When tackling Accounts Payable Automation there are two areas you have to consider that determine your approach to successfully implementing an Automated Accounts Payable Solution. 

1. Supplier Change

If you require your Suppliers to change their invoicing processes in any way to implement an Automated Accounts Payable solution the benefits will only be gained when the Supplier implements the change. Therefore you are dependant on the Supplier. Our approach utilises either zero Supplier change; Invoice Scanning or minimal change; e-invoicing (PDF or Files).

If you do not want to involve your Suppliers in Automating AP we would recommend invoice scanning as the scanning technology learns different supplier layouts on the fly. Invoice scanning can either be performed in-house or provided as a managed service.

The Supplier does not change anything and continues to send the same paper invoices.

To implement e-invoicing the Supplier will have to output invoices as PDF email attachments or a file so that it can be received as an e-invoice file. This file can be in any format to minimise the Supplier’s change.

2. SAP & Data Validation

As part of automating the AP process, the data from the invoice has to be validated and checked against the Vendor Master, Purchase Order, Scheduling Agreements, Goods Receipts, G/L Accounts and Cost Accounting assignments. You have two options of where to do this, inside SAP or external to SAP.

Having reviewed many solutions we would only recommend performing all data validations and checks within SAP. Why? The reason is simple, all your data, SAP customisation and existing SAP programs, that can be re-used for checks and validation, are all contained within SAP already. If you were to perform these checks and validations external to SAP then programs have to be built and maintained for all these checks to an external system communicating with SAP in real-time. This is a mammoth development task and the operation of these programs could adversely affect your SAP systems performance.

Our recommendation for managing invoice data within SAP is the Invoices Cockpit which resides within SAP, looks like existing MIRO and FB60 screens the AP users are familiar with, and it is certified by SAP.

Go to our Invoice Scanning, einvoicing and Invoice Cockpit pages to see how it works.