Invoice Approval Workflow: Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics ERP
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Invoice Approval Workflow: Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics ERP photoThere are many constraints in all of the Dynamics ERPs – NAV, AX, and GP. This is especially evident in how user fees are structured,  and the lack of functionality around invoice approval workflows.

User Costs Around Invoice Workflows
  • Dynamics workflows are scripted, and scripting means using IT resources as well as requiring users to input requirements.
  • Customers must purchase Dynamics user licenses for requisitioners. If the user touches two modules of Dynamics, such as Purchasing and GL, that can mean additional costs.
  • There is a user cost for coding – approvers must be licensed in the same way if they want to code an invoice (G/L and AP).
Functionality Issues
  • Without support for punch-out capabilities, PRICAT (Price/Sales Catalogue), or webshops users cannot access supplier catalogs or websites.
  • Users have to look at each line in order to determine a mismatch for Purchase Order matching. Much manual legwork goes into finding the discrepancy, and the routing is limited by rules.
  • Accounting accruals take time and unrecorded liabilities become an issue.
  • Dynamics lacks an audit trail for the invoice approval process.
  • Business documents are not stored in an image repository for retrieval.
  • Data capture is a manual process in many cases, which is restrictive with large invoice volumes.

Extending Dynamics Functionality

The good news is that it is possible to leverage your investment in Dynamics by using best-of-breed third party software that provides the functionality Dynamics is missing – with minimal involvement of valuable I.T resources. With the right application, you will have:

Reduced Costs
  • Workflows are graphical and dynamic, allowing for ad hoc routing.
  • Software cost is based on invoice volumes, as opposed to number of users.
Extended Functionality
  • Users can access preferred online supplier catalogues.
  • PO matching is automated, and exceptions are sent to approvers on their laptop or mobile devices.
  • Shows invoice status in a central dashboard.
  • Creates an audit trail showing messages between users and suppliers as well as document images.
  • Has a document management system that allows you to not only store contracts and other relevant files, but allows you to put them into a workflow as well.
  • Have an automated data capture system that uses Artificial Intelligence to extract essential information from invoices, whether they are mailed in paper format or sent in email as a PDF, XML, EDI, Excel, Word or other format.

Find out more about the functionality in EchoVera’s AP automation solution for Dynamics here.





10 Ways Procure to Pay Software Accelerates Digital Transformation
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10 Ways Procure to Pay Software Accelerates Digital Transformation photoProcure to pay software can make a substantial impact on the digital transformation of your organization. It leverages the investment in your ERP and has a proven ROI for both cycle times and cost savings.

1. Makes 100% digitalisation possible
Organizations want to reduce their carbon footprint, and stop using paper. A paperless environment reduces the workload paper files and paper processes demand.

2. Expands the control of purchasing
A purchasing system with the ability to pre-approve orders reduces maverick spending. Collaboration between purchasing and finance makes for a successful ROI throughout the entire procure to pay process.

3. Dynamic discounting
By having an automated purchase requisition process, approval cycle times are reduced and dynamic discounting opportunities are optimized.

4. Cloud-based software
Because the capital outlay is minimal in comparison to on-premise, a cloud-based solution means fewer servers and staff requirements. You are not paying for the number of users, but actual invoice volume.

5. Connection to supplier web shops
Get punch-out capabilities to web shops or PRICAT (Price/Sales Catalog) support for the online catalogs of your suppliers.

6. Bird’s-eye view of the organization’s expenses
Leverage the data to get a 360º view of the organization’s expenses. Get supplier statistics such as volume and transactions. 
Identify bottlenecks in the organization from within a central dashboard.

7. User-friendly interface and workflow
Best of breed software is intuitive and user-friendly. Workflows are visually easy to manage and employees can do approvals or coding on desktop, tablets, and smartphones.

8. Tools for reports and KPI performance measurements
Because the digital environment is measurable, tools and reports can provide input into key KPIs that are determined at the outset and altered as the organization evolves.

