3 ways to use Purchase orders in Bill.com

Purchase order and Bill.com

Are you using Bill.com for supplier invoice payments and wondering how to match the invoices with purchase orders in Bill.com?

Bill.com offers a billing platform allowing AP (Accounts payable) to create and pay vendor invoices easily.

The main challenge with Bill.com is that there is no way to automatically match the invoice with the purchase order for the invoice; you can’t match the purchase order with the invoice.

That means that stakeholders must approve all invoices before they can be paid.

The main purpose of the purchase order is to control cost proactively; simultaneously, it speeds up the invoice-matching process.

If you already have a purchase order, you can code the invoice based on the coding present on the purchase order.

You can then match the purchase order, invoice, and receipt; if all three match, there is no need for further approvals. This process is called the 3-way matching process.

With 3-way matching, you can reduce the time spent processing invoices and close books faster.

So how do you go about importing the purchase orders into Bill.com?

This article will cover 3 options for using a purchase order process with Bill.com.

Note: ProcureDesk is our system, and we have designed the system to integrate with Bill.com. You can use ProcureDesk for automating purchase to pay process along with Bill.com. If you are curious about how the system can help you, read more below or click here to schedule a call with one of our product specialists.

Import purchase orders from the Accounting system

Bill.com can import the purchase orders created in your accounting system. You can’t do a 3-way matching of the purchase order, receipt, and invoice but the main use case is to support a 2-way match process.

The idea is to identify an invoice paid against an approved purchase order. However, the invoice must be reviewed and approved before paying the vendor.

How it works

Here is how to use the native integration with Bill.com:

Create the purchase order in the accounting system

Please note that the integration is only limited to a few accounting systems. At this time, Bill.com supports Netsuite and Sage Intacct. Before creating a purchase order, you will still need to determine the approval process.

You can use an email-based approval process or a paper form request for routing the request for approval.

Once the request is approved, accounting must go in and generate the purchase order in the accounting system unless your users can create a purchase order.

Most companies leveraging their accounting system prefer to have one or two people who have access to QuickBooks purchase order functionality.

It creates a bottleneck but is better than opening the accounting system to all users and having compliance issues.

Mark the purchase order as approved in the accounting system

Once you issue the purchase order to the vendor, it might need additional approvals depending on your purchasing policy.

Make sure the purchase order is approved in the accounting system.

Sync purchase order data with Bill.com

The auto-sync process syncs the purchase order from the accounting system. The purchase order number is unavailable on Bill.com and can be assigned to an invoice.

Purchase orders in Bill.com
Assigning purchase orders to Bill.com

The workflow remains the same, and no further changes are required. For example, if you have a process for approving invoices through Bill.com, you can continue to do it that way.

Pros:

  1. It is very easy to implement. All you have to do is to enable the sync with your accounting system, which is enabled in most cases.
  2. It enables you to link the approved purchase order to an invoice. This way, you can track what has been invoiced against a purchase order.
  3. You can implement this without altering your current workflow on Bill.com.

Cons:

  1. Bill.com only supports limited systems, namely Netsuite and Sage Intacct. If you use an accounting system that Bill.com does not support, then there is no way to achieve this integration.
  2. There is no 3-way match that is possible using this approach. The system only pulls the approved purchase order from the accounting system. The best you can do is to assign the invoice to an approved purchase order.
  3. The invoice still needs to be approved on Bill.com because there is no matching. So it doesn’t change anything other than having a purchase order assigned to the invoice.

Create PO and Bills in ProcureDesk

If you are looking for a complete solution that works with Bill.com, then ProcureDesk is the perfect solution.

By leveraging ProcureDesk’s purchase order system, you can create a purchase order, invoice, and receipt in a single system.

This method enables the true three-way match invoice.

When you have a three-way match process enabled, you don’t need to send every invoice for approval, which speeds up invoice processing.

When the invoice is approved, it is automatically sent to Bill.com for payment.

The integration is real-time, and it creates the Bill in Bill.com along with the actual invoice document.

How it works

Create purchase order

ProcureDesk provides an easy-to-use interface for creating purchase orders. The purchase orders can be created from catalogs or just entering the basic information:

{screenshot of catalog}

In this example, the user can select from a list of items and easily create a purchase order request.

You can also link to your favorite vendors like Amazon.com, Staples, OfficeDepot, and many more.

This allows your employees to see your preferred pricing for these vendors and have the availability of a full catalog from each of these vendors.

We support integration with 100+ vendors at this time.

Here is an example of how a punchout process works:

The user selects the item to purchase

Let’s assume you want to purchase a pack of batteries from Amazon.com.

All the employee has to do is log in to ProcureDesk and click on the Amazon.com logo.

