by ProcureDeskLast Updated : Dec-05-2023
Accounts Payable (AP) automation software generally falls into two categories:
1. AP automation software is made to just automate the AP process, specifically invoice processing, invoice payment, and reporting on spending patterns or categories. These solutions can typically be integrated with ERP systems. Popular examples of AP automation solutions are Stampli, AvidXchange, and Bill.
2. Full procure-to-pay solutions, on the other hand, connect procurement and accounts payable teams to support both workflows — from procurement through invoice processing and payment. By including procurement in the invoice automation workflow, procure-to-pay software eliminates time-consuming tasks in the larger purchasing process, such as matching POs to invoices and back-and-forth between AP teams, requisition teams, and the departments making purchases. Procure-to-pay software allows users to set budgets and restrict spending to avoid surprise expenses.
Examples in the full procure-to-pay category include ProcureDesk (our highly-rated solution), Tipalti, and Procurify.
In our experience, we’ve found teams that are advanced enough to require AP automation software typically work with procurement departments and can benefit from a solution that combines workflows. So, in this guide, we’ll review both AP automation and full procure-to-pay software so you can choose the solution that works best for your business.
We start with a review of our procure-to-pay software, ProcureDesk, and explain how it simplifies purchasing workflows and automates AP tasks, while providing better control and visibility over all processes.
We built ProcureDesk to help automate procurement workflows and improve the speed of procurement and AP tasks for small to medium-sized companies. Our software includes AP automation but also helps with the full procurement process, including purchasing, creating purchase orders (POs), PO approval, matching invoices to POs, and more.
We help teams do this with a user-friendly workflow that makes it easy for employees to purchase products, get approvals, and process invoices. We also offer white glove support so companies can get started immediately and easily integrate ProcureDesk into their purchasing and AP workflow.
ProcureDesk uses a punchout process to let employees directly shop on vendor sites they already know how to use, like Amazon, instead of navigating an unfamiliar catalog with limited selections. From right inside ProcureDesk, they can open the vendor website where they want to purchase and shop as they normally would.
When users check out, purchase requisition is automatic. Orders are synced with budgets and other purchase criteria, so employees can’t place an order without justification or if a budget has already been exceeded. The procurement team can even pre-set criteria so that some purchases need approval before an order is placed. In this case, the request is automatically sent to the right approver on the procurement team (via email, push notification on their phone, or more).
After purchases are reviewed and approved, the purchase order is automatically sent to the vendor and populated in the ProcureDesk dashboard so managers can monitor purchases. Employees don’t need to manually copy over details about the purchase, like product name, pricing, or descriptions, to a blank purchase order form — saving everyone time and eliminating human errors.
In ProcureDesk, the order status is constantly updated so employees can see whether the vendor has acknowledged the PO and fulfilled the order.
Finally, when the purchaser receives their order, they validate the purchase in ProcureDesk, which creates a real-time, transparent record of any issues, such as missing items or partial quantities — this record supports our unique three-way invoice matching feature.
ProcureDesk’s three-way invoice matching eliminates the need to locate the purchaser, verify the purchase and invoice, and wait for a response before sending payment.
When supplier invoices are received — via a touchless invoice option or OCR (Optical Character Recognition) by ProcureDesk — our system automatically matches invoice data with the PO (referred to as two-way matching). Then, our system checks the order validation to ensure orders were received and invoices are approved to pay (referred to as three-way matching).
If there is a problem with a purchase or invoice, the accounting team can immediately see the nature of the problem in the system.
Our system integrates with common ERPs (QuickBooks, Sage, Xero, NetSuite, and more) so you can push ready-to-pay invoices to those systems and issue vendor payments. Then, the invoice status is updated in our system to show that invoices have been reviewed and paid. Everyone knows the status of purchases and invoices so the procurement department and AP team can operate smoothly.
ProcureDesk’s reporting dashboard provides full visibility over purchases and payments. You can see new purchases from the very moment they’re placed and monitor:
Our platform also provides better cost control: you can establish budgets for different departments or teams within your organization to prevent purchasers from accidentally overspending.
We also provide preset reports to show you total monthly spend and spend by budget or department; then, you can adjust these reports to look at data over different time frames. You can see where your spend is going, which departments and users are purchasing most often, which items are most commonly purchased, and more. This allows you to make more strategic decisions about your budgets and spending.
We streamline implementation with guided set-up — we’ll show you how the platform works, help you add users, set roles and approval workflows, connect vendors, integrate ProcureDesk with other accounting systems, and more. We handle the setup so you can immediately get started and bring your users on board.