9. Scalability
If you are experiencing tremendous growth, it is very easy to scale. You can increase your license size accordingly, and conversely downsize in cases of reduced volumes or seasonal fluctuations.

10. Security and protection 
Reputable cloud vendors have made the investment in the right people, tools, and appliances that keep data safe and compliance standards upheld.

For more about how Intelligent Procure to Pay software with 95%+ recommend ratings can help your organization, click here.

The Best OCR Software for NetSuite uses AI
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The Best OCR Software for NetSuite uses AI photoAP professionals who are exploring OCR software for NetSuite are influenced by several large trends:

  • Growing companies using NetSuite do not want to add more staff in order to process larger volumes of invoices, and want to automate the process in order to capitalize on cost savings.
  • Executives want more visibility into the status of the invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts in their AP process.
  • The playing field for OCR has changed dramatically, with technology that utilizes both Artificial Intelligence and intelligent automation.

AP departments receive invoices in many different ways: Word, Excel, PDF, EDI, XML, paper-based invoices, scanned documents sent by email, and more.

Capturing this data in all its forms is a challenge, especially with standard OCR. We have discovered companies that receive invoices by email, print them out, and then key the information into their accounting system or ERP. Or they scan the invoices using older OCR technology but do not have access to all the data because of integration issues.

For NetSuite users needing to scan and capture both paper and email invoices, Intelligent OCR is a cloud solution that intelligently captures all of the essential data into a sophisticated and adaptable approval workflow. And unlike most methods of data capture, you can automate the entire process with 95% accuracy.

Intelligent OCR uses Artificial Intelligence and intelligent automation to capture data from both email and paper invoices, eliminating the need for any data entry. A sophisticated workflow routs invoice data to approvers and automates 2 and 3 way matching.

Intelligent OCR searches, interprets, validates, and extrapolates semantic meaning from all types of file (and paper) formats. The technology is capable of automatically and intuitively detecting and learning unique supplier invoices based on their respective layouts. It intuitively performs field mapping and data collection, extracting the essential data and putting the data into a shared dashboard and workflow that integrates with NetSuite.

For more information or to book a demo of Intelligent OCR for NetSuite, click here.

Automating the 2 and 3 Way Match Sounds Great – But What About Exceptions?
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Software can automate the process of matching invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts. It’s done by matching line items and having a matching engine that efficiently processes documents, allowing staff to concentrate on more productive activity – as opposed to performing these tasks manually.

Intelligent 3 Way Match works in tandem with an ERP to match invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts. A central dashboard shows the status of all invoices in the queue and where they are in the process.

Automating the 2 and 3 Way Match Sounds Great – But What About Exceptions? photo

What about non-PO invoices, or invoices that have no matching information?

If an invoice does not have a PO, or there is not any information about the goods received, what is the benefit of software? Employees are spending time trying to reconcile exceptions.

Intelligent 3 Way Match has a sophisticated approval workflow, that eliminates staff hours involved in handling exceptions. It uses both AI and automation to speed up approval times and resolve the exception efficiently. Here is an illustration of how the process works:

Automating the 2 and 3 Way Match Sounds Great – But What About Exceptions? photo

The approver receives a package that includes an image of the invoice, any purchase order or goods receipt information, the messages that have been exchanged with suppliers, and any other documents that are relevant to the transaction. The employee can approve the purchase and send the exception back to the ERP for payment, or with ad hoc routing pass it on to other people in the organization who need to approve the transaction.

Many organizations experience a 50% reduction in approval time – and a 20% reduction in processing costs is not uncommon. For more information about Intelligent 3 Way Match, click here. For 2-3 way matching for NetSuite, click here.

Purchase Requisition Automation Makes Sense for Procurement
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Purchase Requisition Automation Makes Sense for Procurement photoWhat percentage of your company’s spend is under management?

For many companies surveyed, that percentage is under what should optimally be 100%.

