How to Improve Your D365 BC Invoice Process with Intelligent AP Automation (Video)
Nearly 1/3 of companies are looking to tech-driven products to streamline their AP and financial processes. This demand, along with the growing availability of AI and cloud-based services, means that AP automation is smarter and faster than ever. Watch this recorded webinar to learn how to overcome manual process challenges with an intelligent, cloud-based AP automation solution that seamlessly integrates with Dynamics 365 Business Central.
What you will learn during the recorded webinar:
- Learn how AP automation with intelligent capture and AI-based OCR can improve your purchase invoice process.
- Watch a demo of SimplyAP, the KwikTag cloud AP automation solution for Dynamics 365 Business Central.
- See how your company could be up and running with SimplyAP in less than a day.
This recorded webinar is ideal if you’re:
- New to or considering a move to D365 BC.
- Recently implemented D365 BC and are looking for automation.
- Finance and accounting professionals that work with D365 BC.
Sherry: Good afternoon, thank you for joining us today. My name is Sherry Bettencourt, and I am a customer service associate here at Encore Business Solutions. And I’d like to start by thanking you for joining today’s webinar, “How to Improve Your D365 Business Central Invoice Process with Intelligent AP Automation.” Today, all attendees will be in listen-only mode. So, if you have any questions, as they come up throughout today’s presentation, please type them into the go-to webinar Q&A, or into the go-to webinar control panel chat box, and we will leave some time at the end of today’s presentation to respond to your questions. If we happen to run out of time, we will capture those questions and follow up with you via email. Today’s webinar will be recorded. So, you can expect to receive a link to today’s recording in the coming days, so that you can review or share today’s presentation with your colleagues. At this point, I’m gonna turn over today’s presentation to the team from KwikTag.
Michael S.: Wonderful. Thank you, Sherry, and thanks, everybody, for joining. I am going to guide you through this. I am Michael Sortino. I’m a partner manager here. I work with Encore to put on events like this, and we’re super excited that you’re here to join us. Mary Miller is our director of marketing and channel. Hey, Mary.
Mary: Hey, Michael. Sherry, thanks for having us. Great to see everybody. Thanks for joining.
Michael S.: And Matt, hopefully, some of you know, he is our senior account executive, who helps you find the exact right solution for your needs. How are you doing, Matt?
Matt: I’m doing great. Thanks, Michael. Hello, everyone. Thank you for being on today.
Michael S.: Yeah. And we’re also joined by our senior technical product manager, Michael Velasquez, and he’ll be doing the demo today, and will be on momentarily. But just a quick look at what we’re going to be presenting. And like Sherry said, we’d love to answer your specific questions. We have a lot of great things to show, but please find that little question box, and make sure you type in any question along the way, and we’ll get to those. So, we’re gonna go through the digital shift in AP. Mary’s gonna lead us through that, and talk about some of the industry research that probably touches on your life as well, and the new role of AI in all of that. Then Michael is going to do the SimplyAP demo. We’ll talk about it briefly beforehand as well. Mary will do that. We’ve got a great customer case study to go over with you as well, and we’ll sum up some of those benefits, and get to your questions at the end. So, Mary, why don’t you go ahead and lead us off here with the digital shift in AP?
Mary: Yeah, absolutely, Michael. And just for everybody, you know, that kind of is living through the, we went from a world that we knew to a world that we didn’t know, to now we’re sort of in this hybrid model, a lot of these factors really come to life. But even before the pandemic, we started to see this shift in accounts payable. We heard it from many of our customers, maybe you can relate. One of the factors was, we began to see a lot more decentralized accounting. Now, that didn’t always mean that the team was spread across multiple locations, but it did mean that invoices were being received to many different locations.
So, there wasn’t just one group of people in one central office, like we have, you know, in many cases. As you can see, I’m in our office here. I could walk down the hall and talk to somebody if somebody else were here. But the whole idea of everybody working in disparate locations really became a challenge, even made worse by the pandemic. But even before that, we were starting to see invoices and coding [SP] potentially being done in a lot of different places. And as you can imagine, and maybe some of you can relate, that creates a real strain on the AP team to have visibility, or in this case, they didn’t have much visibility into those invoices because they were in a lot of different places. And so, accounting in Corp AP was the one of course getting those phone calls. What’s the status of my invoice? Where is my payment?
And in many cases, they weren’t able to answer those kind of questions because of this decentralized environment for our accounting team. Now, the remote workforce, again, was beginning a little bit before the pandemic, and then we were all sent home and, you know, everybody was working remotely. And so, then in addition to the whole, how do I get connected to my system, and how do I stay on top of all of the applications I need to manage, and how do I do my daily job, we were faced with just getting people set up. Does everyone have access to VPN? Can they get to their accounting system? Can they get to their AP automation system? Can they find their invoices? Does somebody have to go into the office to get those invoices out of the mail and that sort of thing?
So, this shift has created a different environment, whereby automation has become critical, so that people can stay in touch with their core business process of paying the bills. The third thing that you see is subscription purchasing. Now, I as a budget owner, I’m very fond of this because there’s lots of things I can subscribe to, services that we use, that my team uses, that the company uses, and I pay for it on my corporate credit card, which is great and convenient, and I just send in my receipts and, you know, things get taken care of. However, in many midsize and large organizations, what we’re seeing is this can present a challenge as well because if you’ve arranged, or if your purchasing department has arranged or negotiated specific rates or specific fees and structures, discounts perhaps, that if you buy from them at a certain quantity, they’ll get a better deal. Now, the people that are off doing their own thing with a subscription purchasing can potentially be a challenge because they might not be working with approved vendors.
So, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on as your team starts to manage a lot more of their own kind of paying their invoices, especially if they’re paying it on a corporate card, to make sure that you’re paying the right vendors. And then, of course, the final moment of shift that we talk about is cloud. And everybody’s talking about, you know, do I need to go to the cloud? Can this application run in the cloud? And what we’re finding by and large is that for organizations that have a cloud-first strategy, that are starting to move things to the cloud, maybe as a result of some of those challenges and issues we just talked about, remote workforce. IT doesn’t wanna have to be the only one, you know, going to the server room and managing those environments, and the servers, and the equipment, and keeping all of that up-to-date. Maybe they want to offload some of that, so that IT can focus on the core business applications, and not those things that are connecting to their ERP, or potentially their ERP in general.
