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Tim Robertson

Dynamics AX AP Workflow and AP Audit – What You Should Know
Dynamics AX AP Workflow and AP Audit – What You Should Know 150 150 Tim Robertson

Dynamics AX AP Workflow


In a previous post we talked about the 3 forces affecting Dynamics AX and the AP process today:

  • Finance executives want more visibility into the overall accounts payable process.
  • Companies want to reduce the cost of processing supplier invoices.
  • Technology has made 3-way matching, intelligent data capture, auditing and real-time reporting of invoice status a reality.

We also talked about what functions to look for when exploring AP automation solutions, such as Intelligent OCR, Intelligent Capture, and Authentic 3 Way Matching. In this post, we talk about the functions – AP workflow, reporting, communications, and audit trail  – that are incorporated into an AP automation platform for Dynamics AX. 

AP Workflow Provides Visibility

Visibility into the AP process means being able to monitor the status of your invoice processing at any time. It’s about managing the workflow so that invoices don’t get stuck in the system, resulting in late payments or other complications.

An AP automation workflow automatically routes invoices for approval, coding, or payment.

Incoming invoices from Intelligent OCR (paper invoice capture) and Intelligent Data Capture (email invoice capture) show up in a dashboard where the status of each invoice is displayed. For invoices that match your configuration settings, approvals are fully automated, from header or line order matching, and account posting, through to automatic routing for authorization and automatic sign-off.

  • Invoices that fall outside predefined thresholds are classified as “exceptions” and automatically routed for reconciliation. Based upon the rules as defined by your business users, the correct account postings would be added to the invoice, and it would then automatically be transferred to the correct approval workflow.
  • Managers approve expenditures on laptops or mobile devices, and once authorized, the invoices are coded by the appropriate person and sent to Dynamics AX.
  • Workflow steps are easily added, based upon your specified authorization levels, if additional approvals are needed. In total, manual intervention is kept to a minimum – with “one-click” invoice approval.


Reports allow you to drill down to the detail level, and export data to Excel. The reporting system tracks data and the trends that affect all of your AP processes, e.g. bottleneck reports, invoice flow status, supplier balance, GRNI, etc.


You can execute internal and external communications using email, FYI routing and chat in the workflow dashboard, which greatly reduces processing time when handling exceptions.

  • Users are automatically notified via email when there are invoices that need their attention. Reminders and escalations are set based upon your business rules.
  • Accuracy of account coding is ensured through the use of permissions which would ensure that users are only working on those documents for which they are authorized.
  • Each step the invoice takes in the process is logged and monitored in a comprehensive audit trail.

Audit Trail

The audit trail is an electronic trail that gives a step-by-step documented history of invoice transactions.

  • The presence of a reliable and easy to follow audit trail is an indicator of good internal controls instituted by an organization, and forms the basis of objectivity for enquiries or investigations.
  • The audit trail not only records and displays communications between internal staff and suppliers, but also includes time stamps and the approval process for each invoice.

Putting It All Together: ASAP

Our solution, EchoVera ASAP for Dynamics AX delivers a comprehensive solution that includes Intelligent OCR, Intelligent Data Capture, 3-Way Matching, Contracts,  an AP workflow for online coding, validation, and approval; extensive reporting with drill down functionality; online tracking, an audit trail and a searchable archive.

For more information on EchoVera ASAP for Dynamics AX, click here.

Dynamics AX AP Automation with “Kick-Ass” 3 Way Match
Dynamics AX AP Automation with “Kick-Ass” 3 Way Match 150 150 Tim Robertson

dynamics ax ap automation

Originally developed by IBM in collaboration with Damgaard Data in the late 90’s, Microsoft Dynamics AX was acquired by Microsoft in 2002. Today Dynamics AX is the ERP of choice for thousands of organizations.

There are three major forces impacting Dynamics AX and the AP process today:

  • Finance executives using Dynamics AX want more visibility into the accounts payable process
  • Companies are looking for ways to cut their AP processing costs
  • Advances in technology have made it possible to automate the matching of invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts, regardless if they have hundreds of lines or many pages

Intelligent 3 Way Matching

dynamics ax ap automation 3 way matchThree Way Match Defined
Three-way matching refers to matching the amounts on three different documents – the vendor’s invoice, your purchase order and the goods receipt.

