Need an AP ally?
  • Using this to pass one unique identifier from all demo forms. Helps us wrangle the ways a demo can happen in tag manager/GA.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Netsuite Users: 5 Signs It’s Time to Automate Accounts Payable

Webinar Transcription

Brittany: Today we will be covering the webinar “Five signs it’s time to automate” for Netsuite users. Before we begin, I do want to cover a few things, as you all are in listen only mode, if you have any questions, we would still love to hear from you. If you just put your questions into the questions box in your control panel, we do have a Q & A at the end of the webinar and will make sure to answer them all during that time.

After the presentation, I will be sending out a recording of the webinar as well as a PDF of the slide decks and you can expect that in your inbox by tomorrow morning. Today’s speaker is Jeremy Collins. Jeremy is our Director of Strategic Partners here at AvidXchange, and Jeremy, I will pass it on over to you.

Jeremy: Thank you Brittany, thank you everyone for joining us today. As Brittany mentioned, today’s webinar is on the 5 signs it’s time to automate, and as we see here, there’s definitely a number of signs, but laid out in no particular order, so we’ll start with sign number one.

Volume has increased. For most companies in growth mode, they see the only way of scaling would be to add head count, however technology allows us to make those companies more efficient with the staff they have while allowing them to scale for growth.

In this real life example, Humphrey Management was able to recognize a significant labor cost and savings simply by allowing technology to help them scale instead of having to add head count, allowing them to take on an increased number of paper invoices that they were receiving on a monthly basis.

Sign number two, the potential of losing a veteran employee to retirement. As the baby boomer generation sets to retire, they carry with them years of accumulated knowledge almost impossible to pass on to someone just learning the business. One of the best ways to avoid the loss of accumulated knowledge is to capture the workflow process by way of technology.

Automation allows us to do this by allowing them to impart their knowledge in a way that can be managed by the business going forward in terms of establishing business prophesies and workflows electronically.

We saw this with the Wilton Companies. The Wilton Companies was about to experience the retirement of long term tenured employees whose vast understanding of the business was going to be difficult to duplicate. They were able to capture the current profits in the way of business rules and intelligent workflows, allowing them to carry forward all of that information without having to lose some of their prophesies controls.

Sign number three, your last audit didn’t go so well. We all know that an audit can be a nerve-wracking event, and no one typically looks forward to them. Auditors often spend days requiring the help of an employee, taking them away from their every day activities to provide documentation. Automation helps to reduce the need not only for the employee to search through file cabinets and folders looking for paper documentation, but can also reduce the audit time in general. With an automation solution, you can provide read only access to the auditor, allowing them to perform searches to pull the necessary documentation at their leisure. It also provides greater visibility into audit trails, whereas with automation solutions you’re able to see history, or running history of the invoices and payments as issued by the company.

Sign number four, your organization has been a victim of fraud. Statistics show that 70% of organizations have experienced fraud, where 48% of those are related to payment fraud, and that payment fraud can be tracked back to paper checks. Also according to the FBI, US organizations suffer losses of 5 and a half to 13 billion dollars annually every year to fraud.

In a real life example, the New Hampshire Union Leader talks about 60 year old John Plaza who is now facing felony charges for embezzlement. And as you can see here, over a course of 6 years Plaza stole nearly $106,000 through a scheme that he concocted where he ended up being able to alter the books not accounting for money that was being taken in and money that was owed the company. With automation, business rules can be applied, making it more difficult for any one individual to perform fraudulent activity and by leveraging automation technology organizations now have real time visibility into activity, reducing the potential for fraud.

Sign number five, your internal controls aren’t up to par. In our last example, we talked about a gentleman by the name of John Plaza, and had that organization had internal controls in place, obviously the accountability would have been there and that company would have been able to avoid that loss. Segregation of duties is a best practice when it comes to deploying internal controls, making sure that no one person has the right to both approve and process a payment is a good way to avoid fraud.

It also complies with standards set by the Uniform Commercial Code , or UCC. Under the UCC, organizations that do not comply with such standards are themselves held responsible for any fraudulent activity, whereas in the past some of that fraudulent activity could be laid blame on the bank, that has now changed under the Uniform Commercial Code. So not only establishing a segregation of duties, but internal controls outside of that to make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to reduce fraudulent activity within the organization.

With automation solutions, organizations have the ability to adhere to strict approvals and again utilize more secure payment methods like electronic payments. All of these signs are the five signs that lead us to what automation looks like today. So in talking about why it’s important for Netsuite users to automate, we’re going to create a baseline of what an automation process would look like.

