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Live Demo: AP Automation for Microsoft Dynamics GP

Webinar Transcription

Haley: Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us for our webinar today on AP Automation in 30 minutes for Microsoft Dynamics GP. We are gonna keep this webinar to 30 minute so we’re gonna get started and I’m gonna turn it over to your host for the day, Mike Johnson.

Mike: Hey, Haley. Thanks a lot. We appreciate your time and attendance today, as Haley articulated. We’re gonna wrap something up here around AP automation in 30 minutes for Microsoft Dynamics GP users. So we’re focusing specifically on the advantages of automating your AP process, and if you’re a GP user, we’re actually gonna summarize at the end, or close to the end, how we integrate well with your current ERP system.

So my name is Mike Johnson. I’ve been around AvidXchange for going on four years. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity in my past to be a general manager for a company though I’m not an accountant or a CPA by trade. I’ve run businesses, I’ve opened and closed books, dealt with vendors so I’m very familiar with the manual process. A lot of you may still be employing in your workplace whether you’re for-profit or not-for-profit. We’re in 2017 and we still see a vast majority of the companies we speak with are still deeply entrenched in paper-based processes whether it be managing paper invoices to paper checks.

So why this topic is so hot today? We’re seeing a huge uptick in the interest level based on the market that we’re calling on and working with. They’re saying “Hey, we’ve got to get better. We need to improve efficiencies, control. We’re doing more with less, how to repurpose or reallocate resources, valuable resources which we’ll call our staff and our people to focus on more strategic things that are helping grow our business, and help maintain controls and cost.”

So that’s a brief introduction about myself. I’m looking forward to the conversation today, but I want to introduce my colleague and cohort in crime here, Shannon Lawson. Shannon, would you like to say hello to the folks? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shannon: Sure. So I am in Charlotte, North Carolina which is where the AvidXchange headquarters is located. I’ve also been in Avid close to four years, and as you can see here, my title is Solutions Consultant. So I guess you could say kind of the subject matter expert and I’ll be running the demonstration for you today.

Mike: Great. Thanks, Shannon. Shannon comes to us with a really…pretty…a very strong background in our core technology of AP automation. She was an implementation specialist before moving over to help us sales folks as an engineer. So she’s dealing with a lot of the customers we have that want to do a technical discussion on how do we connect to their ERP system, how do we help them manage invoices, payments, purchase orders, things of that nature. So a wealth of experience and knowledge and work with her off and on for the last several years. So thank you for joining us today, Shannon. I really do appreciate it. Looking forward to working with you on this.

But we’ve got to start with kind of a baseline. So often it is around defining what is AP automation because when we say this to many people out there, they come up with a whole host of different definitions around what it means to them. So we want to take a moment just to illustrate when we speak to our companies and customers about what AP automation is, it usually takes this form.

Many of you are familiar with this process. An invoice comes in today, you’re opening mail, downloading emails, you may be attaching a PO, creating a PO, you’re routing it out for approval. Whether you’re in the same office or working at different locations, you’ve got to get information back and forth. You’re coding, you’re approving. I’m getting exhausted describing the steps that take place in the AP world. And then once it comes back for its approval, you’re doing some data entry into your accounting system. And once it’s in your accounting system, you make a decision, “Okay, we’ve got invoices. Let’s pay our vendors.”

And what we’re finding today just as we are in invoices, there’s still a lot of paper involved at last processor’s last step. People are printing checks. Yeah, it’s true. In 2017, when we as consumers go online and pay our bills, we come to work every day, we print paper checks. About 50% or so of all B2B payments according to industry statistics and studies reveal are still based on paper checks. So at the end of that process that invoice is filed. Yeah, there’s a filing cabinet at the storage. Research is a manual process so when vendor inquiries come in, audit happens, we’re back to those filing cabinets.

Everything you see here that’s got a little X over it, that’s our lovely logo, is replaced by our technology. We are SaaS-based solutions, so we’re in the cloud. Software as a service, I like to accentuate the words “software” and “service” because you’re utilizing our software, but we provide a high degree of service to support you to make sure that you’re successful in your initiative to automate and take the paper out of the process. So no more opening the…no more receiving invoices, downloading invoices. Opening mail, routing mail, interoffice envelopes, overnight couriers are all eliminated.

You’re coding, you’re approving the process because that’s…your value is what you’re doing, it’s helping move this along the approval chain. And then once it gets back to finance, doing your final review and we integrate seamlessly with GP, passing a fully-coded and approved invoice along with a link to the image inside of your accounting system. And at the end of that process, we can help facilitate payments to vendors the way they want to be paid. That includes a paper check option because yup, here in the US, we still have requirements. Some vendors who still want to receive a paper check but we also offer a few forms of electronic payment. Because it started electronically, it’s captured electronically.