According to resellers working in the field, while some software providers claim to do three-way matching, often the process is stil manual in that a staff person has to visually do the match. Ultimately you want automated 2 & 3-way matching. Your 2 & 3 way match system shoule be able to read hundreds of lines on an invoice or purchase order and match the documents according to set parameters.

3 way match dynamics

Where the rubber hits the road – in a 3-Way Match automation system for Dynamics AX, you want to be able to:

  • Set your own parameters and variance tolerance levels
  • Automatically identify variances outside of your tolerance levels and, using your own simple rules, route these invoices for review and/or correction if applicable
  • Read and match both line and header information
  • Allow for matching on the total level when invoices are not itemized
  • Provide match and variance reports and statistics
  • Handle internal and external POs

Intelligent 3 Way Match does that and more. It matches the quantities ordered and received, the price per unit, the terms, and other relevant information contained in each document. Once properly matched, supplier invoices are forwarded to Dynamics AX for payment. Exceptions are automatically put into an approval workflow for reconciliation by the approvers you have designated.

Intelligent 3 Way Match is a module inside of our AP Automation solution for Dynamics.

dynamics-ax-3-way-matchEchoVera’s Accounts Payable Automation Solution integrates with Dynamics AX, NAV, GP, and Dynamics 365. It’s a robust solution that gives finance professionals the control and visibility they want throughout the entire AP process.

EchoVera’s AP Automation reduces AP processing costs with a volume-based pricing model and automates the time-consuming manual tasks associated with AP.  Where many other software companies cobble together their AP automation/invoice processing solution by combining legacy technologies, EchoVera’s solution technologies were developed from the ground up.

Before you begin researching AP automation solutions it’s important that you understand the functions that provide the best return on your investment. Here are 2 key functions to look for:

Intelligent OCR & Intelligent Capture
– the smart way to capture invoice data

Dynamics AX AP Automation DiagramManually capturing essential data fields from emailed or paper invoices is time consuming and resource intensive. Some AP departments handle mailed invoices in various ways, with most of them keying in the invoice data manually, a time consuming and error-prone process. Emailed invoices are often handled the same way, printed them out and then keyed into Dymamics – not the most efficient way to input data.

Using Intelligent OCR to capture a paper invoice

Some AP departments use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to scan their paper invoices. Conventional OCR can often require manual input in order to be useful. Intelligent OCR, on the other hand, teaches itself to identify supplier invoices based on their layouts and then automatically stores that information for future reference. Intelligent OCR also intuitively maps the data fields in each invoice using intelligent tags as identifiers, and stores them in the database as well.

Using Intelligent Data Capture for an emailed invoice

Virtually all billing applications generate data PDFs. You want a capture system that reads the data layer found in PDF invoices and then extracts the required data fields. Intelligent Data Capture does this, meaning that your emailed invoices are automatically processed in less time than it takes to pour that first morning coffee. It also processes XML, EDI, HTML, Word, Excel, and other electronic formats. The data taken from the invoices shows up in a central dashboard, ready for input into Dynamics or an approval workflow.

Get more information on EchoVera AP Automation for Dynamics AX, or Dynamics 365.  EchoVera AP Automation is a secure cloud or on-premise platform that lets you select what you need, and add functionality as the organization grows. Seamless integration, unlimited users, and mobile capabilities are included.


Intacct AP Workflow Gets A Boost
Intacct AP Workflow Gets A Boost 150 150 Tim Robertson

Intacct AP Workflow……………..

A new robust Intacct AP workflow incorporates intelligent OCR, authentic automated 3-way matching and audit/reporting functions. It’s a solution that intelligently captures invoice data; matches supplier invoices, purchase orders, and goods receipts; provides a workflow for approvals and coding; and generates reports.

Intelligent OCR – the smart way to capture invoice data
Manually capturing essential fields from paper or emailed invoices can be time consuming. Intelligent data capture solves this problem while at the same time allowing for fewer errors and boosting productivity.

