Accounts payable software is designed to automate business payment processes from start-to-finish, by leveraging sets of instructions that are customized to each process within a business. The software filters, categorizes, matches and validates critical accounting information that is then pushed through the accounting system to be recorded.
ERP systems like NetSuite, as well as AP automation solutions like Tipalti, and even small business solutions like Quickbooks Online, are all AP software solutions. AP teams implement accounts payable software solutions to process, record, and pay discounted vendor invoices.
Accounts payable software may require manual tasks like data entry and matching paper invoices with purchase orders and receivers, but the best automation solutions are designed to reduce these manual tasks by up to 80%.
This article will highlight the best account payable software you can find in the market and how it can benefit your business.
- What is an Accounts Payable Software?
- What is The Best Software For Accounts Payable?
- How Does Accounts Payable Software Work?
- How Can I Choose The Best Accounts Payable Software?
- What are Examples of Accounts Payable?
- What is Accounts Payable in ERP?
- What is Accounts Receivable Software?
- What is AP Automation Software?
- How do you Automate an AP Process?
- How Does Account Payable Work?
- What Are The Two Types of Payments in AP?
- What is Accounts Payable QuickBooks?
- Is QuickBooks a ERP System?
- What is ERP System Examples?
- What is Sage Accounting System?
What is an Accounts Payable Software?
An accounts payable system is an organized (and often automated) system that is responsible for paying vendors and suppliers for goods and services purchased by its company. The ultimate goal is to ensure a company pays its debts on time, to the correct vendors, for the correct amounts.
Read Also: What is Account Receivable Software?
The right AP automation software setup can guarantee that the AP system runs as securely and efficiently as possible. AP software consists of a set of instructions customized for automated start-to-finish business payment processes. The software classifies, matches, verifies information and then forwards to your accounting system to be posted.
What is The Best Software For Accounts Payable?
Accounts payable software helps you keep track of what bills are due and when — a key component of successfully managing accounts payable and your business in general. The best options automate the often manual accounts payable process and include timesaving features, like invoice scanning and accounting software integration.
Here’s a Deeper Look at Some of The Best Accounts Payable Software
1. QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online is the cloud-based version of QuickBooks accounting software. QuickBooks Online offers one of the best accounts payable software for small business. The QuickBooks accounting solution includes AP software and offers seamlessly integrated third-party add-ons for accounts payable automation through the QuickBooks Apps Store. Although QuickBooks Online integrates with Bill.com, that accounts payable add-on lacks some essential payment features, particularly for growing global businesses with cross-border transactions.
QuickBooks Payments, an optional feature of QuickBooks Online, uses Intuit Merchant Services for payment processing. QuickBooks payment methods include credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, wire transfers, and ACH electronic bank transfers.
2. Oracle NetSuite
NetSuite, owned by Oracle, is a cloud ERP system with a wide range of Suites (modules) for different business functions. NetSuite includes accounts payable software. AP automation can be seamlessly integrated with NetSuite to increase its features and efficiency.
Tipalti is a cloud-based integrated SaaS add-on software solution to automate accounts payable. Tipalti offers top accounts payable automation software features, including self-service supplier onboarding, invoice automation, automated invoice approval workflows, multiple payment methods in hundreds of currencies for global mass vendor payments and bill pay, tax compliance, and fraud reduction.
4. Sage Intacct
Sage Intacct is a cloud-based ERP accounting software system endorsed by the AICPA. It includes accounts payable software with automated payables workflows. Sage Intacct offers real-time tracking and views of payments, approvals, and reports. Add-on third-party AP automation apps increase Sage Intacct capabilities and efficiency.
Xero is New Zealand-based cloud accounting software that includes accounts payable and vendor payments. Like its competitor, QuickBooks Online, Xero integrates with Bill.com, an accounts payable add-on lacking some payment features, particularly those needed by global businesses with cross-border transactions.
6. Oracle ERP
Oracle ERP is a high-end cloud software system covering many business functions. Oracle is integrated with EnterpriseOne software, using an accounts payable solution from its acquired ERP company, JD Edwards.
SAP is a high-end cloud ERP system for a wide range of business processes. SAP, an Oracle ERP competitor, includes accounts payable software for large business in its ERP system.
FreshBooks is cloud-based accounting software that includes accounts payable and payments.
9. Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics ERP (enterprise resource planning)/CRM (customer resource planning) software includes accounts payable software solutions for a wide range of industries.
Epicor is a global on-premises and cloud ERP system for manufacturers, wholesale distributors, retailers, and service industries, featuring Industrial IoT capabilities for supply chain and manufacturing. The Epicor ERP system includes accounts payable software.
How Does Accounts Payable Software Work?
To understand where accounts payable software might fit in your company, it’s important to understand the accounts payable process. It generally goes like this:
- Receive a bunch of invoices via email, snail mail or digitally.
- Get important data off each invoice and into your accounting system.
- Figure out if each invoice is correct and whether anyone in particular should look at it or approve it before you pay it.
- Generate and send a payment for each invoice.
- Record that each invoice is paid, and then file the invoice.
Accounts payable software can streamline that process by integrating with your accounting system and helping you better manage cash flow. Here are some of the advantages of using it:
- Avoid unexpectedly running out of cash. Keeping track of what invoices are outstanding helps you understand how much cash you’re going to need and when, so you can keep your business running smoothly.
- Get discounts. Many vendors offer discounts for paying early or charge fees for paying late. Good AP software will help you make the most of those deadlines so you don’t throw money away.
- Avoid having to hire extra people. It can take a lot of time to manually key in data from invoices, generate payments and make journal entries, which can mean hiring more people if there’s no technology or systems to speed up the work.
- Prevent errors. Accounts payable software can help detect whether you’ve already paid an invoice, whether an invoice amount isn’t what it should be or whether an invoice looks fishy.
How Can I Choose The Best Accounts Payable Software?
1. Define Your AP Landscape
To define your AP landscape, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies involved in invoice processing. How does your company receive vendor invoices? Is vendor invoicing in paper, XML, or PDF format? Do you receive some invoices on paper while receiving others in PDF format via email?
An AP automation software worth investing in will allow you to receive supplier invoices in a variety of formats and will support turning them into digital copies through built-in optical character recognition (OCR) scanning.
Defining your AP landscape also consists of outlining your invoice workflow. The goal is to speed up processing time by automating manual tasks, particularly the repetitive and tedious ones. Ask any AP department employee and they will quickly attest to the importance of properly processing invoices.
For example: When expense invoices aren’t coded and distributed correctly, this hinders the approval workflow and payment process. When purchase order (PO) invoices aren’t matched according to their specific line levels, this makes it nearly impossible to pinpoint deviations and mitigate errors. More importantly, it makes it difficult to pay vendors and suppliers on time.
Accounts payable automation software worth purchasing will automate coding and matching. It will integrate with your existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) and finance systems to deliver touchless invoice processing. To ensure that you choose the right software, consider how it will be configured to support your current workflows.
2. Map Your AP Invoice Process
Defining the AP landscape involves mapping the accounts payable invoice process. There’s a good chance the AP process is comprised of two separate workflows: processing expense invoices that aren’t related to POs and processing ones that are.
You’ll need to identify your pain points in both of these workflows to ensure that you find the most helpful AP automation software. You can deploy software with all of the bells and whistles, but if those features don’t address your unique needs, your investment is going to be ill-spent.
The first step in mapping the accounts payable invoice workflow and invoice management is identifying how you handle non-PO related expense invoices and PO-related direct spend invoices. Which steps are repetitive? Which ones are manual? Do you already have some steps that are automated? Where do bottlenecks occur? What type of invoice archiving are you using?
Here’s a list of common pain points:
- Invoices where pertinent line data isn’t synced between systems;
- Invoice data deviations;
- Lack of a central inbox for sending vendor invoices;
- Too many people involved in invoice processing;
- Human error due to manual invoice processing;
- Invoice processing delays due to clunky AP systems.
Identifying your pain points and AP challenges allow you to intelligently move forward in choosing the best accounts payable automation software.
3. Look for Centralized Information Management
It becomes difficult to keep track of all of your invoices when they aren’t managed in a central location. AP automation management software worth investing in will ensure that all invoice elements are stored and processed in a centralized location, including the receiving of invoice receipts, extraction of data, and validation of data.
Software should make it possible for the entire accounts payable department to collaborate through an online, centralized platform even if they are working from different offices; this is particularly advantageous if you have multiple business locations.