So, what we’re gonna show you today is gonna be a cloud solution, but we have many that are available for on-prem if that’s where your organization is, but a lot of the cloud conversation is starting to happen. So, those things are leading to a shift in AP. Now, the challenges that we’re seeing from an AP perspective are probably not new. This was the bundle of challenges as it were, even before the pandemic, and I think in some cases has maybe only increased since then. But the number one challenge, I’m just gonna mention the top two or three here, and you can read the rest on your own. But the number one challenge as reported by 74% of AP professionals, and I used to be an AP manager, a GP user. So I know, you know, back in the day of coming into that stack of invoices, waiting to be 10-keyed and then stamped and routed and coded and all of that, takes a lot of time, is very inefficient. And so, 74% of AP professionals state that, that manual data entry and inefficient process is their number one challenge.
So, routing of those invoices, again, we used to be able to walk down the hall, “Hey, Matt, can you approve this invoice for me? Michael, check this out. Do you need a second signature? Did I get it coded correctly?” That sort of thing. In the remote digital environment that we just talked about, now, we need to have those things automated because if we don’t, it leads to the rest of those challenges as you see on the slide, discrepancies, lost or missing invoices, things not being paid on time, and certainly a lack of visibility across the invoice process. So, the footnote there that you see, I’ll call your attention to, is that as CFOs plan to come out of the pandemic, they are really expecting many of them to keep a remote workforce in place, and to support that they know they need to turn to tech-driven products and solutions, 54% of them plan to keep this remote or hybrid work in place. So, they need to have digital processes in place, and they need to have automation, especially for core applications like AP. So, those are the challenges.
We know that they’re faced by many organizations. Maybe again, you can relate. There’s also barriers, right? There’s the real-world, there’s, where does this fit in my list of priorities? Where does it fit in my budget? So, you can see the top few here, again, lack of understanding of current available solutions. Well, you can check that off your list, you’re here. We’re gonna show you a really great option that we hope is a good option for your organization. And if it’s not a fit, we’re happy to have that conversation as well. But we do like to explore your needs and your requirements to determine if it is a fit. Lack of budget is usually number two. And again, the other things kind of support that. They’re not sure if they’re gonna get executive support, they don’t know if they have all the information to build the business case, they don’t know if there’s gonna be an ROI, but the lack of budget and lack of awareness, we’re really expecting to kind of take those two out of the equation, and you’ll be able to check those off your list as we continue through the conversation today.
I’m gonna make note of that footnote again there that automation and artificial intelligence are going to play a key role in this business continuity, in employee productivity, and certainly reducing those organizational and operational costs. And we’ll talk about that, and how pricing can actually help…be managed in your organization if this is the right solution for you as well. Now, I’ve talked a little bit about AI there as just sort of an introduction and, you know, kind of like cloud was and has been for several years now, AI is the new buzzword, but it’s so much more than that as well. The new role of AI specifically in AP is used for the machine learning and data extraction, intelligent OCR, as it were, reading invoices like you or I would when we’re looking at a piece of paper or a digital screen. So, intelligent OCR, as you’ll see in the demonstration today, also highlights for you the level of confidence, on each field that we’re reading off of an invoice.
So, you don’t have to go to a third-party interface to validate it, you don’t have to download it and do some additional manipulation to the file, you’ll be able to see right away if the data extraction is in fact confident and is accurate. And if it’s not, you’ll simply be able to change it. Second thing is that it saves a ton of time with data entry. It increases efficiency. Really hits home that number one challenge that 74% of AP professionals share with us as that manual data entry. And it creates efficiency and visibility throughout the rest of the process. In fact, there are things that can be automated such that there’s an entirely touchless process. We’ll take a look at that in a second as well, depending on what type of invoices you’re processing.
And then finally, AI built into an AP automation solution reduces the setup time, the setup cost, there’s no additional services, you don’t have to set up another project and wait two months, three months for vendors to be trained or templates to be created or any of that, it’s built into the product. And as you get started, you will see that the pricing scales, in this case, based on just usage of the service itself and the number of invoices that you’re processing within your organization. So, that’s a little bit of the background, and what we’re gonna transition to then is to talk about SimplyAP. Hey, Michael, I’m gonna just hide my camera now, so that we can focus on the screen real estate, but before we do that, there is a poll. So, audience participation. Approximately, how many invoices do you process monthly? And when we come back from the poll, we’ll continue the conversation, and then take a look at the SimplyAP demo.
Michael S.: Yeah, definitely. So, go ahead and choose one. Hopefully, you fall within one of these categories. And we’ll talk about this later as well as Mary said. But as technology has changed, as AI has come into it, this is now a really important question because a lot of times people thought in the past, well, I don’t process enough, or maybe we have way too many, and we can’t afford a solution. So, on both ends of the spectrum or somewhere in the middle, wherever you’re at, go ahead and share where you’re at, and you can see how we have a way to help everyone. Great. Take a few more seconds here to… Hopefully, everyone can see where that’s at.
Mary: Yep. Cool. Closing the poll in 3, 2, 1. Excellent.
Michael S.: All right. Great. So, Mary, why don’t you go ahead and share with us about SimplyAP, which is, hopefully, what everyone’s here to see?
Mary: Absolutely. Thanks, Michael. So yeah, with all of that background and industry research to support the business case and the move to an AP automation solution, if you are currently on Business Central or you’re moving soon, potentially from NAV to Business Central and these kinds of considerations come up. I mean, for example, we talk to customers all the time who say, you know, I need to know what’s gonna be available to meet my needs even maybe before I make the decision to move to Business Central, because if I can’t get all of the, you know, products available to complete my solution, to complete my system, we know that the ERP system has limitations, and where it ends. Often ISVs and third parties begin to kind of fill that gap. So, cloud AP automation is what SimplyAP is, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about and show you today. Now, I mentioned that it can be an entirely touchless process. If you look on the slide in front of you, if we look at just the left-hand column, Automated AP Processes.
