Invoice management and invoicing can be a mundane process for B2B businesses, yet it is a crucial function. Without tight control around the invoicing process, your business may face long wait times to get paid by your customer or at worst, not get paid at all. In this latest article as part of the Apps That Help Your Business series, we explore the best practices on invoicing and how apps and technology can help streamline and automate invoice management.
There are two types of invoices in every business.
- Supplier invoices: Invoices (or bills) issued to you to pay your suppliers.
- Customer invoices: Invoices that you issue to be paid by your customers.
The goal of managing supplier invoices is to be able to correctly pay your suppliers on time efficiently and to secure your supply chain. This includes the ability to:
- Raise, approve, and send purchase orders to your suppliers.
- Reconcile incoming invoices vs. purchase orders.
- Deal with and manage any discrepancies between invoices and purchase orders.
- Schedule payments according to the agreed credit terms with correct payment amounts.
- Track and monitor any non-paid invoices.
Customer (sales) invoices
The goal of managing sales invoices is to get paid as soon as possible. This can be done by:
- Ensuring invoices (and any credit notes if required) are created correctly, accurately, and completely with all the necessary information.
- Invoices are sent to customers at the earliest opportunity and according to your customers’ requirements.
- Continuously track and monitor payment progress.
- Flag any upcoming and overdue invoices for further action.
How can technology help?
- Creating, approving invoices, and issuing invoices.
- Posting relevant accounting journals to record revenue, accounts receivable, cash accounts, etc.
- Auto-reminders of any upcoming or overdue invoices.
If you do not use accounting software, you could also opt for a standalone invoicing platform like invoice2go, or C2FO to help you better manage and control your sales invoicing process. These apps allow you to create invoices with customisable templates, as well as track payment progress. The aim is to reduce any manual paperwork, centralise the process, and automate the process as much as possible.
On the other hand, to manage supplier invoices you receive, your business will need more than an accounting software on its own. For businesses that deal with more than 100 supplier invoices per month, you may want to explore different apps out there that can help you simplify the process as well as to minimise any human errors. A few apps that you may consider are laid out below.
ApprovalMax is fully integrated with Xero and Quickbooks accounting software so that all accounting journals can be done in one place. Its features include:
- Create and send purchase orders.
- Approval workflow for supplier invoices.
- Reconcile supplier invoices to approved purchase orders.
- Budget checking as part of bills and purchase orders approving process.
Pricing starts from SGD 50 per month which offers all of the above features. For the budget checking feature, you will need to opt for Advanced user which is at SGD80 per month.
ProcureDesk focuses more on supplier invoice processes. It is also fully integrated with Xero and Quickbooks to streamline your accounting. The main features of the app are:
- Generating and approving purchase orders.
- Sending purchase orders in various formats e.g., email, EDI, cXml.
- Order tracking.
- Processing supplier invoices by centralizing invoice capture and matching process.
Pricing starts from USD 375 per month. For automated capturing of supplier invoices (OCR), you are looking at the AP Automation plan which starts from $550 a month.
Beanworks has the most integration partners of the three apps mentioned. It connects to:
- Sage Intacct
- Rent Manager
- Jonas Club
- MS Dynamics GP
The features are similar to the earlier two apps, from purchase order management to reconciling bills vs. orders, as well as payment management. Beanworks offers a free plan which includes a payment approval process. For other plans, pricing is not available on their website.