Purchase Requisition Automation Makes Sense for Procurement photo

Indirect spend is a big issue for procurement, and it is something many organizations have not grappled with.

71% of organizations say they lack visibility with the non-contracted/non-sourced spend category, and 50% said that maverick spending is another big concern.

Purchase Requisition Automation Makes Sense for Procurement photo

The cost of uncontrolled purchases

Controlling maverick spending is the most ubiquitous challenge facing procurement in relation to indirect spend management. Organizations are saying that maverick spend by individual managers or business units are front and center*.  

Purchase Requisition Automation Makes Sense for Procurement photo

ERPs and the Technology Challenge

Purchasing modules in ERPs are designed for direct purchasing, but not for managing indirect spending – and here are some of the reasons why:

  • Workflows are not flexible to match growing companies. Purchasing that is operational is driven by growth – with few control mechanisms in place.
  • ERP modules for purchasing are complex and are directed by the “order-to-cash” cycle.
  • ERP user licenses are costly, impacting broad-based deployment.
  • Multiple versions of an ERP are common in large companies or organizations in different countries. Managing spend across many ERPs is not practical.

Ensuring a Successful Implementation of Purchase Requisition Automation

Consult each department to find out specifically what they need to consider a transaction successful. As an example:

  • Purchasing has policies that dictate authorization levels required for approved purchases that have to be addressed.
  • A safety department is required to be on an approval list for anything that involves their department.
  • Accounts payable requires that there is a receipt and PO for the invoice being processed.

Purchase Requisition Automation Makes Sense for Procurement photo

Build in controls that relieve you from monitoring
An example would be if a person needs to identify approver’s signatures and authorization amounts. This happens when people leave the company, are promoted, or are new to the organization.

Determine what back-end reporting you need. For example:

  • Controllers who monitor spending in their area of responsibility may need to have the ability to drill down to the transaction in question.
  • Maintenance may need a report on what a specific vendor brings into their facility.
  • AP managers could access metrics on team performance, or have a more efficient and accurate accrual process.

Ensure you have the highest percentage of straight-through processing
If an invoice arrives that is lacking supporting documentation, there is a good chance it will have to go into an approval workflow to have someone look at it. By avoiding this manual process upfront, invoices can be processed in larger volumes automatically, avoiding human intervention altogether.

For more information on how you can empower your organization by automating the purchase requisition process, click here.

*Spend Matters

Procure to Pay Trends – What Role For the ERP?
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Our technology partner Palette has published this SlideShare on the Future of Procure to Pay, and the role that ERPs play.

In recent years there has been a lot of interest around digitalization and robotic process automation. In spite of that, adoption of automated systems for procure to pay is low – even though these two subjects are trends that are seen as having the greatest impact on procurement processes over the next 10 years.

ERP systems are front and centre in most of the transactions of the procure to pay process in many organizations, yet few ERPs are equipped to handle the sophistication and flexibility that role requires.

Paper Persists
By default, companies are doing most of their purchasing and AP processes inside their ERP. Paper processes predominate: invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts are handled manually. Even emailed invoices are printed out and entered into the accounting system manually.

For purchasing, most ERPs do not have purchase requisitioning systems, and the ones that do lack flexibility in their workflow design. Communications capabilities with suppliers is limited to Outlook or other email client, which can often contribute to longer product lead times. Because ERP purchasing is limited to inventory or direct purchases, 40% – 50% of transactions are unmanaged and prone to maverick spending.

Procure to Pay Trends   What Role For the ERP? photo

A shared central dashboard showing invoice status can provide visibility and reduce cycle times.

Accounts Payable
For accounts payable, if invoices do not match available POs, the dollar amounts don’t match, there is no PO, or if goods receipts do not match, the exception has to be handled manually. This can stretch cycle times as well as prevent finance executives from having visibility into payment status or payables balances.