So, between the intelligent data extraction in the OCR, and the ability to identify the confidence in the characters of the fields, and the ability to compare an amount from a purchase order to a receiving transaction, to an invoice, we’re gonna create the opportunity that if a dollar amount or an invoice total is within a variance that’s acceptable for your business, that invoice can go straight through. You don’t need to touch it, you don’t need to see it, AP doesn’t need to validate it because we’re assuming that, of course, the purchase order was approved before it was sent in and created into Business Central. So, the entire rest of the process can be touchless, which really removes, A, that data entry that we talked about and, B, the risk for human error of, you know, transposing things, or just everybody’s doing a lot, and so, data entry becomes a chore sometimes.
So, it really removes that human error risk for errors. Then the BC Seamless Integration, what you’ll see in the creation of the invoice…of the purchase invoice inside of Business Central, is that it’s seamless. What you’ll see when Michael shows you in the demonstration, he clicks a button in SimplyAP, and then the invoice is created as a purchase invoice inside of Business Central automatically. And it’s very easy for you to then see those invoices from either SimplyAP or Business Central, and have access to the document, as well as the complete audit trail. Again, we’ll highlight that in the demonstration. Now, these middle two points in the center of this slide now scales to your needs and fast-time dissolution. The scales to your needs is really a result of how easy the product is to get started with, but also the fact that it’s in the cloud and the pricing is based on usage. So, this helps keep costs down because it’s gonna scale. Like Michael just said, you know, some organizations used to think, well, you know, I only process 100 or a couple hundred or 300, maybe 500 invoices a month. Like, you know, do I really need? Is it gonna be overkill for me? And it really isn’t. It’s very lightweight. It’s easy to get started with, and it really helps keep your costs down because it’s designed for any size organization.
And the fast-time to solution, if we could, you know, press a pause, a start, and a stop time during this session, if you’re following along, you could be set up by the time that we finish this webinar. And so, Michael’s gonna show you that. It’s very simple. There’s three steps. Once you have access to the app, you’ll connect it to your Business Central environment, and you start adding your users and you’re off to the races. So, you’ll see that in the demonstration as well. Which leads to the right-hand column, which makes it very secure and easy to use. We’re leveraging your Business Central connection, and your Azure AD credentials from a security standpoint. So, it’s very intuitive for users to get started.
They log in, and they’re off to the races. And the self-service part, in addition to that easy to get started with the application, there’s also tips inside the product. You’ll see this in the demo. There’s tips that walk you through step-by-step, so that you know exactly what you need to do next. And you can do it yourself if you want, or you can reach out to your partner at Encore, or you can contact us, and we’re happy to help, but it’s very much like downloading an app and getting started with it on your own. So, we’ll cover all of that in the demonstration. Now, there’s two different kinds of process loads that we’re going to highlight for you within SimplyAP. This is the touchless processing, a purchase order-related invoice processing. So, what happens is an invoice gets emailed into SimplyAP. We’re gonna give you a dedicated email that you’ll forward that email right into the system, or if you’d like, vendors can send it straight into the system.
As I mentioned, AI reads the invoice as a human would, we automatically match the invoice to the purchase order and the receiving data. And if that total is within a variance and a tolerance, again, Michael’s gonna show you this, it can go straight through to BC, or you can have it optionally routed for review and approval, or if it exceeds a variance, that sort of thing, it might need to be routed. So, that’s straight through processing typically with a three-way PO match for the purchase invoice. Now, the second process is what we call Intelligent Invoice Review. Now, what that means is that typically it’s gonna be not related to a purchase order, and this invoice is gonna require some additional coding, it might need some additional approval, it might exceed a threshold that needs a second level approval, that sort of thing. But the same process applies to getting the invoice in and the way we read it. So, we’ll email the invoice in to SimplyAP, the AI reads the invoice and matches it to the appropriate Business Central entity, if that needs to be done, you finalize or review the coding. And then if workflow is required for approval, the process takes over from there.
And then again, upon final approval, we’ll have that purchase invoice automatically created inside a Business Central. So, those are the two different workflows that are part of the process. Now, as I mentioned on the earlier slide, it’s easy to set up and easy to maintain. With SimplyAP, we have a single sign-on that connects to your Azure authentication, and for user access, we can import everybody that is in your Azure active directory, and then you can follow those groups and individuals, so they won’t have to log in and log out to be able to use SimplyAP or Business Central. It’s very seamless. The extension is available in AppSource [SP]. It’s very lightweight. And the lightweight connection to BC also means that you don’t have to have a Business Central license to be able to use SimplyAP for all of your users. There needs to be one connection, of course, but it’s a very lightweight connection and doesn’t bog down your system or make it difficult to find your invoices when you need them. So, there’s no imports, no uploads, downloads, or third-party interfaces, very seamless connection. And then simple, I realize that we probably harp on this quite a bit. In fact, it’s in the product name, right? SimplyAP. But adding approvers and setting their limits, and how those invoices need to be routed for the intelligent invoice path, again, typically related to a purchase order, but you can set them for non-PO invoices as well, and then assigning users to the companies, and then just follow the steps of the self-guided tours.
So, this flow in Fast to Configure on the right-hand side of the screen that you’re looking at, Michael will actually show us. He’ll show us the process flows first. So, we’ll start with the invoice, and we’ll see how that gets routed through SimplyAP, and then he’ll show us the admin side to configure. So, if you were again, following along, you’d be ready to rock and roll by the time we finish this session. So, we’ll integrate with BC, we’ll show you how we access the companies. You can add the users and approvers, and then you can start capturing invoices. So, this is what we’re gonna see in the demonstration. And if you’ve got questions, again, to reiterate Sherry’s and Michael’s comments, please put them into the question box, we’ll get to as many of them as we can. But with that, Michael, please introduce us to SimplyAP and the product.
