The traditional approach to accounts payable can be time-consuming, error-prone, and resource-intensive, hindering the organization’s ability to focus on strategic initiatives.
Fortunately, cutting-edge advancements in automation technology have revolutionized the accounts payable landscape, offering businesses an opportunity to streamline their workflows and achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency. In this blog, we delve into the benefits and features of advanced AP automation solutions, comparing their capabilities to traditional methods. We’ll also explore how these intelligent automation tools empower finance teams with smart AI, seamless integration, and user-friendly functionalities to revolutionize their AP workflow and drive transformative results.
What is Oracle NetSuite?
Oracle NetSuite is a cloud-based, integrated business management software suite designed to help companies manage various aspects of their operations, including financials, customer relationship management (CRM), inventory, human resources, e-commerce, and more. It was originally founded in 1998 as NetSuite Inc. and later acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2016.
Oracle NetSuite provides a unified and scalable platform that enables businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, to streamline their processes, make data-driven decisions, and achieve greater efficiency across different departments. Some key features and modules of Oracle NetSuite include Financial Management, Customer Relationship Management, Inventory and Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management, Business Intelligence and Reporting and their SuiteCloud Platform.
What is NetSuite Automation?
NetSuite automation refers to the use of various automated processes and tools within the Oracle NetSuite platform to streamline and optimize business operations. As a cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, NetSuite offers a wide range of automation features across different modules, helping businesses improve efficiency, reduce manual work, and enhance overall productivity. Here are some key aspects of NetSuite automation:
- Workflow Automation: NetSuite allows businesses to automate workflows for various processes, such as sales order approvals, expense report submissions, purchase requisitions, and more. Users can define rules and conditions that trigger specific actions, such as sending notifications, creating tasks, or initiating approvals, leading to smoother and faster processing of tasks.
- Financial Automation: Within the financial management module, NetSuite offers automation for tasks like accounts payable and accounts receivable. Invoice approvals, recurring billing, payment processing, and revenue recognition can be automated, reducing the need for manual intervention and improving financial accuracy.
- Inventory Management: NetSuite’s automation features extend to inventory management, where businesses can set up reorder points, automated stock transfers between locations, and automatic purchase order creation based on demand. This ensures optimal inventory levels and minimizes stockouts.
- Reporting and Dashboards: NetSuite provides automated reporting and real-time dashboards, allowing users to access key performance indicators (KPIs) and financial metrics without the need for manual data gathering. Reports can be scheduled for regular distribution to stakeholders.
- Sales and Marketing Automation: NetSuite’s CRM module includes automation capabilities for sales and marketing processes. This can include lead scoring, email marketing campaigns, automated follow-ups, and tracking customer interactions.
- Vendor and Customer Self-Service: NetSuite offers self-service portals for vendors and customers, allowing them to access relevant information, update their details, view order status, and track shipments without requiring assistance from company employees.
- Data Import and Integration: NetSuite offers data import and integration tools, allowing businesses to automate the process of importing data from external sources and keeping their records up-to-date.
By leveraging NetSuite automation, businesses can significantly improve operational efficiency, reduce human errors, enhance data accuracy, and free up valuable time for employees to focus on more strategic tasks. The level of automation can be tailored to meet the unique needs and processes of each organization, making NetSuite a powerful and flexible solution for businesses seeking to streamline their operations and drive growth.
What is NetSuite Financial Automation?
NetSuite Financial Automation is a set of features and capabilities within the NetSuite platform that automates various financial management processes, streamlining accounting operations and improving overall financial efficiency. The goal of financial automation is to reduce manual tasks, minimize errors, enhance data accuracy, and provide real-time visibility into financial data. Here are some key aspects of NetSuite Financial Automation:
Accounts Payable Automation
NetSuite automates the accounts payable process, starting from invoice capture to payment processing. OCR technology is used to extract relevant data from invoices, eliminating the need for manual data entry. The system can automatically route invoices for approval based on predefined rules and match them with purchase orders for accuracy.
Accounts Receivable Automation
In the accounts receivable process, NetSuite automates tasks such as invoice generation, payment reminders, and cash application. Automated email reminders can be sent to customers for overdue payments, streamlining the collections process.
General Ledger Automation
NetSuite’s financial automation includes automated general ledger entries based on predefined rules and transactions. This ensures that financial data is accurately recorded in the appropriate ledger accounts without manual intervention.
For companies that need to comply with revenue recognition standards (e.g., ASC 606 or IFRS 15), NetSuite offers automated revenue recognition capabilities. The system can automatically recognize revenue based on predefined rules and criteria, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.
Fixed Assets Management
NetSuite automates fixed asset management, including asset depreciation calculations and updates to the general ledger. This streamlines the process of tracking and managing fixed assets over their lifecycle.
NetSuite automates bank reconciliation by importing bank statements and automatically matching transactions with corresponding records in the system. This reduces the time and effort required for manual reconciliation and improves the accuracy of financial records.
Financial Reporting and Dashboards
NetSuite provides automated financial reporting and real-time dashboards, allowing users to access key financial metrics and performance indicators without manual data gathering. Reports can be scheduled for regular distribution to stakeholders.
Multi-currency and Global Financials
NetSuite’s financial automation supports multi-currency transactions and global financial operations, making it easier for businesses operating in multiple countries to manage their finances efficiently.