The employee is then routed back to Amazon’s website to see whether they can use the battery they need to purchase.

After selecting the item, the users must click on the “Submit for approval” button to submit the request.

Amazon punchout with procuredesk

Item is sent back to ProcureDesk

ProcureDesk automatically captures the items that the employee requested. The requested battery is added to the user’s cart. All the user has to do is fill in some additional information and submit the request for approval if necessary.

purchase_requisition_from_Amazon

Users submit requests for approval

With configurable workflows, you can set up the approval process to automatically route the request for approval.

You can set up approval thresholds based on the amount of the purchase request or based on the departments, categories, etc.

The employee doesn’t have to remember where the request should be routed for approval. The employee clicks on the “Submit” button, and the system does the rest.

Purchase_order_approvals

Approve purchase order

ProcureDesk offers multiple ways to approve a purchase order request. The approver can approve the purchase order request as follows:

Web App

The web app is ideal for users who approve once a day and want to see a consolidated list of all pending items.

Here is a sample dashboard that provides a complete list of items that are pending approval:

Approval_history

 

Email

Using Emails, the approvers can approve the purchase order request without logging in to the system.

The system sends you an email with all the information you need to approve a purchase request. All you have to do is to click the Approve button, add comments, and you are good to go.

Mobile App

Mobile App makes it easier to do approvals on the go. Once you install the mobile app from the Apple or Google play store, the system sends notifications when a new request is awaiting approval.

You can approve without logging in to the web app or checking your emails.

Mobile app for approvals
Mobile app for approvals

The system sends the purchase order to the vendor

With your accounting system, you can download the purchase order and send it to the vendor.

With ProcureDesk, the PO dispatch to the vendor is fully automated.

Vendors can receive purchase orders via email or electronic dispatch methods like cXML.

There is no action required from the requester. Once the request is approved, the system sends the purchase order to the vendor.

Here is an example of a system-generated purchase order:

purchase_order_template

Import invoice from email

The main difference between the first use case and this use case is that the invoices are sent to ProcureDesk rather than Bill.com.

All you have to do is to auto-forward the invoice from the receiving email to ProcureDesk.

This is a pretty straightforward task if you already have your email address.

The invoice is then available in your ProcureDesk inbox to process. Here is an example of that:

Supplier invoice dashboard

OCR and automated 3-way matching

Once the invoice is imported from the email, ProcureDesk reads the invoice and extracts the relevant data.

Unlike Bill.com, ProcureDesk extracts the header and line item level data.

Not only can the system automatically match the invoice with the relevant PO (assuming the purchase order number is on the invoice), but it can also match the invoice line items with the relevant line items from the purchase order.

This process saves time because you don’t have to figure out the relevant line items that have been invoiced by the vendor (in case you have more than one line).

The system then performs the 3-way match by matching the incoming invoice with the purchase order lines and the receipts in the system.

The 3-way match checks for line item details across all three documents and confirm that you are paying for what you ordered and the product has been received.

If you get a 3-way match without any exception, the system marks the invoice as Approved, and there is no reason to get additional approvals.

Unlike Bill.com, where you must route the invoice for approval even after matching it with a purchase order, ProcureDesk automatically marks the invoice as ready for payment.

Invoice approval

If approval is required, the system can route the invoice for approval.

Assuming you have an imperfect 3-way match, the system would route the invoice for further review.

For example, the receipt is missing, or the vendor charges you more than what is on the purchase order.

Here is an example of a receipt-matching issue:

Invoice_matching-3-way

In the case of non-PO invoices, you can use the workflow to route the invoice for approval.

For example, you are paying rent or legal services where there is no purchase order.

In that case, there is no 3-way or 2-way match, so the system needs a review or approval before the invoice can be marked as ready for payment.

Invoice/bill integrated with Bill.com

Once the Bill is ready for payment or marked “Approved,” ProcureDesk sends the approved invoice to Bill.com.

There is no need to press buttons to start the sync process or wait for a scheduled sync time for the invoices to sync with Bill.com.

The invoice is automatically synced to Bill.com as soon it is marked as “Approved” or ready for payment in ProcureDesk.

ProcureDesk syncs the invoice data, including the lines created in ProcureDesk, and the invoice attachment.

A green checkmark confirms that the invoice is now on Bill.com.

Invoice_sync_status
Dashboard: Invoice Sync status

ProcureDesk checks invoice payment status in Bill.com

All you have to do now is to pay the invoice on Bill.com.

You can have additional approvals before making the payment; for example, the company’s Controller wants to approve all payments.

After the payment is made, the payment information is automatically sent back to ProcureDesk, and the invoice status is updated to “Paid.”

