Keep AP Running in a Crisis (Video)

Watch the recorded webinar below with Beanworks and find out how your AP team can keep critical operations in Dynamics GP running from anywhere. According to Levvel Research, 86% of organizations still rely on manual processes for accounts payable. These are higher cost, more prone to errors, and hard to maintain while teams are remote.

Learn how to:

  • Manage your entire AP workflow remotely
  • Reduce invoice processing costs
  • Eliminate check payments
  • Mitigate AP risk

Transcript below:

Melissa: Hi there, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. This is Melissa. I’m a marketing specialist here at Encore. So today, we’ve got Beanworks, and we’re gonna talk about how you can keep AP running in a crisis. So, we’ve got Jack here, who’s gonna take us away. Hi, Jack.

Jack: Hi, Melissa. Thanks for the intro there. So hi, everyone else. Welcome to our webinar on “Keeping AP Running in a Crisis.” Like Melissa said, my name is Jack. I’m an account executive here at Beanworks. I’ve been with the company since about 2019 now. So before we get started into, you know, the nitty-gritty details of the webinar, to learn more about AP automation, you can sign up and attend a demo, and we’ll send you a $20 gift card of your choice. Encore will be sending a follow-up email with more details about how you can sign up for this demo after our webinar this morning. So, what are we gonna be talking about today? First of all, we’re gonna be talking about the impacts of a crisis on finance teams. Then we’ll move into the top challenges in accounts payable. From there, we’ll talk about the solutions that help keep AP running during the pandemic, and we’ll finish it off with a quick run-through of AP automation and then a little Q&A session.

So let’s start by looking at how finance teams have been impacted by the pandemic. So, when the COVID-19 crisis started and organizations were forced into remote work, a lot of accounting teams who relied heavily on paper suddenly couldn’t carry out their day-to-day tasks. Based on recent surveys, about 75% of finance leaders had to make major changes before staff could meet their responsibilities remotely. Fraud has also been on the rise. Right now, fraudsters are using the uncertainty around the crisis to target businesses. In the first and second quarter of 2020 alone, there was 112% increase in financial fraud.

According to the FBI, business email compromise or BEC fraud, in particular, is on the rise. So this is when an email is used to attack organizations that conduct wire transfers or have suppliers abroad. In a recent case, a company allegedly received an email from a CEO that they were conducting business with. In this email, the CEO requested that the wire transfer date be moved up and the recipient account be changed, I quote, “Due to the coronavirus outbreak and quarantine processes and precautions.” The email address used by the fraudster was almost identical to the CEO’s actual email address. There was only one letter that was changed. This is a perfect example of why companies need to be more vigilant with their investigations of emails and verify the details carefully before proceeding with payments.

Aside from fraud, what are some of the other challenges AP teams are facing? According to a survey of finance professionals, some of the top AP challenges include manual data entry and inefficient processes, manual routing of invoices for approvals, and finally, lost or missing invoices. When colleagues are remote, it’s often hard to follow up for approvals. And some tasks can really only be handled in the office like managing paper invoices and cutting checks. Inefficient processes, in general, lead to higher costs. As organizations work through the current crisis, a lot of them are looking for new ways to drive down costs and mitigate risks. So we’re gonna dive deeper into three topics that have impacted AP teams the most. First of all, we’ll talk about hidden costs, then we’ll move into higher risks, and finally, remote work.

So let’s start with the high hidden costs. Manual accounts payable is more costly, and here’s a breakdown of why. When receiving invoices, you often need to download them from various sources such as emails or vendor portals, then you need to print and track that you have received the invoices. After that comes the approval cycle. Invoices might be routed by email or physically to approvers, which then can get delayed or lost. Following up with approvers is another lengthy process, which can take up to 20% of a typical AP clerk’s time. And finally, data entry and coding takes roughly another 57% of the day, and we haven’t even accounted for discrepancies caused by handling, scanning, and filing yet.

So, let’s look at the typical cost to process a single invoice. When considering labor alone, if you have one AP clerk processing invoices full time at about U.S. $20…sorry, USD $20 per hour or approximately $3,440 per month, 300 to 400 invoices monthly would cost your business about $9 to $12 per invoice. This AP clerk could be spending their time on more valuable tasks rather than data entry. In addition to labor delays, there are also hard costs when it comes to managing paper such as printing. One of our customers, the director of finance and administration at the Athabasca Catering said, “In our head office alone, printing costs were averaging roughly $300 to $400 a month.” Storage of financial documents is another hidden AP cost that is often overlooked. Again, back to our customer at Athabasca Catering, they said, “We just didn’t have the space in our office anymore. We can keep a year or two worth of files, but after that, we have to send them off to a storage company.” And this story might sound very familiar to some of you. So we’d like to run a quick poll to understand your challenges better.

