Are you still processing accounts payable invoices using email? While this may have been effective prior to remote work being the new normal, it can pose a lot of challenges. The most significant issue is the ability to manage and track the outstanding invoices and where they are in the approval process. Also, when they finally are approved they must be manually entered into your accounting / ERP system. Well, you don’t have to accept these limitations anymore if you are a Microsoft Office 365 user.
The answer to these time consuming, manual process is invoices automation. Accounts payable automation (AP Automation) software enables organizations to efficiently process vendor invoices using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), automated workflows, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration.
What is Required for Invoice Automation
Invoice automation generally comes down to the following three major steps:
- Receipt of the invoice from the vendor
- Workflow for managerial review
- Integration with your Accounting / ERP system for posting and payment
Let’s explore each of these steps and see how you can leverage Office 365 to automate the process.
The objective of this step is to receive the invoice from the vendor and capture as much information as possible. The most typical method we see at DynamicPoint is email submission. This generally is an inbox managed by one person which provides little to no visibility for others into incoming invoices. Microsoft Power Automate and SharePoint can offer a lot of value to this process. A Power Automate workflow can be set up to receive an email from any inbox or alias, say firstname.lastname@example.org, and move it to a SharePoint document library. This library will provide the control, versioning, visibility, and management for everyone to see the invoices that have been submitted for payment. A template already exists for setting this up. Details can be found here.
If you’d prefer invoices to be submitted from your website, mobile app, or vendor portal, those are all options as well. Forms and Power Apps can also be leveraged to receive the invoice and place it in a SharePoint library.
After the invoice has been received the next step is ensuring it gets reviewed by managers or accounting. Power Automate provides a lot of functionality in this area as well. Email or mobile app notifications and approval tasks can be generated and assigned to the appropriate reviewers.
The last and final step after an invoice is reviewed and approved is to bring it into your accounting / ERP system for payment. DynamicPoint’s EasyAP365 invoice automation product was built specifically for this job. We bring the invoice directly into our product’s dashboard for automatic assignment to vendor templates, including GL account distribution. We integrate directly with leading ERP systems via web services to create the invoice automatically, including both PO and non-PO invoices.
Final Solution looks like this:
The good news regarding this solution is that most of our customers are already Office 365 subscription holders and already own the majority of the technology required. Even the base enterprise E1 plan includes Power Automate and SharePoint.
If you care to take the approved invoice and automatically bring it into your ERP system, DynamicPoint EasyAP365 will be required. More information can be found here, including pricing and recorded demonstrations.