDesk helps small to midsize companies automate their accounts payable process and reduce the time spent creating and matching supplier invoices with purchase orders.
Best of the breed
Here are the key features of ProcureDesk accounts payable software
Email Invoice automation:
The first step in accounts payable automation is centralizing the invoice capture process. If you don’t have a central email box to receive invoices, the vendors will be sending you invoices manually and through the mail.
Your team then spends time scanning those invoices and inputting the data into your accounting package.
Here is how to avoid that:
All you have to do is to enter the email in ProcureDesk. Here is how to do that:
OCR (Optical character recognition)
No need to extract the invoice data from the document; ProcureDesk automatically takes care of that for you.
The system scans the document and extracts the invoice data using AI technology during the upload process.
Unlike other systems, ProcureDesk extracts the granular line level and header level data so that you don’t have to do any data entry.
The OCR engine extracts the data and then matches it with the available purchase orders.
If a purchase order is not available, it is considered a non-PO invoice.
Here is an example of how the OCR engine extracts the data from invoices.
Automated 3-way matching
After the OCR engine extracts the data, the system matches the invoice with relevant documents.
Suppose the system finds a matching purchase order. In that case, it automatically matches the invoice lines with the purchase order lines and performs the 3-way match.
The system would check the invoice against the purchase order and receipt for the material purchase.
For service items, the system checks the invoice against the purchase order. It then routes the invoice for review by the stakeholder.
You don’t need to follow up with employees for approval manually. The system automatically sends reminders to respective team members.
Invoice approval workflow
With the ProcureDesk approval workflow engine, you don’t have to worry about routing invoices for review and approval.
Using the customized workflow engine, you can create your custom workflow and automate the approval process.
Whether you need to route rent payments for approval or need someone to approve shipping costs, the system takes care of that for you.
You can set up workflows based on the following:
Types of invoices, for example, pre-paid invoices, rents, standard invoices for material and service purchases.
These are some examples of how you can set up your workflow.
Here is an example of how easily you can set up the approval workflow for invoices:
Efficient Invoice exception management
You can decide how and when to route invoice exceptions for approval with smart invoice exception management.
Don’t want the system to route every invoice exception for approval?
No problem – just set up the tolerance levels, and the system would automatically take care of that for you.
You can also configure if the system should consider shipping and taxes in the invoice exception process.
Here is an example of how you can set up the invoice matching tolerance:
Want to make your invoicing process more efficient?
Then implement electronic invoices with your large trading partners.
With electronic invoices, the trading partner or supplier sends the invoice electronically using electronic invoices standards like cXML.
The supplier automatically posts the invoice electronically with an electronic invoice, and there is no email involved.
The invoice is submitted faster, and that significantly reduces late payment fees.
When the invoice is processed faster, you can take advantage of an early payment discount.
You can choose automated matching and processing so that the process is entirely hands-free.
With electronic invoices, you can reduce the chances of duplicate invoices and duplicate payments.
All the AP team has to do is to pay the vendor.
We have implemented electronic invoices with prominent vendors like Amazon, CDA, Staples, Home Depot, to name a few.
Here is an example of an electronic invoice:
Not all vendors can support electronic invoices because they might be small or don’t have the technology infrastructure to support electronic invoices.
That is why we have a supplier portal. Your suppliers directly create the invoices in the system, and you don’t have to do any data entry.
With the supplier portal:
Here is an example of how easily suppliers can create invoices in ProcureDesk’s supplier portal using invoice management software.
Automated reminders for missing receipts
One of the main challenges with 3-way matching is continuously following up.
For example, an invoice didn’t match because of a missing receipt.
The employee didn’t create the receipt, and the AP team can’t pay the invoice.
So you have to follow up with team members to ensure that they can create a receipt.
Depending on how many people you need to reach out to, this could be a painful process.
With ProcureDesk, we send automatic reminders to your team so that you don’t have to do that.
Here is an example of an automatic reminder:
You can also send these auto reminders on demand by using the reminder feature that automatically scans the pending invoices that need receipts and informs the stakeholders.
This is a great feature to use during the month-end process.
Accounts payable Dashboard
Cash flow visibility is essential for businesses of all sizes, so that is why we have an inbuilt dashboard so that the AP team can manage the invoices effectively.
The accounts payable Dashboard provides complete spend visibility and insight into company purchases.
For example, we have a dashboard designed for AP clerks to see all pending processing invoices.
Here is an example of the AP work queue:
Sometimes you forget to process invoices, or you want to know what is due when.
That is when the aging Dashboard is beneficial.
The aging Dashboard gives you a quick snapshot of what is due based on the supplier payment terms.