Michael S.: All right. We are switching over to Michael to get that going just…
Mary: And for those of you not following along with the names, there’s a lot of Michael’s on our call. So, Michael Sortino and now Michael Velasquez, sometimes we call him MV for short. So, if you hear us say that, that means that we’re talking to Michael. But, yeah, MV, take it away. Perfect. We see your screen, but we can’t hear you. Michael, are you double-muted?
Michael V.: Can you hear me now?
Mary: There we go.
Michael V: Okay. I actually had to mute, unmute, and then unmute again. So, the age we live in. So, anyway, yeah. Thank you very much. This is gonna be the demonstration for SimplyAP. We’re gonna go over a lot of what Mary touched on and you’ll be able to see it, you know, in process, you know, the administration the invoices and all that stuff. So, this is the login screen. I’m gonna go ahead and log in, and as you’ll notice, no, you know, password authentication, that’s all managed through Microsoft AD integration, which I’ll touch on in the administration portion as well.
Once you log in, you’re gonna be met with quite a bit of information right off the bat. There’s a few different ways that you can get invoices into the system. You can email invoices in, that’s by and large, gonna be the most ideal way that, you know, that process is managed.
We also support scanning hard copy. Obviously, we’re still in an age where, you know, invoices are mailed into corporate or mailed into certain locations. And you can then scan those into the system. You can also click this little plus icon up here on the right it says “add invoice.” You can digitally browse out. So, if you have maybe a share on your network where invoices are stored, or whatever the case may be, you can go ahead and browse out for those invoices as well.
Once the invoice is sent into the system, prior to it even ending up in this queue, it is gonna go through that AI machine learning process that Mary alluded to. It’s going to, read each invoice. It’s gonna analyze the invoice left to right top to bottom, just like a human I would. It is not Zonal OCR. It is not something that needs to be trained by the customer. It’s actually something that is learning as it goes. Every invoice that passes through is gonna be giving it that much more experience and it’s looking for certain patterns. You know, it’s analyzing the invoice looking for things that we’ve told to look for.
So, total amount, invoice number, dates, vendor information, all that kind of stuff, purchase order number. We’re gonna grab as much information off that invoice that we possibly can.
And then again, prior to it ending up here, we’re gonna go back and look at the BC data as well, that corresponds to that invoice. We’re gonna get as much information from there to, you know, take your plate as well. So, the invoice is going to land here, obviously.
You’re gonna see a lot of that information right away. You’re gonna be able to maybe sort by vendor invoice number, sort by date. You can also search for invoices if you do know offhand the invoice number or you wanna, you know, you get a call from maybe in this case, U-line vendor, you wanna start typing and look up just the U-line invoices. You can do that as well.
We do a character-by-character search real time of that information. If you had a purchase order number, likewise you could enter it up here and get right down to that specific invoice.
We also have an advanced search. If you did wanna look for an invoice maybe, you know, with a bit more of a robust search, add a bit more criteria, maybe a date range or a total amount again, we are integrated into the BC data so it can show you. If you’re not quite certain what the vendor name was, but you know it maybe had something to do with bell, you know, you can look through here and choose this specific vendor that you’re looking for as well.
Next, you can see actually some color-coded buttons here. These are gonna correspond to the business process, the workflow status that the invoice may be in. So, if you were maybe an approver or a reviewer, and you don’t necessarily need to see the items that have been rejected, I’m gonna deselect those. I don’t need to see the brand-new ones either. I just wanna see… you know, I’m just gonna take a look at the ones that are pending approval. I [inaudible 00:04:33] specifically to that invoice or that set of invoices that correspond to the status that I’m looking for.
Again, over here on the right-hand side, you’ll see status. You can sort by that as well if you need to. The next place I’d wanna draw your attention is current assignee. So, a few of these are, you know, we have, let’s see 12 invoices here in the queue right now.
A couple of them are assigned to myself, a few were assigned to other individuals, but you’ll see the gray icons here, Corp AP. So, as invoices come into the system, they’re initially gonna be assigned to the AP team. So, that gives the AP team visibility into what invoices are being sent in. They can kind of grab which ones they feel comfortable working, or maybe they’re assigned a specific vendor to deal with. They can go ahead and grab those invoices.
I’m gonna take a look at this bottom one down here. As I click into it, again, it’s assigned to Corp AP. It’s not assigned to myself. So, although I can see a lot of the invoice data that’s been pre-filled, I can see it brought in the purchase order line that corresponds to this invoice. I can see the invoice, but I need to go ahead and claim the invoice before I can actually take action on the invoice. I can’t do anything until it knows who’s doing what.
So, now I claimed it, it’s assigned to myself. That means that no one else on the team is gonna be able to process this invoice. They’re not gonna waste their time while I’m working it. We’re not gonna be doing double work. Management knows exactly who this invoice is assigned to at this point, they know I’ve taken ownership, I’m gonna take responsibility of this invoice’s process.
So, you’ll also notice that the fields are no longer grayed out. I can actually interact with them. And a few of them have become color-coded. Mary also mentioned the fact that you can see real-time the confidence that we have in our machine learning capability. So, if it’s a yellow, it’s actually… If I hover over this, it’s gonna tell me that’s a medium confidence level.
You know, we were relatively confident in what we grabbed off the invoice or prepopulated in the field, but at the same time, maybe, you know, may have thought a zero was an O or a 1 was an L. So, you may wanna validate that, just take a look at those. The greens, we’re high confidence, you know, we’re good to go on those. You don’t need to worry yourselves about those.
In the rare instance that there may be a red field, that might mean that there was a smudge on the invoice, or, you know, it was folded up in the mail and a crease was going right through a purchase order number, something like that. So, we gave it our best shot, but we definitely don’t want to presume to, you know, to pre-fill something that we’re not confident in. So, we’re gonna give our best shot, but we’re gonna call it out with a red, you know, red color coding to make sure that, you know, that there’s an issue there.
If I go down a little bit further beyond the invoice header fields, you’ll see coded amount 94, and then difference of $0. What that means is the coded amount is gonna be, we grabbed the purchase order number off the invoice, 106025. And for that vendor in BC, we went and looked for that purchase order. We said, “Okay, there’s a PO there in BC. Let me grab that PO, see if there’s been any receiving done to that PO. If so, what does that look like? How many items have been received? What was the amount? The cost of those items?” And that’s gonna give us the coded amount.
