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6 Best Automated Invoice Processing Software for 2022

Susan Honea

Susan Honea – 8 years experience helping businesses with bookkeeping, tax preparation and auditing

Last updated: March 7, 2022

Invoices need to be approved and verified before they can be paid. Find out about systems that will automate the process.

6 Best Automated Invoice Processing Software for 2022

You probably aren’t still processing invoices on paper and, no doubt, you already have your POs and receiving on computers. However, despite digitizing the purchase process, many businesses still haven’t automated it.

Automating invoice processing is faster, more efficient, and more accurate than manual processing. There will always be manual intervention in the process because of the need for expressed approval for payments. However, easing all of the admin work involved in getting invoices paid will improve your business, eradicate lost invoices, and help your accounting team perform procurement analysis and reduce costs.

Here is our list of the six best-automated invoice processing packages:

  1. Precoro: Best automated invoice processing software for inventory-based businesses. An inventory management system that offers full automation for the entire purchasing workload through to the validation of invoices.
  2. Tipalti: Best automated invoice processing software for international businesses. This AP automation package is based in the cloud and includes payment systems that can operate in multiple currencies.
  3. Oracle NetSuite: Best automated invoice processing software in an ERP. An extensive ERP system that includes full AP automation can be adapted to suit the accounting regulations of many countries.
  4. Redwood Business Process Automation: Best automated invoice processing software all-rounder. Cloud-based system offers a procure-to-pay orchestration service that can work with your existing software to automate invoice processing.
  5. Airbase: Best automated invoice processing software for consultancies. This cloud-based system is particularly strong in managing the processing of expenses and also includes corporate payment cards for use by staff out in the field.
  6. Lightyear: Best automated invoice processing software for small businesses. A purchasing and AP automation package that is delivered from the cloud that can integrate with ERPs and accounting packages.

Automated invoice processing systems have additional benefits in that they make the company’s performance and profitability easier to track. Senior management can know the company’s cash position and organize was to squeeze more efficiency from the business if all purchasing and payment data is available in a searchable format.

Invoice processing in the context

Invoice processing is a step further from digital invoice storage. You won’t get any benefits from a system that just deals with invoices. Accounts Payables can only be improved by automation if the invoicing system is linked to your procurements systems. This joined-up strategy has created a field in IT systems, called procure-to-pay, or purchase-to-pay.

The vital element in automating invoice processing lies with managing the approvals process and implementing three-way matching within the computer.

Scanning out for a wider perspective, purchase management can be improved by supplier management. Chaining forward in the other direction, invoice processing can be linked to payment systems. Getting completed transactions converted into AP journal entries and on to General Ledger makes automated invoicing systems even more powerful. Before you know it, you’ve specified a fully automated system that will run all of your procurement tasks for you and complete the accounts as well.

Achieving invoice processing automation

There are three avenues to follow if you want to get your invoice processing automated. The first is to use an orchestration system that will join together your current standalone systems to connect data from purchasing and inventory through to invoicing. The second option is to choose a procure-to-pay system that just focuses on purchasing, inventory, and invoice processing. The third strategy is to get an ERP system that will cover all of your purchase-to-pay systems along with sales functions.

In this guide, we will recommend solutions for all three categories.

The best Automated Invoice Processing software

There are many options on the market today to implement invoice processing automation and exploring all possibilities will take you a long time. So, to help you get to the right system for your business we have done all of the legwork for you.

What do we look for in the best automated invoicing software?

When looking for the best automated invoicing software, we prioritized the following factors:

  • SaaS systems – Cloud-based services include both the software and the server to run it. This saves you a lot of expense and removes the need to keep a technical team on your payroll. Small businesses that don’t have a budget for technical support would particularly benefit from a SaaS package.
  • Automated matching – An automated system needs to be able to prove that an invoice is correct by checking it against other sources of information, such as POs and goods received notes.
  • Approvals management – A system that allows the creation of individual user accounts with different roles and approval hierarchy is preferable.
  • Security – The tool should have access to transaction data, which is of commercial value and so access to the invoice processing system should be controlled. Automate payment processes should be blocked by approval requirements and all payments need to be thoroughly logged.

