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2018 Payables Insight Report

How Modern Companies are Automating Payables, Improving Working Capital, and Leveraging Electronic Payments

March 5, 2018      

Underwritten in part by:
  • Artsyl
  • Inspyrus
  • GEP

Q1 2018 | Featuring insights on…

How Modern Companies are Automating Payables, Improving Working Capital, and Leveraging Electronic Payments

2018 Payables Insight Report

Payables Management Trends Among North American Organizations

Features and Functionality of Payables Automation Software

Benchmarks for Assessing a Payables Current State

A Few Leading Payables Automation Software Providers

  • Hanse Orga Group
  • Bottomline Technologies
  • Nvoicepay
  • Corcentric
  • Paramount WorkPlace
  • OnBase
  • Corporate Spending Innovations

Contents

Introduction

Automating the invoice-to-payment process including accounts payable (AP) and payments processing—collectively known as payables management—is one of the most important items on the agenda for organizations when it comes to improving the back office. However, automating can seem daunting for some companies. PayStream Advisors consistently hears two questions when consulting with organizations of all types, sizes, and industries: “How do we fix processes given our current state?” and “How do we know where to start?”

Given the many options for improving back-office processes, both in terms of more strategic management and software-based approaches (i.e., automation solutions), it can seem overwhelming to begin an automation initiative. However, the potential barriers to adoption should not keep any organization from beginning the journey of Accounts Payable (AP) and payments process transformation. Automating payables processes is worthwhile because the end results are increased savings, increased efficiency, an improved bottom line, and a greater competitive advantage. No organization should miss out on its chance to achieve those benefits.

This report offers a holistic overview of payments management by discussing current management trends and providing a review of advanced payables automation software. The goal of this report is to provide organizations with a guide to understanding the current state of payables management among other North American organizations, and a set of benchmarks against which they can measure their own current state. With these tools, PayStream seeks to empower organizations to transform their back office and improve the efficiency and positioning of their business.

Figure 1

Paper and Email Invoices Are the Most Commonly Received Invoice Types

“Please allocate 100 percentage points on how your organization receives invoices.”

 

Research Overview: The Current State of North American Payables

In order to identify payables management trends among North American organizations, PayStream surveyed over 400 back-office employees across several industries and market segments. The following data is taken from this AP and payments management survey, highlighting trends in payables management from invoice receipt to payment.

Invoice Receipt

The first component of the payments lifecycle is invoice receipt. The way in which this component is managed can have a significant impact on processes down the line, such as invoice approvals or in making on-time payments. PayStream survey results show that invoices are primarily received in unstructured formats; paper is the most commonly received format, followed by email, see Figure 1. Structured invoice formats, such as electronic invoices (EDI) and those submitted through a web portal, are received at much lower volumes.

There are some variances by company size, see Figure 2. For example, the SME1 and lower middle market (LMM) segments have higher rates of paper invoices than those in the upper middle market (UMM) and enterprise segments. This can be mostly attributed to smaller organizations’ limited resources, creating a relatively greater barrier to automation adoption. Compared to smaller organizations, UMM and enterprise companies are more likely to have adopted some form of invoice receipt automation, and receive more of their invoices in structured formats—EDI/electronic invoices and invoices uploaded through a web portal. This can be attributed to their greater resources that can be allocated towards automation initiatives, as well as a higher invoice volume. The more invoices an organization receives, the higher the incentive to receive those invoices in an electronic and more controlled format, as the company has more financial data to manage and more complex AP processes.

Figure 2

Enterprise Organizations Are More Likely to Receive Invoices in EDI or Web-Based Format

“Please allocate 100 percentage points on how your organization receives invoices.”

&

“What is your organization’s annual revenue in the most recent 12-month reporting period?”

 

Variances are also apparent across industries, see Figure 3. For example, the healthcare industry is relatively more progressive when it comes to technology adoption, as those organizations receive fewer paper invoices and have a greater dependence on invoices in electronic formats. This may be partly attributed to the healthcare industry’s strict compliance regulations and high indirect spend/invoice volume, which together create a greater need for more controlled invoice management processing. Manufacturing, on the other hand, is less progressive in terms of invoice automation. This may be partly attributed to the greater focus on direct goods purchasing and contract-based spending. PayStream’s research has shown that this industry has traditionally been slower to adopt AP-focused tools than other technology tools, such as sourcing systems.

Figure 3

Healthcare Organizations Are More Likely to Receive Invoices in EDI or Web-Based Format

“Please allocate 100 percentage points on how your organization receives invoices.”

&

“Please select the standard industry description that benefits your organization.”

 

Unstructured invoice formats are much less efficient than structured formats, as unstructured formats typically require manual involvement, such as manual data entry into the ERP. Technology-enabled, structured formats can be used to automate much of the invoice receipt process, providing touchless invoice processing and approval. Therefore, a company’s degree of efficiency and innovation is often reflected in its ratio of manual-based invoices to electronic invoices.

It should be noted that paper and email invoices are not completely unmanageable or incongruous with efficient AP. With the appropriate tools and/or strategies, such as data capture technology or premium mailroom services, an organization can process unstructured invoices efficiently without sacrificing control, while still enabling some cost savings. However, without some degree of automation, processing manual-based invoices is very difficult and costly, and can be made more difficult depending on an organization’s business structure and current state.

One example of a current state variable is where invoices are processed, or how centralized the organization’s process is. Although PayStream’s research shows that the majority of organizations receive their invoices at a single location, there is a slight variation depending on company size, see Figure 4. Enterprise organizations are more likely to have centralized processes, as large companies typically have more locations that may be more geographically dispersed, as well as higher volumes of invoices. They also have a greater incentive to centralize invoice receipt, in terms of costs, data control, company security, and regulatory/audit compliance.

Figure 4

Most Organizations Have Centralized Invoice Receipt Processes

“Which statement best describes your invoice receipt and payment process?”

&

“What is your organization’s annual revenue in the most recent 12-month reporting period?”

 

Middle market organizations are slightly more likely to have decentralized processes than enterprise companies. A contributing factor to this may be the possibility of growth within the middle-market—it is not uncommon that companies in the LMM and UMM experience some degree of expansion. Scaling companies are more likely to have partly centralized or decentralized processes as they adjust their back-office processes to meet changing demand.

Another example of how an organization’s current-state methods affect AP efficiency is how unstructured invoices are handled upon receipt. Survey results show that the majority of organizations manually enter these invoices into the accounting system, see Figure 5.

Figure 5

Most Organizations Manually Enter Invoice Data in to Their Accounting Systems

“How is invoice information entered into your ERP, accounting software, or accounts payable software?”

 

PayStream has found that while centralized invoice receipt tends to be a sign of more efficient processes, an important factor influencing AP efficiency is the level of automation used to input invoices into the current accounting systems. For example, decentralized processes paired with high volumes of EDI invoices can be more efficient than centralized processes where more than 90 percent of invoices are received in paper format, as the former method eliminates the majority of manual intervention. In a similar example, a company with decentralized processes that is leveraging data capture tools within each AP department will have greater success in controlling AP efficiency than a company with one centralized invoice receipt process that is manually entering invoice data into the accounting system.

Invoice Management

After the invoice is received and submitted into the appropriate system, it must go through verification, validation, and approval workflows before the supplier is paid. Ideally, at this stage invoices are managed with an invoice workflow automation (IWA) solution. Accordingly, survey results show that companies most commonly route invoices for approval via a workflow tool, see Figure 6. Among respondents that are not using an invoice workflow tool, most companies with manual processes send invoices for approval via email.

Figure 6

Among Organizations Without IWA Software Typically Route Invoices for Approval Via Email

“How do you typically route invoices for approval in your organization?”

Certain parameters further increase the value of an invoice workflow tool, such as invoice volume. The greater the number of invoices a company receives each month, the greater the importance of using an invoice workflow tool. However, this does not always mean high-invoice-volume companies will automate. For instance, despite being one of the industries with the highest volume of invoices, only 11 percent of companies in the manufacturing sector use modern, cloud-based IWA software. Another variable influencing the value of an IWA solution is the complexity of an organization’s approval hierarchy. Invoice workflows can entail a complex and varied set of actions, including multiple levels of approvals, different rules relating to different types of invoices, and a large number of “touches” (points at which the invoice is reviewed or changes hands). This can be more or less complicated by size and industry. In a highly regulated industry like healthcare, it is desirable to minimize the number of touches, and therefore the value of an IWA tool is significant. However, once again, organizational need for automation does not necessarily mean adoption; only 11 percent of healthcare organizations are using an IWA solution.

When organizations do not have invoice management automation in place, they are susceptible to a variety of processing pains. Research shows that today’s AP departments’ most common issues in invoice management are manual data entry and inefficient processes, lost or missing invoices, and high volumes of paper invoices, see Figure 7.

Figure 7

Most Organizations Deal with Manual Data and Inefficient Processes in a Manual Invoice Workflow

“What are the top three biggest pain points you experience in your workflow process? (Select top 3)”

These issues can be very costly for organizations in terms of processing costs, inefficient use of labor, and the potential risks that come with poorly managed financial data.

Figure 8 shows the top reasons organizations miss early payment discounts. The most common reason is lengthy invoice approval lifecycles. This means that when invoices are not managed efficiently and processed in a timely manner, organizations could be missing out on significant amounts in potential early payment discounts. Manual invoice management also leads to issues that can harm supplier relationships and compromise cash flow.

Figure 8

Organizations Miss Discounts Because of Lengthy Invoice Approval Cycles and Missing Information on Invoices

“What are the top three problems that lead to late payments and missed discounts at your organization? (Select up to 3)”

Payments

The final step in the payables process is invoice payment. The most efficient means to make payments—the ones that belong in a fully automated payables process—are commercial cards, followed by ACH payment (via an electronic payment platform). However, research shows that the most common payment method used by today’s organizations is in fact the least efficient and most costly method—manual payments via check, see Figure 9.

Figure 9

Enterprise Organizations Are the Greatest Users of Check Payments

“What are the top three problems that lead to late payments and missed discounts at your organization? (Select up to 3)”

&

“What is your organization’s annual revenue in the most recent 12-month reporting period?”

Commercial cards are the least used form of payment. These findings do not vary dramatically by revenue except for the enterprise segment, which processes a substantial percentage of ACH payments compared to other revenue segments, and processes much fewer checks. The middle market is also slightly more likely to make payments in ACH than SMEs. PayStream again attributes this to the fact that larger companies tend to have more invoices and supplier payments, leading to greater incentives to rid themselves of the costs and risks that come with manual processes. Surprisingly, the SME segment is the most likely to use commercial cards. PayStream assumes this is because these payment types are relatively easy and cost effective to adopt.

Across verticals, manufacturing falls slightly behind other industries in payment automation, making almost half of their payments via check, see Figure 10. Healthcare is slightly more progressive, with 18 percent of payments made via commercial card. Finance and banking leads other industries in rates of commercial card adoption.