You can update the software anytime — whether you want to add new users, vendors, or change approval flows. We’re here to help whenever you need it.
Our procure-to-pay solution is available for $600/month and includes all the purchasing and AP automation features discussed above. We also offer custom enterprise plans for organizations with more than 200 employees.
If you’re interested in learning more about our platform and services, you can book a free demo of ProcureDesk and talk with a team member.
In addition to ProcureDesk, Tipalti, Procurify, Precoro, and Tradogram offer top-rated procure-to-pay software solutions.
Tipalti is a cloud-based P2P solution that works with brands around the globe. Tipalti includes support for cross-border payments in multiple currencies and compliance with various international tax regulations, which allows them to support businesses with subsidiaries in different countries.
Its clients include social media companies like X (formerly Twitter) and Twitch. Reviewers laud the cost savings on foreign transactions but note that the software can be complex, particularly that the payment process could be easier.
Tipalti offers a scaled pricing solution based on a company’s size and selected platform features. Basic platform access starts at $129 per month.
Procurify’s P2P solution includes features such as virtual card support (which allows managers to issue virtual credit cards to users for online shopping), in-app notifications, and mandatory order descriptions for spending control.
In reviews, users liked the comprehensive functionality and easy integration, praising its overall ease of use, but would like to see editing capabilities for POs. The software is also missing basic sourcing capabilities, like a supplier quote process, which may impact the full automation of the procurement process.
Procurify offers a tiered plan starting at $1,000/month, which may be prohibitively high for small businesses. Advanced packages with additional functionality, implementation, and training are quoted directly.
Precoro is a budget-friendly P2P solution with built-in inventory management and contract management. Users like that the software has a simple interface, provides sourcing capabilities for supplier quotes, and offers punchout catalog capabilities, but some express the need for better inventory management functionality.
For teams of 20 or fewer, Precoro charges $35 per month per user, enabling adoption by smaller companies.
Tradogram is the only procurement software provider with a freemium model on our list. Many of the advanced features are in the premium plan, but even the free plan includes expense and inventory management modules, allowing companies to adopt the platform at a low cost and grow into more features as needed.
Reviewers expressed the desire for more training or educational support on the product but noted that the company is willing to help with customizations and solutions.
Tradogram offers a free “Basic” tier, limited to a single user. The “Premium” tier, which can include up to 19 users, starts at $168/mo.
The following solutions are our favorite for companies that need to automate invoice processing and payment.
Stampli is an invoice management system that integrates with existing accounting software — notable ERP integrations include Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Sage, QuickBooks, and SAP.
Reviewers generally like that they can process invoices faster with automated routing, OCR, and auto-fill invoice processing, though they note that the accuracy of the auto-fill could be improved. Stampli integrates with many ERP systems, but because it is limited to AP automation, it does not store POs in the system, and manual order tracking may still be needed.
Pricing is not available on the website, so you’ll need to contact Stampli directly for a quote.
AvidXchange is an accounts payable automation software with a massive feature set. The platform includes AvidBuy (to automate and match purchase orders), AvidInvoice (to streamline invoice processing), AvidPay (automated bill payment software), and AvidAnalytics (to report on spending). They also have a variety of other products and AP solutions by industry.
Reviewers note the platform’s ease of use but mention the system can be slow-loading: processing certain tasks takes significant time, and adding new vendors to the platform can take a few days.
AvidXchange offers products separately, so you can contact them and discuss the solutions you’re interested in to receive a custom quote.
As an AP automation-only solution, Bill automates the importing of invoices, the invoice approval process, and the payment process, but it does not match invoices with POs. Users generally like having a central location for invoices, but some reviewers have noted dissatisfaction with making international payments (Bill supports international payments by wire only).
Bill starts at $45/month per user.
We designed ProcureDesk to connect procurement and AP departments so they can work together more effectively. With ProcureDesk, you can control costs before users go purchasing on a whim, monitor purchases to validate invoices, and simplify invoice processing and payment. Our automation tools streamline accounts payable processes so teams can easily document, reference, and troubleshoot POs and invoices, and quickly send payments to vendors.
If you’re interested in learning more about our solution, you can schedule a free demo with a member of our team. We can discuss your current challenges and what you’re looking for in AP software.
If you decide we’re the right fit, we’ll take care of set-up so the platform is configured to your specifications (we’ll also show you how to adjust settings without our help). Then, you can be up and running in an afternoon — our features are intuitive, so users can navigate between dashboards and learn the ropes without formal training.
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