So, in this case, that purchase order number, you can see the line items have been brought in down here, and we know that the unit cost was 47. So, the actual line total was $94. Now, putting that up against the invoice total that we grabbed off the invoice itself, we can see that there’s a zero difference.
Now, again, back to what Mary was speaking about our straight-through processing feature that we have. The automated PO automatch process. What that’s doing is if that were activated in this demo environment, which I’ll show you how to do that later in the demonstration, if that were activated, we wouldn’t have even seen this purchase order invoice. This invoice would’ve come in, it would’ve done the analysis on the invoice, it would’ve found the PO, it would’ve done the analytics based on the invoice total against the coded amount. It would’ve found that this is a perfect PO match.
So, this does not need to be assigned to AP. AP does not need to take a look at this. They don’t need to do a stare and compare. They don’t need to send this for review. There really is no need for this to be in this queue at all. So, let’s just go ahead and auto-create it into BC, push it right through. That’s gonna give you a few advantages.
Obviously, it’s gonna save a lot of time, a lot of overhead on the AP team. It’s also gonna be able to up the satisfaction of your vendors. You know, you’re gonna get your payments sooner. If you do have any term discounts, you’re gonna be able to take advantage of those. It’s just all around and extremely efficient process that we can just push that right through.
There’s a couple of key concerns that may have arisen there as you thought about that. One, what if it’s only off by a couple of cents? What if they invoiced as $96 instead of $94? Is that worth the time it’s gonna take to analyze this, you know, for AP to get bogged down with taking a look at these invoices? Or are you okay with a variance of $2 or a dollar or 50 cents? Whatever you feel comfortable with, you tell us and the configuration of this straight-through processing feature. And we’re going to say, “Is this within that variance?” If so, again, push it right through.
You know, most companies are gonna already have some purchase price variance configurations on the BC side that is actually designed to handle that kind of thing. They have those accounts on the BC side to manage that. So, let’s just get it paid.
So, another subsequent concern that may immediately come up is, you know, what if we don’t want a specific static dollar amount? What if we want it to be a percentage variance? We’re okay with up to, you know, 2% or 5%. That’s great. We can accept that as well. So, put a 5% variance on it, but at the same time, if that invoice is a relatively large invoice, where 5% can be quite a bit, it can be $100, it can be $500. We can also give you a configuration of a dollar limit.
So, if it falls within that 5% range that you’re accepting of pushing straight-through, but it exceeds a dollar amount of say $10, we’ll put it in this queue for review. And that difference will show up in red. That’ll tell you, it’s a $5 difference, or it’s a $15 difference, or it’s a $500 difference. You need to take a look at what happened there. So, really nice feature, and we’ll go into the configuration of it in a little bit as well.
Next step would be, in this case, we don’t necessarily have to because we know it’s a match, but you can take a look at, I’m gonna go ahead and collapse that so I can see some more real estate here. But you can take a look at all of the line information that we pull in and display for that PO match process. You can modify the remaining quantity of the unit cost if you need to just as you can in Business Central.
If you do wanna take advantage of dimension coding, for whatever reason on your Business Central side, we do support, dimension coding at the line level, as well as at the invoice level. If you have default dimension codes, we’ll pull those in as well.
There are instances where we’ve had customers have invoices that come in that are invoicing against multiple purchase orders. We will pull in the initial line items for the initial purchase order, but if there are multiple POs, you can definitely do a search, a quick search against your Business Central instance of whatever subsequent purchase order numbers you have. And likewise, it’ll pull in those received lines as well.
You can delete them if you need to. So, maybe it did pull in some received items, but this invoice doesn’t encompass those received items, you can delete those from here as well. So, a lot of feasibility in what we can offer as far as PO matching.
If this were a non-purchase order invoice, this is where the account coding would take place. So, say an invoice came in and, for whatever reason, it thought it was a purchase order invoice, you can come up here to the type and you can flip that to a non-PO invoice and it’ll go down a different path. So, it’ll allow you to do the account coding. Go ahead and add a new line here. It’s gonna give us full visibility into the chart of accounts that exists on the BC side.
Maybe this is, you know, for operating equipment. And I’m gonna go ahead and say, you know, it was $94. We’re good to go there. Again, you know, differences is PO invoice, but so that would balance out. We can send that for review. Again, likewise, we can do any dimension coding that we may need to do as well on that GL account, whatever we need to do. And we can add subsequent lines as well, as many GL account coding lines as needed.
Dimensions, again, if you do have dimensions at the invoice level, defaults will be pulled in that are configured on the BC side. Otherwise, you can add your own dimensions as you see fit.
Comments, please review. Again, as Mary said, you know, purchase order-based invoices likely aren’t gonna be sent for reviewer approval, unless there’s some kind of a discrepancy. The PO itself was likely approved, but in this case, we’ll go ahead and just add some comments and send it for approval.
History, this is pretty slim so far, the invoice just came in, but this will track every single action that’s taken on an invoice. The timestamp, the user who did it, some detail about it, whether that was an edit to any of the fields, whether it was routed for review, rejected, you know, any of that information is always gonna be stored here, you know, going forward for auditability purposes.
At this point, I’m gonna go ahead… Actually, let’s modify the invoice number so we know what we’re working with here. I’ll go in that Encore at the end of that and then send this to myself for, you know, demo purposes for review.
If you blinked, you may have missed it. The status down here changed to pending. Likewise, the approvers are going to be receiving an email. That’s gonna give them the information on the invoices that are in queue for them to address. That’s gonna have some specific information based off on the invoice itself as well as a link back to SimplyAP for review. This is what the kind of a sample of what the invoice approval email is gonna look like.
In this case, we only have a single invoice, but it’s going to be listed, showing them also the amount of time it’s been sitting in queue as well. So, they can go ahead and click log into SimplyAP, it’ll route them back to the invoice itself for reviewer approval.