Figure 10

Finance Organizations Are the Greatest Users of Commercial Cards

“What percentage of your supplier-related payments (number of payments, not dollar value) is processed using the following methods?”

&

“Please select the standard industry description that benefits your organization.”

 

Payables Adoption

PayStream breaks down payables automation into five main functions: electronic payments, data capture functionality, invoice workflow automation, eInvoicing, and supplier management tools. If an organization has every one of these tools, it is considered to have a fully automated payables process.

Figure 11 shows the overall adoption for each tool. Electronic payments are the most commonly adopted tool, followed by front-end imaging/data capture solutions. PayStream attributes this to the relative ease of implementing these tools in an AP process.

Figure 11

Electronic Payments Are the Most Widely Adopted Tool

“Which of the following features does your AP management tools have?”

PayStream asked survey participants about the improvement they witnessed after adopting an ePayables solution, see Figure 12. The majority of organizations report seeing noticeable improvement since adoption. Some tools are more effective for process improvement than others. For example, eInvoicing capability and supplier management were two of the solutions that saw the most marked improvements in AP processing efficiency. The group that saw the highest rate of efficiency improvement in AP was the segment that leveraged all of the listed AP management tools.

Figure 12

Most Organizations Report Noticeable Improvement After Implementing an AP Management Solution

“Since you have implemented an AP management solution, how would you rate the change in efficiency in AP processing?”

 

When it comes to the specific improvements that were observed, organizations indicated a variety of areas in which they saw benefits of payables automation. Figure 13 shows that the two greatest improvements gained by adopters of AP automation were the reduction in paper invoice volume and quicker approval of invoices. Both benefits greatly reduce processing costs and enable a company to capture more early payment discounts.

Figure 13

Most Organizations List Reduction in Invoice Volume and Quicker Approval of Invoices as Their Top Benefits from AP Automation

“What are the greatest improvements you have seen since implementing an AP management solution? (Select up to 3)”

 

When asked about the improvements gained from commercial card programs, organizations’ top benefits were increased convenience, increased rebate capture, and lower processing costs, see Figure 14. Depending on how much spend is captured using commercial cards, rebates can potentially bring companies millions of dollars in savings, in many cases covering the cost of other, adjacent payables solutions like an IWA tool.

Figure 14

Most Organizations List Increased Convenience, More Rebate Capture, and Lower Costs as Their Top Benefits from Commercial Cards

“Which of the following benefits have you achieved from commercial card programs? (Check all that apply.)”

 

Despite the benefits of payables automation tools, many organizations still have yet to adopt a tool. The top barrier to adoption cited by most organizations is lack of budget, followed by the belief that current processes are working, see Figure 15. Concerning the “lack of budget” barrier, PayStream has found that many organizations are not fully aware of the affordable options that have been added to the software space in the last decade. An increasing number of solutions accommodate the limited resources of SME, LMM, and UMM companies. In many cases, citing a “lack of budget” is a sign that an organization is not well-educated on the options available. In many cases, they are also not considering or aware of the ROI that automation will bring, which will more than cover the cost of the solution.

Figure 15

Most Organizations List a Lack of Budget as Their Top Barrier to Adoption

“What do you perceive to be the greatest barrier to adopting a cloud-based AP automation solution in your organization?”

 

Barriers to adoption differ somewhat by role, see Figure 16. For example, the responses from those at the staff level reflect their first-hand knowledge of the current state, in that those respondents were among the least likely to cite “current processes work” as a barrier to adoption, but most likely to cite “no executive sponsorship.” On the other hand, respondents far-removed from the tasks involved in a manual payables processes, such as the C-suite and above, were most likely to believe that current processes are working well enough to prevent the need for software implementation.

Figure 16

Adoption Barriers Vary by Role of the Respondent

“What do you perceive to be the greatest barrier to adopting a cloud-based AP automation solution in your organization?”

&

“Which title best applies to your position in the company?”

 

These responses on the barriers to automation adoption are likely a result of the varying goals and perceptions around technology and process improvement that different roles have. Despite these differences, it is important for organizations to address hesitations at every level to gain buy-in from all parties. For example, an organization will need buy-in from upper management, particularly the C-suite, to make a final decision on technology investment, but they will also need consideration and feedback from middle management in order to choose a solution suitable to their unique business needs. Furthermore, they will need the enthusiasm of those at staff-level positions, like AP clerks or analysts, as those employees’ participation with and mastery of the automation software is essential for ensuring the return on investment (ROI) from that tool. Staff-level employees are also the most aware of the day-to-day challenges of a manual AP process, and can be valuable in helping to identify where to start with payables automation adoption.

Understanding the different mindsets around automation adoption, as well as current North American trends of manual processes, can be very valuable in helping a company determine if their current state warrants software adoption. The following section offers more insight into the value, roles-based benefits, and use case of different electronic payables solutions.

1PayStream defines organizations with revenue greater than $2 billion as enterprises, organizations with revenue between $501 million and $2 billion as upper middle market (UMM), organizations with revenue between $101 million and $500 million as lower middle market (LMM), and organizations with revenue between $30 million and $100 million as SMEs

ePayables Software Overview

Invoice Receipt

Before a payables automation can operate successfully, invoices must be entered into the organization’s system in an efficient, timely, and accurate manner.

What is the value?

Having a controlled process for submitting invoices in a variety of formats improves control over company data, which strengthens a company’s ability to meet requirements around tax compliance and other financial regulations. It improves the accuracy of data as a whole, which enhances an AP department’s ability to verify data on invoices and ensure that payments are issued to the correct supplier for the correct amount, helping reduce maverick, inefficient, and fraudulent spend. It also eliminates manual data entry and verification, which shortens the invoice-to-payment lifecycle and improves an organization’s ability to capture early payment discounts on invoices.

Who benefits?

At the staff level, automated invoice receipt improves employees’ productivity by reducing the time spent on low-value tasks like manual data entry. At middle and upper management levels, it reduces the need to worry about tactical issues, as well as the need to solve last-minute disputes, and increases the time they can spend on more strategic initiatives. For employees at the C-suite level and above, the reduction of the cost involved with processing high volumes of paper invoices with manual methods leads to improvements to the bottom line. It also greatly increases these professionals’ chance to manage finances strategically, and potentially turns a cost center into a profit center.

How does it work?

There are two primary ways to electronically input invoices into the appropriate accounting systems—through the use of a scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) data capture process or via an eInvoicing network.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the electronic conversion of scanned images or text to a machine-encoded document. OCR extracts the relevant data from scanned paper or PDF invoices and sends it through validation and routing. OCR technology can be used in several invoice receipt methods, including mailroom services, email extraction, and online portals.

After invoice data is extracted, the OCR-converted documents are verified against a set of validation rules; the solution compares specific fields against the information held in the appropriate back-end system (e.g., purchase order numbers against the purchasing system). Validation technology is a second round of checks and balances for invoice consistency and compliance—after the initial capture of data, it re-affirms the integrity of business documents before they are assimilated into the main workflow system.

The use of advanced OCR technology ensures a high level of precision, consistency, and compliance. Advanced OCR technology provides capture capabilities that have excellent pass-through rates when scanning paper documents, and some technologies can also extract data from the subject and body of emails, rather than from the attachments only. Some technologies can also read and extract data in several different languages. In all, the more advanced the OCR software, the more streamlined the routing process becomes down the line.

Electronic invoicing eliminates all manual data entry by the buyer. There are three methods of electronic invoicing:

  • Traditional direct integration with the supplier’s back-end AR system, typically done via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) of XML files.
  • Online fillable forms (usually as part of a supplier portal), which ensure that a uniform invoice is submitted every time.
  • A print-to-cloud solution that validates PDF elements instantly and notifies suppliers in real time if their invoice is missing necessary elements.

Advanced eInvoicing solutions are free for suppliers, and many feature advanced global capabilities for complex invoice requirements in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The greatest advantage of eInvoicing is the ability to send invoices straight to the approver and then straight to payment (i.e., straight-through processing).

Invoice Management

An advanced invoice management solution is designed to adapt to existing business structures, diverse supplier bases, and complicated approval hierarchies. In order to meet these requirements, the software must address the entire invoice lifecycle and be highly advanced, customizable, and versatile.

What is the value?

IWA solutions greatly improve approval times through intelligent invoice routing and workflows, and through approval reminders and escalations. AP managers can also easily customize business rules and approval routes to separate high-priority invoices, such as those from a special supplier, ensuring that they are pushed to the top of approval queues. From a holistic standpoint, reducing invoice-to-payment lifecycles allows a company to improve relationships with suppliers and strengthen supply chain processes. From a cost savings standpoint, reduced invoice cycle times increases an organization’s chances of early payment discount capture.

Who benefits?

At the staff level, AP team members no longer spend valuable time tracking down the correct approver for each invoice, as approval workflows are configured into the invoice management tool, and the solution helps to control those workflows. Invoices are automatically routed to the correct approver and the entire history of the workflow is recorded in the solution. At middle and upper management levels, automated invoice management reduces the time necessary to oversee approvals or to double check that invoices were properly approved, as these professionals can rely on the custom controls built into the invoice workflow tool. For employees at the C-suite level and above, the cost savings resulting from reduced invoice approval times and greater early payment discount capture can lead to great improvements to the bottom line.

How does it work?

Workflow solutions enable AP departments to define how different types of invoices are processed. Invoice matching and routing involves linking invoices to purchase orders and other receiving documents, then sending them through the appropriate approval chain based on terms identified within the invoice (such as PO number). PO- based invoices can be matched against PO and receipt documents automatically, while non-PO invoices are routed to the appropriate approvers.

All invoices are routed based on predefined business rules, and user roles and access rights can be set to match the organization’s existing approval hierarchy. Many solutions give client administrators control over individual user access rights. Those administrators can then delegate the types of approvals for each employee, their level of visibility, and their authorized dollar thresholds.

Advanced technologies provide field-level matching, meaning that they match specific characters in invoice line items with their counterparts in POs. Some solutions create notifications or workflows driven by fields with invalid or missing data, and some feature the ability to dictate workflows for non-PO invoices based on invoice contents. Users may also assign non-PO invoices to categories within the general ledger, and advanced solutions allow specific line items to be assigned to multiple cost centers or multiple POs.

The accuracy of rules-based matching engines, in combination with eInvoicing, allows many companies to automatically pay invoices that meet all validation rules shortly after receipt, letting AP staff focus only on exceptions. This pass-through feature can be used for low-value or recurring invoices (such as utility bills).

Invoices that fail validation and matching undergo a pre-established workflow and routing procedure, also called exception management. Invoice exceptions could be a discrepancy between an invoice and a PO or missing information such as the PO number, approver’s name, or location code. The exception management process lets users re- route invoices and fix errors by viewing the original invoice to identify handwritten, printer, or OCR errors. Advanced exception management software allows for the creation of custom workflows depending on the type of exception present. These solutions also enable users to set thresholds for non-PO invoices to identify potential errors or fraud, such as an invoice for snowplow services in July. In addition, many systems put the responsibility of exception and discrepancy resolution back on suppliers, returning the document to them for correction before allowing it to enter the main workflow system.