For paper invoices:
Data capture often involves manually keying in data from paper invoices or using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to scan the invoices. Conventional OCR often requires manual intervention.  Intelligent OCR teaches itself to “read” your different supplier invoices based on their respective layouts, and then intuitively maps the data fields. It uses intelligent tags as identifiers for each data field and stores the information for future reference.

For emailed invoices:
Invoices sent by email are processed automatically by software that maps and stores the data. Virtually all billing applications generate data PDFs and the capture system uses the data layer found in PDF invoices to extract the required information. When invoices are emailed as scanned images, the information is routed to Intelligent OCR.

3 Way Matching
3-way invoice matching refers to the three documents that make up the match process: the supplier’s invoice which has been received and will go into the accounts payable process when approved; the purchase order that initiated the purchase; and the goods receipt or receiving report that shows proof of goods.

An automated 3-way matching process takes much less time and effort than a manual accounts payable workflow. When an invoice matches a purchase order, it inherits the account postings and authorizations from that order and is sent directly to payment. With simple rules, you control what happens to invoices that don’t match a purchase order and which tolerances apply.

Invoices that are matched within your approved tolerances are sent directly to Intacct for recording. Invoices that have values outside of your tolerance values are automatically sent to the appropriate role for review.

Automating the 3-way matching process provides key benefits such as:

  • Invoices, POs and goods receipts are matched automatically
  • Exceptions are flagged for further review
  • Provides a complete audit trail
  • Ensures accuracy of the data

The AP automation workflow starts with the data capture of either mailed or emailed invoices. Invoices are gathered into a central dashboard. From here they are automatically routed to the appropriate approvers for review and approval. Once approved, invoices are then sent to Intacct.

Audit and Reporting Functions
Our solution, EchoVera ASAP, has online tracking, an audit trail and a searchable archive. In addition to its extensive reporting capabilities, EchoVera ASAP provides you with live status information of all the invoices in the system.

For more information visit EchoVera ASAP – AP Workflow for Intacct.

Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service Hits It Out of the Park
Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service Hits It Out of the Park 150 150 Tim Robertson

Automated Invoice Processing Cloud Service Baseball Field

Imagine processing over 1,000,000 invoices a year – automatically – with a cutting edge invoice automation solution. Now imagine doing this with different ERP systems, across multiple business groups and subsidiaries, all in one dashboard. A tall order for any automated invoice processing solution.

Our invoice automation solution is based on a platform created by a company called Palette. Palette “knocks it out of the park” when it comes to automatically processing high volumes of invoices in very complex situations.

Unlike many of our competitors, this software was designed from the ground up to automate your entire AP or purchase-to-pay (P2P) process. The platform is currently in use in over 4,500 companies worldwide with recommend and approval ratings of over 90%.

Cloud-Based ERPs Grow

While invoice automation has become the norm for organizations of all sizes across Europe, this definitely not the case here in North America. One of the biggest barriers to adopting true AP automation is a resistance to move sensitive processes “into the cloud”.

We find that most of our newer clients are already using cloud-based ERP systems. They have experienced, first hand, the benefits of working in the cloud and are exploring other services that are compatible with their cloud-based ERP.

If invoice automation is something you are considering, you’ll want to ensure that the solution you choose has the following bases covered:

Intelligent Data Capture – You want to use the most advanced technology for data capture. For example, “intelligent OCR” intuitively performs data capture, one of the more time-consuming aspects of traditional processing of email and paper invoices. Then you have “e-Invoicing”, which takes data capture automation even further with the use of sophisticated “capture rules” that provide 100% accuracy and completely removes the need for any manual involvement. E-Invoicing is especially effective when capturing, validating and processing invoices from your high volume vendors. 

3-Way Matching – You want purchase orders, supplier invoices and goods receipts to be automatically matched. Exceptions should be flagged for reconciliation.

Workflow – You want invoices to be gathered into a central dashboard from where they are automatically sent to managers to review and approve, with the system then automatically sending them to your ERP for payment. 

Archive & Audit – You want your system to automatically archive supplier invoices in the cloud for searching, reporting, and to provide an audit trail.

