General Inquiries

AP Automation

  • 1.  AP Automation

    Posted 13 days ago
    Are any of you current using AP automation software/platform that you would recommend? We are looking at Stampli and Coupa. Across companies we do about 20k invoices/month.

    Would love to hear your experience. Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Michele McGrath, CPA
    Controller
    J. F. Shea Construction, Inc.
    Walnut CA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: AP Automation

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hi Michele,

    Not currently using their AP Automation, but we use Acumatica as our accounting platform.  Acumatica's second 2020 version (they release two software versions per year) includes significant AP Automation.  It consists of artificial intelligence that can interpret an email-received attached PDF invoice (either from an Outlook plug-in or a for emails sent to a dedicated email address such as AP@yourcompany.com).

    With the Outlook plugin you request the AI to "create a bill" in your system with a manual click or two from within Outlook.  If you set up a dedicated email address, I understand the AI does so automatically.  With either initial approach it creates a bill record that allows for human review of the automatically created record.  As the human corrects the AI's errors, the AI "learns" how to better interpret that format of invoice better the next time around.  I assume the AI is learning across the entire spectrum of Acumatica's customer base, but can't speak to that as a fact.  For a new, unfamiliar, invoice format, I think I recall the AI was taking about 30 seconds, but I understand this improves over time as the AI "learns" how to interpret your vendor's invoice layout.

    The above described features are "subscribed to" features within their Cloud accounting software.  I'm not sure if/when we will subscribe to this AP Automation because our current incoming AP invoice volume is currently rather low.

    Worth noting, they also have just deployed "Advanced Expense Management" for which credit card transactions are automatically created in the accounting system via a data feed from selected credit card companies (some big name credit card providers are included) along with automated emails to the cardholder to let them know the created record is ready for their review & coding.  This also becomes available as a subscribed to feature with Acumatica 2020 R2 (second version of 2020).

    We are getting ready to upgrade to 2020 R2 and are likely to invest in "Advanced Expense Management" first because I'm not super happy with their basic credit card receipt mobile app.  The mobile app does okay for submitting credit card receipts with image and coding guidance (creates records in the Accounting app pretty much instantly), but I find the back office processing (to verify coding & post the transactions) rather annoying & labor intensive.  I'm hoping this new feature will improve the credit card receipt data flow.

    Lastly, they upper their game in terms of workflow, with a new graphical user interface for configuring workflow (setting approvers, turning off/on certain record status transitions, etc.)  I have no personal experience with using this either but we likely will get into this at some point to push AP bills for review to selected leaders based on which project is involved.  (Nothing set up yet, as we are not yet on 2020 R2, but we are curious to see what's possible.)

    I shared all of the above, not to promote Acumatica or its feature set, but to provide info on what one player is currently offering in the AP Automation space.

    (I imagine an add-on system of this type, that would work with your current accounting system, may be more what you're looking for.  The trick is to find something that can "scale up" without a lot of human touch during the AP Automation.  This speaks to me of a dedicated - AP centric - third party or first party - "in your accounting system" - offering.)

    Regards,

    Bob Boehm, CMA CFM
    Accounting Manager
    Centerline Energy Construction LLC
    Windsor, CO

    ------------------------------
    Jody Walters
    CEO/Owner
    Windsor CO
    (970) 893-3972
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: AP Automation

    Posted 9 days ago
    Thanks, Bob & Jody. Good to hear of your experience, but we're not looking to change our GL system right now. You're right, that an add-in is more what we're looking for.

    ------------------------------
    Michele McGrath, CPA
    Controller
    J. F. Shea Construction, Inc.
    Walnut CA
    ------------------------------