Accounts Payable Automation – Top Features for 2020

The top features/requirements to expect in Accounts Payable Automation software in 2020 and forward…


Core Functionality ⛭

  1. Optical Character Recognition
    • A good OCR engine is crucial for A/P Automation. In a perfect world, an invoice is received electronically, all fields are read (amount, date, vendor, etc.) & the invoice can be submitted for approval with little to no effort. Be sure to discuss the OCR success rate with the vendor when evaluating a solution.
  2. Auto-Updating OCR
    • Look for solutions that AUTOMATICALLY detect new invoice formats and can find the data.  Forever on-going maintenance to “set up” OCR with each new vendor is not appealing and shouldn’t be required with a good OCR engine.
  3. Emailed / Scanned Documents
    • A/P Automation solutions should provide the ability to email documents and/or manually upload documents to begin the 
  4. Flexible Workflows
    • Workflows should exist for approvals but those workflows should also be flexible? Want 3 approvals (manager–>manager’s manager–>accounting), want just 1 approval? Ensure the workflow capabilities fit you.
  5. 3-Way Matching
    • Automated purchase orders, shipments and invoice matching will provide significant time-savings

Integrations 🔗

  1. Accounting/ERP
    • Solutions should have native integrations with your accounting platform. If they don’t they should have simple ways to get you connected.
  2. 2-Way Integrations
    • The A/P Automation solution is rarely the system of record (the ultimate truth). It’s typical to manage vendors/payees in another solution & then use that information in your A/P Automation solution. Therefore, it should be just as important to integrate data into the solution as it is to integrate data from the solution.
  3. Purchase Orders
    • 3-way matching going to be of need? Ensure the ability to import purchase orders to assist with this process is available.

Add-Ons Modules ➕

  1. Payments
    • There are 2-sides to Accounts Payable. Processing the invoice & issuing the payment. Many solutions provide abilities to streamline the payment process to complete the entire A/P cycle. 
  2. Expense Reporting
    • Expense reports and A/P go hand-in-hand and many solutions provide modules to handle both. There can be a benefit to having both in the same place for reporting and consistency’s sake.
  3. Accounts Receivable Automation
    • A/R & A/P. 2 peas in a pod & should all be able to be encompassed within the same solution if desired.

Reporting 📊

  1. Ad-Hoc Reporting
    • Canned reports are meh. The power of reporting should be in your hands via ad-hoc reporting capabilities (ie.) move your data around and build your own reports).
  2. Budgeting
    • Many solutions offer budgeting capabilities to help your organization ensure your expenses are staying in-line.
  3. Dashboards
    • Visualizing data is key, especially for high-level users.

Deployment ☁️

  1. On-Prem
    • Do your research before on if on-prem or cloud offerings make more sense for your organizations. Accounts Payable Automation solutions will continue offering both.
  2. Cloud
  3. Hybrid
    • Some solutions offer a blend of both, cloud components along w/ on-prem.

Miscellaneous 📰

  1. Organizational Structure
    • Solutions should provide you with the ability to set up your org chart for transactions, reporting, security, and/or workflow purposes.
  2. User-Defined Fields
    • Ensure your solution provides you with plenty of ability to capture any information that your business requires.
  3. Supporting Documents
    • A/P processors and approvers occasionally need detailed support in order to process the document. Ensure you can attach this additional support to documents.
  4. Transaction Processing Defaults
    • The key to automation is obviously to have minimal manual interaction. If you can think of defaults that should be able to be set in the system (let’s say an A/P account depending on the user), look for solutions where you’re able to implement your logic.
  5. Multi-Currency
  6. Security
    • Security for processors, security for approvers, security for making changes/deleting, security by Org Structure.
  7. Mobile App
    • Being able to process invoices on the go is great but being able to approve them on the go is even greater. Look for mobile apps or at least mobile-friendly solutions.

Remember that missed requirements/features are the highest contributing factor (~71%) to software implementation failures*. Be thorough with your requirements, work closely with the solution vendors to ensure there is a fit, and ensure you have the best solution that fits your business.

What requirements/features do you expect to see in your 2020 A/P Automation software solution?


*Source: What Leads to Software Implementation Successes/Failures | Solugence Market Research Results 2019

About the Author

Have Questions?

How Does Solugence Work?

Ready to Get Started?

The smartest way to find software that fits YOUR business
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Stay in the loop.

We’ll keep you posted with our new categories and insights to assist in any software project. If it’s not for you, easily unsubscribe in 1-click!