The solution is to have a Procure to Pay Platform that:

  • Can handle multiple ERPs, multiple currencies, and multiple reporting.
  • Be able to translate many different file formats such as XML, PDF, EDI, Text, Excel, etc.
  • Leverages robotic process automation for approval workflow
  • Provides knowledge workers with tools such as ad-hoc routing and email or total communication abilities with vendors
  • Has a modular approach to match company adoption cycles and gives more opportunity for optimization in the future

For more information on our Procure to Pay Solution that is powered by Palette, click here.

Intelligent 3 Way Match Explained
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Intelligent 3 Way Match Handles Exceptions with an Approval Workflow and a Shared Central Dashboard

In this video you’ll see an example of how Palette Software automates the matching process for invoices, purchase orders, and good receipts. As well, there is an explanation of how the approval workflow for exception handling works. Both of these functions save huge amounts of time, and reduce the manual handling of documents to a bare minimum. 2.5 minutes

Intelligent 3 Way Match Explained photo

Excerpt – Defining The Challenge: 2 and 3 Matching

“Most companies do some form of matching of vendor invoices to purchase orders and/or goods receipts. This is called a two or three way match. The process can require a great deal of manual effort, particularly if the invoiced items have to be matched at the line level.

Intelligent 3 Way Match Explained photoOnce an invoice is entered into an ERP it is assigned a “match/no match” status. If for any reason there are price differences or problems with the goods receipt, the invoice cannot be processed by the ERP. Users or knowledge workers typically have to cancel the transaction, and then perform time-consuming manual work to clear the exception. This usually involves the purchaser, the receiver and sometimes the vendor.

ERPs do not have an automated way of handling these exceptions and in many cases staff members may spend days trying to clear up the differences between purchase orders, invoices, and goods receipts.”

To find out more about our 3 Way Match solution that is powered by Palette Intelligent 3 Way Match, click here.

AP Automation for Manufacturing – Detailed Case Study from Palette
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This case study shows how procure to pay software boosts the performance of  an auto manufacturer’s finance department using robotic process automation.

It shows how the company achieved a 70% drop in cycle times, a 43% reduction in invoice processing costs and a 20% increase in invoice volumes, without adding to the 18 people already in finance.

Some of the challenges the AP department had included:

  • Invoices could get lost during the manual approval process between 11 plants
  • Internal invoice communication was in Outlook (very inefficient and hard to track)
  • No visibility to vendor contracts – which increased exposure to making payment on recurring contracts after the expiration date
  • Organization made AP the corporate policy enforcers for approvals on invoices, PO’s and expense reports

AP Automation for Manufacturing    Detailed Case Study from Palette photo

And issues around indirect purchasing:

  • No visibility to indirect spend
  • Non-preferred vendors were being used without authorization
  • Authorized signatures were not being verified
  • PO’s were randomly getting lost on their way to corporate

See how Palette’s AP automation for manufacturing empowered the company’s employees with an approval workflow and a reduction in the manual handling of invoices, purchase orders, and expense receipts.

It covers important topics around purchase to pay, procurement, ap automation, and spend management.

Palette is a major component of EchoVera’s complete solution called ASAP.
Find out more here.

SAP Business One AP Automation – The Next Step
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SAP Business One AP Automation   The Next Step photo

Are you happy with SAP Business One? Here are some comments from reviewers and users:

  • Pro: “SAP Business One provides a comprehensive and sophisticated financial system that also easily extends to add the functions of a true ERP system, including modules for production, HR, CRM, and MRP.” -PC Magazine
  • Pro: “SAP One for business is what everyone needs in their manufacturing to keep up with inventory, production, shipping, and financials.” –
  • Con: “Clients are spending large sums of money on consultants with minimal guidance unless you pay the extremely pricey SAP costs.” –G2Crowd

In other words, this ERP is a great platform for medium sized businesses, including manufacturers…but sometimes consulting fees can add up! This seems to be the general consensus overall.

