There are a wealth of invoice automation software options out there – and that’s exactly the problem.
It’s always better to have choices than not, but you can have too much of a good thing.
Every platform promises the same thing but offers different features, so sorting the good from the bad is more difficult than you might think. Make the wrong call, and you end up with invoice automation software that nobody knows how to use.
Defining a clear set of criteria before making your final decision is hugely important for your business and its finance team. Here’s what you need to consider.
What do you want the software to do?
This question is seemingly very obvious – “invoice automation” – but it is a vital starting point in your search for the right tool, and one that imbues it with structure and purpose.
What would your ideal tool do? What features does it have? Are there time-consuming processes that it can automate or streamline? How does it help you accomplish your business goals?
Having good answers to these questions will aid you in your mission – though it’s also important to ask what it doesn’t do. Too many unnecessary add-ons can confuse the accounting process and make a platform less intuitive to use.
Focus on what you need, what you’re willing to compromise on, and look for software that will provide it.
How easy is it to use?
Your invoice automation software is something you’re going to be using every day. It is therefore important to make sure that it’s efficient and intuitive. A cumbersome system that requires significant training is not going to be much use.
The whole point of this software is to make your work easier – to free up time for strategic activities that require human intervention. If your software is getting in the way, you need to seek an alternative.
Before making any purchase, think about the resources required to run the software. How much down time will it require? How much money and time will need to be expended to make your end-users proficient? Is its user interface simple and accessible? Can it be used remotely, and by multiple concurrent users?
If it’s not easy to use, it’s not worth using.
Does it integrate with existing tools and platforms?
Look at your existing IT setup before making your final decision. It doesn’t matter how good the tool is if it can’t be integrated with your existing processes. If existing systems are made slower or more complex by your new invoice accounting software, then it is a nuisance rather than an asset.
This problem is solved fairly easily: most vendors will list compatible third-party services on their website. Consult them before making any purchase and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble later on.
What does it cost?
Pricing structures for different platforms can vary. Some charge per user, others per feature; some opt for monthly subscription fees, others annual payments; some make add-ons available a la carte, others charge.
Considering how you will pay as well as what you will pay is vital. You will naturally want to get the best value for money, and thinking about what features are included and how many users it can support is essential. But some pricing models may work better for your finances than others, and where some features are essential, others are merely nice to have.
This should go without saying, but in an age where data breaches are more common and more damaging than ever, it’s necessary to know if your invoice automation software is going to offer sufficient protection for sensitive information.
Financial data needs to be kept scrupulously secure, so your technology provider should be able to assure no loss or leakage to third parties.
Is there a good support service?
If support is slow, unavailable, or unhelpful, it could impede your productivity and bring your accounts payable team to a standstill. What is post-purchase support like? What’s the turnaround time for fixing bugs? Are there online training documents?
It’s better to find out before you encounter a problem than after.
Indeed, this philosophy can be applied to the entire process of finding the right invoice automation software. It can be deeply frustrating, but when you find the right accounts payable software it will be thoroughly rewarding for your finance department and your business as a whole. A solution that meets your needs and facilitates the invoicing process is a must-have for any company.
If you’re looking for a complete invoice management software solution, get in touch today to see how we could help.
Compleat have written a free buyers guide that answers all the questions you should be asking when selecting accounts payable (AP) and purchasing automation solution. Follow the link below to read now.