Shopping for a new accounts payable automation needn’t be daunting. Whether it’s time for your business to make the leap from manual to automated for the first time, or simply to upgrade your existing capabilities, there are many choices available on the market.
For most individuals tasked with sourcing accounts payable automation, the first port of call is usually to go straight to the vendors. Software vendors for accounts payable automation will be the most knowledgeable in telling you exactly what their software does, but how can you be sure you’re really getting what you need?
There are six key areas you need to approach vendors about:
- Capture the purchase invoice
Finding out exactly what capabilities the software has in place to capture the purchase invoice is the first area you need to investigate. In particular, you need to find out what data can be extracted (i.e. header or line level) and just how accurate it will be.
- Capturing the general ledger coding information and approval process
You then need to find out about the capabilities of the software to capture the general ledger coding and how it will then be able to use this to determine the next steps in the approval process. This is one I would recommend you ask vendors to demonstrate to you.
- The capabilities of the approval process
When approaching the topic of the approval process, you want to find out what automation capabilities the software has. Ask the vendor to demonstrate what types of rules you can set up and how this process plays out for each internal stakeholder.
- Deployment and the user experience or both Finance and the Approvers
As well as determining the actual capabilities of the software, you also want to ask the vendor about next steps in terms of deployment. Ask what is included in the set up of the software and what support you will be given thereafter. You also need to look at what measures you need to take internally to roll out the new system, as it’s likely your internal users will need training.
- Integration capabilities with your existing accounting software
Ask the vendor to explain their integration methodology and what steps you need to take internally. You will also want to ask if there is any work required in the long term to maintain the integration.
- Reporting and information access
Finally, ask the vendor what levels of reporting you can access from the software, who will have access (internally and externally) and how easy it is to set up reports and dashboards.
For further reading on what to look for when buying accounts payable automation, you can download our Buyer’s Guide to AP Automation. If you have any questions about accounts payable automation, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via the website.