Once invoices have been validated, matched, and routed into the appropriate queue, a variety of approval workflow capabilities ensure that those invoices are approved in a timely manner. Most invoice workflow solutions are highly configurable; they are built to adapt to an organization’s existing approval hierarchies and enable more complex routing (e.g., among different departments and cost centers). During and after initial setup of a solution, organizations can easily adjust workflows according to their own business rules, legal requirements, and the invoice type, amount, or other content. Advanced solutions facilitate this customization through visual work ow editors with detailed process flows and drag-and-drop functionality.

When invoices require review, approvers can typically be notified via email or mobile alerts. Most solutions come bundled with alerts and reminders for approvers, out-of-office delegation rules, and escalation procedures for overdue invoices. Prioritization capabilities allow organizations to move invoices with early payment discounts to the top of the processing queue, ensuring that they are approved in a timely manner. In addition, some solutions feature workload- balancing features that redistribute the invoices in an approver’s queue to different employees if that approver’s workload exceeds a certain number of invoices.

AP interfaces make approvals easier and more transparent. Dashboards allow users to navigate in-progress invoices, providing complete histories of the documents. Supervisors can track the status of individual invoices or approvers, reorganize and prioritize unapproved invoices, and access audit trails at any time.

Some solutions offer approval capability directly from within emailed notifications; in other situations, users can click on a hyperlink in the email and log in to a system to view, code, and approve invoices online. Many solutions also offer mobile approval capability through native and/or responsive web-based apps. Offering multiple methods for approval keeps invoices moving through the system when approvers are on the go.

Payments

Electronic payments (ePayments) solutions typically consist of different payment processing tools that allow organizations to make secure local and global payments.

What is the value?

Holistic electronic payments (ePayments) software streamlines the most tedious tasks of payments management. These tools enable organizations to reduce their reliance on manual methods that require heavy staff involvement and oversight, shifting much of the payment processing burden to the platform and solution provider. These solutions also speed up cycle times, improve discount capture, and produce savings through processing improvements and card-based rebates.

Who benefits?

At the staff level, payments teams no longer have to deal with the many time-consuming tasks related to paper check payment processing. They can hand off the reconciliation and payment data maintenance process to experienced ePayments solution providers. Middle and upper management level staff see a great reduction in maverick spend, fraudulent payments, and security concerns that result from less controlled payment methods like checks. C-suite professionals can strategically manage payments and optimize cash flow, and see bottom line improvements from reduced costs and higher commercial card-related rebate capture.

How does it work?

In a fully automated payables process, after an invoice has been approved, it is automatically sent to payment. Basic AP management solutions create a payment file that is sent to the ERP (which then initiates payment or sends a message to AP). Electronic payment functionality also facilitates the input of ACH information and integration with back-end AR systems.

ePayments tools can be offered as standalone solutions or as integrated features within an invoice management tool. In the latter case, solution providers offer an in-house or partner-provided electronic payments solution. ePayments software enables organizations to optimize their existing payment processes. For example, an ePayments solution that supports payments through ACH rails offers rich remittance detail and other functionality that traditional ACH does not. This software streamlines many tedious aspects of payment management. Typical methods include traditional purchasing card support, ACH payments, and in some cases, check-writing services for customers who still require a check payment option. Many providers offer a web-pay portal for vendors to log in and view invoice and payment transaction status in real time. These portals can also support different payment types and automatic formatting of remittance information based on supplier preferences.

Some companies also offer wire payments support, as well as global payment management services that enable organizations to streamline the complex tasks related to international supplier payments. Sometimes these services include verifying suppliers’ legal status and payment compliance by searching Do Not Pay lists.

Advanced ePayments solutions, typically offered by a specialized provider with extensive experience in B2B payments technology, support many different commercial cards. “Commercial cards” is the umbrella term for payment cards used in B2B payments (as opposed to consumer cards). Common commercial card types include:

  • Traditional Purchasing Cards – Organizations provide purchasing cards (p-cards) to individual employees for the purchase of business goods and services. P-cards are ideal for purchases in which the traditional invoice approval prior to payment does not add value (e.g., low-dollar purchases). Some p-card programs are known as “One Card” programs when they also allow for T&E expenses, eliminating the need for an employee to carry two cards.
  • Corporate Cards – Employees use these cards for business travel and expense (T&E) purchasing.
  • Fleet/Vehicle Cards – Organizations implement this type of card to pay for fuel and vehicle maintenance. The cards allow for reporting and tracking by vehicle, providing controls specific to this expense category.
  • Ghost Cards/Accounts – Traditional ghost cards function like p-cards, with reusable account numbers and spend limits that refresh each month. One common scenario is providing a ghost account number to a supplier, who retains the number and processes charges to it as employees make purchases.
  • Single-Use Cards – This is a common type of Virtual Account (VA)—also called Virtual Card Accounts, Virtual Account Numbers, or ePayables. After an organization approves a supplier’s invoice(s), AP initiates the payment process. The supplier receives a one-time- use virtual account number to process the charge. The spend limit is equal to the approved invoice(s) and does not refresh.
  • Other Virtual Card Programs – As with single-use cards, other Virtual Accounts programs center around an organization’s approval of supplier invoices. One VA option is a straight-through payment where a supplier receives a direct payment through the card network or issuer, rather than having to process a charge transaction. Overall, organizations tend to target Virtual Accounts for higher dollar purchases and/or complex purchases warranting invoice review prior to payment. VA cards are one of the fastest- growing tools offered today, and are offered by leading ePayments providers.
  • Declining Balance Cards – These cards have a set limit and expiration date that does not refresh. Organizations may use such cards for special projects with a set budget, such as meetings or events, for relocation expenses, for infrequent travelers who do not warrant a corporate travel card, and more.

Leading ePayments providers also offer a mix of payment management services and tools, attributes, and features, including:

  • Virtual card support
  • Mobile payments support/applications
  • Audit trail functionality
  • Payments approval functionality
  • Commercial card support
  • Global ePayments support
  • Vendor portal

Working Capital Optimization

Some payables solutions give organizations access to working capital management tools such as dynamic discounting and supply chain financing. Working capital optimization involves strategically optimizing cash flow by reevaluating and restructuring payment times and terms to make them more favorable for a company.

What is the value?

Working capital solutions are especially valuable for companies struggling with cash flow problems that inhibit their ability to expand, improve, or even properly operate their businesses. The goal is to improve the buyer’s cash conversion cycle without hurting suppliers’ own cash flow needs. A successful working capital tool will support both the buyer and supplier, and can improve the supply chain health of both parties.

Who benefits?

One of the most powerful benefits of working capital tools is their ability to save companies money, which can amount to millions of dollars each year depending on the size of the company, the number of invoices, and annual spend. Professionals at the C-suite level are able to use that improved cash flow to improve strategic management over cash and the company’s competitive positioning. Working capital optimization also improves executives’ ability to expand their operations, as the tools allow them to access outside resources at an affordable cost point to support supply chain operations.

How does it work?

Working capital management tools increase companies’ savings and bottom line, either through sliding scale discounts or third-party financing. Moreover, working capital management tools benefit the supplier through faster invoice payments, thus improving business relationships.

Dynamic Discounting Management (DDM) software leverages the speed and efficiency of AP automation to unlock cash flow for both buyers and suppliers. Instead of using static discount terms such as “2% 10, net 30,” DDM solutions offer invoice discounts based on variable rates. Early payment discounts decrease as payment deadlines approach, enabling buyers and suppliers to set and select discounts according to their own business and financial requirements.

There are a few different dynamic discounting models and features. One is the sliding-scale discounting method, which offers automatic discounts on a predefined set of invoices, starting high but decreasing as the invoice due date approaches. Other dynamic discounting strategies offer a collaborative approach that takes into account suppliers’ financial needs, giving them control of annual percentage rates (APRs) and terms. Some solutions allow buying organizations to choose between recurring one-off discounts, and many give buyers the ability to segment suppliers and discount schemes according to supplier size, geography, spend, and other characteristics.

The goal of supply chain financing is less about capturing discounts and more about unlocking cash flow—both the buyer’s via extended DPO, and the supplier’s by financially supporting their supply chain and production needs. SCF opens payments to competitive bids and invites banks and third-party funders to participate. While the buyer is still paying an invoice earlier than they could without the funding, they are not doing so solely to capture the discount; rather, they are able to free trapped cash and use it strategically to maintain or expand their supply chain operations and competitive advantage. When used correctly and by larger organizations, SCF has the potential to unlock billions of dollars in a company’s cash flow.

For businesses with complex, widespread supply chains, SCF is a very strategic method for optimizing working capital. It helps buyers reduce cash conversion cycles without dramatically impacting their supply chain or their suppliers’ financial needs. It also allows buyers to more easily fund purchases from suppliers in countries where credit is difficult to come by.

SCF can be lucrative for large suppliers who have cash flow needs, as the discount rates associated with SCF are generally lower than the finance rates of short-term loans. Cash-strapped buyers who have other priorities—such as a monthly revolve—or those who are unable to budget their DPO, generally split the returns from a SCF program, while third parties get a short-term (under 56 days) return well over one percent.

Organizations will typically find some sort of working capital tool within their invoice or payments management solution; most often, it is a simple discounting tool that can be leveraged during the invoice management process. There are also a few standalone working capital management providers that offer a diverse set of tools, including advanced DDM, several different kinds of SCF options, and/or the ability to leverage virtual cards to strategically restructure payments and capture rebates. These standalone providers often feature integration capabilities that enable clients to connect the solution with their existing systems, including payables solutions and ERPs.

Reporting and Analytics

Reporting and analytics tools are often built into a payables automation platform, and serve as a way to collect and analyze information gathered from the invoice-to-payment process. Reporting and analytics tools give companies the opportunity to pinpoint process trouble spots and enhance future operations—greatly increasing the long-term ROI of a payables solution.

What is the value?

Much in the same way that a water wheel can turn a quiet stream into a source of energy, spend management software can turn passive transactional data into fuel for process enhancement, cost control, and savings opportunities.

Who benefits?

Reporting and analytics tools are beneficial for users of all levels in an organization, but they have more value for administrative users with strategic tasks and goals. It is important for these players to understand all spend activity so that they can optimize spend policies and controls. They use reporting and analytics tools to support tasks like identifying employees conducting fraudulent activity or spending out of company policy, adjusting budgets, viewing approvers that take too long to approve invoices, or viewing suppliers that frequently send duplicate or incorrect invoices. By looking at this information in a holistic manner, these users can identify the spend and activity trends impacting their business, allowing them to make strategic changes that will improve efficiency and save money. The insight brought by reporting and analytics tools gives C-suite professionals the opportunity to pinpoint process trouble spots and enhance future operations.

How does it work?

