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    Streamline Your Sage Intacct AP Automation with ProcureDesk: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Streamline Your Sage Intacct AP Automation with ProcureDesk: A Step-by-Step Guide

    by martieLast Updated : Sep-12-2023

    Using Sage Intacct and struggling with accounts payable processes and automation?

    Many companies and business users that use Sage Intacct Accounts find it difficult to scale the AP operations without adding additional headcounts and figure out the best solution with capabilities.

    They are challenged with manual data entry and limited invoice-matching capabilities that hinder the speedy processing of supplier invoices.

    Delay in supplier invoice processing leads to:

    • Higher cost for processing supplier invoices: If you are processing approx. 500 invoices per month, you are spending at least $8,500/month on just invoice processing. Due to inefficient processes, you are losing $6,500/month compared to industry standards.
    • Late payments: Suppliers are getting paid late, and that is causing delays in business. Worst case, you are paying late fees to the vendors. On an average, vendors charge 18% APR. So let’s say you pay $100,000 late, approximately $1500 monthly in late fee charges.
    • Duplicate Payments: You are paying duplicate payments because the vendor pressures you to pay, and you don’t have the time to perform matching of the invoice or get approval from the appropriate stakeholders.
    • Difficulties In PO Matching: Challenges in executing sophisticated PO Matching and intelligent 3-way PO Matching.
    • Delays In Reporting: Delay in creating financial reports and purchasing reports.

    If you are using Sage Intacct and facing any of these challenges, this article will provide a step-by-step process for overcoming these challenges by leveraging advanced technologies. Aside from that, you will understand how to efficiently create your financial and purchasing reports and streamline your AP Bill Automation.

    We will talk about how a solution like ProcureDesk can help automate Sage Intacct AP automation for you that fits your technology requirements. If you’re interested to learn how our tool ProcureDesk works, we have a team of product specialists who are more than ready to walk you though our automation software. See it in action today!

    Let’s get started.

    What Is Sage Intacct AP Automation?

    Sage Intacct AP automation refers to AP automation capabilities present in Sage Intacct.

    At a very high level,  Sage Intacct’s AP automation capabilities include the following:

    • Enables capture of invoices in one place so you can easily track all the payments you need to make.
    • You can set up approval workflows for getting the invoice approved for payment. You can define preset rules, and the system can automate your approvals.
    • Automates payment methods, allowing for various payment options like checks, electronic transfers, debit cards, credit card payments, and other credit card transactions while ensuring correct tracking of the history of invoice transactions and bringing outstanding service solutions.

    Related: Purchase Order Software Compatible With Sage Intacct

    Why Is Sage Intacct AP Automation Important?

    Sage Intacct AP Automation is an advanced solution designed to streamline and optimize Sage Intacct Accounts Payable Processes for finance teams while considering approvals processes.

    By eliminating manual entry and automating invoice processing, this powerful tool enables businesses to accelerate their payment cycles and make more informed decisions.

    One of the enhanced functionality of Sage Intacct Accounts Payable is its configurable processes. It allows finance teams to customize their payable workflows to match their specific business rules and approval workflows.

    This flexibility ensures the solution seamlessly integrates with existing accounting and payment processes.

    With real-time access and visibility into invoice transactions, finance teams gain complete control over their payables. They can easily track and manage supplier invoices, reducing the likelihood of duplicate payments and errors.

    Moreover, the searchable archive of invoice history enables quick and easy retrieval of past transactions for a complete audit trail.

    Sage Intacct Accounts Payable Automation also offers seamless integration with other systems, allowing for direct integration with suppliers, seamless data transfer, and automated invoice approvals.

    This eliminates the need for time-consuming and error-prone paper check processes, resulting in faster invoice processing and greater efficiency.

    In addition, Sage Intacct Accounts Payable offers the flexibility to enhance workflows through third-party add-ons and marketplace partners. These solutions can further optimize AP processes, improving internal control processes, reducing manual entry, and increasing productivity.

    Overall, Sage Intacct Accounts Payable Automation is a comprehensive and user-friendly solution that empowers finance teams to streamline payable processes, eliminate manual tasks, and make more informed decisions. With its advanced features and seamless integrations, businesses can save thousands of hours and optimize their accounting processes for maximum efficiency.