So we’ve been in this space since 2000 in AP automation. Specifically, we’re built for mobile. We scale for all sorts of organizations from small, midsize to large, for-profit, nonprofit, high tech. We’re across a wide range of industries in companies and corporations supporting them.

So let’s talk about some of the benefits because why would you want to do this? You know, one of the first benefits we often see is, hey, am I gonna save some money here? Why would I auatomate… Why would I use technology? Those will ultimately lower some of my costs. And according to industry statistics, if you’re processing paper invoices today, the touch points that people…all the steps that are involved could cost you as high as $9 for that document.

When you automate that process using and leveraging AvidXchange technology, you’re reducing that cost to $1.50. So there’s an immediate ROI so you’re saving money right off the bat. And then when you’re talking about companies who are still processing or printing checks, most studies indicate the cost for processing a check on site can be as high as $7.15. Of course, these numbers could be up and down depending on where you are, how many people are involved in the process, but it’s still a lot. You’re looking at, you know, over $16 a cost to take an invoice through entire approval process and pay the vendor.

In an automated solution, including invoice and payments, you’re lowering your payments down to about 68 cents and your invoice $1.50. So a little over $2 for that processing of documents from invoice to payments compared to 16. So a good ROI for all that. You’re looking at automation and why you’d want to do it. And what increases the cost? You know, what is keeping that up at $97? It’s gonna be the manual labor and data errors. I’ve got some interesting stories of being inside kind of the walls, the conference room with some of my customers talking with their finance people about all the things that they do that are involved around PO that touches open and exposed for errors.

So lots of value here as far as saving money. And the number two benefit is something that all companies should be concerned with, and many are because the dirty secret here is that many companies get frauded. And the number one document that’s fraud in business today is paper checks. So 48% of payment fraud can be tracked back to a paper check. Google it. There’s some fantastic stories out there when you think in terms of how people are being creative to get money out of your business into their bank account. And often by the time you realize it’s happened, it’s very late in the process. So getting that money back is an enormous task. It takes a lot of time.

So technology enforces a strict adherence to business rules. These are ones you want to enforce. You want to put into play with companies where you want to see visibility. You want to be able to scrutinize all expenses, invoices, and payments to vendors before they’re even entered into your GP system. And within our technology, every payment that you process through your Avid pay solution has a positive pay element and approval workflow based in it so that you know exactly what’s going out, how it’s being paid. All that information is available to you in a dashboard to see what’s happening in your business.

And the number three benefit is really eliminating the paper and the tedious work that’s associated with it. You know, look at all the steps: opening and stuffing mail, scanning and filing invoices, coding, entering invoice data into Dynamics GP, printing, signing and mailing checks. All these are steps that take up time. And that’s something I think we all can appreciate in business today is that we’re not getting more time in our day. So as we look at the scale and grow our organizations we need to leverage technology like this to help and assist us and manage and scale and grow.

And the biggest benefit, too, electronic automation on the AP side is it improves your audit trail. You can say goodbye to saving documents for seven years. Everything that comes in through our technology is date and time stamped. It builds a robust audit trail so you know exactly when an invoice is received, who touched it, what they did with it up to and including the approval process. And all the payment data is at your fingertips.

Imagine the power of that in your business today. It’s not in a file, it’s not on somebody’s desk, not in somebody’s head. It’s actually within the system that you can track. So what the biggest thing for us to do today is really show you how it works. So I’m going to turn you over to Shannon now and she’s gonna give you a quick walk through, and show you our technology. So Shannon, let me know when you’ve got the ball.

Shannon: I got it. Thank you. And you’re right. I know I want more time in my day so I can imagine having to run a business. So what you’re looking at… Before I actually go into the software, I wanted to just go through real quick… Now, keep in mind, a demonstration like this typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour to run through it in quite a few more detail. In this case, I’m gonna be running through it in about 15 minutes. So I highly recommend, you know, if there’s any areas where you have questions about or you’d like to request a demonstration, you’re probably getting on the phone with me to run through it in quite more detail.

So to start, just to tee it up, how do we get invoices from your suppliers going forward to where you guys wouldn’t have to receive them anymore? So that was our first goal — get rid of the paper and get you out of having to receive that. What we do most commonly is we set up a PO box for your vendors and your suppliers to be able to mail them over. So if they still want to mail it over as a service, we gather those, we get them into the system. So we get you out of having to receive that mail.