4. Opt for Automated Tax Form Collection
Have you ever spent hours looking for a vendor’s specific tax ID number? Collecting and managing tax information becomes a major headache when AP processes are not automated, especially when working with global suppliers. You must pay close attention to detail to stay in compliance with regulations and rules set forth by the Office of Foreign Asset Control and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
You may need to collect everything from W-8EXP, W-8BEN, and W-8IMY forms from suppliers. Tax and regulatory compliance become much simpler when you deploy AP software that features automated tax form collection.
5. Consider Your Workflow Rules
Achieve the highest level of accounts payable efficiency by choosing software that allows you to define workflow rules. These rules lessen the likelihood of employees completing the same task twice, like making a double payment on an invoice.
Defining workflow rules involves setting tolerance ranges, such as those directed toward purchase order matching. These ranges can be customized to align with your company’s precise needs. For example: If an invoice and PO can’t be matched using OCR scanning according to your set tolerance thresholds, the software can ping the appropriate entity for approval. This leads to a faster procure-to-pay cycle, which is vital to establishing positive long-term relationships with suppliers.
6. The Cloud Is the Way to Go
Installing an on-premise accounts payable automation software solution means you’ll need to deploy your own servers and perform your own system configurations. Stack these tasks on top of your existing AP landscape and you’ll create a time-consuming and costly AP environment. Choosing AP automation software that operates via the cloud is a smart business decision and still allows you to create a strong internal AP framework.
Cloud accounts payable software can be configured to support your existing AP infrastructure and can scale on an as-needed basis. These software programs typically come with advanced analytics and metrics, easily allowing you to determine which AP business processes are hindering efficiency and which ones are improving it.
Common key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure include:
- Percentage of invoices received versus the number of invoices being processed within a certain period of time;
- Average cost of processing each invoice;
- Invoice cycle time;
- Percentage of incorrect payments versus the percentage of total payments;
- Percentage of early payment discounts versus the percentage of discounts offered.
Today’s accounts payable solutions are designed to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which yield significant benefits. You’ll enjoy increased B2B vendor payment efficiency, better spend and expense management, enhanced ERP, lower levels of fraudulent activity, and more real-time business intelligence.
What are Examples of Accounts Payable?
Accounts payable differ from other types of current liabilities like short-term loans, accruals, proposed dividends and bills of exchange payable. Examples of accounts payable expenses may include (but are not limited to) things like:
- Transportation and Logistics
- Raw Materials
- Power / Energy / Fuel
- Products and Equipment
- Services (Assembly / Subcontracting)
Should any of the goods or services listed above be purchased on credit by your organization, it is important to immediately record the amount to AP. This will ensure your balance sheet is kept up-to-date and accurately reports on the total amount owed to your vendors, enabling transparency in your book keeping efforts and accounting process.
The end-to-end process of accounts payable includes four distinct steps:
- Invoice Capture: Typically, invoice capture involves the manual entering of invoice data (vendor details, line items, amounts, and GL coding) into a system of record. This presents risks associated with accuracy and human error.
- Invoice Approval: Invoice approval involves the review and approval of supplier invoices. Often, someone from the AP team literally walks the paper invoice around the office to obtain the necessary approvals. This happens prior to posting as a cost in the ERP and sending payment.
- Payment Authorization: Once you have an invoice that is ready for payment, you must get authorization to make the payment. This includes the date you will submit the payment, the payment method, and the payment amount.
- Payment Execution: Following payment authorization, the invoice is paid and remittance details are sent to the vendor. Oftentimes this involves printing, signing, and mailing checks, initiating ACH with the bank, or completing credit card payments. Now the invoice can be closed out of the system and filed into various repositories.
What is Accounts Payable in ERP?
The phrase Accounts Payable means the money a business owes to its vendors for supplies, utilities and other goods and services. Accounts Payable refers to short term debts. It doesn’t include notes payable liabilities which include long-term debts like business loans for startup costs, equipment financing and more.
The phrase “accounts payable” is often used in reference to the team in a business that processes payments to vendors. AP processing is part of the procure-to-pay cycle which includes creating and approving purchase orders, and placing orders with vendors, receipt of orders and invoices, approval and payment of invoices.
The AP process includes intaking vendor invoices, getting approval signatures for each invoice, entering invoices into accounting data and finally paying the vendor. AP automation streamlines this process with technology for paperless processing, workflows to streamline approvals, automatic reminders, electronic payment and automatic posting to accounting ledgers.