As a reviewer, I’m gonna go ahead and click into this, again, I could have, you know, filtered down and look for a specific invoice if I needed to, but I’m gonna go ahead and add some comments here. This looks good, looks good to pay. Obviously, I can reject it as well. If I do reject it, it’s gonna be sent back to corporate AP for whatever they need to do to remedy that issue.
Now, the interesting aspect here is that once I click approve, this is not going to auto-create into Business Central quite yet. We do have our demo environment configured with an optional step. This is, again, completely optional. It’s easily configurable to remove if the customer should wish, but we do give them the option for a final review before the invoice gets created into BC.
Some customers aren’t quite comfortable with the invoice immediately going into the ERP. They want their AP team to take one final look at it, or maybe it’s, you know, another manager to take one final look at all invoices before they get, you know, put into the books. So, what that’s gonna look like is I’m gonna go ahead and approve this, and the status is gonna flip to ready for ERP and it’s gonna assign back to Corp AP.
So, we know that this invoice has passed through review. We can take a look at the history, see who approved it, you know, any comments they may have said, “Yes, this does look good to pay, take one last look at it.” Again, since this was sent to corporate AP, I’m gonna go ahead and claim it. And then once I submit it, is going to leave the SimplyAP list, it vanished, and it is going to be auto-created into Business Central.
We go ahead and jump over into BC here. And what that does is it auto-creates it into the purchase invoices page. So, I’m gonna go ahead and click purchase invoices, and you’ll notice over here on the right-hand side and the fact box SimplyAP, Mary mentioned we are available in the app source as an app extension, very, very light footprint. It’s only a few clicks and it’s installed. Very, very easy to integrate once you’ve focused on a specific invoice. All you have to do is click view and it’ll bring that invoice up.
So, if I were to sort by, oops, sort by newest here, this is that…let’s see, that Encore invoice that we just auto created into here. And if I go ahead and click view, it’s gonna take me right back to SimplyAP, and automatically bring up our invoice that went through the review process. The status has now changed to created in ERP. We’ve got all of our invoice detail. I can see the invoice itself, download it.
If I wanted to take a look at the comments, the history, again, it shows me step by step, the timestamp of every action that was taken on it, when it was sent into Business Central, when it initially came into SimplyAP, so I can see the aging of that and all that information as well.
All right. Next, I wanna just jump briefly into the administration portion of things. As Mary said, you know, we could configure SimplyAP in the time it took to do this webinar. And I’m gonna go ahead and show you that. If you do have a user with administrative privileges, you’ll see this little shield here. If I expand this, you’ll see administration. So, if I go ahead and click that administration shield, it’s gonna take me to the admin portal.
So, you can see all the administration, the configurations for SimplyAP here. And over here on the right, you’ll see the administration set-up user guide. So, you know, we can close that out if we wanna get some real estate. If we wanna bring it back, little blue button here. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna go ahead and go step by step in how this happens. I’m gonna click the user guides, and it’s gonna focus and show me exactly what I need to do to get started. Obviously, this has already been configured, but this will give you a look and feel of what it’s gonna be like.
We give you some detail on the integration settings. This is how you would connect to your Business Central instance, the, you know, BC, API URLs, the application settings, and all this information is detailed, you know, in further depth in our how to configure knowledge base articles, help.simplyap.com has all of our knowledge base articles. Very detailed, very verbose, and it shows you, you know, field by field, what you’re working with. So, it’s very, very easy to set up.
Once you’ve saved your configuration settings, you’ll see the status change to connected, you can then move on to your identity provider. Again, as Mary mentioned, we don’t presume to know how your policies and security is set up, nor do we want to, you know, we don’t wanna take ownership of that and have you have a subsequent place to go manage authentication. We’re going to defer completely to your Microsoft Azure active directory implementation. We respect all of your security protocols, all of your security policies.
So, one [inaudible 00:21:48] in your Azure active directory, you can then go ahead and fill out these key fields. And again, likewise, it’ll say status connected, and what will happen is SimplyAP will actually automatically create corresponding SimplyAP users for each of those active directory accounts that you’ve specified.
So, we’ll go ahead and go over to companies and then users, would be the subsequent areas. Companies, once you’ve integrated into BC, it will actually, bring in your Business Central companies as well, your associated vendors within those companies. You can associate which users you’d like to be working with that Business Central company.
The PO invoice tolerance down here is that straight-through processing that we mentioned. You go ahead and add a new line, just go ahead and specify that percentage variance as well as the dollar limit. And then go ahead and just set it to active and every subsequent invoice that comes through would respect that configuration.
Users. We’ll go ahead and go through here and let’s go back to the user guiding to kind of show step by step, It’s relatively very easy. Each user, you’re gonna go ahead and set up their approval amount limit. In this case, Daniel Alexander’s is set to $8,000 for both PO and non-PO invoices. So, any invoice beyond that will automatically route to his approved-to individual, which we’ll see in a second.
Unlimited final approver, you will need to designate a single user in the system to be the unlimited final approver that would be the last, individual who has the highest level of authority prior to the invoice being staged for entry into Business Central. So, this would be your CFO, your president, whomever you deem to have that highest authority.
And then the approved to. So, again, once that authority, that limit has been breached, it will automatically navigate or automatically route to whomever you choose here. And that can be different based off of the invoice type as well, or the same. And then it would just dynamically follow that chain.
So, in this case, if I chose Mary, it would automatically route to Mary, if it breached her limit, I’m gonna go ahead and route it to Matt. If it breached his, you know, it would continue down the chain dynamically until it reached that final approver or an approver who had the authority for that.
So, again, you know, those three sections, once you’re done with that integration settings, companies, and users, you can then go ahead and start passing invoices into the system. It’s really that simple.
Mary: Excellent, thanks, Michael. You know, every time you share the demo and we make the comment that, you know, it is really as fast as getting through this process and people could have done it through the webinar. I’m reminded of one of the customers who came on board with SimplyAp, you know, kind of early in the process and they said, “It’s so easy, a CFO can do it.”
Michael: And he did.
