An integrated invoice and purchase order software is the best approach for automating the purchase-to-pay process.
Don’t take our word for it.
Here is what our clients have achieved by implementing an invoice and purchase order software:
Yet, most companies look at this as two individual processes. They look at purchase order automation and AP automation as separate processes and hence different software.
We argue that you should look at one system that helps you drive better transparency across the purchase order and invoicing process.
An integrated invoice and purchase order management software provides you with the following capabilities:
If you want to implement an integrated invoice and purchase order software for your business, this article will help you identify the best invoice and purchase order software and eliminate the manual processes for the AP team.
We have compared the three best options for your consideration. The source of this review is vendor websites, and of course, ProcureDesk is our tool.
Note: ProcureDesk was built to provide an integrated purchase order and invoice system. You can read about it in detail below or schedule a demo to see how it could help your finance organization.
ProcureDesk provides an integrated purchasing and AP automation solution for growing companies.
While many companies provide limited purchasing and AP capabilities, we have implemented the best capabilities of the purchase order process and invoicing in one single system.
For example, Optical character reading (OCR) is generally not an available feature in this category. Still, ProcureDesk supports OCR because we believe that AP should not be spending time entering invoice data.
We work with 100+ vendors to support the punchout experience so that your employees can easily create purchase order requests without copying and pasting data from different websites.
Here are the key features of the integrated purchasing and invoicing solution.
A purchase order software system automates the manual purchase order request process and provides employees with an easy way to create and submit purchase order requests.
Purchase order software allows you to route the purchase request for approval to different stakeholders without manually emailing back and forth for approvals.
With purchase order software, employees can create purchase requests with ease.
Here is how ProcureDesk supports the purchase order software:
User defaults to support request creation
You don’t want your users to enter the same information repeatedly. With smart user defaults, you don’t have to worry about that.
When the user creates a purchase request, the system automatically assigns the commonly used fields like ship to information, department, and cost codes.
Here is an example of how user defaults work in ProcureDesk
The biggest complaint from finance is that the employees don’t know what accounting codes to use. It could be a chart of accounts or other cost codes.
ProcureDesk solves this by automatically assigning the codes based on pre-setup criteria.
For example, if you always purchase office supplies from Amazon, you can automate that cost code assignment. Once you set up the criteria, the system automatically remembers them and assigns the correct chart of account.
Here is an example of how you can set up defaults by suppliers.
With budget tracking, you never have to worry about going over budget, and the best part is that you don’t have to wait until the month-end to see how you are doing compared to budget.
You can define budgets by department, location, and GL accounts with budget controls.
Here is how you can create a simple budget for the marketing department.
You can break down the budget into different functions within the marketing department—for example, advertising, Search engine marketing, etc.
Next, you can assign the budget to the respective department so that only the marketing department can use this budget.
Once you create the budget, employees can pick up the appropriate budget while creating a purchase order request.
ProcureDesk then checks the budget compliance in real-time and informs the user if they are over budget or not.
You can set up controls so that the system can guide the user. For example, you might be OK if the users go over by 5% in a month, or you just want to block the purchase if the budget is unavailable.
Once you define these rules, the system automatically guides the user on what to do next.
While approving the budget, the approvers have complete visibility into the budget and see how much budget is used and how much is available.
With budget visibility, approvers can approve with confidence.
Purchasing in personal life is as simple as going to Amazon.com, clicking a few buttons, and completing the purchase!
In contrast to purchasing in the corporate world, you have to look for items from different vendor websites and then paste that into an electronic request form.
With catalogs, you can provide your employees with an online shopping experience.
There are two types of catalogs:
A punchout catalog connects the buyer to the vendor’s website.
The purchasing system (ProcureDesk) connects to your account, so you don’t need to create accounts for each user or share your username and passwords.
It is as simple as selecting the items you want to purchase, and then the system routes you back to ProcureDesk for approval of that request.
Here is an example of an integrated purchasing experience with Amazon.com
Once the request is approved, the purchase order is automatically placed with the vendor, eliminating the need for sending the purchase orders to the vendors.
If a vendor doesn’t have a website, you can create the catalogs in ProcureDesk.
Reach out to your vendor and get a list of most commonly purchased items and their pricing.
Then load that information into ProcureDesk, and you have a catalog!
Here is an example of what a self-hosted catalog looks like:
The user can then easily select the item they need and add it to the shopping cart.
Catalogs make it easy to purchase, but you still need purchase approvals. With purchase approvals, managers can review the request before the employee makes the purchase.