    Sage Intacct Accounts Payable Automation Challenges

    Time-Consuming Manual Data Entry

    Sage Intacct provides a central repository for the AP team to upload an Intacct Bill from vendors and to prevent inefficient workflows. However, there is no automation to reduce the burden on the AP team for manual invoice entry.

    Sage Intacct currently lacks the following in its service solution:

    • There is no way to set up automatic receiving of invoices electronically from vendors. For example, you can ask the vendor to submit the invoice electronically if you have punchout capabilities. This eliminates the need for the vendor to send you the invoice through email or PDF.
    • The invoices need to be manually uploaded into the system. There is no way to import invoices from an AP email inbox automatically.
    • There is no OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capability in the system. OCR technologies help AP teams by automating the entire data connection process. Rather than typing in each field, the system can create the invoice from the PDF or image of the invoice.

    Limited Matching Capabilities

    A key challenge for AP teams is to get the invoices approved before a vendor can be paid. Now imagine doing this for 100’s of invoices every month. This can be mitigated if you have invoice-matching capabilities and leverage advanced technologies.

    Invoice matching capabilities offer the following benefits:

    • You can match an invoice with the purchase order and receipt and then route the invoice only for approval if there is a problem with the match results.
    • By automatically matching the invoice line description, you can easily identify the PO line that matches the invoice. This reduces the effort required to create and match the invoice.

    No Supplier Self-Service Options

    A supplies portal reduces the burden on the AP team when entering invoices and answering vendor payment queries.

    Sage Intacct doesn’t have a supplier portal, so there is no way to enable vendor self-service.

    There are two ways you can enable self-service:

    • Allow vendors to submit their invoices rather than sending an invoice document to you. By enabling self-service, you reduce the burden on your AP staff to upload vendor invoices manually. You also reduce the errors because the vendor enters their information, which tends to be less error-prone.
    • You can enable vendors to track the status of their payments. Instead of sending an email to the AP team, a vendor can easily check the invoice status.

    Improving Sage Intacct AP Automation With External AP System Integration

    Look at how an AP automation system can help supercharge your Sage AP process. In this example, we use ProcureDesk, but you can use any certified system to work with Sage Intacct Accounts.

    Interested to learn how our Automation Software works? See ProcureDesk in action today!

    Streamlined Invoice Processing

    The first step is to simplify the process of capturing vendor invoices. If the vendors send invoices to different stakeholders, the first step is centralizing that.

    This is how to do that:

    • Set up a dedicated email address to set up automatic receiving of invoices. This could be as simple as invoices@yourcompany.com.
    • Now, make sure everyone is aware of this email address. You can send an internal communication to employees letting them know that all invoices should be sent to this email address.
    • You can also print this email on the purchase order so the vendors know how to send the Intacct bill.

    After that process is complete, all you need to do is set up an auto-forward so that all invoices received on this email are automatically forwarded to your AP automation software.

    For example – for ProcureDesk, we provide a simple process to set this up. Once these steps are implemented, there is no need to upload every invoice manually. The system takes care of that for you.

    OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

    Once the AP automation software receives the invoice, you must still enter the data into the accounting system.

    With an OCR process, you don’t need to create every invoice manually.

    The system imports the invoice and then automatically extracts the invoice data from the attachment.

    For example – pulling the supplier invoice data, invoice number, payment terms, and amount from the invoice header. In addition to the basic supplier invoice data, the ProcureDesk system extracts the line descriptions from the invoice and then matches them with the appropriate POs to payments.

    This reduces the time it takes to process an invoice. Most of our customers see a decrease of at least 40% in their invoice creation cycle time

    Here is an example of how the system creates invoices using OCR’s advanced technologies:

    Invoice OCR

    Supplier Portal For Self-Service

    Imagine if you don’t need to deal with creating invoices at all. What if the suppliers can upload their invoices

    Yes, that is possible with the outstanding service from a supplier portal.