Most payables solutions combine process transparency with robust reporting and analytics tools, greatly improving an organization’s ability to audit, analyze, and improve procedures. Reports can be exported as spreadsheets, and can include first-pass success rates, exception rates, and open invoices for any defined period of time. Some solutions feature internal benchmarking, allowing users to review how their organization compares to other end-users of the solution. Leading solutions offer a drag-and-drop report building functionality and exceptional drilldown capabilities from within a reporting dashboard.

Many AP management systems also offer sophisticated invoice and payment audit technologies. Audit solutions can integrate seamlessly with numerous accounting applications, and can flag potential duplicates. Clients have the option of configuring the business logic that will be applied to identify erroneous payments, and the solutions generate reports on a periodic basis highlighting potential payment errors for resolution.

Built-in reporting allows users to run their transactional data through controlled reporting templates, automating much of the analytical work. The information used in these reports is extracted from all areas of invoice-to-payment process, and the solution can also leverage data from the organization’s existing systems.

Some providers give their customers a set of pre-built reports, while others allow the client to carefully design the reports upon implementation. The provider may also create and add new reports that are specifically tailored to the client’s organization and processes. Although the provided reports are pre-built, they are still often highly customizable after implementation as well. Users can drag and drop report fields, narrow down search items, or integrate reports or dashboards with user interfaces, such as the homepage of an invoice approver.

Reporting and analytics tools also allow users to drill down into report details. Some solutions even allow users to look at a broad set of information from different perspectives. For example, a list of transactions could be viewed from a broader operational standpoint by a CEO, or with a financial focus by a CFO. This capability allows an organization to take a single set of data and spin it multiple ways, gaining unique and valuable insights in many areas of the business.

Users can also bring in data from new places, and leverage it to gain new perspectives into spend, such as using integrated maps tools to show the locations where spend is occurring. In addition, users can extract data from the system by running query reports and exporting all data to Excel or the format of their choice.

Supplier Management

Supplier management tools, typically offered through a self-service supplier portal, give companies more control over supplier data, and provide suppliers with real-time visibility into invoice and payments statuses.

What is the value?

One of the greatest values of a supplier management tool is the way it brings many different moving parts and types of information into one platform. It also fosters more communication and transparency among all parties.

Who benefits?

Both the company and the supplier benefit from supplier management tools. The primary advantage is in the self-service controls given to the supplier, followed by the reduced need to handle supplier dispute and queries, as many of those issues come from the pains of manual processes. Automating the payables process reduces supplier disputes and improves supplier relationships, as well as supply chain operations on the whole.

How does it work?

Supplier self-service portals help to speed up and streamline invoice processing. Supplier portals allow suppliers to upload invoices, check on the status of invoices, and communicate with buyers about exceptions and errors. Some solutions permit buyers to create custom business rules at the point of supplier portal invoice upload. These rules create instant error notifications and allow PO flip from within the portal. Some solutions also enable suppliers to input payment preferences, and upload and verify payment information. These portals also facilitate better supplier-buyer communication and dispute resolution.

Where to Begin in Automating Payables

This report has provided a great deal of information on a very expansive software set. While the best-case scenario for any company would be to fully automate the entire payables process using each tool covered, this is not a realistic option for many companies. For some organizations, the idea of a complete process transformation seems virtually impossible under their current budgets, structural concerns, and current state parameters.

Payables automation should not be avoided because of an organization’s constraints, but should be approached with these constraints in mind. In other words, there are many different ways to automate the payables process according to the unique characteristics of any company, including their unique restrictions. A company does not have to jump into automation with a fully-featured ePayables tool, but can begin automating with one element of a software suite and scale up as needs and budgets change. With the proper preparation and discovery methods, any organization will be able to find the perfect payables tool with which to start their process transformation.

One of the best ways to find a suitable automation starting point is to map out the current state and identify benchmarks against similar organizations. In order to give readers an idea of some common benchmarks, Table 1 contains several current state parameters of different company archetypes, as well as the automation and improvement goals of different archetypes.

Once a company has established its place among its peers, it can lay out its next steps. Some of the best next steps are establishing goals and identifying appropriate questions to begin asking internally (e.g., stakeholders, staff, etc.) and externally (e.g., solution providers). The bullets below are a few examples of questions organizations can ask once they have evaluated their current state.

  • What is the invoice receipt current state?
  • How often are temporary employees needed?
  • What are the AP team’s top pain points?
  • What is the costliest aspect of the current payables process?
  • What are middle management’s top goals?
  • What are the C-suite’s top goals?
  • What is the budget for technology investment?
  • What aspect of the payables process is most important to automate?
  • What tool among payables automation software is most appealing to the organization?

The purpose of these questions is to help those initiating change and evaluating software establish goals for their future state of payables management. These questions are also useful when gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, and cooperation from external parties (e.g, suppliers). The organization should also create a list of essential and non-essential requirements for a solution based on the results of these questions, including functionalities, key performance indicators (KPI), improvements, and time-driven ROI goals. For example, if a company determines that they have high paper volume across many widespread locations, they may benefit from choosing a payables automation provider that offers mailroom services, either in house or through a partner. In another example, if a company determines that they must hire cyclical temporary labor on an annual basis, they may also discover that this labor is necessary based on influx of tasks that are currently manual but have the potential to be automated. The company could then assume that this need for cyclical labor would be reduced by the adoption of a payables solution. This is one such current state parameter for which it would be fairly simple to estimate an ROI upon automation.

In order to further guide an organization in their search for payables process improvement, the following profiles summarize the features and services of some of today’s leading payables automation providers.

Artsyl

Artsyl has offered software for intelligent document capture, workflow automation, and invoice management for over 15 years, releasing its invoice solution, InvoiceAction, in 2013. Artsyl offers InvoiceAction along with its flagship product, docAlpha, a digital transformation platform, to enterprises of all sizes in a variety of industries, including shared services providers. The company helps clients process millions of documents each year across a variety of types, including invoices, medical claims, and government documents.

Solution Overview

Artsyl partners with Microsoft, and its products are developed using Microsoft .NET and Services Oriented Architecture; Artsyl also follows all standard security models from Microsoft. Artsyl’s products leverage tight API-based integrations with major ERP systems such as SAP, Oracle/NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, Acumatica, Sage 100/500, Sage Intacct, Epicor, and SYSPRO, and integrate with even more using EDI 810 and web services. InvoiceAction is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. The product supports OCR data capture for over 100 languages including Arabic, Thai, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Payables Management

InvoiceAction and docAlpha automate many of the most painful steps in invoice processing—manual data entry, approval routing, matching, and GL coding. Artsyl’s docAlpha solution can extract data from any digital or paper document with intelligent capture technology, leveraging InvoiceAction to handle a specific business document flow—vendor invoice processing. docAlpha validates captured invoice data using its own algorithms and by cross-referencing information against the clients’ ERPs or other business systems. docAlpha then applies business rules to extracted data to automate AP functions like approval routing and matching.

docAlpha allows for multi-channel submission of invoices via email, scanned paper, fax, FTP site, WebDAV folders, and EDI. Artsyl supports PDF and other image formats such as TIFF, JPEG, BMP, and PNG, or electronic invoice formats such as EDI, XML, TXT, CSV, Word, and Excel. Artsyl also offers a supplier portal that gives suppliers direct invoice submission/generation capabilities for multiple formats (EDI, PO flip, web forms, etc.), as well as the ability to view and monitor invoices in progress.

InvoiceAction extracts relevant header and line item data from invoices and related procurement documents, validating that data by cross-referencing existing ERP system records. InvoiceAction then relies on the extracted data to provide 3- and 4-way matching with transactions within the ERP system, or automatic exception routing according to pre-defined business rules. InvoiceAction supports field-level matching based on business rules, and invoices can be routed back to suppliers with rejection explanations.

Automatic email notifications alert staff to exceptions that need attention, and automatic escalations ensure that nothing remains in any individual’s queue for too long. InvoiceAction supports out-of-office forwarding, escalations and reminders, and workload balancing. The solution also offers automatic approvals on recurring invoices, such as utility bills. InvoiceAction is web-based, and its responsive-design application can be accessed from any mobile device. Emails contain hyperlinks to launch the application and allow users to manage their invoices from any tablet or mobile device. In terms of payments, electronic payments are offered through third-party integrations.

Artsyl can store invoices in file servers and enterprise content management (ECM) systems for later search and retrieval. The company also supports SharePoint and leverages content management interoperability services (CMIS) for content connectivity with other major ECM systems.

Artsyl’s solutions use a transaction statistics server to collect and report on all facets of any transaction processed through the system. The solutions offer reports that can be configured to present all possible KPIs for a client. Artsyl’s consulting staff works with all clients to map out the current processes and re-engineer them leveraging the features of docAlpha and InvoiceAction.

Implementation and Pricing

A typical implementation can range from a few days to a few months depending on its complexity. The software is available for on-premise, hosted, or public cloud deployment. Artsyl provides full operator and administrator training as part of the standard implementation. After implementation, Artsyl offers full technical support 24/5.

The solution is priced per transaction.

Bottomline

Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ: EPAY) helps organizations make complex business payments simple, smart, and secure. Bottomline offers support for domestic and international payments, cash management tools, automated workflows for payment processing and bill review, advanced fraud detection, behavioral analytics, and regulatory compliance features. Bottomline’s accounts payable automation solutions helps AP departments streamline the invoice-to-pay process while improving security and increasing rebate capture potential.

Solution Overview

Bottomline’s AP automation solutions cater to mid-market and enterprise organizations across a variety of industries, addressing the entire invoice-to-pay process. Bottomline’s solutions are available as a holistic AP automation software suite, or clients can implement invoice automation or the Paymode-X network for payment automation as standalone solutions.

Payables Management

Bottomline’s invoice automation solution uses advanced OCR technology to automatically capture invoice data. This helps minimize manual data entry from unstructured invoice formats (e.g., paper, email attachments). The OCR tool also supports data capture from a variety of electronic file formats, including XML, CSV, Tab, Pipe, and fixed width files. Bottomline also offers managed scan and capture lifecycle services through either an in-house service or an outsourced provider. Invoice receipt services include double-blind keying on high-value data fields.

The solution supports field-level matching that can leverage pre-defined settings in the ERP. It also supports automatic matching for PO-based invoices, resulting in straight-through processing. Invoice exceptions can be configured to automatically route back to the vendor. Through a combination of business rules, matching, and workflow capabilities, clients can automatically process invoices. The solution’s exception management functionality addresses invoices that do not adhere to pre-defined rules. Customers can easily approve or reject invoices from any device via email. Upon invoice approval, the solution integrates directly with ERPs to automatically create payment vouchers. As of this report, invoice automation is available direct to corporations through a Bottomline sales team.

Bottomline’s Paymode-X is a 385,000+ member network that helps businesses make and receive electronic payments. The solution provides secure, integrated payment capabilities with support for ACH, managed and outsourced checks, wire payments, and card payments through partnerships with Visa and MasterCard. Paymode-X is sold through bank channel partners and a Bottomline direct sales team.