That way, you can plan your cash flow needs for the week, month, and so on. That leads to better cash management and faster payments to the vendors.
Here is a snapshot of the aging Dashboard:
With inbuilt reporting, you can see all the pending invoices in the queue, that are approved and where the payment is complete.
For example, it is month-end, and you want to know what expenses you should be accruing.
We have a report that shows you all purchase orders received, but no invoice is yet in the system.
You can follow up with the vendors to get the invoice or accrue the expenses.
Here is an example of the received not invoiced(RNI) report:
Now let’s say you want to see all the invoices that are pending approval. There is a report for that.
Here is a sample invoice pending approval report:
Integration with accounting packages
An Invoice payable software that doesn’t integrate with your accounting package is not of much use.
With the automated sync, you don’t have to worry about entering the data into your accounting system.
Once the invoice is approved and matched, the system automatically sends the invoice to the accounting package for payment.
The system syncs the payment status back so that your employees can see that the invoice is paid.
We can also directly sync the invoices with payment systems like Bill.com. You can read more about Bill.com integration here.
ProcureDesk offers a turnkey solution at an affordable cost.
The Accounts payable software pricing starts from $450/month, covering ten users.
We take care of the implementation, setup, and training.
The fun part – it is all free, there are no additional fees, no hidden charges.
Bill.com is a leading provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates back-office financial processes for small and mid-sized businesses. Bill.com customers come from all industries, ranging from startups to established brands and nonprofits to franchises.
Bill.com automats the process of approving invoices and paying the vendors.
Bill.com is not a procure-to-pay system, so there is no way to create and approve purchase orders and do a 3-way match.
You, however, can import purchase order numbers from another system and manually assign a purchase order number to a Bill.
Bill.com offers the following features for automating the accounts payable process.
Invoices from Email:
Similar to ProcureDesk, Bill.com allows you to receive invoices on an AP email box and then automatically receive invoices on that email box.
You don’t have to worry about downloading invoice documents and uploading them into Bill.com.
Bill.com creates a new email box for you, so you have to ask your suppliers to send invoices to a new email address box.
When switching providers, this could be an issue because the email box belongs to Bill.com.
Approval workflow for invoices:
Bill.com supports approval workflow for invoices. You can set up a workflow based on departments, invoice amount, and group approvals.
Here is an example of how you can set up a workflow:
OCR for data extraction:
Using Bill.com, you can automatically extract the data from the invoice.
The data extraction is only limited to the header section. It only extracts the data like invoice #, date, and amount.
You still have to enter the system’s invoice line level data manually.
2-way sync with your accounting package
With the 2-way sync, you can sync your invoice data with multiple accounting packages.
2-way sync means that Bill.com will sync the invoices that are created in Bill.com as well as pull the invoices that get created in your accounting package.
The Bill.com website mention that they support 2-way sync with QuickBooks, Xero, Sage Intacct, Netsuite, and Microsoft.
The main feature of Bill.com is payments.
With Bill.com, you can pay your vendors on time. You pay vendors based on their preferred payment method.
Bill.com supports electronic payment options like ACH and virtual credit cards.
You also send checks and send International payments.
The pricing starts from $39/month for the accounting package.
If you want integration with your accounting package, the optimum package is $49/month.
Please note that Bill.com also has a transaction fee charged per transaction.
Here are the details:
Here are Bill.com transaction fees:
QuickBooks online is the most commonly used cloud-based accounting software for small businesses. It not only offers accounts payable capabilities but also offers a complete accounting package for small businesses.
Supplier invoices are called Bills in QuickBooks Online. The functionality in QuickBooks online is fundamental and designed for a single owner or an accountant who can enter the bills into the system.
The system lacks an approval workflow for supplier invoices / Bills.
There is no OCR capability to extract the data from the invoice. All the required data needs to be entered into the system.
Here is what you can do in QuickBooks Online.
Create an Invoice
You can create a bill with very minimal information. The bill creation process is very straightforward. The basic assumption is that Bill gets approved before entering into QuickBooks Online.
Convert a purchase order into an invoice
You can also convert a purchase order into a Bill.
That saves time.
You can also manually match the invoice data with the purchase order data.
There are no 3-way match capabilities in QuickBooks online. So you have to check whether an invoice has been received or not manually.
Pay the vendor
QuickBooks does offer the capability to pay the vendors.
You can automate the payment process by scheduling payments for a future date to match your cash flow. You can also make partial payments.
The pricing starts at $50, but you can get a 50% discount for the first three months.
The base package covers up to 3 users.
You can get additional users by upgrading to the Plus package.
QuickBooks Desktop is the on-premise version of the QuickBooks accounting package.