Mary: And he did. He was speaking of himself, you know, and it was really cool to see that. So, absolutely. Thanks for sharing.
Michael S.: That’s great. If you can make me presenter, that would be great.
Michael V: Let’s see. Did that pass it back to you?
Michael S.: No, it didn’t.
Michael V: Okay. There we go.
Michael S.: Okay. And really appreciate everyone hanging in here with us. Hopefully you’ve seen a lot. We have one more question to ask, and that is our next poll question. It is, “How many people are involved in your invoice process, including AP staff and approvers?”
So, go ahead and make your selection, it’ll be great to get your input there. And as you’ve been hearing, this is yet another question whose answer has evolved through the years. It used to be very important as far as pricing and, you know, how many different user types, and now we simplify it, as you’ve heard, and everything you have unlimited users, no minimums, and everything now is usage-based.
So, let us know where this falls in and… Wonderful. Okay. Ready to move on. So, Mary, go ahead, and if you don’t mind walk us through this customer success story.
Mary: Sure. I think you need to switch back to the slides. I’m looking at the poll results. There we go. Fantastic. Thank you. So, yeah, I am super excited to share this customer success story with y’all. And if you can, again, probably relate where…
So we started working with this company. They’re a healthcare technology company. They’re a nonprofit, they serve healthcare community centers across the country in 30 different states. They’re headquartered in the Midwest. And what’s most interesting about this company to us is that, you know, they were challenged with all the things we’ve talked about. Right?
They had manual paper-based processes. Invoices were coming in from everywhere. They didn’t have visibility. But they had faced all of those challenges, they used to be a GP customer. And so, they actually had worked with us in the past back dating back as far back as 2016, as you can see here.
So, they used to use our quick payables AP automation solution for dynamics GP from 2016 until they moved to Business Central at the end of 2020. Well, as you may have picked up on, SimplyAP is a relatively new product for us. It was just launched this year. So, we didn’t have it available at the end of 2020, and they still needed to address these issues.
So, their requirements were very much like what we’ve just covered. They needed automatic data extraction and indexing so that intelligent AI OCR was definitely a hit for them. They needed automatic three-way purchase order matching. They needed invoice approval routing based on an amount threshold, again, exactly what Michael just demonstrated for us. And again, that seamless integration with Business Central.
So, during the course of the end of 2020 till now, they actually tried three different products and providers. And unfortunately, none of them met their needs or were very easy to configure or had additional steps that really weren’t ideal for their process flow. So, they came back to us, you know, earlier this year just a couple months ago and said, you know, “Hey, I understand that SimplyAP is available now, you know, how do we get involved in and kind of test it out?”
And unfortunately, because they had looked at a few other things that had not really worked well for them, their expectations were that this was gonna fail, too. And I’m, you know, just humble and honest in sharing that with you, because if you can relate to a project that has gone wrong or taken too long, you know that now your expectations kind of need to be reset and they’re maybe a little bit lower than you would want.
So, they demoed SimplyAP in June with us and they purchased in July and they actually kicked off their implementation, I wanna say, mid-August or so, I didn’t capture that date here, but they were live by September 7th. But don’t let those weeks fool you in terms of timeframe, the fact that it took them three weeks to technically turn it on was really a combination of what that’ll be like three different hour-long sessions with us on the phone, perhaps.
Michael: Is that. Yeah.
Mary: Yeah. So, it was literally a few hours. It just happened to be timing and schedules and getting everybody, you know, who had access that needed to be part of the process, it took a few weeks to do. But it was literally up and running within a few hours. And so, now they have the automated invoice approval for PO invoices like Michael just showed you. The threshold-based, approval routing.
And what’s funny to me about this one is that, you know, they reached out to us like two days after they had started going live with the invoices and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, it just works but we just need to change somebody’s approval limit. Do you need to…” They called us and said this, “Do you need to log into our system? Do we need to connect with your services team to change this?” And we said, “No, go to this screen,” again, like Michael just showed you, change this amount to be whatever it’s supposed to be for that new person, save it and you’re on your way. And they were like, “Oh my gosh, that was so great that we have access to that.”
So, you know, the things that you need to control your business as it changes are at your fingertips. Maybe you can hear it in my voice. I get really excited about this because I just think it’s such a cool story. And they’re actually gonna be…if you all are gonna be at Summit North America in October, they’re actually gonna join us and share the story themselves. But they have testified to the fact, again, that bottom bullet point there it’s fast deployment, easy to configure and they said it just works. And again, so easy a CFO can do it.
So, it’s a really exciting journey to see this customer come back because they had trusted and known Kwiktag solutions for their API automation with GP. And now they’re having a great experience with SimplyAP in their Business Central environment, too. So, if you have questions about what that might look like, feel free to let us know. We’d be happy to connect you with them as well.
Now, in addition to those benefits, let’s just recap kind of where we started this conversation, right? The overall benefits of AI-powered AP automation, intelligent AP automation, if you will. The minimized data entry with that AI-based indexing really addresses that number one pain point of 74% of AP professionals.
Manual data entry takes it out of the equation altogether, even if it’s not a straight-through process, right? Because the data has been extracted. So, it’s saves time for the AP staff. It reduces the overall cost of processing invoices by up to 80%.
Now, that’s based on industry research that shows that when your organization is processing invoices manually on paper, it can cost up to $23 per invoice to process. And this takes that cost down to $1 or $2 maybe, less than that in some cases. So, it really reduces your overall time investment and your cost investment compared to doing invoice processing manually.
This middle blue line here of benefits fast time to solution from sign up to use in just hours as you saw in the demonstration, you can actually make that happen. And what that does, in addition to the time that it takes to get the process going, is really about the time that it takes for user adoption as well.
Think of projects, we’ve probably all been there, you know, projects that take two, three, six, nine months. You know, by the end of the project, you’re almost fatigued and go, “Great. Now, I’ve gotta train my staff,” and, you know, things change in the business and what if the entire team isn’t, you know, ready for training and there are different stages, they’ve taken on different roles. The faster you get to the solution, the faster you’re gonna get to user adoption, which is really a key benefit that comes with this easy to configure and past a setup as well.