So, Melissa, if we can launch this poll now. And then, everyone, if you could please select one of the options on your screen, what is your biggest AP challenge? So you can see the five options up there. Lack of inter-departmental accountability. So this is kind of when it’s hard to track down bottlenecks when you don’t have a structured process when you’re not able to see where delays are taking place. And, you know, this typically causes, you know, approval accountability. Second is approval process follow-up. You know, this can be super time-consuming and frustrating without a centralized platform. There’s also the risk in letting one quick go ahead and lead to an invoice that shouldn’t be paid. Identifying and managing errors. This is usually caused by manually entering information. D, inability to process AP remotely. Most of the vendors are switching to online payments like EFT. So if you don’t have remote payment set up, you can make the process even longer. And then last up, everyone’s favorite, data entry and coding. As we all know, it’s not the most enjoyable thing to do every day. So we’ll leave that open for a bit.

Melissa: Yeah. I think I’ve got most of the votes in here. It looks to be like approval process follow-up is the winner, although there is definitely very good spread of other answers as well.

Jack: Got it. That’s fantastic. So normally, it’s one of the two. Either approval process follow-up and data entry typically take the lead there. And as we get into the AP automation demo, we’ll be able to show you some approval process controls that might help save you guys some time on the approval follow-ups.

So let’s jump into the next piece that we were gonna be working through today, increased risk. So now that we’ve covered high costs of manual AP, we’re gonna jump into how the pandemic has actually increased AP risk. So, what are the most common types of AP risks? First, there’s external fraud, and that’s kind of what we discussed earlier. So this is like an attempt to access a company’s bank account or fraudulently gain access to confidential information. Another common scam involves fraudsters like submitting false invoices or trying to change vendor bank information. Next, there’s waste, such as duplicate payments. So, a vendor might be getting paid more than once because they received the same invoice in different formats, or because of an employee error. And finally, there’s expense use. So this happens when an employee often unknowingly takes advantage of the expense policy of a company or, you know, lack thereof. In a recent survey, more than 1,000 employees, or of 1,000 employees, about 85% admitted to falsifying expense reports. And, in fact, about 82% of employees that have, you know, acted improperly with regards to expenses have never been caught by the company.

So, is AP fraud something that we should be concerned with? As we saw earlier, the answer is yes. 82% of organizations have experienced actual or attempted payments fraud, and most often, it’s the AP department that’s the target. So finance teams really need to be more vigilant than ever. So one way to prevent fraud and abuse is by introducing greater controls and more approval levels. So in this poll, we wanna learn a little bit more about how many levels of approvals you have on an invoice. This was, you know, one of the biggest problems. So it’d be interesting to see how many layers of approval you folks have. So zero would mean that the employee can basically receive the invoice and pay without any approval. One might have a manager approving the invoice, and then two might be a manager and a purchaser, so on so forth. So we’ll leave that open for a second. Melissa, I think, you can see the results on your end, correct?

Melissa: I can. I’m just making sure we get just about everyone in.

Jack: Fantastic.

Melissa: So far, it’s between, kind of, one and two levels of approval.

Jack: Okay. Great. So, yeah, you know, normally, when we run through demonstrations and webinars, it sits in the one to two range. Government recommendation is to have at least two so that way, you know, A, your employee’s not just signing off on their own purchases because that would be a little bit too advantageous for them, and then that way that manager can come in and say, “You know what? This is a legitimate purchase.” Cool.

So next, remote challenges. So we’ve seen now how high costs and risks can affect organizations. Now let’s talk about how remote work is affecting the AP team, especially during the coronavirus crisis. So, as AP teams are forced to work remotely for the first time, it’s causing new challenges and even more delays. So, processing invoices manually in the office already took about 16 days on average to complete. Remote work increases these delays even further as data is becoming less and less accessible. Other challenges include access to software. You know, most traditional accounting softwares are on-prem rather than cloud-based, which means, you know, financial information can’t be accessed from everywhere. And finally, a lot of vendors still send paper invoices and only accepts checks. So this poses a unique challenge for AP teams since often the only way to retrieve those documents or cut those checks is by making a visit to the office.