Compliance and Audit Trail
With automated financial processes, NetSuite maintains a detailed audit trail, recording all actions taken on financial transactions. This provides transparency and compliance with internal controls and external audit requirements.
Integration and Customization
NetSuite’s SuiteCloud platform allows for integration with third-party applications and customization of financial workflows to meet the unique needs of each organization.
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What does NetSuite AP Automation Include?
NetSuite Accounts Payable (AP) Automation is a powerful feature integrated within the NetSuite platform, designed to streamline the accounts payable process for businesses. This sophisticated automation tool simplifies the entire AP workflow, from the initial invoice capture to the final payment processing, resulting in reduced manual work, improved accuracy, and increased efficiency within the accounts payable department.
One of the primary functionalities of NetSuite AP Automation is the electronic invoice capture process. Companies can now digitize invoices, either by scanning paper copies or receiving them electronically via email. This step is crucial for eliminating the need for manual data entry. The system leverages Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to extract pertinent information from the invoices, such as vendor details, invoice numbers, dates, and line items, making it easier to manage and process the data.
The next essential aspect of the automation feature is the automated invoice approval process. Users can define and set up approval rules based on various criteria, such as the invoice amount or specific vendor details. When an invoice is received, the system automatically routes it to the appropriate approvers according to the pre-established rules. This seamless and efficient workflow accelerates the approval process, ensuring that invoices are processed promptly and preventing delays in payment processing.
NetSuite AP Automation also offers an intelligent purchase order matching system. The platform can automatically match incoming invoices with the corresponding purchase orders and goods received notes. This three-way matching process verifies that the goods or services have been received and billed correctly, reducing the risk of overpayments and ensuring the utmost accuracy in the payment process.
In addition to streamlining the approval and matching process, NetSuite AP Automation facilitates electronic payments. The platform supports various electronic payment methods, such as ACH (Automated Clearing House), EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), and virtual credit cards. By automating the payment execution process, businesses can pay vendors faster and more efficiently, while also taking advantage of early payment discounts when applicable.
NetSuite further empowers vendors through the use of self-service portals. Vendors gain access to their invoices, payment status, and historical payment information. By providing vendors with direct access to their data, the self-service portal reduces the number of inquiries and calls to the accounts payable department, leading to smoother interactions and improved vendor relationships.
Real-time visibility is a key advantage of NetSuite AP Automation. Finance teams and other stakeholders can monitor the status of invoices and payments in real-time, allowing for better cash flow management and more informed decision-making. Additionally, NetSuite provides robust reporting and analytics capabilities for accounts payable data. Businesses can generate reports on vendor performance, payment trends, and other key metrics, which contribute to better financial analysis and identification of potential areas for process improvement.
The automation features in NetSuite AP Automation also enhance compliance and ensure a comprehensive audit trail. All actions taken on invoices and payments are recorded in detail, ensuring compliance with internal controls and external audit requirements, and providing a transparent record of all financial transactions.
How does NetSuite AP Automation Work?
- Invoice Capture: Invoices are electronically captured into NetSuite through scanning or email import functionalities. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and saving time.
- Invoice Review: Accounts Payable staff can compare the captured invoice with the corresponding record in NetSuite, ensuring accuracy and completeness. The side-by-side view simplifies the review process and allows any missing details to be filled in.
- Matching and Approval: NetSuite matches invoices with purchasing and receiving documents to validate accuracy. This three-way matching process helps ensure that invoices align with the goods or services received. After matching, invoices are routed to the appropriate personnel for approval based on predefined rules and workflows.
- Automated Payments: NetSuite AP Automation integrates with HSBC to provide automated payment services. This enables easy and secure payment processing through various methods, including ACH (Automated Clearing House), checks, or virtual credit cards. Payments can be initiated directly within NetSuite, streamlining the payment process and improving efficiency.
- Reconciliation: NetSuite automatically updates payment details in real time and matches them with existing transactions, such as invoices and bank records. This simplifies the reconciliation process by ensuring accurate and efficient matching between the organization’s financial records and the bank statements.
- Flagging Discrepancies: As part of the AP Automation process, NetSuite identifies any missing entries or potential discrepancies. These discrepancies are flagged for review, allowing AP staff to investigate and resolve issues promptly, ensuring accurate financial records.
- Bank Visibility: NetSuite provides visibility into HSBC bank and credit card account activities within the platform. Users can easily access account balances, manage account details, and track the status of vendor payments. This centralizes financial information and provides real-time insights into bank activities. Without using an HSBC account or a similar integrated payment gateway, you would need to handle the payment processing outside of NetSuite manually. This might involve exporting payment data from NetSuite and then processing payments through your bank’s payment systems or other payment platforms.
How is Nanonets AP Automation Different?
Nanonets AP Automation is a specialized software focused solely on accounts payable automation, while NetSuite is a comprehensive cloud-based ERP platform that includes AP automation as one of its modules.
With Nanonets, there are additional benefits:
- Nanonets is a specialized AP automation software focused on streamlining and automating the accounts payable process. It utilizes AI and OCR technologies to capture, process, and manage invoices, approvals, and payments efficiently.
- Nanonets integrates with various accounting and ERP systems, allowing it to work alongside existing software solutions.
- With Nanonets, you can set up custom AP approval policies with any combination of approvers, spend limits and department structures.
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