So we’ll start with what’s typically a paper-based AP process. As as most of you are probably familiar with, an invoice would come in either by mail or email, where someone within your organization has to open up that mail and either 3 way match it to a purchase order, or route it to the appropriate person within the organization. That routing could be hand carrying the invoice around the office or even forwarding an email to the appropriate person, where that person then eventually codes it, approves it, and applies it to a budget before it’s entered into the accounting system.

Now certainly there are faults with that, understanding that we all get very busy and any routing of mail can fall through the cracks in terms of an invoice sitting inside of an inbox, both electronically as well as on a desk for any number of days without understanding or knowledge of that invoice existing. Once that invoice is entered into the accounting system, it’s posted to the GL, where then typically paper checks are issued, and then filed away for research later, creating in turn a full, what we consider paper-based solution.

This next slide allows us to depict what automation solutions offer in terms of eliminating the need for a lot of the paper process activity. An invoice can now be captured electronically, eliminating the need for someone to open the mail or route emails around the office. Within the solution there’s also a way to manage the matching to a purchase order. And then compared, an entry of that information can then be managed electronically into the accounting system. So with automation we’re really leaving you with three pertinent business decisions: coding, approving, and posting it to your GL. Everything else where you see the AvidXchange logo is what the technology and services that we offer allows you to eliminate and help not only from a scaling aspect, but also provide more efficient ways to manage your business.

So when we consider the automation process, we’ll start with the capture of the invoice. There are 5 ways that invoices are captured into the AvidXchange system. We start with email, setting up vendors with an email address that they can now submit their invoices into electronically. We also have a vendor portal in the event that the vendor would like to upload their invoice data to you that way. You’d have the option of some EDI capabilities. More commonly, besides email, there’s the option of scanning it. And more importantly beside having to scan your own invoices, we try to help you eliminate paper all together by facilitating a change of address, allowing your vendors to now submit their invoices into a processing facility where AvidXchange has account managers dedicated to your particular account, scanning the invoices that come in and presenting those invoices to you electronically within different workflow queues that are configured during set up.

As those invoices are captured by the system regardless of the manner in which they’re received, we take them through an extraction process to extract certain data elements off of the invoice where those invoices are then also analyzed for potential duplicates and fraudulent invoice.

Then once the invoices have gone through the analyzation process, again, we deliver them into a queue. With the automation solutions by AvidXchange, we offer any number of queues that can be configured, whether that’s to deliver an invoice based on vendor, department, classification, job, whatever the structure would be in terms of a workflow or routing for your invoices, we have the capability to route it appropriately.

So I’m just going to jump into the system real quick to show you what the integration looks like between AvidXchange and Netsuite, and how we capture the invoices and manage the solution all the way through the payment segment.

So this is what we consider the inbox of an approval queue within AvidXchange. So I have a series of invoices that have been received in one of those previous manners we discussed, and we put those invoices into a list available for a particular user to be able to identify the invoices that they’re responsible for. I can drill down into each invoice, where I’m then able to see certain information components such as the invoice image itself, if the invoice is 30 pages we will present all 30 pages to you, as well as the header information and the extracted data that we talked about that we capture off of the invoice.

So we have this header information here on the left, representing certain data fields that will be required for Netsuite to create a billed transaction. On the bottom we have our distributions, so we can see that this particular invoice has a number of line items that need to be coded for and accounted for. The system has what we call smart coding, which means it remembers the last time an invoice was received by this particular vendor and it is coded in that manner, but it allows me to alter that distribution so I can go in and add the necessary coding elements to account for the invoice I’m receiving today. All these codes are codes that communicate with Netsuite in terms of the AvidXchange Netsuite integration, allowing us to pull in the different allocations and distribution codes needed for your business.

We can also look at a workflow history of the invoice, allowing us to again from an audit standpoint see exactly what has transpired with the invoice in terms of approvals, where the invoice sits in a particular state, and how long it sits. That’s managed through the history side, where we can see when the invoice was received by the AvidXchange system, how long it sat in a pending queue before any action was taken against it, and then also what the payment terms and different criteria are for this particular invoice, and if any comments have been logged against the invoice as well.

Once a particular user within their step of the process is satisfied, they would simply select approve, they also have the option of approve and commenting, allowing them to makes notes that are then logged in the history of this invoice and passed on to future approvers as well. You’d also have the option of disputing invoices or skipping it for further review later. A dispute allows you to send the invoice back to the vendor to question a particular invoice at any given time.

Once invoices have gone through their approval process, they’re then made available to a scheduled script through a batching process. So as invoices go into the approvals, they become available under a batch where a user would simply close the batch and upon closing a scheduled script will pull in those invoices that have been captured and configured within AvidXchange into the Netsuite application.