As we know, workforces are remote, and right now not everyone’s fully equipped to operate as they normally would. So to better understand how confident leaders were about business continuity in the crisis, a poll was conducted with about 500 businesses. And it found that if finance staff had to work from home, only 54% of employees would be able to make all of their payments. In fact, more than half of the respondents said that they expect a significant impact on their finance team’s ability to process invoices. So you can see that a lot of finance teams are not very confident or equipped to accommodate the demands of a remote workforce. So let’s hear another example from a Beanworks’s customer who had issues processing expenses while employees were dispersed. So Robert, again from Athabasca Catering, said, “All staff at Athabasca were working from different sites. Submitting expense claims became very challenging during the pandemic.” They were using a PO system to manage expenses, and it wasn’t really working. In the upcoming sections, we’ll go into how we can help solve these challenges.

But first, we have another poll to better understand what’s top of mind for you when it comes to remote work. So you should see these questions pop up on your screen shortly. So basically, are there any processes that you can only complete in the office? If so, once the poll is released, check all that apply. So, A, receiving invoices. A lot of companies receive paper invoices. So, you know, this means you’re making frequent trips to a physical location and grab them. And it’s crucial to better understand the efficiency and security of, you know, receiving invoices in a paper fashion. Invoice matching. This part of AP ensures accurate vendor payments, and it’s essential for, you know, detection of potential fraudulent invoices. So think about, you know, what controls you could use to make this process a little more efficient, agile, and accessible for your team. Cutting checks. You know, it kind of speaks for itself. You know, a very common practice with AP is writing paper checks, and it tends to get really expensive, and it’s really difficult to manage if, you know, the approvers and the clerks aren’t in the office to cut them. Access to accounting software. This might be the case if your accounting process is decentralized if you might have more than one system or your business has restrictive IT access. I don’t need to be on site. If you have a digital platform or online systems that you can access outside of the physical office, usually that helps you operate remotely in the long-term. And then non-AP related. Of course, you might be going to the office for other reasons, not AP related.

Melissa: So it looks like the top answer would be cutting checks with a second place to receiving invoices.

Jack: Fantastic. So, you know, when it comes to cutting checks, as we jump into the automation demo, we’ll talk a little bit more about Beanworks’ electronic payments, and we’ll show you how companies can leverage those to help, you know, facilitate the remote work environment.

So, now that we understand the challenges with AP during a crisis, let’s take a look at the solutions that can help us overcome them. So earlier, I mentioned that only 54% of businesses are in a position to make remote payments. So that leaves about 46%, you know, of the workforce with makeshift or traditional methods like paper checks. An easy way to solve that problem is by switching to, like we said, electronic payments. It sounds like this could be a good solution for some of the folks who are on the webinar today. So, these can help AP teams continue to process payments without interruption, even when you’re working from home, and there are several options available.

So, number one, outsourced payments. Providers like Nvoicepay or EFT Canada can help you set up vendors for ACH or EFT payments. Some even take on the actual vendor management and liability for payments, which saves both you and the team time and mitigates risks. Next up, we’ve got virtual credit cards or VCCs. They’re another alternative that can help you pay your vendors securely while earning cashback rebates. And finally, if it’s available to you, you can go directly to your bank who often will have the best prices for digital payments like EFTs and ACH. However, this, you know, it means you’ll have to manage your vendors and payments in a separate system and reconcile them back in the financial system, which can be a little bit time-consuming.

So, what else? You know, we’ve got other workflow tools. You can use a software to help keep other processes organized. So, a system like Zoho or SharePoint allows you to share documents and information with colleagues. You can track workflows like approvals, and then they also allow you to manage projects in time. You know, these tools aren’t well integrated with accounting software. So it can create more work if you’re having to transfer and maintain information between multiple systems.

Now, moving on to document management. A system like Confluence can help organize your AP docs, and it integrates with popular tools like Slack, SharePoint, and Trello. In Confluence, you can create action items and track the pace of each task. Some document management systems also provide compliance and data security, which are crucial in AP. And although managing documents in the cloud is a step above paper, these solutions often either lack integration with accounting systems, or do not solve the workflow problem of tracking and following up on the full workflow all the way from POs to payments.