SAP Business One users are also reducing paper and all of the effort associated with manual invoice processing, by automating their accounts payable. That means having a workflow for approvals, 2 or 3 way matching that is “touchless”, handling exceptions and non-POs within the automated system and having an audit trail for compliance purposes.

How Sap Business One AP Automation Works

Capturing Data with Intelligent OCR and AI

Incoming paper invoices are scanned while emailed invoices automatically enter the system. Artificial Intelligence software examines both paper and emailed invoices, capturing all relevant data.

AP Approval Workflow

In a central shared dashboard, the status of invoices is easily monitored. Users can see the invoices that they are approved for, unless they are an administrator.

SAP Business One AP Automation   The Next Step photoIf invoices match preset configuration settings, approvals are automated. The invoices are coded by the appropriate person and sent to SAP Business One. The accuracy of account coding is ensured through the use of permissions, which ensures that users are only working on those documents for which they are authorized.

Automatic notifications for approval are sent to designated managers. Invoices or line items are flagged if needed. Once approved by the user, invoices are sent to SAP Business One.

3 Way Matching, Handling Exceptions, and Non PO Invoices

Purchase orders, supplier invoices and goods receipts are automatically matched by the software. If the invoices don’t match your configuration settings, the appropriate information, including items such as a PO or goods receipt, are sent in a package to the appropriate approver to review.

SAP Business One AP Automation   The Next Step photoNon-PO invoices are automatically pushed through to the person(s) in charge of that invoice. The managers or knowledge workers, who also get an email notification, review the information on their laptops or mobile devices, and approve the invoice accordingly.

Workflow steps are easily added, based upon specified authorization levels. If additional approvals are needed, the package is sent either to a supervisor or other appropriate team members.


SAP Business One AP Automation   The Next Step photo

Internal and external communications by email or the chat function in the dashboard allows users to both monitor and process invoices quickly.

Since users are automatically notified via email when there are invoices that need attending to, exceptions and other complications are handled more efficiently and with less of the back-and-forth of regular communication channels.

Audit Trail

A step-by-step documented history of invoice transactions is recorded. This includes email and chat conversations, which are recorded and documented. Included in the records are time stamps and the approval process for each invoice.

This reliable and easy-to-follow audit trail is not only good practice internally, it also forms the basis of objectivity for audits or other investigations.

For more information on EchoVera’s SAP Business One AP Automation, click here.

Canadian Cloud Automation Company Surpasses $1 Billion Processing Mark
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Canadian Cloud Automation Company Surpasses $1 Billion Processing Mark photoPR Release: Toronto, Ontario – May 11, 2017 

EchoVera, an accounts payable automation solutions provider, has surpassed the $1B mark in the processing of invoices for major corporations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. AP departments use EchoVera’s technology to optimize and automate the approval process for invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts.

Central to the solution is Intelligent OCR, a system that uses Artificial Intelligence to scan both email and paper invoices to capture relevant data. A shared central dashboard by Palette Software provides an approval workflow for managers to code and approve invoices on mobile devices. A three way “matching engine” matches invoices to purchase orders and goods receipts, and sends non-PO invoices and exceptions to the people in the organization who need to approve them.

Ralf Leitner, CEO of EchoVera said, “Both Intelligent OCR and Palette Software provide a Purchase to Pay automation platform that helps our clients optimize their operations, reduce the manual handling and errors associated with paper processes, and decrease their environmental footprint.”

EchoVera was one of the first technology companies to invest in a cloud infrastructure for its AP automation solutions. Waterloo-based Watserv provides SOC2 compliant cloud operations in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Visit the EchoVera AP Automation page for more information.

On Twitter, follow @EchoVera

About EchoVera:
EchoVera Inc. provides Intelligent Capture and Automated Purchase to Pay solutions to companies and organizations looking to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of their accounts payable operations. With offices in Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa, EchoVera brings over thirty years of experience to clients around the world.

Contact Information:
Ralf Leitner, CEO
EchoVera Inc.
100 Dupont Street
Toronto, ON CAN
M5R 1V2
416 968-2335