In Part 1 of this blog series, we introduced Step 1 highlights from a comprehensive checklist based on our recent whitepaper, 16 Very Effective Ways to Mess Up Your AP Automation Project, to help you avoid “messing up” when it comes to choosing the right invoice processing provider.
Step 1 was about PREPARATION—making sure you have all of your ducks in a row before you start investigating invoice payment (AP)processing providers.
STEP 2: ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS: When considering an AP automation vendor, here are the top 10 questions—and secondary questions—you should ask the solution providers you are considering to determine confidently whether they will be a good match for your requirements and business goals.
- What ERP / Financial Management Systems does your solution integrate with? Is the integration seamless or does it require additional software? How many clients have you implemented with //name of your ERP//?
- Is your solution on-premise or cloud-based? (Remember, that was one of the decisions you determined in Step 1: Preparation.)
- How does your platform intake, process, code, route for approval, and pay invoices? Are any of these functions outsourced? If so, which ones? In particular, OCR (optical character recognition)? Outsourcing and templates can end up costing you time and money, instead of saving you time and money. To learn more about OCR, read this article.
- How specifically does your solution leverage OCR, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA)? You want to know that the solution you’re considering is leveraging current and emerging technologies that will scale as you grow.
- How does your platform accommodate purchase orders/purchase requisitions? Matching functionality or inventory? Duplicate invoices?
- What security measures are in place to protect the confidentiality and security of data and prevent fraud or unauthorized access?
- Do you offer a complete end-to-end solution, or do I have to bolt on components to achieve our AP workflow goals? How does your pricing work? Is it feature-and-functionality based? Can I only pay for what I need?
- Does your solution offer a payment platform?
- What is the average time to implement? What are the biggest challenges with implementation? How have you overcome these challenges with other clients?
- What would your clients say about your solution? Do you have any references in our industry that would speak with us about your platform?
In Part 3 of this series, we’ll provide a list of questions the solution providers you are considering might ask you, and that you’ll want to be prepared to answer.
This blog series is reprised and updated from our November 2018 blog series by the same name.