What is Accounts Receivable Software?
Companies use accounts receivable software to perform accounting and financial reporting. The solutions may include invoice processing, general ledger, payment processing and more. Accounts receivable software provides businesses with many benefits, including automating routine accounting tasks, eliminating manual errors, keeping your books accurate and more.
Growing businesses need a quality accounts receivable program to ensure their accounting and financial records are accurate and in order. Without it, your company may suffer because of inaccuracies and difficulty collecting receivables on time or at all. If this happens, you may not have enough cash to cover day-to-day operations and operating expenses.
What is AP Automation Software?
AP automation is the use of software to digitize the vendor invoicing process and create faster, leaner, more cost-effective AP workflows. No more paper receipts. No forwarding invoices in email. No cutting paper checks. Automation lets you eliminate manual AP tasks, increase visibility into spend, and control costs like never before.
It would be difficult to overstate how significantly AP automation contributes to an organization’s overall success. To give you an idea, here are a handful of ways that automation can help:
- Control costs and reduce unnecessary spend (like invoice processing costs and check fees).
- Boost employee morale and give staff more time or strategic tasks.
- Attract and retain top AP talent (if you offer automation rather than manual processes, it’s far more likely that staff will love their jobs and stick around).
- Reduce errors and duplications that come from manual data entry.
- Uncover data that will help you make informed decisions.
- Increase policy compliance and strengthen vendor relationships.
True, upgrading to an automated system requires an investment like any new tool. That said, in today’s fast-paced, always-shifting business environment, organizations that don’t automate will struggle to compete and miss opportunities for growth. Which means that you easily could argue that companies can’t afford NOT to invest in automation.
Plus, if you compare the cost of automating to the time and expense of continuing to do AP manually, the return on your investment is easy to see.
Consider this: The Institute of Finance Management (IOFM) puts the cost of manually processing a single vendor invoice at $10 to $23 per invoice; automating vendor invoice management can reduce the cost of processing one invoice by up to 80%.
Think about how many invoices you process in a single week alone. Or an entire year. You’ve just learned that there’s a way to save 80% on each one.
How do you Automate an AP Process?
It can be tempting to apply AP automation indiscriminately to every possible point of your AP process, but you’ll have better success if you carefully assess your needs. There are six main points where automation can make a positive difference for your business.
1. Switch to e-invoicing
The initial point of your accounts payable process is actually receiving the vendor invoice or request for payment. This is a critical point, because a misstep in invoice processing can plague the entire workflow. And it’s complicated, because there isn’t a universally standardized method for invoice capture.
They may come as PDFs, JPGs, PNGs, DOCXs, emails, faxes, or even a physically mailed paper invoices. It can be incredibly time-consuming to have your employees consolidate those varied invoices with sorting and scanning.
The first step of automated invoice processing is to make the shift to e-invoicing exclusively. Work with your vendors and clients to process all invoices electronically. Not only does this cut down on the amount of paper clutter in your office, but it also makes it much more difficult to “lose” important documents. Then you can utilize an OCR invoice system to flag important data fields and categorize expenses.
2. Go seamless with approvals
The approval process of accounts payable can create significant snags and points of error, since responsibility changes hands. Despite the hassle, approval is key for verifying expenses and managing budgets. Before payment, a vendor invoice must be routed to the appropriate party and then approved for payment.
An automated AP workflow can seamlessly route each invoice to the concerned parties. For example, if an invoice for new inventory arrives it will first be sent to the individual who initiated the purchase order, then to the department head or manager, then to the CFO or financial admin for final approval.
Each individual will have clear data and easy-to-complete approval workflow, which then passes instantaneously to the next approver. No lost paperwork, no lost time.
3. Ditch data entry
Data entry is a critical part of the accounting process, and provides meaning for many other departments as they look for trends and ways to increase profits. While critical, manual data entry is also one of the most time-consuming and error-ridden tasks in any business. Automation can serve an important role.
As mentioned above, OCR systems can capture data through software. By loading in invoice data to your OCR system you can springload all other accounts payable processes.
Unlike the other stages of your AP process which are completed once the payment is sent, data entry is one automated step that can prove useful long after the invoice has been completed. By automating this data capture and then storing it in an accessible medium such as a smart spreadsheet or CSV file you can facilitate future analysis or investigation.