From the far left, that’s far and away our number one used method which is e-mail. We have roughly two million invoices that are funneling through the system monthly. Probably about 65%-70% come through e-mail today electronically.

So we would basically set up a unique e-mail address for your business, and we would notify your vendors of the change, and you guys would be able to use the e-mail address as well. Regardless of how it comes in, what we’re doing is we’re basically pulling off all of that pertinent header information that you would key into GP today, so you know, the vendor, the invoice number, PO number, date, amounts. What’s different with us is we insure 99% accuracy with that piece. We’re a little bit special in that sense because we have someone that is reading every invoice coming through after the technology takes a stab at it.

The data that we enter basically kicks off an approval path that you guys have pre-determined. So during implementation, we set up these different workflow rules or triggers. You know, maybe this utility bill needs to go to this person. Maybe this marketing bill needs to go to this location. So we set up all of those rules and combinations for you, so it’s very seamless when the invoice comes in. It knows exactly who to go to. And the person in step one would receive a notification through e-mail that they have something to approve or review. I don’t want you guys to get hung up on the term “approve.” It could be either maybe coding, it could be reviewing, it could be an actual approval. Regardless, we can go ahead and put them in that step.

So I’m gonna shift gears over to the software and kinda walk you through a day in the life of an invoice. And then we’ll talk specifically around how they end up going into GP through the integration. So I logged in here already into the software. It’s 100% cloud based. You can access this through a smartphone, a tablet, iPhone which is nice because if you’re out of the office, your invoices don’t have to be held up. And so if your CFO or whoever is out, they can still review everything right from their phone. And we give unlimited number of users to access it. So we don’t charge per user, per license or see if you’re anything like that.

So maybe there’s someone that just needs to look at something once a year, they can even come in here or maybe your auditors like Mike was talking about. But when I logged in, right away I can see I have 21 invoices in my queue awaiting again my approval or review. And you’re controlling who has access to come in here and see and do what. So that’s something else that’s part of the setup is your permissions. Everything is controlled by rules and permissions, and from a security standpoint, one person’s view could look quite different from someone else. But let’s just go ahead and click into an invoice.

There’s really three sections here. You have all of your header information on the left. This is everything we grabbed for you and this is everything that’s gonna be passing back to GP as if you had keyed it in. Again, invoice number, date, you can edit this. All of the fields are responsive. This will be your data so it should look familiar to you.

On the right here is the invoice image, kind of the star of the show. And if there was, you know, 30 pages front and back here you would see all of that. You can pull out invoices, download them, print them, e-mail them out. Again, your data. We’re storing everything for you but you have access to it for the lifetime that you’re an AvidXchange customer. And then down below here, this is probably the areas that you guys probably care about.

So how do I code an invoice? So what you’re looking at is the distribution section, which is coding to your general ledger. And this is…I do want to say this is 100% customized to what you’re using today. So for example, maybe it’s not entity, maybe it’s property in your accounting system. Maybe you use branches, maybe it’s department, maybe it’s GL. Maybe you don’t even use job codes. So again, don’t get hung up on the headers here because it’ll be changed depending on what you guys use. But in this case, this invoice was already coded for me to electrical supplies so I already had default set up. We have quite a few tools in the system to help with coding.

The system is even smart so it can remember how it was coded last, and you can split and allocate across as many lines as you need to. Believe or not, we have some clients that split over 5,000 lines. And me being down south, I just want to say, “Bless their heart,” because that seems like a lot of work. But you know, you could do this by percentage, amount. The system will do the math for you. You know, we have a ton of flexibility when it comes to coding. And the rest of the tabs here are pretty straightforward but still powerful. You know, back up documentation here, maybe you want to attach a receipt or contract or a picture of something, maybe a scope of work. And what I like personally is kinda the next few tabs here.

Coming from a paper-based or non-automated environment, we call it paper shuffling. It’s hard for you to capture conversation logs. So you know, all of the phone calls, e-mails, walking back and forth to someone’s desk, that will now be tracked in the portal because you can start a comment log or you can e-mail out. So everywhere you see the little envelope, they just e-mailed out, still tracked here in the audit trail.

Now, the workflow tab. So this gives you visibility into where the invoice is. So any question today that I’m sure never come up, but if they did around where is that invoice, why haven’t I seen it, how long has Joe had it, all of those really just go away completely because you now can log in and see right away, “Oh, I know it’s sitting with Marie and I know that Bob has already reviewed it.”

So if you had a question about something, you know exactly who to reach out to. And from an accrual standpoint, this also is going to give you all that reporting and visibility into what’s outstanding. So what’s actually being accrued for the minute that we receive it?