Now, this brings us to AP automation solutions like Beanworks. So automation can help reduce costs by eliminating repetitive manual work like data entry. Automation solutions often have a seamless integration with your financial software, which saves your team time by sinking lists, invoices, POs, expenses, and payments all in one platform, and they also virtually eliminate data entry. Automation can also help reduce risks by enabling more robust approvals. That was something we talked about earlier. It sounds like that is another process that has taken up a lot of the time with the folks on the webinar. So with more levels of approvals, there’s less chance for fraud and errors to slip through. They can also flag certain common errors, such as duplicate payments. And because automation solutions typically run in the cloud, you can manage these from everywhere. You don’t have to be in the office. And lastly, again, automation tools are fully cloud-based. Not only do they empower the accounting team, but really anyone in the organization who needs to approve, manage, file invoices, you can just open up your browser, and boom, you’ve got access to the information you need.

So, we’re gonna take a closer look at automation and its role in keeping AP running in a crisis. So, as we discussed earlier, one of the areas that automation really helps AP in is by reducing costs. So, reducing labor-intensive and inefficient tasks, organizations with AP automation have saved on average 60% to 80% of the costs associated with processing an invoice with the average coming down to about $3 or less…sorry, per invoice. Unfortunately, you’re not also gonna be able to spend nearly as much of your time on your favorite task data entry because it’ll basically automate that data capture for you.

Now, let’s look at how a current Beanworks customer was able to cut costs. So prior to using Beanworks, they were spending about 1,200 bucks per quarter on printing and copying. Now, these costs have been cut down to about $100 per quarter, which turns out to be about a 92% reduction. Now, with POs, invoices, and employee expenses all managed in one platform like Beanworks, their data entry has also been reduced by more than half, which has freed up the team’s time to focus on higher-value activities.

Next, let’s go over how automation helps mitigate fraud risks. So, by generating digital audit trails, it’s easier to find and track every document and the approval channel it went through and see which actions have been taken on it. You’re gaining 100% visibility into approvals. So who approved them, what, when, and how long it took. Automation also flags suspicious activities like duplicate payments, and by enhancing visibility into the employee expense spend, this helps improve compliance and reduces the risk of abuse and errors.

So let’s look at how one of our customers was able to stop fraud before it even happened. So Derek, financial accountant at a supply chain company, told us, “We recently received an invoice that was completely fraudulent but looked like one of our invoices that we normally received.” So, as per usual, it was uploaded into Beanworks, routed to the appropriate person, and that approver was able to instantly define it as a fraudulent invoice. So see, having better controls in place made it easier for this customer to verify and approve invoices before they were even paid. Finally, automation helps your remote accounting team stay productive and access critical information from anywhere. So whether your team is in the office or working from outside, they can access AP from a centralized system in the cloud, make those payments remotely, and manage AP processes like approving invoices or submitting expense reports through the web and mobile app.

So we can take a look at a couple more customers who managed AP through the pandemic with Beanworks. One customer who got started during the pandemic said it was easier to get up and running than she thought. So since Beanworks is cloud-based and has a quick implementation time, it’s easy to connect your ERP and start using the platform even while you’re remote. Another customer said that Beanworks was a lifesaver. During the COVID-19 crisis, they were able to continue managing AP without missing a beat even while the staff were remote, and they were able to get their invoices processed, and vendors were paid on time.

So, that brings us full circle to what it means to have a 360-degree AP solution. So if you decide to look for automation software for Microsoft Dynamics GP, look for a solution that ties in all functions on one central platform, purchase orders, invoices, payments, and expenses. That’s how we do it here at Beanworks. All AP processes and data are stored in one system. This means no loose spreadsheets and random software shared by individual departments. And now we’ll get into how automation simplifies all workflows.

So, let’s take a quick look at POs first. Again, we’re just gonna do a quick run-through of all the various modules, go a little bit more in-depth to invoices. So if you do wanna see more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Melissa or to Encore, and we can set up a deeper dive into the automation. A quick overview on POs. So, our PO module auto-matches to the invoice when it comes in. The software can also import POs created in the financial system. And you’re also able to create requisitions directly into the system and automate the approval process in one place.

With invoices, again, we’re gonna get a little bit deeper into this really quickly just high level. First of all, you get digital storage. So you can search invoices by vendor, GL code, amount, legal entity, really any other information on the invoice. You’re able to customize approval channels on one platform. So invoices can be routed based on locations, departments, projects, vendors, etc. So for example, an employee in New York can easily code an invoice to the company’s California locations marketing head. And another benefit is OCR and human verification options to minimize data entry errors and fast track AP.