Paymode-X provides value-added features to vendors through a portal and by providing remittance detail in vendors’ preferred formats. These formats include CTX, Excel, CSV, email, PDF, and custom integrations that feed data into vendors’ AR systems, causing most postings to occur automatically. The portal provides the ability to track payments in process and forecast upcoming payments, a variety of out-of-the-box and configurable reporting features, and the ability to upload critical business documents such as W9’s.

Customers can view payment audit trails and easily search for and retrieve payment information via their browser. In addition, the ERP integration provides a link from the voucher transaction to the image, so that users can access the data without having to leave their ERP.

Paymode-X offers protection against employee- and vendor-initiated fraud by permitting payments only to authenticated members of the Paymode-X network. All payers and vendors are checked against OFAC upon enrollment.

Implementation and Pricing

Major milestones throughout the implementation process include integration into accounting systems or ERPs, payment file testing, vendor campaign planning and execution, and AP team training.

Project managers, implementation consultants, and client advisors are assigned to each new customer to oversee all aspects including implementation testing, business rules configuration, vendor enrollment, training, and go-live support. Supplemental training (such as web training for remote locations or custom documentation) is also available. Bottomline provides customer support for the lifetime of the relationship, for both the customer as well as all vendors in the Paymode-X network that are being paid by the customer.

The payments offering is predicated on the use of the Paymode-X Dividends program, where the customer making payments earns rebates on ACH transactions.

Corcentric

Established in 1996, Corcentric provides procurement, billing, and payables automation solutions to organizations from the middle market to the Fortune 500. Corcentric Payables is a holistic suite of AP automation solutions designed to manage all of a business’s spend, including PO and non-PO invoices, and capture and convert invoices regardless of format. In addition to invoice automation, the suite includes analytics, supplier enrollment, and payment disbursement capabilities. Corcentric is in the process of developing an expense management tool that is expected to launch in early 2019.

Solution Overview

Corcentric Payables is an ERP-agnostic, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), accounts payable automation suite. Through proprietary ERP business connectors, Corcentric is able to transmit electronic transaction data and associated electronic documents to and from a customer’s financial system. A variety of external systems are supported and can translate and consume data in both standard and non-standard industry formats. Each customer environment is configured to meet the customer’s specific business requirements as well as the state and country regulations in which the customer operates, and the solution supports multi-language invoice ingestion. The platform also supports mobile invoice approvals through any smartphone or tablet.

Corcentric Payables is accessed through unique user IDs and passwords. The solution is supported through federated single sign-on via SAML 2.0. The customer-assigned system administrator has control of all user accounts, account creation, and user permissions.

Payables Management

The Corcentric Payables suite supports PO and invoice creation and transmission, invoice capture and virtualization, automatic 3-way matching, and approval workflows. The suite also includes reporting dashboards and analytics, supplier enrollment services, and payment disbursement capabilities.

Corcentric Payables offers functionality to convert paper and PDF invoices to digital records, giving suppliers a range of options through which to invoice customers electronically. Invoices can be submitted for scanning and data capture via email, web upload, fax, EDI, and postal mail through a dedicated PO box. All invoices are converted into the appropriate electronic format upon receipt. For electronic invoicing, the solution has no limitations on the EDI formats and connection points it supports. Suppliers can use an online self-service portal to convert electronic POs into electronic invoices, as well as send electronic order acknowledgements, advanced shipping notices (ASNs), and other documents to customers.

Corcentric also offers customers access to mailroom services via its outsourced Invoice Virtualization Centers (IVC). Personnel at these centers leverage OCR software to capture data from paper invoices and conduct rigorous quality assurance processes to review and correct any errors or exceptions that the OCR technology identifies. The system captures invoices and extracts data from invoices in any language, and each invoice is also captured as an image.

Through integration with the customer’s ERP, purchase order and receipt data can be automatically matched with invoices without manual intervention. For invoices that can’t be automatically matched, such as non-PO invoices, configurable approval workflows can be defined by the customer so that these invoices invoices are routed for approval accordingly. For errors or exceptions that require client due diligence or clarification, an alert is sent to the exception queue so the AP team can view, manage, and correct missing or incorrect data. Corcentric can support automatic re-routing based on customer-defined business rules, and the solution can be configured to provide escalation notices and proxy approvers.

Customers can use Corcentric’s integrated payment disbursement services and financing options to help manage cash flow. An organization can transmit all of its payment instructions via a single file, and receive back acknowledgements, confirmations, and reporting digitally. These services include processes for ACH, EFT, and check payments. Corcentric also offers virtual card support through a partnership with a virtual card provider. After funds are cleared, Corcentric will disburse payments to each vendor based on the payment preferences they have detailed. Remittance advice is made is available to the vendor via email, included with the check payment, as well as available via direct access portal. Corcentric observes Positive Pay controls, and the financial institution issues payments to eliminate fraud in the payment process. Corcentric’s payments service provides automated data feeds to and from a client’s ERP so that payment information, status, and remittance information can be recorded in the accounting system.

Corcentric offers supply chain financing services to help customers streamline working capital for both the buyer and the seller. The SCF tools are integrated into the payables solutions in order to automate transactions and track the invoice approval and settlement process from initiation to completion.

Corcentric Payables includes dashboard reporting, standard system reports, and ad-hoc reporting tools that allows end users to design their own reports through a drag-and-drop interface. Corcentric also provides benchmarking through various standard reports, dashboards, and KPI reporting.

Implementation and Pricing

The average implementation time is between 3 and 6 months, depending on system complexity. Each client is given a designated project manager for continuity throughout the project, relationship management through a customer success team, access to customer support teams, and a learning center. Training is provided for both users and system administrators at no additional cost and technical support specialists are available to all customers and vendors via phone and email support.

Corcentric Payables offers several options for bundling and pricing solutions based on customer needs, including buyer-funded and supplier-funded models.

CSI

Since 1989, Corporate Spending Innovations (CSI) has provided payment solutions to mid-sized and large companies around the world. CSI’s automated electronic payments solutions were launched in 2011, and today the company offers a diverse set of accounts payables automation tools, including virtual credit and ghost cards, private network, ACH, check, and FX payments. CSI also offers a travel-focused virtual card program with integration capabilities across many large travel management companies and online booking tools, as well as a mobile payment application to support on-the-fly payments and travel management controls. CSI is a certified card processor, and is a dual virtual card issuer of both MasterCard and Visa payment solutions.

Solution Overview

CSI’s total AP automation platform, CSI Paysystems, securely integrates with any ERP system through a number of methods, including SFTP services and API/web services. The solution can be used for global payments, enabling transactions in 18 countries and 140 currencies.

From a security perspective, CSI is PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant, SOC 2 certified, a registered MasterCard Service Provider (MSP), has attained Visa Ready for Business Solutions certification, and meets the high regulatory requirements as defined by CSI’s financial institution partnerships. CSI Paysystems is web-based and therefore accessible from any smart device.

Payables Management

SCSI offers a full invoice-to-pay platform via a partnership that provides an invoice management solution (including invoice capture, digitization, approval workflows, matching, and ePayments). Invoices can be received directly from the supplier via PO box, email, direct image upload, fax, or via an online submission form from the supplier’s portal.

Data capture is performed through the CSI platform as an outsourced option, or clients can capture data themselves through an indexing feature. Both optical character recognition (OCR) technology and manual data validation are used for data capture. Mailroom services include blind keying and double-blind keying, with 99.8 percent guaranteed capture rates.

CSI Paysystems offers field-level matching based on business rules, smart routing for payments, and configurable approval workflows. The CSI Paysystems approval workflow solution allows clients to adjust business rules and configure workflow processes when needed, and all workflow and approvals are recorded electronically in the audit history. Escalation notices can be set up to alert users and supervisors of aging invoices that need attention, and support for out-of-office forwarding, and workload balancing is also available. CSI automates the matching process for blanket purchase orders as well as 2- and 3-way matching to enable straight-through processing, using client-configured matching rules. Invoices that do not pass the matching process enter an automated exception handling workflow, for routing to the appropriate user depending on the reason of matching failure.

Straight-through processing is available for recurring invoices, and CSI is integrated with ERP and/or accounting systems to automate the posting process. Once payments are issued, the settlement data is fed back into the ERP system for automated posting (including full payment details such as card number or invoice number).

The CSI Paysystems solution offers a full array of corporate payment capabilities as well as support for commercial cards, including travel and expense cards (CSI Travel), purchasing, ghost, and virtual cards. CSI also offers a fleet fuel card via its Global-Fleet solution, which enables clients to control fleet expenses with customizable spending limits and security features. CSI supports and integrates with multiple issuers, processors, and major networks’ virtual card solutions, including MasterCard In Control Solution for Commercial Payments (ICCP), VISA Payables Automation (VPA), and TSYS Virtual Payment Precept (VPP) platforms.

CSI also provides the CSI Go mobile app that allows CSI Travel customers to securely create travel payments with virtual cards, access reservation details, and email or fax hotel authorization forms directly from their mobile device. CSI Travel helps reduce fraud by improving compliance with corporate travel policies, and simplifies the reconciliation process for corporate travel managers.

CSI helps companies maintain control over corporate card usage in a variety of ways. These include alerts, time-of-day/week based controls, custom applications via web service, restrictions by ZIP code and geographic location (for fleet cards), single-use cards, “project” cards with declining balances, expiration date controls on virtual cards, and exception reporting.

CSI Paysystems automates all B2B payments, including virtual and ghost cards, private network, ACH, check, and FX. Within CSI Paysystems, all transactions are accompanied with Level III data. The CSI system stores key data elements if they are not available in the ERP payable files, to ensure Level III data is passed with every transaction. The solution includes real-time card management and card settlement visibility.

CSI validates all payment files to avoid duplicate payments, and offers customer service and support to help clients minimize fraudulent activity. Additional activities and controls include due diligence and ongoing monitoring, micro-deposit DDA verification, notification of potential payment duplication, and bank-based security protocols (e.g., Positive Pay file creation).

CSI Paysystems provides a portal for suppliers to access payments, see payment status, and manage payment data. The portal offers direct invoice submission from API, SFTP, EDI, PO flip, and web forms. Suppliers can elect to enroll using their preferred payment method, and they can add or edit their address, bank data, or other details. Depending on payment type, CSI Paysystems also provides OFAC and KYC checks to ensure clients are making cross-border payments to legal suppliers. CSI Paysystems also offers a proactive supplier enablement program—customers need only supply a vendor list, and the CSI supplier enablement team will manage enrollment and ongoing vendor support. At present, CSI’s supplier network includes over 200,000 vendors.

CSI provides reconciliation files and reporting for all payment types. Reconciliation files can be provided in CSI formats, or CSI will provide files mapped to a customer’s specifications. CSI also delivers remittances for all payment types; these remittances provide invoice-level detail and can be delivered by email, FTP, API, or through the CSI supplier network.

