How to automate your purchase order workflow with ease

How to automate your purchase order workflow with ease

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Mid-sized organizations can improve efficiency and visibility into purchase order and payment processes...all in one workspace. Purchase orders are a common element within the accounts payable workflow and set clear expectations from the start of the ordering process. For most businesses, the PO serves as the catalyst for the AP process, providing clarity around needs, setting clear expectations with vendors, managing orders and helping to stay within budget limits. Because POs are part of the purchasing function, companies require solutions that merge PO and AP processes into a single, streamlined workflow.

The value of automating the purchase order workflow

There’s no denying that automation drives efficiency. And when you consider the complexity of the overall AP process—including POs, invoices, approvals, payments and reconciliation—automating workflow from start to finish is key in elevating operational productivity while also lessening the risk of human error.

With the right technology in place, non-inventory, mid-sized companies can easily merge PO and AP processes into a single, streamlined workflow to enjoy the following benefits:

Increase efficiencies across departments and roles

  • Reduce back-and-forth communications between PO creator and AP manager. 
  • Quickly associate and link multiple PO line items to an invoice within a single workspace.
  • Easily handle one PO to many invoices that come in at different points of time.
  • Easily send matched invoices into an automatic approval workflow.

Improve accuracy

  • Eliminate the need to toggle between systems with two-way match.
  • Replace manual data entry with artificial intelligence functionality, which auto-fills the PO number.
  • Auto sync completed payments with your accounting system for accurate records.
  • Automatically close out POs when billing information is synced back to the accounting system.

Extend control and visibility into your AP workflow

  • Track progress of all POs via an intuitive, dedicated space (e.g., a dashboard).
  • Assign permissions based on role—control who has permission to view, link, and match purchase orders.

Achieving purchase order-to-payment-to-reconciliation automation with BILL

BILL POs support an automated AP workflow and the benefits that come with it. For non-inventory mid-sized businesses that utilize POs as part of the AP process, an automated workflow can result in time and resource savings since you no longer have to hop back and forth between systems to reconcile the PO to payment.

At a high level, the automated PO process within BILL can be described in five succinct steps:

Step 1: Sync PO from accounting platform

The purchaser kicks off the process by creating a PO on their accounting platform and then syncing it to BILL. BILL syncs information needed to support the PO-to-invoice matching process.

Step 2: Link and match bills with the PO

The vendor submits an invoice to the purchaser once a portion of services or all services are rendered. The invoice is automatically uploaded to BILL via email. Then, BILL Artificial Intelligence assists with the linking process, pulling in the PO number to link the invoice and PO. Associated PO line items are also loaded to assist in two-way matching with the invoice. The approver compares and verifies items, quantities and prices.

Step 3: Approval workflow

Once matching is completed, a bill is automatically sent through the payment approval workflow. Auto approval workflows are preassigned by the administrator so the billing approval process moves forward as soon as you hit “Save.”

Step 4: Payment

Payments can be scheduled and paid through a variety of different formats including ACH, BILL International Payment wire transfer, virtual card and check.

Step 5: Reconcile on accounting system

Billing information syncs back to the accounting system once approved for payment. Because the PO and bill are linked, a PO will automatically close out on the accounting system once it's paid in full.

With automatic sync capabilities, an automated invoice-to-payment-to-reconciliation workflow is now a reality for BILL subscribers.

Wrapping up…

Merging PO and AP activity into a single, end-to-end workflow working with your accounting software is a great answer to accelerating operational efficiency, improving accuracy and reducing human error for those tasked with purchasing duties.

A streamlined workflow also expands visibility into the AP process by offering data within a single workspace—supporting more reliable budget forecasting and analysis. The ability to set permissions further expands control over the broad process…while auto-fill capabilities, two-way matching and other helpful features enable businesses to enjoy a highly efficient automated accounts payable workflow.

About BILL purchase orders

The company’s new Purchase Order feature is designed specifically for non-inventory mid-sized businesses. POs sync directly from Sage Intacct and Oracle NetSuite into BILL. BILL provides a single screen view that eliminates the need to switch between systems for two-way matching and reduces the back-and-forth communication between PO creators and AP managers. BILL Purchase Orders is a more efficient and less error-prone way for finance teams to manage their invoice-to-payment-to-reconciliation workflow.

To learn more, schedule a personalized consultation.

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.