Now, the third workflow, payments. Some payments automation providers assume 100% liability for correctly paying vendors. So with a secure payments provider, every transaction is insured with a payment guarantee or warranty. The other benefit is vendor management. Outsourcing payments to a third party puts them in charge of collecting, updating, and securing sensitive vendor payment data. There is always a risk for your company when you’re storing sensitive data in-house, and a third-party solution can effectively manage that. And now that vendors are moving away from physical systems of payment, you even get the option to pay via ACH, EFT, virtual credit card, and even checks if you’d like.

And last up, employee expense management. One of the top complaints from employees about expenses is the paperwork. So with automation, you solve that problem by giving the employees mobile access. So it’s really easy for employees to upload receipts and create expense reports from basically anywhere. You also save time with automatic GL coding by setting up customized expense receipt categories that map to your GL code. So coding is automatically completed in the background for your accounting team upon submission. And it also speeds up approvals by giving both parties, employer and employee, online access. So employees can create the reports online, send them out to the approver, and once the approver gives the thumbs up, the AP team can reimburse employees electronically.

Moving on, I’m gonna go into a quick product demonstration. Like I mentioned, folks, we did a quick talk about POs, payments, invoices, and expenses. We’re gonna dive a little bit deeper into invoices right now. If you do wanna see any more of the modules in more depth, please don’t hesitate to reach out to either myself or Melissa over at Encore, and we’ll get you guys set up with a more personalized demonstration. So that being said, let’s jump into the automation software. Perfect. Melissa, I’m just gonna confirm with you that you’re able to see my updated screen here.

Melissa: Yeah, it looks good.

Jack: Fantastic. So I wanna stress, everyone, if you are noticing Sage AP automation here at the top, please don’t stress. We’re Sage’s exclusive partner when it comes to AP automation. Everything is powered by Beanworks. And if you decide to move forward with us, this will say Beanworks on the top of your screen. And this is specifically designed for Microsoft GP Dynamics clients. I guess what you’re looking at right now is Beanworks’s AP automation interface. Before we go through the, kind of, nitty-gritty details of the software, I like to do just a high-level overview of the user access and experience so you have a really good idea of what you’re looking at so it’s easier to follow as we go through the demo here.

So, we’ve broken the user experience of the application into the workflow here at the top. So invoices will start at the Create or In-Progress tab, and they’ll graduate to each next step until they finally land here at the archive level. It’s just gonna, kind of, act like your new electronic filing cabinet. You’ve got your workspace or your work queue here in the center of the screen. And then lastly, you’ve got your organizational structure here on the left with all of your modules right directly beside that. So in this example, we got the parent company at the top. Below that are the subsidiary entities, and these are broken out by departments and divisions. We can get as creative as you’d like. We’ll build out this org tree to reflect exactly the way your company is segmented.

Now, using the Beanworks software, you also have the ability to create unlimited user profiles at no cost. We do this to ensure that you have an accurate audit trail. Some of the other companies that have license based fees, users are put in a position where they’re choosing between the integrity of their audit trail and user fees. With Beanworks, you can create unlimited bandwidth for unlimited profiles. Now, you can also control which modules your users have access to, both at the modular levels, the tabular levels, and at the org unit levels. So, what does that mean? If you have 100, you know, users set up in the Beanworks software, each profile can be set up to only have access to certain aspects of the software. So for example, if I was setting up a sales employee, I might only want them to have access to the sales department workflows. So they’re not gonna be able to see anything else in the company. They’ll log in, and they’ll have access to those processes. Now, typically, finance and accounting reps, you’re gonna be set up to see everything.

Now, on the modular side, you might have some employees that are submitting expenses, and they’re not really part of the PO, invoice, or payments workflow, you can set them up to just have access to the expenses module, so they can collect the receipts digitally, put them together in a report, and fire those off to accounting. Same concept here at the workflow level as well. If you have some users that might only be approving invoices, we can set those easily up to just see the approval step in the workflow. They won’t be bogged down by Create, In-Progress, Export, or Archive. So these profiles are customizable to really make things applicable to what the user needs to see, so they’re not overwhelmed by too much information.

So really quickly, I’m gonna jump into the Payments In-Progress tab here just to show you how consistent the application is. Basically, everything stayed the same, not much has changed. We’ve just gone from green to blue here at the top. You’ve got your workflow, work queue, and org tree over here on the left. The software’s been built this way, again, to make training fast and easy. So once you’ve learned one module, you basically mastered the Beanworks software. And because it’s been built in this fashion, typically, we’re able to stand up users in about, you know, a 30-day period or so. Again, guys, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to throw them in the Q&A bin, and Melissa and I will get to those towards the end of the conversation here.