You can read more about each of our recommenced solutions in the following sections.

1. Precoro

Website Pecoro
Price from $35/user/mo
Free Trial 14 Days

Best automated invoice processing software for inventory-based businesses

Precoro is a purchase-to-pay support system that is particularly strong on inventory tracking. If you deal with physical goods, no matter whether you run your warehouse or contracted out to a logistics service, this system will flow through all of the paperwork from quotes to invoices.

Precoro can be triggered by stock levels to place orders automatically with your preferred suppliers and then catch deliveries as the goods arrive. When the invoice is entered into the system, Precoro will automatically check it against previous events.

There is an approvals process threaded through the package, which also allows managers to hold up purchases or cancel them if cash is unexpectedly tight. Intricacies in the package include a supplier management system that lets you allocate a score to each supplier and set up standing orders. It is possible to intervene in the process to account for unexpected changes in demand.

Precoro is a SaaS platform, so it includes software hosting and maintenance. The package can examine data from any operations system anywhere in the world. The system can interface with Oracle NetSuite, QuickBooks Online, and other accounting packages. The service is charged for a subscription rate per user per month, which makes it easy to expand software access as your business grows.

Things we liked:

  • Supplier management with preferred supplier per item
  • Automated stock replenishment
  • Approvals hierarchy
  • Automated invoice verification
  • Can populate journals in third-party accounting systems

Things we didn’t like:

  • You still need an ERP or accounting package

2. Tipalti

Website Tipalti
Free Trial Demo

Best automated invoice processing software for international businesses

Tipalti is a cloud-based package that is delivered as a Web system and is very easy to use. The tool is a lure to a payment processing system. However, this is an enhancement because it enables you to flow through payments automatically for approved and verified invoices. This is a particularly good system for international businesses that want to centralize cash management because it can implement payments in many currencies.

Dealing with currency fluctuations can be a headache for businesses. You can fix an annual exchange rate in your business process software but variations in the actual rate are going to end up with you needing to calculate another account in your books to compensate for them. This account will produce either a profit or a loss each year. Businesses that deal with imports and exports can end up making more money from currency movements than from their core activity and also risk being sent bankrupt by currencies moving the wrong way.

Tipalti lets you manage exchange rates because you can set up a forward purchase contract for currencies for the entire year. Thus, the rate you set in your books at the beginning of the year is the actual rate you will pay all year. This is also a big help when you come to consolidating your books for parent company reporting.

If the financial transformation you need to support deals with payment processing and currency management, Tiplati has you covered but that isn’t the only function of this system. It also includes a supplier management module, automated purchasing, and stock management, plus three-way matching and an approvals hierarchy.

Tipalti can integrate with ERP systems and accounting packages.

Things we liked:

  • SaaS system
  • Supplier management
  • Approvals hierarchy
  • Automated payments in multiple currencies
  • Currency management

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial

3. Oracle NetSuite

Best financial transformation solution in an ERP

Oracle NetSuite is a cloud-based ERP system. You can only automate the processing of invoices if your invoicing system has access to data from purchasing and also has a solid approvals hierarchy in place. The ERP philosophy provides this and Oracle NetSuite implements it very well.

The Oracle NetSuite system has some flexibility built into it. You can set up standing purchase orders and use those to automate reordering when stock levels are low. You can also use mechanisms such as credit notes and generated releases to reconcile invoices to what was delivered if all of the figures don’t match up in your three-way matching. You can also enforce three-way matching before an invoice can be paid.

NetSuite has a variable, matrix-like approvals hierarchy that requires different people to approve different order values for specific items and it can also be set to allow data entry clerks to approve small amounts. User accounts are also graded through roles, which provide standard screens that are different for each job description, thus reducing access to data in the system.

The SaaS platform of NetSuite means that it isn’t tied to one site. It can be used universally throughout the business to standardize working practices. It is adaptable to a local account and tax regulations in many countries, so you can also use this ERP for overseas branches.

When it comes to period close and account consolidation, all of the transactional information is already there in the system, which includes incomplete purchases and unpaid invoices. The availability of this information within a common data pool makes account reconciliation a lot easier.