Now, our workloads are very flexible. This is just a sample that you’re looking at. It doesn’t have to be four steps. It’s really custom built for you. It’s not… You know, you don’t have to use what’s already prebuilt in the system. It’s built for you and your business. And what I like is just additional kind of functionality to say, “You know, I need to shoot it over to someone else. I need to change the workflow.” It’s impossible for me to cover everything in the system for you in 15 minutes, but hopefully, you’re getting the idea that it’s very intuitive, user-friendly, flexible.

But once this invoice is fully approved, so once it goes to the final step, the invoice has the status of approved and coded, what happens is it basically gets added to what’s called a batch. And so I’m gonna come back to this PowerPoint here to kinda walk you through how it works specifically with GP. And I did wanna say that we integrate with over 130 different accounting systems today as well as other versions of Dynamics. So you know, Nav, SL. If there’s anyone on the phone that uses something other than GP, don’t feel left out because we integrate with you as well.

And so what happens is you have all of these invoice batches. Invoices are getting added to it and all your team really has to do is close that batch out and basically tell the system stop adding invoices to us for today. And you’re controlling how often you do this.

You would then just basically click this export button and we do have an API built with Dynamics. So that way it’s very seamless. You know, there’s no file that you have to generate, nothing like that. You basically have a onetime set up for your credentials, again, from a security standpoint. And all of the available batches from AvidXchange are then loaded into GP. So once invoices are added there, they’re available to import into your accounting system. And so right within GP, you would see the available batches and you would basically just click on this import batch button.

What I like is that GP is gonna validate what’s coming in. So it’s gonna let you know if maybe, you know, there’s a vendor that it doesn’t recognize, maybe this code combination isn’t applicable. And so you’ll know if there was any success or failure with the batch. You get a report kicked out to you.

But once these batches are imported, if you wanted to go into invoice detail, maybe, you know, a vendor called you and they had a question about an invoice, all you’d have to do is click into that batch then click into that invoice number. And what we’re doing is we’re sending over basically an active screenshot of that invoice image. So you’d still see the PDF right within GP, again, as if you had scanned it in, except the best that part is you don’t have to do that anymore. So you would see all of the header information, all of the coding expenses, the invoice image, everything like you would today. We’re just giving you back time to get out of that data entry initially.

And so maybe you didn’t wanna see the image but maybe you wanted to see the actual payables screen. So you wanted to go into that build detail. Everything should look familiar to you. Really from here it’s business as usual. You’re going through, reviewing…maybe posting your bills and then you’re going through your normal payment selection process. So again, we’re not changing anything of how GP is really…we’re not changing the format. We’re not changing how it looks. It’s business as usual. We’re just getting out of the data entry.

And so from here, let’s talk a little bit about the payment side because AvidXchange thinks of automation as full end-to-end — invoice all the way through payment. So Mike did briefly touch on this about, you know, if you’re heavy tech printers today or maybe you’ve done some kind of e-payment initiative already where you’ve set up maybe through your bank or something, that is a great start toward automation. But what you’re looking at is basically a print driver, it’s called Create-A-Check, that we add to GP. So that way we get you out of having to even print those checks.

There’s always going to be cases where you still have to print checks. You know, maybe you… This is a bad example but Larry the landscaper comes up and they just need their money right there. There’s always going to be cases that you have to do that. However, we’d like to take away at least the majority. And basically what happens is we facilitate the payments for you.

So what you do is you go through, you select your payments and GP just like you would. And I know that from a demo perspective, you’re having to visualize this. Again, if you want to see kinda more in-depth step by step, I highly recommend requesting a further demonstration. But once you go through and select your, payments you’re able to use it as a menu to say, “I’d like to print these in house. I’d like to send these wires and then at the last 50 payments I’d like to send them back to AvidXchange to facilitate on my behalf.”

So right again from GP through this driver, you’ll have a new payment method called the Avid Pay Network. What the Avid Pay Network entails is basically about 250 employees right across the street from me in Charlotte where it’s an entire services team that are making these payments on behalf of you. There’s an entire list of services really incumbent in that where they’re not just making the payments on your behalf, but they’re also educating your vendors on receiving e-payments, why it’s important, what the benefits for your suppliers are. And then they also follow up on those payments.

So any age payments that go out after X amount of days, we have kinda SLAs around that, but after X amount of days, if the supplier hasn’t cashed that check or ran that e-payment yet, we’re gonna, you know, contact them and figure out why because we know how important those timelines are especially around like, let’s say, utilities. You know, we wanna avoid those late fees or shut off.