    Suppliers can upload their invoices against the specific purchase order with a supplier portal. This helps at three levels:

    • It speeds up the time it takes to receive suppliers’ invoices.
    • It reduces errors in the entire data connection process because you would expect the supplier to have the correct information about the invoice.
    • The invoice is automatically matched to a purchase order if a purchase order number is in the supplier portal.

    Not every supplier would be willing to upload their invoices into the system. We typically see a take rate of 30-40% of vendors adopting this process. If 30-40% of vendors contribute to 50% of the invoice volume, then that is an effort your AP team can save.

    Here is an example of how a supplier can create an invoice in the supplier portal by leveraging advanced technologies:

    Supplier portal

    Electronic Invoices Or Touchless Invoicing

    Want to take your invoicing to the next level and leverage advanced technologies? Imagine if the invoices are submitted, matched with POs to payments, and sent to Sage Intacct Accounts for payment.

    Yes, this is possible using touchless invoicing.

    Electronic invoices or touchless invoices refer to the ability of an Accounts Payable software to receive invoices electronically using standard protocols like EDI3 and cXML.

    Here is how it works with electronic invoices:

    • The vendor sends the invoice to the AP automation software like ProcureDesk. The system provider sets up the appropriate connections with the vendors so that the invoices can be submitted.
    • Once the invoice is received in the system (ProcureDesk), the system automatically matches the invoice with the purchase order and receipt. Since the vendor sends the invoice electronically through invoice automation, they refer to the purchase order. This makes the matching process much easier.
    • You can perform a 3-way or 2-way match depending on whether you are purchasing products or services.
    • After the successful match, the invoice is sent to Sage Intacct for payment.

    Here is an example of receiving EPayments in ProcureDesk.

    Supplier_Invoice

    Automated Matching With Purchase Orders

    Spending too much time manually matching each invoice line with receipts and purchase orders?

    We get it; that is where an AP automation software can help.

    Here is how the matching process is automated.

    • If the vendor sends you an invoice attachment, the system pulls the purchase order information and matches the purchase order first. Then, it looks up the lines that match the lines on the invoice and automatically matches them.
    • When the vendor creates the invoice using a supplier portal, they select the purchase order and line against which they submit the invoice.
    • With the receiving of EPayments, the process is automated. The invoice always has a matching purchase order line so that the system knows how exactly to have a seamless connection and the ability to match the invoice with the PO.

    One of the main issues with invoice matching is that you have to reach out to people to ask for missing receipts manually.

    AP teams spend countless hours chasing stakeholders for receipts.

    With ProcureDesk, this process is fully automated. The system sends notifications to order contacts if there is a missing receipt.

    The users can easily confirm the receipt from an email or using the mobile app. The system allows a receiver to photograph the packaging slip and create the receipt.

    Here is an example of the email sent to the order contact.

    Receipt_confirmation_email

    Configurable Approval WorkflowsFor Exception Approvals

    Not every 3 or 2-way match is perfect, and you might need additional information from the requester before processing the invoice.

    Here are a few issues that can come up with invoice matching:

    • An invoice has a quantity more than what was received in the system.
    • An invoice needs to be approved by someone to confirm that the service was received from the supplier.
    • An invoice has a price over the unit price mentioned in the purchase order.

    These are some common scenarios you see with the invoice matching process.

    You need to route the invoice for further review to solve these issues. Instead of deciding this when uploading the invoice, you can set up workflow rules to route these exceptions for approval rules.

    You can set up an approval workflow process to route invoices for approvals. Here are some scenarios to consider

    • Send the invoice to the order contact for approval rules if the item purchased is a service.
    • Route the invoice to the purchasing team if the invoice price or amount exceeds the purchase order amount.
    • Send the invoice for approval per your purchasing policy if there is no associated purchase order (Non-Po invoice).

    The ability of the system to work on approval for invoices is just an example of how workflow systems can be automated.

    Here is an example of how the workflow is configured in the system:

    Approval_workflow_Non_PO Invoice

     

    Integration With Sage Intacct

    There is no use in implementing an AP automation tool that doesn’t integrate with Sage Intacct because then you have to upload invoices in Sage manually.