A configurable approval workflow process can help reduce the time spent on approvals.
If you are using emails for approvals, you can imagine the back and forth required to get a request approved.
With a purchase approval workflow, you can easily define a purchase order approval process and benefit from approval automation.
For example, a manager should approve all purchases, and a request above $5,000 needs to be approved by the CFO.
Here is an example of how easily you can set up the workflow.
The system then automatically routes the request for approval to appropriate stakeholders.
The approvers can approve the request via email, mobile app, or web application.
The system supports easy approval from emails so that approvers can approve without logging in to the system.
ProcureDesk also sends reminders to the managers so that nothing gets missed.
After the purchase order request is approved, the purchasing software generates the purchase order and dispatches it to the vendor.
Purchase order creation can be automated or you can also have a buyer review the purchase order before sending it to the supplier.
You can then track the purchase order status including vendor acknowledgment, delivery, and receipts.
Here is an example of a purchase order:
The biggest advantage of an integrated invoice and purchase order system is that you don’t have to import any purchase order information for invoice matching. It eliminates the manual task of uploading invoices.
All the relevant data is in a single palace.
The vendor sends the invoice after delivering the items on the purchase order.
If you have an email for supplier invoices, it is easy for a system like ProcureDesk to capture the invoices from the email.
You don’t need to download invoices to your computer and upload them in AP automation software like ProcureDesk.
ProcureDesk makes it easier to create invoices. The system reads the email and imports the invoice.
Once the invoice gets imported, the system extracts the relevant invoice data from the invoice document.
For example, the ProcureDesk extracts invoice date, amount, invoice number, and line-item details. With data extraction, you can avoid any manual data entry errors.
The invoice information is populated automatically for you so that the AP team doesn’t need to spend time processing the invoices.
If a purchase order number is available, the system matches the invoice to the purchase order and the relevant lines.
All the AP team has to do is submit the invoice matching.
With email automation, you don’t have to worry about entering the invoice in the system, but what if you don’t have to enter any invoices.
That is what you can achieve with electronic invoicing.
Electronic invoices refer to the process where the supplier sends an electronic invoice directly to the buyer’s AP automation software.
There are different standards for electronic invoicing. The two most common ones are EDI and cXML standards.
Most of the large vendors can send electronic invoices.
Once the invoicing software receives the electronic invoice, the invoice gets matched with the purchase order and receipt.
And if there is an issue, the invoice gets routed to the appropriate person for review.
Since you have an integrated invoicing and purchase order software, there is no need to import purchase orders from another system.
When purchase orders and invoices are in a single system, the matching process is efficient and faster.
Here is an example of an invoice that the supplier electronically creates.
If an invoice gets matched against a purchase order, then the invoice is automatically coded based on the purchase order.
But if there is no purchase order, the AP team needs to figure out the correct coding of the invoices.
This can be a tedious process because the stakeholders who ordered the product or service will have a better idea of the accounting.
The AP team must continuously seek feedback from stakeholders, increasing the invoice processing time.
So instead of going back and forth for every invoice, you can instruct the system to automatically assign the account codes, location, departments, etc.
You can assign user-level defaults, supplier-level accounting defaults, or category-level defaults.
Once you have configured the defaults in the system, the invoicing software (ProcureDesk) automatically assigns the chart of accounts and other accounting codes to the invoice.
Here is an example of how you can set supplier level defaults
The main feature of any integrated invoicing and purchase order software is matching an invoice with a purchase order without manual intervention.
Since the purchase order, receipt, and invoice is one single system, the matching process is very efficient, and you don’t have to worry about data imports from other systems.
ProcureDesk automatically matches the incoming vendor invoice with the purchase order and receipt and then notifies the appropriate stakeholders for the next action.
Here are some examples of how the automated 3-way matching helps streamline the invoice matching process:
Here is an example of an automated receipt reminder generated by the system:
With integrated reporting, all your spending information is available in one system.
You can track all open purchase orders, invoices, and the yet not invoiced amount.
Integrated invoice and purchase order reporting eliminates the guesswork and manual effort to reconcile data from multiple systems.
For example, an open order report shows your available balance at any time.
In the above screenshot, you can track the open balance amount and balance amount for each invoice.
Accruals are made easy with integrated spend reporting.
Here is an example of how you can track what invoices are received but it is missing a receipt.
ProcureDesk’s pricing plan is straightforward; you pay based on the number of users and the functionality you need in the system.
For example, if you are a small company, you can start with the AP automation package.