The middle block there, the industry bus practices for invoice workflows. We’ve been in this space for a long time. We focus very specifically on the min Microsoft dynamics ERPs. And so, we’ve built these based on our years of experience, customer input for years of telling us how they want invoice workflows to be configured. And we’ve built that straight into the product. Again, minimizing the time, the setup, and the services that you would have had to go with, with something that was not out of the box and instantly integrated with Business Central.
And the final one there on the right, the complete visibility into your AP process. As Michael demonstrated, you have that audit trail in the history. But also if you’re a BC user, you navigate to a specific invoice, you log into SimplyAP just with a click of a button and you can have that complete audit trail at your fingertips, which also ties to one of the points on the bottom there. Audit and financial compliance.
Now, we have customers that tell us they get throughout their audit much faster what used to take weeks or even months, they can now get through in days or maybe a week or two, which also reduces the cost that you’re now spending on your audits because the longer they’re there, you know, the clock is ticking, right? So, get through your audits faster, reduce the cost, reduce the time of them and just make it easy for yourself to be able to log in and find the things that you need.
All those advanced search templates that Michael shared, you know, auditors wanna see every invoice that was in this date range, every invoice that’s over $10,000, every invoice from this vendor, all those sorts of things at your fingertips. And of course, all of this is supported by the easy setup and built-in guided tours that Michael demonstrated for us as well.
So, if these are the types of things that your organization is looking for, we’d love to continue the conversation and do a personalized demo with you to learn a little more about our company. Yeah, go ahead, Michael.
Michael S.: Yeah, Matt. We’re gonna have Matt go ahead. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with us, so that was SimplyAP, the benefits. If you’re not familiar with Kwiktag, Matt, do you wanna give him a little background?
Matt: Sure. And some of this is a little bit of a summary of what Michael and Mary have discussed here. Kwiktag has helped companies just leave inefficiencies behind for a quarter of a century, or actually now more than that. We really hit our stride as a market leader back in around year 2000 when we became embedded in dynamics products, GP, NAV. We’re embedded in all the dynamics products. And the dynamic space even remains our focus today.
We’re scalable. We really wanna be the easiest software company in the world to work with. And part of that is being scalable both in pricing and capacity. So, the pricing is based as you’ve heard on invoice volume. So, if you have a very small AP requirement with just a few invoices, the pricing will end up being small, and the annual fees will be smaller. If you have a larger AP requirement where you have just a huge volume of invoices coming in, it’s also, the pricing is reasonable because there’s a built-in discount for volume.
So, we really like to think that the pricing is set up in a way that just works for everybody. Yeah.
So, whether you have a few invoices like the smaller AP requirement or a lot of invoices like the larger AP houses shops may have, technology-wise or capacity-wise, the system is architected to keep up with you. So, whether we just have a trickle of invoices coming in at the moment, or there’s hundreds of thousands of invoices coming through at the moment, the system won’t react differently, it will just scale up to meet that need, which is nice.
You won’t have a situation where you have like, “Oh, it’s Thursday, Kwiktag is getting a bunch of invoices in right now and the system’s slow.” Nothing like that. It’s architected to get beyond that.
And we’ve got some really cool intellectual property. A lot of it you’ve heard about here on this call today. Some of the coolest aspects are around our focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. And, really, we do some really awesome stuff with that now, but the best is yet to come. Seems like every meeting we hear about more cool things that those technologies can bring to our customers.
Michael S.: Yeah, definitely, Matt. So great to see it continue to innovate as the years go by. And like you said, sometimes as the months go by. So, we really appreciate everyone taking the time. We do have a couple of minutes left here for questions. So, Sherry, how are we doing on those?
Sherry: Yeah. We actually do have a few questions here. The first one is, “Is Business Central license required for each SimplyAP user?”
Michael S.: Matt, you wanna do that one?
Matt: Sure. No. So, we have unlimited end users. You can have as many end users as you need for approvers, for AP people. It doesn’t matter, and they are not required to have a SimplyAP license unless that’s their role. Obviously, if they’re AP person processing invoices and things like that they would, but as far as approvers and such, no.
Michael S.: Right. So, not required to have a BC license, but they can have a SimplyAP license and work and do their role as needed. Awesome. Right. Sherry, what else we got?
Sherry: Next question is, “What if we need to add users to SimplyAP over time? How would that be handled?”
Michael S.: MV, you wanna do that one?
Michael V: Yeah. We can go ahead and take that. So, as I specified in the identity provider settings, what that’s gonna look like is that as you add users to your identity provider, you can come back into SimplyAP in that administrative portal. And there’s actually a little button next to the user’s list that will re-import or re-sync, rather, your user list for SimplyAP to mirror or correspond that active directory setup.
Michael S.: Perfect. All right. And was there one more, Sherry?
Sherry: Yeah. There’s one more question here, “And how is support provided and is it included?”
Michael S.: All right, Mary, do you wanna do that one?
Mary: Sure. So, yeah. Support is 100% included, you know, as a cloud solution, as a SAS solution, everything that comes with the product, everything you saw in the demonstration in terms of setup, configuration, invoice processing workflows, and support maintenance, you can call our help desk, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit our website kwiktag.com/support, and a real-life person will address your question and get back to you and help you with any additional questions or issues that you might be facing.
So it’s all included and there is a team of people that are ready and waiting to help.
Michael V: Also if I may, we do have an extensive help website as well that’s linked through the application. So, we have in-application help that will, you know, you’ll see the little articles and such throughout the website as well as that help website.
Mary: Yeah. Great point, Michael. Thank you.
Michael S.: Super.
Michael S.: All right. I think that does it for us.
Sherry: Yeah. That’s it for the question. So, thank you, Michael, Matt, Michael, and Mary for, taking time to educate us today on Kwiktag and your AP automation solution for BC SimplyAP
Michael S.: Super. Thank you, Sherry. Thanks, everyone for attending.
Sherry: Thank you.
Michael S.: Bye.
Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletters with the latest updates all in one place! Get important product information, event recaps, blog articles, and more.