    Here are some of the things that the AP automation software like ProcureDesk automates for you:

    • Automated master data management: Master data refers to the definition of a chart of accounts, suppliers, payment terms, etc. Since this data is already in Sage, the system automatically pulls this information from the system. No need to recreate the data in the system. The system also supports two-way sync for suppliers so that you can have an effective vendor management process in ProcureDesk.
    • Dimensions sync: Dimensions are key to effectively accounting the cost to the appropriate department, cost centers, etc. Dimensions are automatically synced from Sage Intacct, and you can assign the dimensions at each invoice level.
    • Creating the invoice: Once it is approved in the system, it is automatically sent to Sage. There is no need to export the data from ProcureDesk manually. The system sends the invoice when it is approved in the system.
    • Uploading the attachments: All the attachments for the invoice are automatically synced with Sage Intacct. The system supports multiple attachments so you can send all the information to Sage.=
    • Syncing the payment status: Once the payment has been made, the system automatically pulls the payment information from Sage and updates the payment status in ProcureDesk. This helps because now the employees can see the invoice status and don’t need to contact the AP team to know the payment status.

    Benefits Of Implementing Sage Intacct AP Automation Solution

    In today’s competitive and fast-paced business environment, efficiency is key. Every second saved, and every penny wisely spent can make a significant difference. And this is precisely why so many businesses are now turning to automation systems to streamline their processes.

    When it comes to accounts payable (AP) specifically, integrating an automation system with Sage Intacct offers a myriad of benefits. It offers numerous benefits that simplify and enhance financial operations for businesses.

    With its seamless conversion of transaction types, customizable workflows, and user permissions, this automation solution optimizes the accounts payable processes.

    Customizable Workflows

    The customizable workflows allow businesses to configure their payable processes according to their specific needs, eliminating manual data entry.

    By automating repetitive payment tasks and streamlining approval workflows, Sage Intacct AP Automation reduces the time spent on manual processes and increases efficiency. Aside from that, your team becomes more aware of the status of tasks within your pipeline.

    Real-Time Visibility

    One of the significant advantages of this solution is the real-time visibility it provides into payable processes.

    Finance and accounting teams can access up-to-date information on supplier invoices, approval workflows, and payment processes, allowing for informed decisions and greater control over cash flow.

    Eliminates Slow And Error-Prone Paper Processes

    Sage Intacct AP Automation eliminates the slow and error-prone paper processes by enabling electronic invoices and providing a searchable archive of invoice transactions.

    The solution also improves internal control processes by implementing business rules and preventing duplicate payments.

    Seamless Integration Capabilities

    With seamless integration capabilities, this automation solution can integrate with other systems like Point of Sale (POS) and payments, providing a comprehensive view of financial operations.

    It offers flexible approval workflows, unlimited users, and additional API integrations, making it valuable for businesses of all sizes.

    Thousands of Hours Saved from Manual Data Entry

    By implementing Sage Intacct AP Automation solution, businesses can save thousands of hours previously spent on manual accounts payable tasks such as repetitive payment tasks and allocate more time for value-added activities. The solution enhances operational efficiency and improves decision-making through real-time visibility and configurable processes.

    • Reduced Man-hours: Manual data entry is a major time-consuming task. Each invoice had to be manually input, whether large or small. With AP automation systems, the bulk of this labor is eradicated. The system will auto-populate many required fields, significantly reducing the hours spent on tedious data input.
    • Focused Workforce: Saving hours on manual data entry means your Accounting Team can redirect their attention to the current status of tasks. Instead of getting bogged down by data input, using an automated tool for accounts, they can now contribute to the company’s growth, innovation, and problem-solving in more meaningful ways.

    Related: Purchasing System Options For Growing Companies

    Improved Accuracy of Invoice Automation And Processing

    • Minimized Human Error: As skilled as your finance team might be, manual data entry always leaves room for human error. Even a minor mistake can result in significant discrepancies down the line. With an AP automation system and a tool for accounts that brings seamless integration with Sage Intacct, the chance of these errors is greatly diminished.
    • Consistent Data Handling: Automated systems ensure that every invoice is handled the same way each time. This standardization ensures that data is consistently accurate and processes are uniform, which is invaluable for accessing electronic audit trails and other compliance requirements.