So here we’re looking at a Netsuite dashboard, the AvidXchange system sits with a managed bundle on the Netsuite application. We now have an invoice tab, allowing us to select the Avid invoice list, which will then present to us all the invoices that AvidXchange had captured. We can see here that our top 4 invoices also have a matching purchase order to them, meaning that a purchase order number was referenced on the invoice as it was captured. As the invoice information was brought into Netsuite, we then also compared it, or looked for a corresponding purchase order number to match.

Once we found the purchase order number within Netsuite we also verified that it matched the vendor ID, and we present those invoices to you, matching them up to the purchase order in one of two manners. Either received pending billing, meaning that an invoice had already been received, or the items from that invoice have been received, so the item received page has been closed out, or it’s still requiring that items be received.

We also provide the invoice image, allowing users to be able to pull up an image of the invoice from within Netsuite attached to that particular bill or transaction, as well as purchase order. So that way all of your documentation is recorded and managed from with in the Netsuite application. If for whatever reason, let’s say a purchase order was found but it did not match the vendor, we also have an error queue where we put particular invoices into an error state and present a reason to you in terms of PO not found, or the vendor was not found, or PO vendor mismatch allowing your user to then take action against that invoice to resolve it. So if we click on the fix action, we can now in this case assign the correct purchase order and vendor to this particular invoice to make sure they line up and match, allowing us to then flip that purchase order into the bill transaction.

All of this allows us to create those transactions within Netsuite within seconds, meaning we’re eliminating a lot of the manual entry steps that normally would be taken to create a bill, and once the bill has been created you would follow the normal Netsuite workflows in terms of making your payments. So you’d simply go to the pay bills tab, it will then lift out all of the bills that have been selected or approved in terms of creating those transactions, and as you save those bills for payment, AvidXchange will then capture those payments under the payments tab of the AvidXchange bundle.

And we provide you a way of automating your payments as well. By selecting the Avid pay network, we’re essentially allowing you now to configure an online bill pay system if you will where those payments can be directed to the AvidXchange network. That network contains over 300,000 vendors where with in the network the vendors have identified their business rules to receiving payments and their payment preference in terms of how they would like to be paid. We do all of the heavy lifting, allowing you to simply manage your business by submitting the payments you want to make.

So as we go through and select these particular payments and process them, the payments that we select will be sent off to the Avid Pay network, where again we’ve identified the particular vendors and how they’d like to be paid, and we facilitate making the payment on your behalf, again eliminating the need for you to touch paper, but also helping you increase the security around your payment process now as well, reducing any potential risk of fraud.

In the event that a user needs a check onsite, someone standing in the office, we obviously don’t want to take away from that factor as well, so we account for that through what we call our self managed component, allowing users to be able to select to process checks and ACH directly out of Netsuite. In doing so, we try to increase the security measures around this component as well, allowing you to print these checks to a blank secure check stock. So instead of having to rely on pre-printed stock, where the stock would dictate your check number, we’re taking the check number assigned by Netsuite and allowing you to print to a blank secure check stock, along with any authorized signer’s signatures that may be required to print on the check as well.

So in this case it’s more of, a as I just referenced, a self-managed check, printing it onsite, you would still be required to print it out through your printer, stuff it in the envelope and mail it out. But an option that is available to you in the event that you have someone in need of a payment right away standing in your office. Otherwise, take advantage of the automated solution and allow us to manage those payments for you.

Also within the AvidXchange bundle, within payments we also offer things such as positive pay and approvals so you can set up pay approval components allowing you to still maintain that level of control that you’re comfortable and used to so that as you process a payment it can be directed to individuals within an organization based on dollar amounts for their approval before that payment can actually be submitted to the network or issued through a paper check.

Again, all this results in allowing us to provide more efficiency to an organization, allowing you to scale, prepare for retirement of an employee, allow you to manage audits in a more efficient manner in terms of allowing the auditor to now have read-only rights to certain aspects of your business where they can come in and pull their own reports. If you’ve ever been a victim of fraud, helping you reduce that, as well as providing you with additional internals controls that make you compliant under the UCC.

So as we go through and certainly talk about automation, I just want to recap where we stand with the solution as a whole. As the invoice comes in, it’s captured by the Avid invoice application, certain data elements are then inserted into Netsuite to allow you to eliminate the need to manually enter certain data in terms of creating your build. And then we manage the payment process by facilitating an automated solution by submitting your bills through the Avid pay network, or what’s in essence an online bill pay system where we then facilitate the method of payment based on vendor preference. And then in the end allowing you to do your research within Netsuite and not having to file things off in a file cabinet for later research.

At this point I think we’re to an audience poll, so Brittany I will let you conduct the poll.

Brittany: Awesome, thank you Jeremy. Right now I am going to launch a poll, and it’s really just meant for us to know the best ways that we should follow up with you. So if everyone can just take a few seconds to select one of the three that would be great.