So let’s get into the nitty-gritty details now. The first thing we’ll cover is getting invoices into the system. Now, there’s two ways to do that, and that’s gonna be based on the way the document’s received. So either electronically or in a paper-based fashion. So if you receive electronic invoice copies via email, what we’ll do is set you up with an inbox for our system. You’re gonna be able to completely skip the Create step, and we’re gonna import all those invoice images from your email into the In-Progress workspace here for immediate processing. Now, the second way is for those paper-based copies, or the ones we’re receiving via mail, where we’re gonna have to get them into the software by scanning an upload. And we’ll talk a little bit more about at the Create step. Now, most companies are receiving 70% to 90% of their invoices electronically. So, as we jump into the Create, if you are receiving invoices electronically, you’ll be able to skip this step, but for those invoices that do come in paper base, this is how we’re gonna get them into the software.

Now before we get, you know, into the dirtier details here, there’s usually two ways accounting teams store invoices. So either they have a bunch of filing cabinets where they’re splitting out the paper copies and filing each document individually, or they’re scanning them into their document repository system, like a Google Drive, one at a time in PDF format. As most of you are aware, both of these exercises can be pretty cumbersome. So the Create tab and the In-Progress tab have been built so that we can eliminate these cumbersome filing steps. So here, you can click the Upload button and drag and drop a batch of scanned invoices into the software. So it’s simple as, you know, putting together 200 invoice copies, putting them in a file, dragging and dropping them here. And when you do that, you’ll notice they’ll populate on one line like so.

Now, to split these out into their own bodies, we can click our Auto Split button. We’ve segmented each invoice into its own unit to make it bigger or smaller for viewing purposes. And then if we ever do receive multi-page documents, you can drag and drop. And once you’re done organizing, you can click Save, Create Invoices, and these paper-based copies, they’re gonna link up with the electronic copies at the In-Progress tab for the tagging and coding. So, I wanna stress instead of filing at the end of the process in the filing cabinet or the Google Drive, we’re taking care of the filing the minute the invoice is in the system at either the Create and In-Progress tabs. Now that we’ve got them in our filing cabinet, the next steps here are gonna be the tagging and categorizing the documents so we can search on them a little bit later.

Now, we talked a little bit about this during the webinar, but most AP professionals spend about 57% or more of their time getting the invoices into the system, tagged, coded, and then submitted for approval. So once in Beanworks, we’re taking care of the lion’s share of that work for you. So, our software automatically tags the invoice overnight with the right vendor information, the invoice number, the dates, the due dates, the subtotals, the totals, as well as the taxes. So all that’s left are the line item details, and we even have a couple ways of taking care of that for you as well.

So we found, you know, most invoices have fairly repetitive coding, and because of that, we build our system to be smart enough to remember historical entries. So, for invoices that are coded consistently, all AP teams have to do is click this Smart Code button here on the top right of the screen, and it will automatically code the line items matrix for any recurring invoices. If you’re curious…you know, if you’re always coding…let’s say you receive Kavalo invoice, it’s always coded to the same line item or the same line items, Smart Code will always be able to populate the matrix the same way. And if you’re curious, it factors into account three variables. One, the legal entity that we’re working in. So if you operate with multiple companies, no problem, you can go in and change it up. Two, the owner or the person that’s coding the invoice, and then finally, the vendor. So with those three variables in mind, Smart Code factors them in, and we’re done at the line items level.

Now, the second way to automate the line item coding is via a PO match. Now, a lot of, you know, clients who don’t have purchase order workflows in place, with Beanworks, we have a PO system. We encourage everyone to take advantage of it. Not only does it make coding faster, but it also makes it easier to forecast and control your budget. But on the coding side, if an invoice does have a corresponding PO, our software automatically matches that PO to the invoice. You can see here this invoice has been assigned to PO 1187. If I want, I can split view and see the PO and invoice side by side.

Now, that we’ve got the two docs matched, we filled in, you know, the line item information at the PO level. We don’t have to re-enter that information now that the invoice is in. So to complete the matrix, we can click our PO Adoption button here and just adopt the lines directly from the PO, click the big green button here, and boom, we’ve completed the line items table. So with that combination of Smart Code, PO Adoption, and then auto-capture at the header level, typically, we’re able to eliminate about 83% to 87% of the time spent online item coding, as well as, you know, invoice data entry. Now, for the odd invoice that Smart Code or PO Adoption won’t be able to capture, we have a direct integration with your financial system. So if you ever need to make a change, all your accounts from your financial system will be imported here. You can filter by any letters in the string. So let’s say I wanted to find a cash account and I’m only seeing the accounts that have cash in the string, select it, save it, and then drive this off for approval.