CSI Paysystems’ reporting tool offers standard reports and custom reporting options. Reports can be generated in PDF and CSV file formats and accessed in real time through the solution. Reports can also be scheduled for email delivery or through FTP, and the solution supports CFO-focused dashboards and spend analytics. Users also have access to transaction and payment reporting, account activity audit logs, and account balance reporting.

Implementation and Pricing

A typical CSI implementation requires a few 30- to 45-minute conference calls, including a kickoff call, an implementation call, and training calls. CSI provides a variety of training models, including on-site training and support, webinars and online training, guides and videos, online chat tools, and support from a dedicated AP-certified relationship manager. Every customer also receives a dedicated account management team.

CSI’s pricing structure varies by payment type. Rebates are available for virtual card accounts and network accounts, while ACH and check payments are subject to transaction fees.

GEP

GEP is a procurement technology developer with more than 18 years of experience in deploying Procure-to-Pay and Source-to-Settle solutions. With its P2P/S2S platform, SMART by GEP®, the company has made it possible for all tasks in the purchasing and payables processes to be carried out in one system and from any device. The unified platform is designed to automate and accelerate the management of a strategic indirect spend program, with automation for spend management, procurement, sourcing, contract management, order management, supplier self-service, and invoice processing.

Solution Overview

SMART by GEP is a highly secure, cloud-native procurement platform developed on the Microsoft Azure cloud. All of GEP’s development, data handling, and operational facilities and systems are certified to SSAE16 standards. GEP uses a web-based methodology to integrate with its customers’ third-party systems. The solution is mobile-native and works on any browser and platform. SMART by GEP’s invoice management functionality is fully integrated with the rest of its Source-to-Pay platform.

Payables Management

SMART by GEP natively accepts supplier invoices through the SMART by GEP portal. SMART by GEP also integrates with supplier systems for order and invoice transmission using EDI and/or cXML standards. For customers working to convert their invoices from paper to electronic formats, GEP identifies, targets, and onboards suppliers that send the largest volumes of paper invoices first.

GEP works with its clients to accommodate all other invoice receipt needs, either in house or through specialized outsourcing. Scanned and electronic invoices can be uploaded individually or in bulk. When appropriate, GEP partners with specialized providers for mailroom processing, scanning/OCR, and data extraction with validation and data capture confidence levels on invoices.

Upon invoice submission, GEP’s platform and invoice reconciliation solution conduct field-level matching based on business rules, automatic re-routing of incorrect invoices back to suppliers, and PO flip on validated invoices. Due to SMART by GEP’s comprehensive platform, the matching function can handle requisition, order, delivery note, receipt, and invoice matches. The platform also provides compliance tools to match invoices to contracted prices and prices bid at the sourcing stage. GEP’s Invoice Reconciliation features allow for the routing, revision, matching, and management of invoices that fail automatic matching.

SMART by GEP also includes comprehensive workflow and rules-based document handling. Users can configure routing for invoice approvals, invoice sign-off limits, and other workflows according to amount, category, business unit, and other thresholds. Built-in alerts, reminders, failover escalations, and delegation for absences can all be tailored to the requirements of the enterprise. SMART by GEP also offers Dynamic Discounting, which allows buyers to offer early payment on invoices in return for spot discounts.

SMART by GEP includes access to a global supplier base. With SMART by GEP, buyers can connect to a vast community of registered suppliers, drastically reducing the burden of onboarding. To address suppliers that are not yet registered for the SMART by GEP, GEP offers a managed, supplier onboarding service tailored to each customer’s need, conducted during implementation.

A typical supplier onboarding project consists of phased onboarding strategies for different segments of the supplier base. The onboarding team initially focuses on high invoice volume suppliers, then moves on to identify the next segment through a spend analysis process (e.g., high value or high importance but low volume suppliers).

SMART by GEP is built upon a data warehouse model for reporting and dashboards, providing the end user with access to all data across the procurement landscape. Its reporting services include dashboards and drag-and-drop, ad hoc reporting functionality that allows users to create reports based on any parameter captured within the system. Users can generate custom reports, which can then be added to the dashboard, viewed in graphical format, exported in multiple formats, and scheduled at a desired frequency. The platform also supports customization of dashboard views per individual users’ requirements.

Implementation and Pricing

Implementation of SMART by GEP solutions includes configuration to the client’s business processes and robust customer support to drive end-user adoption. Post-implementation, GEP provides phone and web-based support. GEP’s global customer support staff is based out of three regions (US, Europe, and Asia Pacific) and is available in 24/5 and 24/7 variants.

SMART by GEP is an annual subscription-based service priced on a function-by-function basis, largely according to the number of users of each function for each year of the contract. The different factors considered for pricing include number and type of users, interface languages, contract and template configuration requirement, and support services

ImageTag

ImageTag is a document management and business process automation solution provider for the mid-market. The company first offered its ECM solution in 1997, later adding ERP system integration and AP workflow automation to its core capture platform, KwikTag. Today, KwikTag provides ImageTag customers with a holistic system for managing document processes across their entire organization. KwikPayables, the KwikTag accounts payable automation solution, can host virtually all of an organization’s business documents in the same system, reducing the need for many separate software solutions. The KwikTag solution includes several advanced tools for capturing, storing, and searching for documents, and routing using dynamic workflows for any necessary reviews and approvals.

Solution Overview

KwikTag integrates directly with Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, SL, and AX through ImageTag’s ERP connectors, allowing customers to tag, view, search for, and retrieve any document that has been captured by KwikTag. The solution is offered on mobile devices through the KwikTag Anywhere responsive design application. The system also integrates with Microsoft Office and Office 365, enabling users to leverage the system to send documents and forms directly into KwikTag from these common applications.

Invoice Management

In order to input customers’ documents into the system, KwikTag facilitates batch scans using full OCR capability, as well as add-on products and services that perform intelligent capture (Zonal OCR) with auto-learn capabilities. The intelligent capture tools decrease the occurrence of low-confidence character recognition over time. ImageTag reports that in some cases, accuracy rates haves reached up to 99 percent.

Once documents are in the system, KwikTag workflow solutions allow customers to route them across many different departments and roles. The solution supports email approvals from mobile devices to accelerate the process, as well as automatic escalation routing. KwikTag also enables users to update workflows in real time with its Workflow Assignment Matrix Management tool.

The solution provides users with the ability to submit, tag, search, and retrieve documents. Users can search for documents with KwikTag Global Search, an advanced search function that includes everything from simple text queries to full content searches, in addition to metadata search criteria. The system has a flexible repository that allows documents to be archived outside of the KwikTag server on distributed customer storage systems. A sophisticated Document Lifecycle service is built into the KwikTag system, enforcing retention and archiving rules based on document type.

KwikTag provides security at multiple levels, including user authentication, site and drawer level permissions, and file-specific access. Security can be handled with Active Directory-driven control settings and single sign-on Windows authentication at the user level. KwikTag’s security measures enable compliance with SOX, HIPAA, and other financial and corporate regulations.

The solution is designed to accommodate a variety of back-office document lifecycles, including those for accounting, expense management, and supplier or employee onboarding; and it can be tailored to meet the needs of any business process. These applications are found in ImageTag’s catalog of KwikApps®, which are packaged and semi-packaged workflow applications designed to automate a specific process for any department (e.g., payables automation, expense management, sales orders, corporate forms automation, employee HR files). The system also offers a roles-based client strategy, providing different client experiences for various roles and activities.

Because document metadata is stored in ImageTag’s relational database, customers’ documents are linked to each other via common values. KwikTag allows users to retrieve a document and all related documents in the system, grouping them together in “Cases” for a broad view of a common area of interest. For example, in an Employee Case, all documents related to an employee are grouped together, making the navigation experience simpler for the employee, Payroll, and HR.

The KwikTag system also supports the full digital asset lifecycle, including creating, managing, distributing, retrieving, and archiving digital assets. The company’s professional consultants work with customers to recommend best practices and tailor solutions to meet their digital asset management needs.

Implementation and Pricing

The average implementation of the KwikTag solution typically runs between two and three months, depending on the customer’s schedule and availability. ImageTag offers hands-on administrator training and video tutorials during implementation, as well as hands-on Power User training.

After implementation, customers receive unlimited technical support via a dedicated US-based support team. They also have access to a dedicated technical account manager and proactive server maintenance for an additional fee. ImageTag’s pricing structure varies for on-premise and Software as a Service (SaaS) implementations.

Hanse Orga Group

The Hanse Orga Group has over 30 years of experience delivering financial process solutions to some of the world’s largest companies and banks. Hanse Orga Group is a longtime partner of SAP and offers SAP-integrated payments solutions, as well as standalone solutions for use with other ERPs. Hanse Orga Group’s solutions include functionality for cash application, payments, and treasury management. It has partnered with a private equity investor to expand its existing offerings and now delivers solutions for the full financial value chain, including key areas in Order-to-Cash (O2C), P2P, treasury, payments, and data and document management.

Solution Overview

Hanse Orga Group works with mid-sized and large organizations across a variety of industries. The company offers its solution on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid setup, with optional managed services. Hanse Orga Group also offers a multi-bank payment portal for financial institutions. Hanse Orga Group’s software has been deployed around the world, and is capable of handling millions of transactions every day in compliance with corporate and local regulations.

For system security, Hanse Orga Group’s solutions can reside inside of the SAP landscape and leverage the existing SAP security setup. Customers can also use solutions that run independently from SAP, in which case the solutions interface closely with SAP or other ERP systems. The solution supports integration with non-SAP systems through file-based integration, enterprise integration, and direct web services. The solution is also certified according to ISO 27001.

Payables Management

Hanse Orga Group offers software for the entire payables lifecycle, including supplier onboarding and information management, invoice capturing, accounts payable, and payments management. Organizations can capture invoices quickly and accurately using either manual (paper, PDF) or electronic (portal, email, eInvoice, EDI, etc.) methods. For unstructured information from paper or PDF invoices, the solution uses intelligent data capture through its native SmartEye OCR tool, as well as through partnerships with other data capture solutions.

Any electronically captured invoice can be processed using the solution’s invoice gateway, which validates the information as soon as the invoice is received. If the invoice meets all required criteria (e.g.,3-way match) the invoice can be automatically posted. The solution offers its own supplier portal, as well as the option to connect with other portals. The solution supports PO-flip on validated invoices.

The Hanse Orga Group’s FS² AccountsPayable solution supports field-level matching based on business rules through its invoice gateway. This entails pre-configured rules, as well as the option to add more rules according to specific business requirements. Invoices with exceptions can be automatically re-routed back to suppliers. The solution also offers a Fraud Monitor feature and embargo/sanction list screening features that automatically detect any irregularities or suspicious invoices. These are sent through additional verifications.

