Good accounts payable automation systems integrate all types of non-payroll spend, incorporate customizable approval workflows, and easily sync to a company's GL. Airbase is the top accounts payable automation system for small to mid-market businesses, while Coupa is often the top choice for larger companies.
Accounts payable problems arise when cumbersome systems and disjointed tech stacks lead to too much manual work, difficulties tracking purchase orders, time-consuming reconcilations for different platforms, and more. These problems with can be fixed through automation and consolation, in order to reduce the amount of manual work involved in pre-accounting, eliminate the risk of human error, and shorten the time-to-close every month.
Airbase's automated accounting creates real-time accounts payable reports. You can easily customize and filter reports to fit your needs. Reports include summary reports, which provide info on card and bill payment activity; department reports, which show spending by departments; people reports, which break down spending by employee; and reports on all transactions by virtual card, corporate card, ACH, or check, as well as transactions made outside of Airbase.
Because Airbase's ACH payment system is part of an integrated spend management platform with full reporting functionality, its ACH payment system is the best to provide real-time visibility into bill payments.
You can process an ACH payment in Airbase by selecting the bill you wish to pay, choosing if you are paying by ACH, and indicating whether you wish to pay immediately, pay by the due date, or schedule a payment. Once the payment request begins, funds move from your bank accout to your Airbase account, then to the vendor's account. You can track the status in the Payment Tracker.
You make an ACH payment in Airbase by selecting the bill you wish to pay, indicating that you are paying by ACH, and choosing whether you wish to pay immediately, pay by the due date, or schedule a payment.
You control physical credit card spending by creating cards in Airbase that are unique to an individual employee with predetermined limits. Because the cards provide visibility into all card activity with real-time reporting functionality, the status of the budget is always available, and the lever of control can be adjusted as needed.
To get approval for online expenses in Airbase, you start by completing a request for a virtual card or a purchase order. The request automates the approval process based on the information provided, and will route it to the correct approval chain.
With Airbase cards, there is no need to do an expense report. An automated approval system sets spend parameters in advance. The finance team can therefore track spending without having to reconcile credit card statements or bills, and know that all requests are compliant with company policy.
Some advantages to automated accounts payable include hours of time saved by reduced manual work, improved accuracy, greater visibility, and less ambiguity about expense management policies, since the system itself can enforce compliance and apply budget controls.
Cost controls are systems and processes that prevent unnecessary and over-budget spending. When cost controls are automated and rule-based, cost controls can be applied in a manner that is transparent to employees, while removing the burden of oversight from AP.
You control costs by implementing AP systems that give end-to-end visibility into employee spending with automated approvals that set spending limits up front and provide real-time reporting. With this insight into spend activity, you can adjust spending limits to achieve budget targets.
Some purchase order software benefits include providing accountability and control over a purchase request. This reduces the time spent on procurement, and ensures clear processes for both purchases and finance teams.
The best spend management platforms provide a holistic solution that includes all payment types — cards, checks, ACH, wire transfers, and vendor credits — and are built on a base of automated accounting, approval workflows, and real-time reporting. When accounts payable, corporate credit cards, and employee reimbursements are consolidated on a single platform, every non-payroll dollar that leaves a company is easily tracked.
Spend management is a completely new approach to handling every non-payroll dollar that leaves a company. It encompasses, bill payments, employee expense reimbursements, and corporate credit cards, all supported by automated accounting, approval workflows, and real-time reporting.
In a rolling close, also called a continuous close, the books are updated in real time, thanks to automated processes that gather data as transactions take place, with an automatic sync to the general ledger. With a rolling close, finance teams don't face a lengthy month-end close, and current financials are always available.
You can prepare for month-end close by completing the many required pre-accounting tasks: gather financial statements, collect past-due invoices, collect forms, check payroll, account for inventory, organize receipts, and reconcile bank statements.
Closing the books can take days or weeks depending on the company. It often takes most small to mid-market companies longer than enterprise companies. This is because enterprise-level companies have automated many of the flows that smaller companies do manually. It is also because many small and mid-market companies rely on a messy tech stack that must be reconciled.
You can shorten your time-to-close with a spend management system that ensures all financial transactions are recorded in real time with supporting documents, no matter what payment type is used. Information on spend activity is therefore always up to date and a full audit trail is always in the system.
When you create a virtual card on Airbase, you set a spend limit and specify if that limit is per day, week, month, quarter, or year. You can also choose to limit the card to one-time use or for a specific vendor.
Because virtual cards have customizable approval workflows and visibility into employee spend as transactions take place, they can replace expense management systems like Expensify, and much more. With virtual cards, there is no need to prepare and review expense reports, since oversight and control are built right into the process.
Virtual cards have many benefits for business. With the right software behind it, a virtual card program is easy to use, provides full visibility into employee spend, affords budget owners greater control, enables real-time reporting capabilities, provides opportunities to increase revenues through cash back, and reduces the risk of fraud. Virtual cards are a perfect fit for remote teams and any business wanting to streamline AP processes and gain control over spend.
In a consolidated spend management platform, bill payments can be made by virtual card if the vendor accepts credit card payments. By strategically shifting bill payments to virtual cards, companies can earn cash back and make money while they're paying the bills.
A virtual card is a card number that can be automatically generated in seconds and used online. The card can be customized to be used for a specific vendor, for a certain amount, within a certain time frame, and for one-time or ongoing use. To an online merchant, it works like any credit card.