    Ability to Make Informed Decisions Quickly

    • Real-time Visibility Data Access: Data updates in real-time with an integrated AP automation system. Your Sage Intacct dashboard reflects the change when an invoice is processed. The advantage? Decision-makers can access up-to-date financial data anytime, allowing for swift, informed decisions.
    • Data Analytics at Your Fingertips: The combination of AP automation and Sage Intacct allows for comprehensive data analytics. This integration clarifies a company’s financial health, outstanding invoices, and cash flow. When data-driven insights and electronic audit trails are readily available, it empowers the management team to make strategic choices that can pivot the trajectory of the business.

    Conclusion

    We discussed the challenges of Sage Intacct AP automation and how an AP automation system like ProcureDesk can help overcome these challenges. We covered the following topics:

    • The challenges of Sage Intacct AP automation include time-consuming manual data entry, limited matching capabilities, and no supplier self-service options.
    • An AP automation system like ProcureDesk with machine learning capabilities can help streamline the invoice processing process by automating invoice capture, OCR, supplier portal, electronic invoices, and automated matching with purchase orders.
    • The benefits of using an AP automation system include reduced time and costs, improved accuracy, and increased efficiency.

    If you use Sage Intacct and want to improve your Payable Automation Solution and gain a better insight on your audit trail, consider implementing an AP automation system like ProcureDesk for a better solution with capabilities. Our tool has a couple of customer testimonials to give you insights into our system is capabilities.

    An AP system improves productivity and ensures your Accounts Payable process complies with all applicable regulations. For example, an AP automation system can help you track and manage your vendor relationships, which can help you avoid vendor fraud.

    FAQs

    How Do You Automate An AP Process?

    Automating an AP (Accounts Payable Automation) process involves the integration of digital tools and software solutions to streamline and optimize the traditional, often manual, functions of Invoice Automation and processing, approval process, and payment. The primary steps include

    • Invoice Capture: Implement electronic invoicing where suppliers can submit their invoices electronically through email or a dedicated portal. Use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technologies to capture and extract invoice details automatically.
    • Automated Data Matching: The system should auto-match invoices to corresponding purchase orders and delivery receipts, flagging discrepancies for review.
    • Approval Workflows: Configurable processes and custom approval workflows based on predefined rules ensure that invoices are automatically routed to the appropriate individuals or teams for verification and approvals.
    • Scheduled Payments: Schedule and automate payments based on due dates, taking advantage of early payment discounts and avoiding late penalties.
    • Integration with Accounting Systems: Ensure the AP automation tool seamlessly integrates your existing accounting or ERP system, allowing for real-time data syncing and analytics.

    What Is AP In Sage?

    Accounts Payable (AP) in Sage refers to the functionality within the Sage accounting software that manages your business rules and outgoing payments to your suppliers and vendors.

    It encompasses a series of processes and features designed to streamline and automate the handling of AP bill automation, supplier invoices, and payments. Aside from that, it even eliminates slow and error-prone paper processes and even fits the technology requirements your business needs.

    Related: Streamline Your Finances: Embrace Paperless Accounts Payable For Business Success

    With Sage’s AP feature, businesses can efficiently manage their financial obligations by tracking due dates, leveraging early payment discounts, and avoiding late fees.

    Sage’s AP module integrates seamlessly with other accounting components, providing a comprehensive view of an organization’s financial health.

    In essence, AP in Sage brings seamless connection, sophisticated PO Matching, and intelligent 3-Way PO Matching and optimizes the management of supplier-related financial transactions, ensuring businesses maintain good vendor relationships and fiscal responsibility.

    What you should do now

    Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you scale your purchasing and Accounts payable process.

    1. Claim your Free Strategy Session. If you’d like to work with us to implement a process to control spending, and spend less time matching invoices, claim your Free Strategy Session. One of our process experts will understand your current purchasing situation and then suggest practical strategies to reduce the purchase order approval cycle.
    2. If you’d like to know the maturity of your purchasing process, download our purchasing process grader and identify exactly what you should be working on next to improve your purchasing and AP process.
    3. If you’d like to enhance your knowledge about the purchasing process, check out our blog or Resources section.
    4. If you know another professional who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter.
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