QuickBooks Online is a cloud accounting package. However, QuickBooks Desktop is an on-premise software that needs to be installed and managed by you.
If you don’t have an IT staff, you can use third-party hosting services for QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks Desktop offers slightly better capabilities than QuickBooks online, but the following limitations remain:
Here are the top features of the QuickBooks Accounts Payable software solution:
You can create a Bill by uploading the invoice document and entering the relevant data.
It is effortless and straightforward, mainly if limited people can enter invoices in the system.
Create Bill from Receipt
One of the unique features of QB Desktop is that it allows you to convert a receipt into a Bill.
That is kind of a sudo 3- way match process. Because you are converting a receipt into a Bill, you don’t need to do a 3-way match.
Like QuickBooks online, you can also pay vendors using QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks Desktop pricing starts from $350/year for a single-user license. You can add more licenses to an existing package.
Here is an overview of the single-user pricing.
You can compare the two versions here.
Xero is a business accounting package designed for small companies. It is an excellent alternative to QuickBooks online because it is also a cloud-based solution.
Xero is designed for small businesses, so it has similar limitations as QuickBooks online. Here are the few key features that are missing in Xero
Here are the key features of Xero Accounts payable software.
Create and access bills from anywhere
You can easily create and access bills in a single place. With the mobile app, you can easily access the bills from anywhere.
Schedule Bill payments
Xero allows you to create a batch for payment and then export the payment file that you can send to your bank for payment.
There is no built-in payment feature in Xero.
Pricing for Xero starts from $12/month, but that plan will not work for most customers.
We recommend starting with a $34 (Growing) package and then expanding as necessary.
Tipalti is the complete payment automation solution that helps automate the manual accounts payable process. The feature and functionality are similar to Bill.com. Tipalti also covers electronic payments.
Here are the key features of the Tipalti accounts payable solution.
Import invoices from email
With Tipalti, you can reduce the time spent on entering invoices by automatically importing invoices from an email.
Once you set up the mailbox, the system automatically reads the email and extracts the attachment.
We highly recommend centralizing the invoicing process to avoid chasing employees for invoices.
OCR to extract data from invoices
Once the system imports the invoice, the tool extracts the data from the invoice so that you don’t have to manually key in the data.
The system supports both header and line-level data extraction.
With coding predictions, the system automatically assigns the coding to the invoice, including a chart of accounts, departments, and approver.
This is especially helpful when you are processing non PO Invoices, and the coding information is not available from the PO.
It is not clear, but it seems like you can import the purchase orders in Tipalti and then use it to match with the invoice. Additionally, there is support for tolerance.
With the multi-tier approvals, you can route the invoices for different stakeholders’ approval.
Approvers can easily view pending invoices and the images of the invoices. Here is snapshot of approvals:
With payment processing, you can group invoices into a batch so that it is easy to track which suppliers are getting paid.
You can hold specific invoices or batches and control your cash flow.
Tipalti doesn’t publish pricing on their website. You can reach out to the vendor to request pricing.
Stampli provides accounts payable and payment automation solutions. With Stampli, AP teams can simplify the accounts payable workflow and streamline the workflow.
Following are the key features of the Stampli Accounts payable solution.
Stampli provides a central hub to capture all your invoices with invoice automation. Suppliers can send the invoices to a central email box, and Stampli reads the invoice and captures the invoice document.
OCR for data extraction
With the OCR capabilities, Stampli enables the AP team to spend less time processing invoices and more time managing the cash flow.
The system extracts the data, which then can be reviewed by the AP team for accuracy.
The system remembers the correction made by the AP team so that it can remember for the next go around.
Automated invoice coding
With automated invoice coding, the invoice gets charged to the correct chart of account and department. The tool predicts the coding based on the previous use.
The AP team can then review for accuracy and submit the invoice for approval and payment.
The tool provides granular access control so that you can easily manage control over who can access certain functionality.
The AP team can make payments using Stampli or any other system. The system is agnostic of the payment platform.
Integration with other systems
Stampli offers extensive integration with different accounting and ERP packages. The system integrates with QuickBooks, Sage, Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle. You can see the complete list below by clicking on the link below:
Stampli doesn’t mention pricing on their website. You have to call the vendor to receive the pricing for the solution.
AvidXchange offers accounts payable and payment solutions. Companies use AvidXchange to automate the payables process and increase the efficiency of the accounts payable tea.
Best of the breed
Here are the key features of the AvidXchange platform.
A central hub for invoice processing:
AvidXchange automates the invoice capture process so that you don’t have to chase stakeholders for approvals.
