Accounts Payable Automation and Supplier Portals
When trying to understand how useful supplier portals can be, start by imagining a world where payments are simple. You make a deal with a supplier. You agree on a price. You pay it, then move on to the next transaction. The process is smooth, streamlined, and efficient. Now, think about your actual payment system- while the end result may be the same, does it take longer to get there? There are checks to be made, approvals to be granted, and an endless stream of inquiries to answer.
For most accounts payable departments, there is one question from suppliers that feels like a broken record: “Where is my payment?” Even if suppliers know that a payment has been approved and is pending, they still want to know where exactly the invoice is in the process.
The answer to their repeating question is usually a simple one, but the time spent on emails and telephone calls to impatient suppliers can still end up costing your company time and money. To avoid this, you need an accounts payable solution that is transparent, immediate, and autonomous. In other words, the ideal solution will provide a way to track invoice status and automatically update suppliers, so that accounts payable doesn’t have to do it directly. Your AP department can then spend the time focusing on more pressing matters.
Are Supplier Portals Right for Your Company?
Enterprise-level supplier portals are able to provide in-depth visibility for AP and suppliers. It is a cloud-based setup, which enables suppliers to ‘log in’ and instantly access information about the progress of payments and invoices.
The process is much faster than an update from a company representative, and it means that your AP department doesn’t have to spend their time fielding inquiries from suppliers. Additionally, enterprise-level accounts payable automation solutions typically provide intricate fraud prevention and compliance measures for your invoice processing.
An enterprise-level supplier portal is a valuable asset because it automates the invoice submission process. This increases efficiency and accuracy, as well as strengthening ties with suppliers. With supplier portals, you can keep your suppliers happy and informed, without compromising the productivity of your own AP department.
What Are the Main Benefits of Supplier Portals?
Electronic Invoicing: Supplier portals are, in many ways, the buffet table of AP automation. Just as a hungry diner appreciates not having to wait to be served, suppliers love being able to access information on payments immediately. With a supplier portal, they can download, forward, and print submitted invoices without having to go through your department.
Stronger Relationships: You can’t run a company without a skilled team, but that doesn’t mean that AP staff should necessarily be handling the tedious manual parts of the invoicing process. Accounts payable automation expedites the invoicing process, eliminating the risk of human error and clerical mistakes, which results in better business relations.
No More Payment Delays: Transactions will progress much faster if they’re not being held up at various stages by incorrect information or lack of approvals. With AP automation, you can program the system to respond to payments that need special attention and notify the appropriate personnel. With payment notifications, your department no longer has to deal with payment delays. This opens up the door to your department taking advantage of early pay discounts.
A supplier portal allows you to assist your suppliers in a secure online setting, with invoice information available 24/7. It’s a dynamic self-service doorway that is priceless for any organization.