Here is an example of an invoice that is marked Paid in ProcureDesk.

Invoice_paid_status
Dashboard: All paid invoices

Pros:

  1. With creating purchase orders and invoices in one system, your employees have a single platform for creating and approving purchase orders and invoices.
  2. The integration with Bill.com is seamless, so you don’t have to spend time creating invoices in two different systems.
  3. It provides the capability to perform a 3-way match process and enable auto-approval of bills. Otherwise, you have to approve every invoice before making the payment. In the case of a 3-way match process, you don’t have to approve every invoice, which is the key.

Cons:

  1. If you have suppliers already submitting invoices to Bill.com’s provided email box, this will be a change.
  2. You still have two systems, one for creating the purchase order and invoices and another for payments.

Import Bills from Bill.com and match them in ProcureDesk

This use case applies to companies that want to import invoices or bills directly using Bill.com but want to use an effective three-way matching process.

The bills are sent to the Bill.com inbox for processing in this use case.

The AP team indexes the Bill on Bill.com.

The invoice is then imported into ProcureDesk, matched with the PO, and the information is then sent back to Bill.com after matching.

You can still have an optional approval process on Bill.com for approving the invoices before paying the invoice.

How it works:

Here is a step-by-step process of how this use case is supported with Bill.com.

Import the Bill to Bill.com

Supplier invoice is uploaded to Bill.com as usual. The AP team creates the invoice by pulling it from the Inbox and assigning it to the right chart of accounts etc.

Inbox view-Bill.com

 

It is advisable to add all the lines on the invoice document. This will allow for a better invoice match with the purchase order.

Import the Bill in ProcureDesk

Once the invoice is available on Bill.com, you can download the invoices in ProcureDesk for matching.

ProcureDesk automatically pulls the invoices from Bill.com based on a scheduled frequency, or you can pull the invoices from Bill.com on demand.

Perform the matching in ProcureDesk

ProcureDesk matches the invoice with the purchase order if the PO number is available on the invoice.

You can see the matching results in the Invoice Dashboard:

Invoice_matching_Dashboard_ProcureDesk
Dashboard: Invoice matching

 

There are a couple of scenarios here:

ProcureDesk can match the invoice with the purchase order, and the lines perfectly match the purchase order:

In that case, the system checks for receipt and performs a 3-way match. If the match is perfect, the system updates the status of the invoice to “Approved.”

The system will perform a perfect 3-way match if the invoices are reviewed perfectly.

ProcureDesk is unable to match the invoice with the purchase order:

In that case, the AP teams need to manually match the invoice with the purchase order and then submit the invoice for 3-way matching.

If required, the system performs the match and sends the invoice for further approvals. Otherwise, the invoice is marked as “Approved.”

ProcureDesk can match the invoice with the purchase order partially:

If the invoice is downloaded with only a few lines, the system might need help to match the invoice with the purchase order.

In case when there are limited lines on the imported invoice, the invoice needs to be manually matched.

Update the invoice in Bill.com

Once the invoice is marked as “Approved” in ProcureDesk, ProcureDesk updates the invoice status to “Approved” in Bill.com.

The status change is done as soon as the bill is Approved in ProcureDesk.

Pay using Bill.com

You can pay the vendors using Bill.com, as there is no change to the workflow.

Update the payment status in ProcureDesk

Once you pay the invoice in Bill.com, ProcureDesk updates the invoice status to “Paid” in ProcureDesk.

You don’t need to manually update the remittance details in ProcureDesk, as it is automatically done for you.

Here is how the remittance information is displayed in ProcureDesk:

Pros:

  1. You can continue using the Bill.com inbox feature to receive your invoices. There is no change on the vendor side.
  2. You can still achieve a 3-way matching process that is granular and efficient without changing your accounts payable process.
  3. If you have granular spending data, it could lead to faster invoice processing. You can avoid approvals of invoices in Bill.com or outside Bill.com.

Cons:

  1. The data on Bill.com could be more detailed, and if the partial line item descriptions are entered in Bill.com, it could lead to better matching in ProcureDesk.
  2. The matching takes more time when the invoice line item details need to be clarified. For example, partial invoice line items that don’t match the purchase order line description are hard to match.
  3. This could probably slow down the invoice-matching process for all the abovementioned issues. That inevitably leads to more time spent on closing books on time.

Conclusion:

We have reviewed three ways to integrate purchase orders with Bill.com.

If you are just starting with only a few purchase orders, option 1 makes sense.

If you are already an established business with many invoices, you can choose between option 2 and option 3.

Option 2 is preferred by most of our customers because it gives them a single place to track purchase orders and invoice approvals, and all they have to do is pay the invoice using Bill.com.

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