So what happens is once you submit these payments to us, honestly the liability shifts to us. You guys are kinda hands-off and we go through payment by payment. And you’re gonna be able to take advantage of our network where, you know, thousands of suppliers have already told us how they’d like to be paid and what method. It’s really up to them at the end of the day. And then we make those payments and you have 24/7 visibility into the statuses of those payments. So right within the user interface that I showed you earlier, you’d be able to see those payment batches and the status, and you’d also be able to see that from GP.

And so if a vendor did call you again, “Hey. I just wanna know the status of that,” you can come in and log in and see, “Oh, it looks like, you know, AvidXchange mailed that check on 4/11 at 2:30,” and…or you know, you’ll see real-time status updates within that. So again, kind of hands-off, very user friendly. All you’d have to do is come in, select your payments, send them back to us. I’m sure there’s a ton of questions around kinda the flow of funds or just all kinds of things. And again, unfortunately we can’t cover it in 30 minutes but feel free. And I’m actually gonna stop here. I wanna leave some time for questions. And I believe we do have a poll as well for you guys.

Haley: Yes. Thanks, Shannon. So I have just launched the poll. So if everyone on the line could just take a few seconds and make your selection of how you’d like to be followed up with, that would be great. It looks like 19% of you have voted and 31%, 44%. Keep them coming in and I’ll leave it up. We do have a question, Shannon, while we collect the poll results. And the question is from David and he wants to know how our payments to foreign currencies handled?

Shannon: Great question. So AvidXchange today is strictly domestic. That’s why I mentioned through our Create-A-Check engine, you can still submit wires if you had to do that today. AvidXchange is not capturing currency. We’re just capturing a number so it doesn’t denote a currency when the invoice is submitted. If you have currencies defaulted today in GP, what happens is when we batch those invoices back, if they’re already defaulted, you know, by that supplier maybe, the currency would adjust there. If not, then you could then adjust the currency to reflect the right one. But as far as the payments, any that were outside of domestic, you guys would still handle in-house, and then any that were domestic we could handle.

Haley: Thank you. The next question is from Brian and he wants to know how the pricing model works — if it’s transaction based pricing or if there’s a monthly fee that you pay.

Mike: Sure. It’s a transaction model. So one of the things we encourage… Shannon, great job, by the way, of walking people through our portal and showing them the different options that are available. It’s transaction based so there’s a onetime implementation fee. We take into consideration what you’re trying to do. There are really five ways that we touch, or modules that we can offer our clients in the AP space including our requisition purchase order module, a P-card module, the invoice modules we focused on, the payment module and a specific utility module.

So really we’d love an opportunity to have a conversation. We can learn a little bit more about what your goals are, learn about the scope of your project, what things you’re looking to accomplish. And then we certainly could supply specific pricing information once we know some of those requirements. But it’s transaction based. Kinda the rule to follow is you only pay for what you process through it. And it could be one of those five things or all of those five things. So I’d love to continue a conversation around that if you’re interested.

Haley: Thanks, Mike. And just a quick reminder. Eighty percent of you guys on the line have selected a poll response. So I’ll give you 15 more seconds to get your response in. Mike, we have another question from Ashley. And she wants to know how do auditors handle not being able to have a physical copy of an invoice?

Mike: Well, they could always have access to physical copies. As Shannon showed you what…when we scan and capture invoices whether they’re coming in via e-mail or paper, we’re storing them as a PDF image. So our system doesn’t restrict you from the ability to print a hard copy because we’re not in a seat or site license. It’s really we build your portal. You’re in complete control of who has access, what they can see and what they can do. And you can take that to another step. We do have clients that provide auditors read-only access. There’s an ad hoc reporting capability where they can search out all sorts of criteria by vendor, entity, invoice status, date ranges, things of that nature that they can call up on a report. And in that report will be the image of the invoice.

So we saw for that the requirement by supplying that. So anyway, it’s written on the invoice that we capture going in. It’s still stored on that invoice. We could show you examples of ones that people have submitted to me for demo purposes that sometimes they…underneath that ransom note there’s actually an invoice because there’s all these comments and notes attached to it. So that’s what I think in terms of what an auditor is looking for. It’s not only looking for the physical copy of the invoice but what else was written on it. So we solve for that by supplying you that PDF image. No restriction.

Haley: Perfect. Well, thank you both. It looks like we’ve gotten through all of the questions and we’re right on time. So this webinar has been recorded and a copy will be sent out to you tomorrow. So thank you all for joining us.

Shannon: Thank you.

Mike: Thank you and enjoy the day. Thanks, Shannon.

Interested in learning more from an AP Automation expert?
Hosted By:
Shannon Lawson
Partner Solutions Consultant at AvidXchange