For more information about our automated invoice processing solution called EchoVera ASAP, click here.


NetSuite Procurement: Getting Control Over Spending
NetSuite Procurement: Getting Control Over Spending 150 150 Tim Robertson
NetSuite procurement

Rein in Maverick Spending with Purchase Automation for NetSuite

Advanced Procurement for NetSuite

First of all, let’s make a distinction between procurement, requisitions, and purchase orders:

Procurement is the process by which a company selects the suppliers with which it wants to do business, as well as the actual process of negotiating contracts and obtaining goods and services. Selecting a supplier, negotiating the contract, and acquiring the goods or services – it’s all procurement.

A requisition is the request for goods or services that is sent by a person in the company to the purchasing department.

And the purchase order is the paperwork that is sent to the supplier to formally purchase the goods. Purchase order approval is the process by which the company keeps track of who ordered something; what was actually ordered; when the order was initiated and finally, the requisition approval date.

There are several benefits to automating the purchasing process for NetSuite.

  • You get full control over your spend and rein in maverick spending
  • It’s much easier for your employees to create or approve orders
  • Automation increases compliance with corporate policies
  • You gain more control over suppliers
  • Automation helps to generate better information – information that can be used in your price and contract negotiations.

Detailed purchasing activity statistics provide you with valuable information, strengthening your position when negotiating pricing and/or terms, or for supplier reviews. And your customized permissions and approval workflows ensure that your employees are purchasing goods and services from preferred suppliers, following properly approved business rules.

Matching orders against invoices

EchoVera Purchase Automation automatically matches invoices against the corresponding PO at the header or line level according to your predefined rules and tolerances. Any invoices that are matched within approved tolerances can be sent directly to NetSuite for recording. Invoices that are missing key information are automatically put into a workflow and sent to the proper approver.

Managing both CAPEX and OPEX

It’s important to be able to manage both capital expenses and operational expenses. With Purchase Automation, operational expenses are managed through the standard requisition to PO process, as described above.

In the case of Capex, the expense request enters your workflow for approval/signing, and then purchases are deducted from the approved Capex request. This gives you control over all of the costs associated with a project, while providing an “early warning system” if it looks like you’re likely to exceed the budget.

For more information about EchoVera Purchase Automation for NetSuite click here.

Contract Management for NetSuite: Managing Those Recurring Invoices
Contract Management for NetSuite: Managing Those Recurring Invoices 150 150 Tim Robertson

Looking to automate the repeat processing of recurring invoices and send them directly to NetSuite? Automation gives you immediate access to all of your contract information, which is useful for review and renegotiation. Automating the process ensures that your recurring payments are consistently processed on time.

Keep in mind though, that some “contract management” software may not be suitable for your AP processing needs. Many solutions have been designed for legal documents and other non-financial agreements. What we’re talking about here is contract management software designed specifically for financial transactions. These solutions are especially useful where an invoice is generated on a recurring basis.

Contract management software that manages financial contracts stores all contracts centrally, making them searchable. Invoices for repeated “purchases” such as rental payments, utilities or regularly contracted professional services are automatically matched to related contracts, posted to their respective charge codes and approved for payment.

How automated contract management works
Contracts are scanned or imported into a database. Users configure the system with authorization rules, work flows, user roles and regulations. The software then:

  • Archives different types of contracts, and classifies them
  • Searches & establishes which invoices are connected to each contract
  • Sends reminders when a contract is about to expire or needs to be reviewed
  • Matches recurring invoices to contracts, or identifiable tracking numbers such as utility account numbers
  • Provides exception handling if the invoice amount varies or the contract is in jeopardy of being overspent

If the supplier does not send regular invoices, a supplier invoice is automatically created based on the contract terms. Users can also be notified if an expected recurring invoice (such as a utility bill) has not been received.

Integration with NetSuite
Contract management software for financial transactions should seamlessly integrate with NetSuite. This will ensure that all incoming invoices are validated against the most current information in your NetSuite system.

See more information about Contract Management for NetSuite here.