Now, let’s move on to approvals. Again, this was, kind of, one of, you know, the bigger time management and harder to manage in the remote work environments. So let’s talk about how Beanworks can manage those. So like I was saying, average company, and the government recommendation is to have two layers of approval because, A, you want the person who bought the goods to say, “Yes, I actually bought these and received these.” And then secondly, you want the manager of that person to provide that second layer of approval. So what does that mean for an AP clerk? Typically, we’re making a spreadsheet where we’re tracking down our invoices, and, you know, as we send them out, maybe we just lose track of them completely once we start putting them on people’s desks or emailing them out for approval. Our software takes care of the approval tracking for you by notifying approvers when they have invoices waiting, which spares your team time from receiving vendor calls inquiring about late or unpaid invoices.

So, let’s talk a little bit about how we approve. So once you submit for approval, all your invoices are gonna be moved to the Approvals tab. We’ll talk about how we build out the routing channels in a second. But basically, user or, you know, the approver that is responsible for these types of invoices will receive an email notification, they’ll click that link, and it’s gonna direct them to their approval screen here. They can cycle through all the invoices that are awaiting their authorization. They’ve got the details, images, and line items all in one place. And it’s as simple as giving a thumbs up or thumbs down. You’ll notice if I click Reject, you can’t do it. You have to leave a comment. The approval box will highlight in red, and that’s just to ensure there’s less back and forth to make the approval process seamless.

Now, let’s talk about how we actually build out the routing channel. So, we’ll jump into the back end here. Settings, you can create approval channels or distinct approval channels at each step of the workflow. So your invoice approvals can be different than your PO, payment, and expense approvals if your company is built in that structure where, you know, someone else is responsible for check signing but someone else signs off on invoices. So, let’s talk about what that looks like. I’m in the Invoices tab here. I’m gonna select my company. If you have one company, it’s just gonna default. If you have multiple, you’ll have this list view like so. And to build up the channel, the first step is to open it up.

So in this case, I build this out by account, department, and dollar value thresholds. You can basically create approval channels off of any invoice criteria. So here you can set a minimum, a maximum, or a range. In this case, we’re gonna put a 5K minimum. If you’ve got POs, we can set up PO variants thresholds. And then any standard list that you’re using in your financial system will be pulled in here as well. So in this case, I’ve used department. I’ve chosen my GL accounts. I’ve already put my vendor…sorry, my dollar amounts here. If I ever wanted to add in vendors, you could do that as well. All those parameters are there for you to choose.

So when I click Save, and I open this up, now you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s going on. It’s saying any invoice that’s coming to Green Bean Co that’s more than $5,000 that’s hitting the marketing department that’s associated to the 1055 or 1060 GL accounts will be sent to…and then like we said, usually, there’s two layers of approval. So, first, Jack, the CFO, is gonna sign off on this, and once he gives us thumbs up, we’re gonna get Jill to give her second round of approval. And that way…you know, the numbering system here is chronological. So, if you’ve got it set up in this fashion, first, it’s going to Jack then Jill. You can add as many layers as you’d like. So this would be four layers of approval.

Nice thing about this is, if you ever have any approvers that kind of have that same level of authorization, you don’t need both of them to sign off, just one would suffice, you can do what we call a grouping here. The invoice will be sent to both Tom and Jack. Not both of them have to sign off. Whoever beats the other one to it will give their approval before it’s pushed off to Sarah and then finally Jill. So, again, just to summarize, these end-users will receive that email address, they’ll be directed to the Approvals tab, and they can just give the thumbs up or thumbs down in the approval screen.

Now, we’ve got all the GL coding done on the invoice. Everything has been approved, but it’s not yet in our financial system. So we’re talking a little bit about point solutions and how that can cause issues. You know, you’ve got to transfer data from one system to another, and that can be, A, very time consuming, and is usually really susceptible to errors because information might go missing. So, after invoices have been approved, everything waterfalls into the Export tab. They should really be called the sync. We don’t have a file import/export. It’s a direct integration with your system. And as you can see, all you have here is your queue of approved invoices denoted by that green A. And to get this back into Microsoft, all we’re gonna do is select the bills we wanna sync over, and then it’s three simple commands, Actions, Export, Data, and that’s gonna flow this invoice information seamlessly from Beanworks right into Microsoft Dynamics GP. It gonna look just like an entry you’re posting today.