And while we’re waiting for people to vote here, we do have a few questions that have come in, Jeremy. So the first one was: is there a threshold in terms of invoices per month that typically make sense to more strongly consider automation? The one example showed a savings of 70K for 4,500 invoices per month, but we have significantly less than that number.

Jeremy: Absolutely, so great question, and certainly don’t want anyone to feel that the example was ideal in terms of every organization. While they experienced a savings of $70,000, certainly for a volume of less than 4500 invoices a month we can certainly provide a return on that investment and show you the savings that you would experience. In terms of a kind of a hard, fast number for an ideal company, we have companies that process as little as 25 invoices a month utilizing our system for a number of reasons other than just the scalability, but certainly some of the other factors we talked about today. So I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily a hard and fast number, but if you have less than the 4,500, obviously we can come back and show you the benefit of automating your process as well.

Brittany: Great, thanks Jeremy. We’re at 70% right now, so if everyone would just take a second to answer the poll that I have up. And we have another question that came in from Clark, and he wants to know: How is an invoice handled when there is no current vendor set up?

Jeremy: So again, if an invoice is captured and we identify that the vendor does not exist, then we throw that invoice into an exception queue. that exception queue then allows you to manage that invoice in a different manner, whether that’s waiting for someone to establish that new vendor, or if it’s potentially a fraudulent vendor being able to kick that invoice out of the system all together before it becomes a part of your system of record.

Brittany: Thank you. And another question that came in is: in disputing an invoice, how is that handled?

Jeremy: In disputing an invoice, it’s going to be a matter of there’s a dispute button that will send the invoice and an email back to the vendor notifying them that there’s questions around the particular invoice in dispute, and then allowing you to really pose those questions and keep a history… again, under our history… of the questions that were asked so that the system it sends a generated email keeping that history in line with everything else that transpires with the invoice.

Brittany: Okay great, thank you. We have another question that came in and it’s asking: can we use our owner’s credit cards or our corporate American Express to pay vendors?

Jeremy: So there are two answers to this question, and I will try to explain what I mean by that. So we are not taking away from your ability within Netsuite to be able to use American Express or any corporate card you may already have. However, what we are doing is within the Avid pay network where we provide vendors options of how they’d like to be paid, there is a card component to the network, but we’re not using a particular card that you’re required to have.

So within the network any card payment that’s made is not credit-based, and so we are actually using what’s considered a virtual commercial card, spinning up a one time payment card for each transaction that’s issued, and doing so without impacting any credit on the organization’s behalf. But again, that would be if the supplier has requested to be paid by way of a credit card.

Brittany: Great, thank you. We’re at about 85% that have answered the poll, so if you could just take a quick second to answer that if you have not. We have another question that came in Jeremy, and it’s asking how long this would typically take to set up?

Jeremy: So from an implementation standpoint we try to have you up and running within 45 days. Now obviously there are components or caveats to that, there’s a level of engagement that would be required from the using organization to make sure that we can fulfill that timeline. But if you’re able to commit to our implementation schedule, we can have you up and running within 45 days.

Now that commitment is really just a matter of a couple of hours over that 45 day period, but for some companies that can be difficult, and so that implementation period could extend longer, but we try to have you up and running within 45 days. And part of our commitment is to even offer a rebate in terms of a refund on your implementation fees if we can have you up and running, because it’s in the interest of both companies to have you up and running within that 45 day period.

Brittany: Okay great, and we have another question that came in. Can we implement the system without using your payment process for certain vendors?

Jeremy: Yes, so where the solution for Netsuite is a managed bundle, we have the ability to turn on certain features within the bundle. For example, the invoice capture. When you talk about on vendor level, you certainly have the option at the vendor record within Netsuite to identify if a particular vendor is going to be managed from a payment standpoint through the AvidXchange system or if you’re paying that vendor in another manner.

So the question earlier about using an American Express or corporate card you already have, you would control that at the vendor level, where there’s a field we allow you to identify on the vendor record whether that vendor will be a part of the Avid pay system, allowing you to make payment to that vendor through our network, versus another manner. Or if you want to keep certain vendors out of that, you have that option.

Brittany: Okay thank you, Jeremy. That looks like all the questions we have. Before I close the poll and end the webinar, do you have anything else to add Jeremy?

Jeremy: No, again, thank you for joining us today, and we hope to be able to talk in more detail with anyone that’s interested in automating their solutions and what we can provide to you in terms of a more efficient manner of managing your business process.

Brittany: Great, thank you. As I said, I will be sending out the recording of this, and I will be sending out this presentation deck. So you can expect that by tomorrow afternoon, and I hope everyone has a great day.

Jeremy: All right, thank you Brittany.

Interested in learning more from an AP Automation expert?
Hosted By:
Jeremy Collins
Director of Strategic Partners at Avidxchange