The AP automation package provides you with the integrated invoicing and purchases order option.
This price includes implementation, setup, and training at no additional cost.
Procurify is a complete spend management company that helps streamline the procurement process. The product helps finance and procurement professionals to control spending and get visibility into the cash flow.
The product supports both purchase order and invoicing capabilities and hence is a viable option to evaluate for your integrated invoicing and purchase order needs.
Here are the key features of the integrated purchasing and invoicing solution.
The key features of the purchase order include the following
Procurify also supports catalogs so that the employees can easily create purchase requisitions.
The tool supports both punchouts and internal catalogs.
We have already covered this feature in the ProcureDesk section, so we will not rehash it here.
The key is to ensure that the purchase order software vendors support integration with your key vendors.
It is not clear from Procurify’s website how many vendors they support.
With budget tracking, you can create budgets and then track spending against the set budgets.
You can create a budget for each department with a specific start and end date.
The approvers can track the budget across different stages of the purchase. For example, pending approval, already approved and billed.
With granular budgets, the budget owners have complete visibility into spending, ensuring that the departments stay within the budget.
Procurify provides a configurable workflow that the finance or AP team can customize to meet the company’s needs.
The purchase approval setup includes setting up a purchase approval group.
A purchase group approval specifies the conditions for using the group. For example – an approval workflow only for the sales department.
After defining the group, you can add users to the group and their thresholds for approval.
If you have multiple groups that might overlap, you can set up the sequence of the approval workflows.
Procurify also supports approvals using the mobile app, making it easier to approve on the go.
At the time of the writing, we couldn’t find any reference to this feature on Procurify’s website.
However, you can always upload an invoice into Procurify and then match the invoice with the purchase order.
At the time of the writing, we couldn’t find any reference to this feature on Procurify’s website.
At the time of the writing, we couldn’t find any reference on Procurify’s website that they support electronic invoices.
After the invoice gets imported, you can perform a 3-way match process.
Procurify 3-way match process checks for missing receipts for an invoice.
If a receipt is missing, you can notify the user of creating the missing receipt.
Once the receipt is created and matched, the invoice is approved for payment.
Procurify provides standard reports that allow you to review spending by vendor, department, etc.
You can filter the reports and export the data for further analysis.
Here is a list of common reports that are available in Procurify.
Procurify doesn’t mention the pricing on their website. Please reach out to them.
Though Precoro does have invoicing capabilities, its core focus is purchasing automation.
There are different modules that address the procurement needs across the board.
Here are the key features of the Precoro integrated purchasing and invoicing solution.
Precoro offers the ability to automate the purchasing process completely.
It includes the ability for an electronic purchase requisition process.
After the manager approves the purchase request, a buyer can convert the purchase request into a purchase order.
The system also supports creating a purchase order directly without an initial purchase request.
There is support for internal catalogs as well as external catalogs.
The external catalogs integration is only limited to Amazon punchout.
Precoro does have a unique approach to external catalogs.
Instead of logging in to your procurement system and then going to the Amazon site, you can directly start from the Amazon site and then move the information to the Precoro shopping cart.
Precoro offers a flexible budget management module that allows you to track budgets across departments, locations, etc.
You can also create project budgets and then have different lines under that budget.
A single budget can have multiple budget lines.
Employees can then assign the budget to purchase orders and invoices so that you can track spending in real-time.
With configurable approval workflows, you can easily set up your approval routing.
The workflow engine is flexible and supports common workflows like location and departments.
You can also add custom fields in your approval routing.
If you want to set up named users for approval, it is pretty straightforward to set that up.
At the time of this writing, we don’t see a capability in Precoro to import invoices from email.
At the time of writing this article, the Precor system doesn’t support electronic invoices with vendors.
At the time of writing this article, there was no mention of an auto-coding feature on Precoro’s website.
Precoro supports matching between invoices and purchase orders, but it doesn’t perform a 3-way match.
There is no way to match the invoice with what was received.
However, if the invoice quantity and price is more than what is on the purchase order, you can route the invoice for review and approval.
Once the invoice is approved, the system automatically updates the revised quantity price and quantity on the purchase order.
Precoro supports flexible reporting.
You can create a report by purchase orders, invoices, and purchase requisitions.
You can export and combine data from different reports and then merge that to create an open order report.
Precoro pricing plan starts from $35/user/month.
There is also an enterprise plan.
This article has covered three viable options for an integrated invoice and purchase order solution.
So if you are struggling with keeping track of invoices and purchase orders, here is what to do next:
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