The business rules, matching, and workflow capabilities allow clients to process invoices automatically, and the solution’s machine learning capabilities enable the rate of touchless invoices to improve over time. When automatic processing is not possible, the solution routes invoices directly for approval or exception handling using a workflow engine. Approvers have the option to approve transactions directly in the SAP system, or using email or a cloud-based app on their desktop or mobile device. The solution’s workflow capabilities include escalation/reminder settings, out-of-office forwarding, and workload balancing.

While the solution leverages SAP platform, the invoice management interface offers one view of invoice processing (processing, tracking, and reporting) across a customer’s ERP systems. For invoices related to SAP, approved invoices are posted directly in the ERP system through a synchronous remote function call (RFC) interface. For non-SAP systems, the solution interfaces with the ERP system using the ERP system’s preferred integration protocol. The solution also comes with an SAP ArchiveLink-certified document management component which can securely store invoice images. These images are stored either on premise or on public or private cloud storage options, such as Amazon S3, Google GCP Storage, Microsoft Azure BLOB, Rackspace, AT&T, and others.

For payment, the FS² AccountsPayable solution connects directly to the FS² Payments module. The payments can be collected, consolidated, optimized approved directly from within the ERP system, such as SAP, without any manual interference. Hanse Orga Group’s cloud payment solution can also be connected to any other common ERP system to manage payments.

Payment transmission is executed via the SmartConnect banking connector. In this process, the customer’s payment format is automatically mapped and converted into the necessary bank format, and transmitted to the respective bank’s channel according to the correct protocols. Hanse Orga Group also offers a Managed Payment Service, in which the company manages processes related to format and bank connectivity maintenance, as well as offers embargo check, compliance screening, and fraud prevention.

Account statements are typically received via the same channel that is used for outgoing payments (SmartConnect). Reconciliation of payments (inbound and outbound) and processing of remittance information is possible with the cash application solutions.

The solution comes with configurable reports and dashboards. The FS² Analytics tool provides user-friendly interfaces and graphical visualization of key figures, allowing users and management to oversee the entire payments process. Users can modify their personal set-up of the dashboard and reporting criteria based on their individual requirements, and the dashboard can include any standard SAP reports or custom reports. FS² Analytics also provides the ability to perform historical analysis for internal benchmarking, as well as special business intelligence tool to help companies enhance their working capital management strategies.

Implementation and Pricing

The implementation time for Hanse Orga Group’s solution depends on the complexity of the process requirements and number of integration points, with the average implementation running approximately 4.5 months. During implementation, Hanse Orga Group assigns each customer a project manager to serve as the single point of contact. Training is available through a combination of formal classroom and hands-on methods. For further training, Hanse Orga Group offers Training Academy courses as well as online training modules through the customer support center. The online customer support center is available 24/7; email and telephone support are also available.

Hyland

For over 25 years, Hyland, creator of OnBase, has helped organizations streamline everyday business challenges. Hyland’s document management solution, OnBase, is a single enterprise information platform for managing content, processes, and cases. OnBase provides enterprise content management (ECM), case management, business process management, data capture, and enterprise file sync and share—all on one platform. In 2017, Hyland acquired the Perceptive business unit from Lexmark International, Inc., expanding its portfolio of content services offerings. With this acquisition, the company added data extraction software, Brainware by Hyland, to its product portfolio.

Solution Overview

OnBase by Hyland can be deployed as an on-premise or hosted solution. The solution provides no-code integration capabilities with multiple business applications and live data integrations through the

OnBase Enterprise Integration Server with ERP systems such as SAP, Workday, Infor/Lawson, Dynamics, Oracle, and others.

To ensure organizations’ security, OnBase allows users to restrict who can see documents and data, and what actions can perform with the information. Additional security features include audit trails, DocuSign and CEC Integrations for electronic signatures, data in transit (SSL/TLS), and means for encrypting data in storage.

Payables Management

OnBase features native capabilities for scanning and importing all business document types, including invoices. OnBase can accept invoices in multiple formats including images, PDF, XLS, XML, and EDI, and can be submitted by fax, email, FTP, and via the web or the OnBase Vendor Portal. OnBase extracts data from submitted documents via OCR; OnBase also provides intelligent capture for semi-structured documents, and this technology can capture line-item details and handwritten characters.

Document scanning and indexing is completely integrated within OnBase. The system supports Kofax, ISIS, and TWAIN scanner interfaces and provides licenses for multiple page volume levels, as well as centralized scanning and scanning from remote offices. Hyland offers various capture methods, including ad-hoc scanning from desktops, remote locations, and front-office functions, scanning with a third-party application, MFP integration for high-volume scanning, and email-based capture. Hyland also offers mailroom services through its Imaging Services team for customers that wish to outsource the data capture process.

OnBase automates several key AP business processes, including routing to appropriate business units, 2- and 3-way matching, approval hierarchies, dispute management, and posting to accounting applications. OnBase Workflow operates on a business rules engine that can adapt to any business structure. It is easily configurable, allowing designated users to create and deploy complex workflow hierarchies on demand. OnBase can also re-route invoices back to suppliers when necessary.

Users access invoices and related content from their familiar ERP application, email inbox, or mobile device. Managers can view real-time dashboards that increase visibility into the status of invoice processing, allowing them to identify bottlenecks and adjust workload distribution. OnBase Workflow supports workload balancing by user or role, as well as out-of-office forwarding, escalations, and reminders.

Workflow Approval Management, a direct add-on to Workflow, allows business users to configure required approvals and business rules to evaluate documents and dynamically assign approvers for any Workflow process—without any custom development. Approval hierarchies from existing business systems, such as ERPs, can also be leveraged to automatically manage approval assignments. Invoices without a PO will be routed to an AP review queue for GL coding or approver assignment. Additionally, PO invoices with PO or vendor exceptions will be routed to either AP staff or to the buyer associated with the PO.

Once invoices and payments are approved, OnBase can submit payment details to the customer’s ERP with the correct currency type to initiate payment to the vendor. OnBase also stores all client content with advanced document archival methods, preserving the documents according to clients’ preferences and providing advanced search and retrieval functionality.

OnBase Report Services includes over 140 pre-configured reports for evaluating OnBase and the processes it manages. OnBase presents reporting data in a variety of formats, and reports can be exported in XML, HTML, or Excel formats, or saved as PDF, JPEG, or TIFF. Organizations can also create custom reports to meet their specific business reporting needs—without the need to engage IT resources. Dashboards present data in a variety of graphical formats including charts, graphs, scorecards, and maps, and interactive features allow users to easily monitor performance and analyze trends in real time.

Implementation and Pricing

Implementation times for OnBase solutions vary by solution and customer needs. During implementation, OnBase offers a variety of on-site and online training classes and events for both end users and customer trainers. Customers can access detailed documentation and user guides, as well as user community websites that provide a place to learn more about OnBase and collaborate with other users. OnBase offers customers dedicated support from Account Management teams, as well as 24/7 access to Technical Support.

The licensing and pricing of OnBase is designed with diverse customer needs in mind, allowing for à la carte purchases of modular components.

Inspyrus

Inspyrus was founded in 2008 by a team of Stanford and MIT graduates. In 2010, the company released Inspyrus Invoice Automation, and today Inspyrus offers a fully integrated product portfolio that combines advanced invoice automation with supplier enablement tools and a dynamic discounting management platform. In 2013, Inspyrus partnered with Oracle Corporation, becoming Oracle’s go-to-market AP solution.

Solution Overview

The Inspyrus solution includes three core products—Invoice Automation, Total Discounting, and Supplier Central. The product portfolio is built using a single application design center, which allows clients to turn on additional solution modules as needed. Inspyrus leverages several patent-pending technologies to increase automation, including direct, real-time integration with all major ERP systems. These systems include SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle JD Edwards, Oracle PeopleSoft, Oracle ERP Cloud/Fusion, and IBM Maximo. The solution’s bi-directional integration capabilities eliminate the need for clients to routinely load data into the invoice automation solution or perform batch updates to their ERP systems. These integrations are provided out-of-the-box and allow clients to connect to multiple ERP systems simultaneously with a single Inspyrus application—potentially delivering significant advantages and cost savings for shared service operations. Other patent-pending technologies include Inspyrus DataEnrichTM and Inspyrus DataValidateTM, which clean, enrich, and pre-validate invoice and supplier data in real time against the clients’ ERP systems to deliver exception-free invoice processing.

Inspyrus offers a dedicated mobile application for its invoice automation solution. The app enables users to perform invoice coding, review, and approval, and many other functions directly from their mobile devices (iOS and Android).

Payables Management

Inspyrus Invoice Automation includes a complete eInvoicing solution that supports supplier invoices in EDI, cXML, CSV, and other structured data formats. It also offers native support for processing scanned paper, email, and fax invoices. Inspyrus DataEnrichTM is then used to complete automated 2- and 3-way matching with the ERP system instantaneously, and Inspyrus DataValidateTM validates invoices in real time with the ERP system.

Supplier Central provides a self-service portal for suppliers, allowing them to check the status of an invoice or payment, quickly submit invoices or flip POs into invoices electronically, and accept early payment discounts. Invoices submitted to Supplier Central are validated in real time with the client’s ERP system of record.

The solution’s reporting module includes over 80 out-of-the-box reports as well as built-in dashboards that allow users to drill down into key performance indicators (KPIs), invoice details, spend and audit data, and automation levels across all processes. Users can also see detailed statuses and history both at a macro-processes level and for individual transaction instances. This data is visible across all business divisions and operating units, and across all ERP systems.

Total Discounting enables companies to maximize early payment discounts from suppliers by combining the best of both traditional discounting and dynamic discounting methods. Inspyrus clients can create discount tiers in which they can map suppliers based on criteria such as size, propensity to offer discount, industry, cost of capital, and spend type. Discount tiers represent annual percentage rate (APR) for the discounts, and are measured on a sliding scale up to the payment due date.

Clients can create a discount cash pool for each week, month, quarter, or year, limiting the quantity of early payments made to suppliers. The client can prioritize the use of the cash pool based on discount tiers. Clients can also prioritize invoice processing queues of discounted invoices vs. non-discounted invoices to maximize early payment discounts. The solution currently supports a buyer-funded model; a third-party financing model for buyers and suppliers will be incorporated into the product in 2018.

From the Supplier Central portal, suppliers have several discounting options: they can choose to be “Paid ASAP” on all their invoices automatically, or they can selectively request early payment for a given invoice or group of invoices. They can also request that a certain amount of the invoice be paid on a given date, or they can allow the Inspyrus Total Discounting solution to calculate the optimal discount amount for the supplier from one or more of their pending invoices across all of their customers. Because the Inspyrus product portfolio is fully integrated, the suppliers have visibility into their invoices as soon as they submit them, and they do not need to wait for the invoice to be vouchered in the ERP system before they can request early payment.

Implementation and Pricing

Inspyrus offers deployment flexibility for all of its solutions and ERP integrations, including cloud, on-premise, and hybrid deployments. Average implementations run from under one week to 10 weeks, depending on the size of the company and the type of deployment. These implementations are turn-key and include specialized training for clients’ business users, end users, and IT staff. After implementation, Inspyrus provides 2-4 weeks of “hyper-care” support, followed by continued support from the Inspyrus Managed Services team.