4. Automatically match & verify
Have you ever paid an invoice just to realize that it wasn’t exactly what you ordered—or what you received? It’s fairly common, and even small incorrect amounts can add up. Matching and verifying each entry of your accounts payable is the very detailed step of making sure that each invoice is correct and that you’re only paying for what you agreed upon and what was delivered.
Automating your matching and verification processing can help you quickly identify inconsistencies in total of goods, amount of payment, due dates, and price-per-item. Automatic invoice-matching will use OCR technology to search for invoice and purchase order numbers and quickly match totals and accompanying data to verify the purchase.
Whether you match to the purchase order, receiving paperwork, or any other number of supporting documents, automating this step will gather all documents from a purchase into one useful family (and tell you when inconsistencies appear).
5. Automate complex coding
Next to data entry, coding and classification automation is the most likely to make your accounting team cheer. Payables go through a process of classification known as General Ledger (GL) coding.
GL coding is an exhaustive process that helps identify a broad range of values for each invoice, including but not limited to:
- Invoice category
- Product line
- Country code
- Freight details
- Business unit
The larger your business and the more invoices you receive, the amount of GL coding grows exponentially. It’s a huge task for your accounting team to complete manually, and opens up a window for error that will likely go unnoticed. Instead, this coding can be automated through specific rules and identifications.
As your OCR processes the data from each invoice, you can have GL coding automatically applied to each necessary data point. When it comes time to analyze spending or assemble data for taxes you’ll have everything classified and ready to go.
6. Move ACH spend to a smart card
Many AP managers are hesitant to move their AP spend to a card because they are worried that it won’t allow for autocategorizaion. However, if you use a smart card like Divvy, AP transactions can be categorized in just a few taps from the spender. Transactions can also be auto-categorized based on the designated virtual card built for that vendor.
Plus, if you are currently paying vendors via ACH, wire, or check, the money comes out of your bank account as soon as the payment is processed. With smart cards tied to expense management software, you can create virtual cards that allow you to float the payment—so money doesn’t actually leave your account until your payment is due, keeping your cash with you for longer.
This gives finance teams better control over AP payments, streamlines categorization, and improves cash flow flexibility.
How Does Account Payable Work?
The accounts payable process falls under the broader expenditure and purchasing cycle. This workflow includes a range of essential accounting steps needed to complete a purchase when an order is placed and the customer receives the desired product or service, as well as best practices related to those activities.
The full cycle of the accounts payable process includes invoice data capture, coding invoices with correct account and cost center, approving invoices, matching invoices to purchase orders, and posting for payments. The accounts payable process is only one part of what is known as P2P (procure-to-pay).
P2P covers the cycle from procurement and invoice processing to vendor payments. AP automation streamlines these steps and ensures a higher level of accuracy throughout every step of the workflow.
The basic accounts payable cycle includes three significant documents – purchase order (PO), receiving report (or goods receipt), and vendor invoice. To initiate a purchase, the purchasing department of an organization sends a PO to a vendor that includes the requested merchandise, quantity, and price to trigger an order.
Then, when the business receives the goods, a receiving report documents the shipment, including any damages or quantity discrepancies. The vendor invoice is sent by the vendor to request payment for the goods or services provided. The AP department receives vendor invoices and the invoice management process begins.
What Are The Two Types of Payments in AP?
Accounts Payable makes several types of payments other than standard invoices to vendors. These include honorarium, stipends, subject study payments, consultants, professional services, Visa payments (Dept of Homeland Security), fellowships, scholarships and student awards. If you plan to hire an individual and are unsure if they should be paid via AP or Payroll, you must first ensure that they are not already on the Tufts payroll.
If an individual has an active job in PeopleSoft, any additional payments are made through a supplemental PAF. Teaching a class as the primary faculty (giving grades) must go through payroll also. All others potentially could be paid though AP with the completion of the e-REQ which includes the questionnaire.
Before payments to suppliers can be processed, payment types must first be defined so that payment funds are associated with their appropriate GL accounts. Payment types can also be set up for printed (and optionally pre-numbered) cheques and preauthorized payments (i.e., funds withdrawn automatically from specified bank accounts).
Payment types are set up for each location in your company. For example, one location may accept American Express and Visa, while another location may only accept Visa.