3 Way Matching in Oracle is Possible – What About NetSuite?
3 Way Matching in Oracle is Possible – What About NetSuite? 150 150 Tim Robertson

3-way invoice matching netsuiteDefining 3 Way Matching

3-Way” refers to the three documents that make up the match process: The supplier’s invoice which has been received and will go into the accounts payable process when approved; the purchase order that initiated the purchase; and the goods receipt or receiving report that shows proof of delivery.

Matching” refers to the comparison of the terms, pricing per unit, quantities, etc. that appear on the vendor invoice, to the data on the purchase order and the actual goods received.

After the invoice has been validated by the three-way match process, the invoice can be put into an AP workflow to be paid.

3 Way Matching for NetSuite

Three-way matching is a very important business function for NetSuite enterprise users. The amount of time and effort it takes to do it manually can be a little daunting, especially if there are large volumes of invoices to match.

Fortunately, there is an automated platform for 3 way matching that integrates quite nicely with NetSuite. Invoices, purchase orders, and receipts are matched automatically, and exceptions are flagged for reconciliation. The cloud-based software not only ensures the accuracy of the data, it also provides an audit trail as well.

One of the first things auditors look at in the audit process are purchase orders, invoices, and goods receipts. So automated invoice matching is a good thing not only for the AP department, but in protecting the organization from interruptions and penalties.

Automated invoice matching and processing (also called AP automation) is usually priced based on invoice volume rather than the number of users, so the cost can be quite economical, even in very large organizations.

Some other features include:

  • Automatic management of variances
  • Pre-defined rules and lines
  • Matching at both the line level or total level
  • Matching invoices/POs with hundreds of lines
  • Import external POs

Once invoices are matched, they are sent directly to NetSuite for recording and payment. 3 Way Matching is a module in EchoVera’s AP Automation for NetSuite

More information about automated 3 way matching for NetSuite here.

Or get more information about automated 2 and 3 way matching for Oracle E-Business Suite here.

3-Way Invoice Matching for NetSuite that Rocks
3-Way Invoice Matching for NetSuite that Rocks 150 150 Tim Robertson

3 way matching NetSuite…..
3-way invoice matching is available for NetSuite users who want to automate the process – and it rocks!

Cloud software that automates the 3 way matching of invoices, purchase orders and goods receipts which seamlessly integrates with NetSuite has been developed by an AP Automation platform with 3,500+ customers and over 250,000 users worldwide. This is good news for NetSuite users who are looking to automate the 3 way PO matching process in their accounts payable.

What is a 3-Way Match? (or 3 Way PO Matching)

Three way matching refers to the processing of three essential documents: the purchase order that initiated the action, the original supplier invoice which will go into an accounts payable workflow when approved, and a receiving report or goods receipt that shows the goods were received.

An optimal 3 way invoice matching solution should include:
Intelligent OCR that intuitively extracts data from both paper and emailed vendor invoices;
• Invoice processing with automated approval workflow
• A cascading matching engine that automatically matches invoices and purchase orders at the header or line level
• The ability to handle both internal and external purchase orders

So How Does 3 Way Invoice Matching Work?

Incoming vendor invoices are automatically matched against their corresponding PO at the header or line level according to predefined rules and tolerances. Any invoices that are matched within these approved tolerances are sent directly to NetSuite for recording and payment.

To compare, where manually matching POs to invoices may take 15 minutes to an hour, EchoVera’s PO matching engine does it within minutes – making it a touchless process.

Users control what happens to invoices that don’t match with an automated, predefined (or ad hoc) approval workflow.

3-way invoice matching netsuite


The exceptions workflow sends all of the relevant documentation (invoice, PO, goods receipt and team notes) to the proper approver in the organization. Approvers can review the information and approve with one click on a mobile device or in email. Inherent in this process are:

  • pre-defined rules and limits
  • automatic management of variances
  • matching at total and line levels
  • the ability to process invoices and POs with multiple pages and hundreds of lines

Intelligent 3 Way Match is a module inside EchoVera’s AP Automation for NetSuite which includes:

  • Data capture of both email and paper invoices
  • Automated approval workflow
  • PO matching
  • Searchable invoice archive
  • Time stamped audit trail

Pricing is based on invoice volume as opposed to the number of users – meaning no user licensing costs. It’s a secure cloud platform that lets you select what you need, and add functionality as the organization grows. Seamless integration and mobile capabilities are included.