You can receive invoices via email or have the suppliers mail the invoices to a PO box. AvidXchange takes care of paper invoices and automates invoice capture.
OCR for extracting supplier invoice data:
After AvidXchange captures the invoice, the system extracts the data from the invoice document using OCR technology.
Approval workflows for routing:
You can route invoices for further approval using the approval workflow engine.
We couldn’t find much information on the workflow capabilities, but we assume that AvidXchange offers standard workflow capabilities.
AvidXchange has a payment platform called AvidPay. It is much easier to release payments to the vendors with an integrated payment platform.
AvidXchange has an impressive list of integrations. The vendor mentions that they integrate the system with 210 different systems.
You can see the complete integration list here.
AvidXchange doesn’t list the pricing on their website. You have to call the vendor to receive pricing.
Freshbooks is an accounting package for small business owners. It is designed for very small teams and solopreneurs. The core focus has been to create invoices and get paid faster and quickly. FreshBooks now also has Accounts Payable capabilities.
The features for accounts payable are very limited in FreshBooks.
FreshBooks allows you to easily create bills so that you can pay your suppliers.
You can take a picture of the receipt and upload the bill. You can use this to create bills like internet bill payments.
OCR for data extraction
Once the picture is uploaded, the system allows you to extract the data from the receipt and automatically create the bill in the system.
FreshBooks is very affordable for small business owners.
The package starts from $6.00/month; there is also an option to customize the package based on your needs.
Sage Intacct provides a robust accounting package for small to midsize customers. Customers who overgrow QuickBooks generally migrate to a solution like Sage Intacct. It has strong core financial capabilities, including accounting capabilities.
The following are the features related to the accounts payable software module.
You can upload bills into Sage Intacct. You can convert a purchase order into a Bill or just upload a Bill without a purchase order.
Unlike other systems, there is no capability to import the invoice from an email. You need to manually enter the data into Sage as it is missing OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities.
Once the bill gets created, Sage allows you to route the invoice for approval. You can set up different approval limits to route the invoice to different stakeholders for approval.
3-way match process
With a 3-way match process, you can easily match the invoices with the purchase orders and receipts.
Since Sage Intacct allows you to convert a purchase order to an invoice, it is easy to create the invoices. It also leads to lower data entry errors.
Create payment file
Sage Intacct doesn’t have its payment gateways, but you can create a payment batch file and then send it to the bank for ACH payments.
Sage Intacct doesn’t provide pricing on their website. You need to contact the vendor to get pricing.
Melio offers small to medium-sized businesses the ability to streamline their accounts payable process and pay supplier bills.
Following are the key features of the Melio accounts payable software.
Melio offers an easy way to upload bills for payment. You can take a picture of the bill and upload it.
There is no OCR of the invoice, so you need to enter the invoice data manually.
After the bill is uploaded, you can pay the vendors using credit cards and ACH payments.
Sync bills with QuickBooks
The Bills are then synced with QuickBooks so that you can update your books.
You can start for free and pay transaction fees for credit card transactions and international transfers.
Here is the pricing information:
Melio is best suited for small companies with limited accounts payable and no need to issue purchase orders to suppliers. There is no approval workflow, so the approval needs to be done outside the system.
Oracle NetSuite accounts payable (AP) automates the review, approval, and payment of supplier invoices, giving you greater control over the entire procure-to-pay process.
Netsuite offers robust accounts payable capabilities for mid-market companies. Here are the core features of the accounts payable software module.
Invoices from email:
Netsuite allows you to create invoices from the email automatically. The AP team doesn’t need to enter the invoice data manually.
The system can read the AP email box and then create an invoice. The AP team can then enter the data, review and submit it for matching.
3-way match process
Netsuite offers a 3-way match process, so match the invoice with the purchase order and receipt. It matches the data and identifies the exceptions.
The system can also send the invoice for approval.
You can define a workflow so that the system can automatically route the invoice for approval to the pre-identified supervisor.
Support for payments
Netsuite allows you to schedule vendor payments and pay using a check, ACH, or credit card.
You can set up vendor preferences in the vendor master and generate a payment file accordingly.
Accounts Payable Dashboard
With the accounts payable Dashboard, you can get a pulse of the accounts payable process in one single snapshot.
You can see what invoices are due, what purchase orders are open, and what pending invoices need follow-up.
Custom pricing. You need to reach out to Netsuite to get custom pricing for accounts payable.
Netsuite is best suited for mid-market companies that have outgrown small accounting packages like QuickBooks and Xero.
We hope this guide was helpful in selecting accounts payable automation software for your company. If you would like to see how ProcureDesk can help with streamlining your accounts payable software, click on the button below to schedule a demo.