Each payment type and location requires a GL account for postings. If there is no GL account specified, the payment type is not available at that location. If your company has multiple locations, you can choose to use separate GL accounts for each payment type and location or choose to use the same GL account for all locations that have the same payments types.
What is Accounts Payable QuickBooks?
Accounts Payable is the record of outstanding bills for your business. This is used so you can track the money you owe your vendors. The first time you enter a bill, QuickBooks will add Accounts Payable to your Chart of Accounts. Then, when you enter or pay a bill, QuickBooks records the transaction to your Accounts Payable account.
There are 2 Accounts Payable workflows available in QuickBooks Desktop. To record your Accounts Payable transactions, choose the workflow that best suits your business and follow the steps for creating each transaction.
Is QuickBooks a ERP System?
A massive percentage of small businesses and startups use QuickBooks for accounting processes. However, QuickBooks is not an ERP system and therefore you may be missing out on more advanced functionality only available in ERP that can help run your business.
While QuickBooks is great as an introductory piece of software to get your business up and running, it’s primary focus in on accounting and financial processes and lacks functionality for other areas of the business – such as inventory management.
Here are some of the reasons why QuickBooks is not ERP.
QuickBooks is primarily an accounting solution. ERP includes functionality across all business operations.
Any reputable ERP software will include all the same accounting functionality found in QuickBooks, plus more. Unlike QuickBooks, ERP software also includes functionality across other business areas such as inventory management, warehouse management, sales, invoicing, order entry and processing, reporting and eCommerce.
This is one of the main reasons why QuickBooks is not ERP software – ERP is an all-in-one solution with integrated functionality across departments. For example, when you process a payment from a customer in ERP, it will update their credit status so that the information is immediately available on the order entry screen.
QuickBooks allows you to manage negative inventory, ERP does not.
Negative inventory implies that you can have less than zero of your inventory – however, in reality, this is not possible. While it may seem that allowing inventory to go into a negative position is the only way to perform certain processes, this is likely not the case and it can cause issues within other areas of the business.
For example, some businesses insist on tracking negative inventory for items that they receive and ship to customers before recording the receipt of inventory in the system. This is sometimes done as part of a business practice where shipments are not received in the system until all of the related invoices have been received to get accurate costs.
However, with ERP software, landed cost tracking features allow users to properly cost the product and receive it into inventory before receiving all the related invoices.
QuickBooks has restrictions on users and features, ERP software is for growing businesses.
If you’re using QuickBooks it is likely that you’re also using manual processes for tracking inventory and duplicating data entry across multiple solutions. Because QuickBooks targets small businesses, it has limitations on the number of users, amount of data that can be maintained, and functionality. ERP however, is specifically designed for companies looking to scale – and provides various features that can be activated from the beginning or as your business and processes change.
Instead of purchasing a separate inventory software, tools for order entry and processing, and a CRM system to integrate with QuickBooks, you can purchase all-in-one ERP software. This helps to cut costs, streamline operations and means you’re only dealing with one team of experts for support, training and other requests.
Trying to integrate with QuickBooks also means you have to rely on duplicate entry across multiple solutions. Not only is this time-consuming and prone to human error, it also prevents you from accessing advanced functionality only found in ERP – such as better financial reporting, automated email functions, and automated reports.
The bottom line: QuickBooks is not ERP. Therefore, when you decide to replace QuickBooks, remember to keep in mind the following:
- When setting a budget for new software, do so based on the cost of ERP and not based on the cost of QuickBooks.
- Keep an open mind to changing processes instead of trying to do everything you’ve been doing with QuickBooks, but just with ERP instead. Ultimately the right ERP software will save you time and money.
- If you’re nervous about making the switch, keep this in mind when speaking to different software vendors. Find a vendor that takes the time to learn about your needs and who will dedicate the time and resources to help you make the change.
What is ERP System Examples?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) consists of tools intended to facilitate the management of all information that impacts a company’s business decisions. Depending on your company’s niche, you’ll benefit from different functionality available in ERP software. There are several ERP system examples that can streamline operations for manufacturing, accounting, marketing and more.
Much of modern business is done through computer- and Internet-based services. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible for someone to keep track of all the data that their business relies upon. This is where ERP software comes in.
ERP software integrates with your core business operations, like your inventory tracking system, eCommerce payment gateway, and shipping and handling. You no longer need to bounce through multiple software programs when you have the answers you need in one place.