Things we liked:

  • A SaaS system that can be accessed by all branches
  • Data connections between purchasing, inventory, and invoicing
  • Automated journal entry creation for AP
  • Faster closing and consolidation
  • Approvals hierarchy and three-way matching

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial

4. Redwood Business Process Automation

Website Redwood
Free Trial Demo

Best automated invoice processing software all-rounder

Redwood Business Process Automation is a cloud-based orchestration system that includes a specialized financial management service. This package accesses your existing software, runs it, and extracts data to feed into another of your applications. This is an advanced batch job system that can perform comparison services, such as three-way matching and account reconciliation.

Redwood is your best option for financial transformation if you already have software available with which your accounting team is satisfied. It won’t change working practices but it will adapt existing systems so that they share data effectively.

As well as orchestrating the processing of invoices, this service can automatically populate journals and flow them through to GL. The system can be set up to check all accounting entries against real transactions to reconcile accounts before closing.

The cloud location of Redwood means that it is not restricted to performing actions on one site. It can also be used to unify operations in many locations and can be used to consolidate the accounts of multiple divisions.

This system will not generate resistance among your operations staff because it can be introduced without anyone knowing about it. It just assists the accounting departments and leaves operations staff alone.

Things we liked:

  • Hosted SaaS service so no software maintenance tasks
  • Doesn’t require staff retraining
  • Creates flexibility to cater to any new reconciliation strategy
  • Checks invoices against POs and goods received notes
  • Adaptable automation system

Things we didn’t like:

  • You still need to pay for accounting and business process software
  • No free trial

BEST AUTOMATED INVOICE PROCESSING SOFTWARE ALL-ROUNDER:

Redwood Business Process Automation is a solid choice because it links together with your existing business process and accounting systems, so you don’t need to retrain staff to use a new system. Redwood works behind the scenes to validate documentation and generate journal entries automatically.

5. Airbase

Website Airbase
Price from Free/mo

Best automated invoice processing software for consultancies

Airbase caters to businesses that don’t rely on inventory but do involve expenses. So, organizations that deliver professional services, consultancies, and employment agencies will prefer the accent on expenses that are built into the Airbase system.

There are several features in the Airbase package that make a hands-down winner in the field. First of all, if it is used for up to 100 employees, it is free. That target market is very large and should gain this SaaS package a big following. Larger companies have to pay but the rates for those paid packages are very reasonable.

Another great benefit of this system is that every worker that you subscribe to gets a company credit card. This feeds straight into your accounts with an expenses list that can be matched off directly from the credit card bill. The tool speeds up invoice payments by reducing the number of suppliers that you have to register in the system. You just pay off the credit card once every line item has been justified as a genuine business expense.

Things we liked:

  • A Cloud system that enables remote workers to get instant access
  • A method of approving charges by seeking justification
  • No need for remote or mobile workers to keep receipts
  • Simpler bill payment through credit cards
  • Can handle international payments

Things we didn’t like:

  • Requires tight procedural policies to prevent insider fraud

6. Lightyear

Website Lightyear
Price from 199/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

Best automated invoice processing software for small businesses

Lightyear is a cloud-based procurement system that flows data from purchasing and inventory to invoicing. You can think of this as a partial ERP. It takes care of all of the data that will eventually go through to Accounts Payable. The system will generate journal entries for you and post them into your accounting package – which isn’t included in the system.

A nice feature for businesses that implement a virtual office or have many workers constantly out in the field is that it can be accessed through mobile apps. This also enables the scanning and uploading of receipts and other documentation so invoice payments can proceed without waiting for those rare HQ visits.

Important payment controls are implemented through an approvals system and enforced three-way matching. Although the package doesn’t include an accounting system, it will interface to QuickBooks, Xero, and NetSuite, among others.

The Lightyear package is available in three editions, which enables it to cater to startups, small businesses, and mid-sized enterprises. The two higher plans include inventory management functions and automated restocking. You can try the system on a 30-day free trial.

Things we liked:

  • Mobile apps for roving consultants
  • Available from anywhere thanks to its cloud platform
  • Implements three-way matching and inventory automation in higher plans
  • Document upload feature
  • Interfaces to accounts packages

Things we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t include a full accounting system