And lastly, once we’ve completed that sync, everything is now in both softwares, the Archive tab is your new filing repository. So I mentioned that we took care of the filing at the Create and In-Progress tabs. We got them coded. We got them approved. Now everything is completely indexed, searchable, and reportable at the archive level. Most companies that I speak with typically file their invoices by vendor. So these custom filters here, kind of like electronic filing folders. So if you wanted to…you have, again, any invoice parameter to build filters off of. In this case, I chose vendor, but I’ll do a quick siphon here through the various parameters. Basically, if I highlight this in green, it auto filters the invoices to fit this criteria. So for example, you can also use global search up here. I wanna search for invoices only pertaining to Amazon, and boom, that’s all I see.

With Beanworks, you’re able…because we allow for unlimited users, a lot of our clients create profiles for their auditors with read-only access, so they can go into the system, you know, filter their own data, generate their own reports. And that takes, you know, more time off the AP teams back, so they can focus on, you know, activities that really help reduce costs for the business or increase efficiencies. So once we filtered, your auditors or even your AP team can go in, select. Instead of generating a report by downloading a bunch of PDFs and throwing them into Adobe, we’ll just create a CSV or PDF report like so. And when we throw these open, you’ve got a summary of all the invoices we filtered on, the total value of each of those invoices. And then down here, my favorite part is if you click the hyperlink, it takes you to the invoice image, the details, the line items, and then the approval history directly below. It’s all tagged in one spot. And then for those users that are wondering about POs or other backup documentation, that would be stored directly below the invoice if it’s applicable.

And that, ladies and gents, covers Beanworks invoice workflow. We don’t have time to go through everything today, but if you are interested, please, again, don’t hesitate to reach out to Encore or ourselves here at Beanworks, and we’ll get a more in-depth tutorial of expenses, POs. We can cover invoices again, as well as the payments module. So that being said, thanks again, everyone. My name is Jack. I’m one of the account executives at Beanworks. These are our contact details. You guys have Encore’s contact details. And let’s open up to you guys for Q&A if any questions have come up.

Melissa: Great. Thanks, Jack. Yeah. I’ve got a few questions here if you’ve got some time.

Jack: Absolutely.

Melissa: Okay. So I’ll just read them out. So, which payment methods are supported?

Jack: So we offer a number of payment methods. We offer ACH, EFT, virtual credit card, as well as check payments. We’ve also recently onboarded wire payments as well if that’s of interest.

Melissa: Okay. Great. I’ve got another one here. So what kind of customer support is included?

Jack: That’s a great question. So with Beanworks, each of our accounts has a dedicated customer support rep, and they’re with you each step of the way from integrating Beanworks with, you know, in this case, Microsoft Dynamics GP, building out those custom workflows that we just kind of talked about in the demonstration. And then they’re also there to train you and your entire team, whoever is gonna be using the software, so that everyone’s stood up, everyone feels comfortable, and you guys are able to process your AP through the cloud. And then, you know, you’ll always be able to reach out to them for technical questions via live chat, phone calls, and even email.

Melissa: Awesome. Okay. I’ve got one more here. So how long does it take to get set up?

Jack: So, on average, again, it depends on a couple variables. It’s really gonna come down to the timeline of when your team wants to start the process. It takes about 30 days. I’ve seen it happen in as little as a week. Again, it’s really gonna boil down to how quickly your team wants to move forward. But it takes about six to eight hours spread out across three meetings, and we can talk a little bit more about that if people would like to go down that route.

Melissa: Okay. That’s awesome. Well, thanks so much, Jack. We will be sending emails to everyone with the recording of this session, and then more info, of course, about the gift card that you mentioned.

Jack: Absolutely. Free lunch.

Melissa: Yeah, perfect. Okay. Great. Well, I think we can just say goodbye to everyone for now. Thanks so much.

Jack: All right. Cheers, Melissa. Bye-bye.

Melissa: Okay. You too. Bye.

Which Dynamics Product Is Best for You?

Answer some basic questions about your company and your requirements, and find out what products would fit your business.

Take Our Quiz

Which Dynamics Product Is Best for You?

Take Our Quiz