If you already use warehouse inventory management software, your ERP system can integrate with this, too. Here are some of the leading ERP software companies:
- SAP S/4HANA. This next-generation service is known for its far-reaching compatibility with multiple company sizes and existing software.
- Oracle Cloud ERP. Oracle is one of the most well-established software companies in the world. They boast a broad range of capabilities within their ERP solution, including expense and risk management.
- Sage Intacct. This company is known for its extensive third-party integration capabilities and being useful for smaller, high-growth companies.
- Epicor ERP. Epicor offers a high degree of scalability and customizability for businesses of different sizes. Also includes options for in-house or cloud-based usability.
Since ERP systems centralize so much data, it’s far easier to get the information you need, when you need it. Gone are the days of reviewing paper records when you can click into digital reports full of useful insights.
With such a powerful tool at your fingertips, you may be wondering what some common use cases are. Here are some examples of how companies use an ERP system:
- Streamlining billing and invoicing. One of the biggest challenges faced by eCommerce companies is getting invoices paid on time. Many businesses allow customers to place an order without paying upfront, which only delays the inevitable. An ERP system can help you implement net 30 payment terms so you aren’t constantly chasing clients for payment. Automated invoicing and payment reminders are one of the many benefits of using an eCommerce platform like BlueCart.
- Tracking work in process inventory. Keeping track of items in your warehouse is crucial for profitability, but it’s hard when you have to do it manually. First, warehouse managers verify that new shipments have been logged in the appropriate system. Second, they give staff handheld scanners that automatically send data to the ERP system during the order fulfillment process. Third, warehouse workers scan items as they’re moved from one stage to another. This reduces paper usage and prevents redundancy.
- Improve your warehouse management process flow. Successful warehousing is built on the fact that each inbound shipment makes it through every stage of your warehouse. This is called a process flow, and without it, you’re simply guessing where items need to be stored. Your ERP can help you develop a flow chart of where items need to go and when.
- Clarifying communication. Getting the information you need usually isn’t a problem if you can consult your own team. If an employee relies on critical info from another department, however, issues can arise. ERPs offer a bridge between various departments where staff can get the answers they need in a fraction of the time. Even without an ERP system in place, an all-in-one platform like BlueCart eCommerce can provide you with in-app chat capabilities to improve team-wide communication.
What is Sage Accounting System?
Sage Accounting is a cloud-based small-business accounting software. With two affordable plans to choose from, Sage Accounting offers essential bookkeeping and accounting features, comprehensive reporting and inventory tracking. Despite its affordability, however, competitors like QuickBooks Online and FreshBooks may provide a more modern user experience and greater product transparency.
After you sign up for Sage Accounting, you’ll be able to log in to your account and access your dashboard. Your main dashboard view will be the summary tab, which provides an overview of key financial information, such as sales, expenses and cash flow. You’ll be able to navigate to different sections of your account using the navigation bar across the top of your dashboard.
When you sign in for the first time, you’ll see the Getting Started wizard, which can walk you through the steps needed to get your account set up. You’ll be able to enter basic information about your business, like your company name and address, as well as create and link your bank accounts.
Once your bank accounts are linked, your transactions will download to Sage automatically, helping to streamline the reconciliation process when balancing your books.
Next, you’ll be able to enter customer and vendor information. If you have existing contact data in a spreadsheet, you’ll be able to import it directly into Sage Accounting. You’ll also be able to set up your chart of accounts, enter opening account balances and review your trial balance report.
At any time, you can visit the online help center for additional information on setting up your account, or chat with Sage customer service by clicking the chat button in the upper right corner of your screen.
With the Sage Accounting plan, you can invite multiple users to your account and assign them one of five user roles. If you are working with a professional bookkeeper or accountant, they can sign up for Sage Accounting Accountants Edition and send you an email invite from their account. Once you accept the invitation, your accountant will have full access rights to the data within your Sage account.
Sage Accounting Start users must go through this process in order to work with an accountant. However, although Sage Accounting offers unlimited users, Sage recommends linking accounts through this process for a better user experience.
Accounts payable software helps you track which bills are due and when they’re due, which is a key component of managing your business successfully. Some A/P solutions take it a step further by automating the process, allowing for more complex features like approval workflows and global payments. The right fit for your business is the software that suits both your current needs and is also scalable for the future.