For more information about 3 Way Match for NetSuite click here.


Using Intelligent OCR with QAD, Infor, and Epicor
Using Intelligent OCR with QAD, Infor, and Epicor 150 150 Tim Robertson
intelligent ocr quad infor epicor
Enterprises using QAD, Infor, and Epicore ERP software are discovering the value of using Intelligent OCR in order to capture invoice information accurately and automatically. It saves time and money, is cost effective, and the software can be cloud-based – what’s not to like?

It’s important, however, to make a distinction between OCR and Intelligent OCR, as they have vastly different capabilities.

Some Context: How OCR Has Evolved Over Time

1. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – 1978
The development of OCR for use in AP departments. Scans paper invoices. Data is entered manually.

2. Template Optical Character Recognition – 1993
OCR development takes a step farther – the technology detects an invoice type by using the configuration of its layout.

OCR plays an integral role in accounts payable automation. It has both automated and manual functions. In larger organizations, invoices are scanned and then “field-mapped”, where employees spend time mapping out the data fields for each type of invoice. Financial staff perform data collection as well by manually selecting each data zone in the invoice.

3. Intelligent OCR – 2016
Intelligent OCR recognizes invoice layouts and invoice fields intuitively, eliminating a large percentage of field-mapping and/or manual data selection. It has intelligent tagging that uses a database to store unique/common field data.

Intelligent OCR automates the field mapping and data collection functions. It detects and learns where essential information is, using invoice page layouts and data fields, allowing for the scanning and importing of uniquely complex invoices and the associated data. It also allows users to search for common values on an invoice and document it, tag it, and then store it in a database.

Avoiding Legacy Code

Intelligent OCR is a new development, and offers to make AP financial operations very efficient. But enterprises need to be vigilant about which platform they choose. Often software companies will buy or acquire OCR and scanning software and hack products together using legacy code. Customers end up buying old technology that’s playing “catch-up”. So it’s a good idea to seek out software that is built from the ground up, using the latest technology platforms and code.

Find out more:
Intelligent OCR for QAD
Intelligent OCR for Infor
Intelligent OCR for Epicor


Intelligent OCR for Sage Intacct – An Evolution
Intelligent OCR for Sage Intacct – An Evolution 150 150 Tim Robertson
intelligent OCR for Intacct

Avoid outdated OCR technology when choosing an optical character recognition solution for supplier invoices.

Organizations with one of the world’s most popular ERPs are considering making their operations more efficient by using Intelligent OCR. But not all OCR technologies are made equal, and most OCR technology is still fairly resource intensive for accounting departments. Why is that?

No denying OCR is very useful in the automation of accounts payable when it comes to processing either paper or email invoices. That’s because data has to be generated from a scanned image of the invoice, and that’s what it does.

The only problem is that a lot of time is spent on field-mapping, where staff have to map out the data fields for each invoice type in the OCR software program they are using. As well, staff also spend time on data collection by manually selecting data zones.

Intelligent OCR solves the manual aspect of this task by automating both field mapping and data collection. It does this by automatically detecting (and learning) supplier invoices based on invoice layouts and data fields, allowing for the scanning and importing of different invoices of varying complexity. Intelligent OCR software also lets a user search for typical values from any document, tag it, and store it in a database.

The Evolution of Intelligent OCR for Sage Intacct

1. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – 1978

OCR is used to process scanned paper invoices, and then the invoice layouts are manually field-mapped.

2. Template OCR – 1993

OCR that automatically detects the invoice type based on its layout and sorts data accordingly.

3. Intelligent OCR – 2016

Intelligent OCR recognizes both fields and invoice layouts intuitively, dramatically reducing the need for field-mapping and manual data selection. It also allows for intelligent tagging.

AP departments are spending more time looking for ways to optimize their operations, rather than looking for fields in an invoice!

See: Intelligent OCR for Sage Intaact

Image courtesy of