The Invoice Automation solution is offered through a SaaS model that includes per-invoice fees charged on a monthly or annual basis, and a perpetual license model with annual support fees. The Total Discounting option is priced on a gain-share model, with no upfront license or subscription fees. Supplier Central is included at no charge with the Total Discounting solution, or with per-supplier fees when not used with Total Discounting.

Nvoicepay

Nvoicepay has a decade of experience delivering cloud-based electronic payments for enterprise organizations. The solution streamlines how companies pay their domestic and international invoices, and works with every accounting system and all banking partners. Nvoicepay integrates with front-end AP solutions to complete the Procure-to-Pay lifecycle, enabling organizations to pay 100 percent of their invoices electronically.

Solution Overview

Nvoicepay serves enterprise organizations across a variety of industries. As a cloud-based solution, Nvoicepay integrates seamlessly with any pre-existing platforms or workflows and any banking partner. Nvoicepay’s international payment offerings deliver payments to over 170 countries in over 140 currencies, with an auto-generated remittance for every payment.

For system security, Nvoicepay is SOC certified and all payments are insured and warranted. For international payments, suppliers are checked against “Do Not Pay” lists and Nvoicepay helps clients adhere to all local, regional, and national regulations. Data is stored for seven years in the cloud and separate logins are provided to auditors.

Payables Management

Nvoicepay partners with front-end AP solution providers to offer invoice receipt, validation, workflows, and approval management. When an organization already has an eInvoicing and/or front-end AP automation solution in place, Nvoicepay can display invoice images in those solutions. The software can also display cleared check images.

Nvoicepay offers support for ACH/EFT payments as well as card, check, and wire payments. Nvoicepay partners with MasterCard to deliver secure, single-use, controllable virtual card numbers (VCNs) using MasterCard’s inControl platform. Nvoicepay follows up with suppliers to ensure the VCNs are processed in a timely manner. For card payment approvals, hierarchies are built into the platform, allowing the customer to set complex approval matrixes and workflows that mimic their current processes.

Nvoicepay provides comprehensive supplier services through its Payment Command Center. Within the Command Center, suppliers can access a portal that allows them to check on payments status, download remittances, and communicate with buyers. In addition, suppliers can indicate which payment methods they accept; suppliers can update their payment and remittance contact preferences at any time.

Nvoicepay manages all supplier payment data and updates it in real time. The company onboards all suppliers through multi-touch campaigns. As new suppliers are added, Nvoicepay reaches out and enables them for electronic payments.

The solution provides Positive Payee services for all print check payments and monitors its system for duplicate invoice payments. Nvoicepay also features automatic account reconciliation and provides suppliers with rich remittance details with every payment.

Nvoicepay’s solution offers reporting within the platform and provides benchmarking and best practice metrics for customers across their industries. Nvoicepay also provides reporting and analytics tools to assist with working capital management.

Implementation and Pricing

Implementation needs vary by customer and the complexity of the use case. Typically, implementations take 45-60 days, with the majority of that time spent by Nvoicepay enabling suppliers to accept electronic payments. Customers spend on average 8 hours on implementation activities, including training.

Nvoicepay is responsible for mapping the payment files, programming approval hierarchies, and enabling all suppliers, regardless of size or location. Nvoicepay provides training either digitally or in person for customers, and customer support representatives are available to assist customers when they have questions. Additionally, customers can access on-demand support via phone and email, and have dedicated account managers. Suppliers also have access to on-demand support via phone and email to assist in processing payments.

Nvoicepay has standard SaaS pricing as well as transactional fees. There are no fees for suppliers to accept payments.

Paramount WorkPlace

Paramount WorkPlace develops, sells, and supports advanced web-based and native mobile requisitioning, procurement, accounts payable, and expense solutions for mid-market and enterprise organizations across a range of industries worldwide. WorkPlace Payments provides enterprise users with the option of adding automated ACH payments within the WorkPlace Spend Management solution for a fully centralized standalone P2P platform. The user interface offers flexible Procure-To-Pay automation and robust expense reporting that is easy for employees, effective for management, and powerful for accounting.

Solution Overview

Paramount WorkPlace’s solution can be deployed in SaaS/cloud-based and on-premise environments. It is offered as a standalone solution as well as a certified extension of many leading ERPs. Paramount WorkPlace offers seamless out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Dynamics (GP, NAV, SL, and AX), Epicor, Intacct, Sage (100, 300, 500, Sage Intacct), Blackbaud (Financial Edge and Financial Edge NXT), Acumatica, and Oracle-NetSuite via ERP-specific APIs. WorkPlace also offers tailored integrations for other ERPs and industry-specific solutions using its Data Integration API toolset. The solution offers multi-language and multi-currency support as well as global taxation options (including HST, VAT, and GST). For system security, the solution leverages roles-based controls and several industry-driven authentication protocols including single sign-on, LDAP, active directory, OAUTH2, and two-factor authentication.

Payables Management

Invoices are entered into the solution through the supplier portal, by scanning the invoice via OCR, or by manually entering the information. Users can set up a centralized email mailbox that invoices can be sent to, and the solution will periodically scan and process invoices found in the mailbox.

Scanned invoices can be automatically or manually matched to a PO. Paramount WorkPlace’s solution offers 2- and 3-way matching for loading one or more PO lines from one or more different POs. The supplier portal supports PO and non-PO invoicing. Paramount WorkPlace’s solution facilitates centralized AP invoice processing for the entire organization. The solution’s capabilities include 2- and 3-way matching, single-button PO-flip, wizard-driven matching against approved POs, and manual transaction line entry. It also provides separate user- and role-level security options for receiving and matching.

The approval workflow tool can handle any approval structure and organizational hierarchy. Configurable approval workflows support header, line, PO, and non-PO rules-based routing with unlimited approvals and approval path capabilities. Organizations can enforce departmental, division, and corporate approvals with multilevel approval lists. The solution also offers parallel approval capabilities, enabling several different approvers to be configured for a certain approval step but only requiring a certain number of approvals before the invoice can proceed.

The Check Request tool allows companies to manage non-PO invoices. Users can link paper invoices to their internal data and enforce policies and approval workflows for these invoices. The tool automatically approves certain invoices, such as recurring utility bills. WorkPlace Check Request also supports 1099 entry and payments for check requests.

Unmatched invoices are automatically sent through an exception workflow based on custom invoice variances, such as quantity or amount thresholds. The solution automatically sends notifications to the appropriate approver for invoice exceptions. The solution also offers escalations and reminders, out-of-office forwarding, and workload balancing for invoice approvals. Invoice approvers can approve or reject invoices from their mobile devices either directly from the notification email or through the mobile app (only for non-PO invoices).

Suppliers and vendors have access to a free self-service vendor portal with automatic PO notifications and the ability to submit PO, non-PO, and service invoices. They can upload invoices and attachments from the portal, and are automatically notified by email when POs are available to view and match. They can also manage their own contact information; additions and updates are automatically fed to the WorkPlace approval workflow for review. The system automatically syncs approved changes with the client’s associated ERP. WorkPlace Supplier Network currently has over 850 suppliers registered. Companies can engage with new suppliers from the network or invite their own to register and participate in the network.

After approval, the solution posts approved transactions to the general ledger. Users have access to an electronic payments solution through Paramount’s technology partner, Forte. The solution includes a line-level audit log for all purchasing-related documents, and all historical transaction data is retained and searchable with the ability to view related attachments.

Once payment has been processed, remittance information is automatically transmitted to the respective suppliers, and payment information is updated and available for internal stakeholders to view from the originating transactions.

For payment, the Paramount WorkPlace solution integrates with corporate cards that support Open Financial Exchange (OFX) communications. The solution also offers configurable file import mapping capabilities to accommodate client-specific banking requirements. A credit card interface is available to users at no additional charge.

The card support tool extends to expense reporting processes as well, via Paramount’s expense report management solution. All Level 3 data from the credit card provider can be imported and stored with the associated transaction. In cases where the information is not provided by the merchant, users can annotate and add information at the transaction level. WorkPlace Mobile’s automated Receipt OCR will also capture the merchant name associated with the matching credit card charge.

Credit card transactions are processed through the Expense solution, where detailed financial coding is assigned for the transactions. Cost codes from the imported credit card provider data can be mapped to the correct expense type to automatically categorize and assign GL accounts for each credit card expenditure. The solution supports reconciliation with detailed journal entry creation and tracking, with dedicated accounting distributed for specified payment, gain/loss, and trade discount accounts.

The Paramount WorkPlace solution includes over 70 out-of-the-box printed reports, dashboard charts, and metrics that cover all P2P modules. The solution also includes ad-hoc reporting capabilities and an optional Dashboard Metrics and Reports engine that allows customers to add unlimited custom reports and dashboards to the solution. All historical transaction data is retained and searchable, and scanned invoices are archived along with the WorkPlace invoice record with which they are associated.

Implementation and Pricing

Implementation of Paramount WorkPlace varies depending on the organization’s size and the licensed solution. The typical go-live duration is 60-90 days. Paramount WorkPlace and authorized resellers offer one-to-one comprehensive training and department-wide training, as well as training workshops and on-demand custom training. Customers receive unlimited support, including free technical support via toll-free phone, email, or chat, and access to an online customer center with learning materials.

Pricing structures include perpetual annual license or monthly SaaS payments.

About PayStream Advisors

PayStream Advisors is a research and advisory firm focused on business process automation in sourcing, supply chain management, procurement, accounts payable, payments, and expense management. PayStream’s team of experts provide targeted research and consulting services to address the changing needs of finance and procurement professionals. In short, PayStream is dedicated to maximizing returns and minimizing risks associated with technology investment. PayStream’s research reports, white papers, webinars, and tools are available free of charge at www.paystreamadvisors.com. PayStream Advisors is a division of Levvel, an IT consulting firm specializing in technology strategy, design, architecture, and DevOps.

DISCLAIMER

All Research Reports produced by PayStream are a collection of PayStream’s professional opinions and are based on PayStream’s reasonable efforts to compile and analyze, in PayStream’s sole professional opinion, the best sources reasonably available to Paystream at any given time. Any opinions reflect Paystream’s judgment at the time and are subject to change. Anyone using this report assumes sole responsibility for the selection and / or use of any and all content, research, publications, materials, work product or other item contained herein. As such Paystream does not make any warranties, express or implied, with respect to the content of this Report, including, without limitation, those of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Paystream shall not be liable under any circumstances or under any theory of law for any direct, indirect, special, consequential or incidental damages, including without limitation, damages for lost profits, business failure or loss, arising out of use of the content of the Report, whether or not Paystream has been advised of the possibility of such damages and shall not be liable for any damages incurred arising as a result of reliance upon the content or any claim attributable to errors, omissions or other inaccuracies in the content or interpretations thereof.


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