In the modern-day office of Finance, the focus is increasingly moving toward process automation – and Accounts Payable (AP) is no exception.
Whether your objective is to reduce the risk of fraud, automate document approvals, or simply reduce paper there are many ways that you can streamline your payables process using Sage X3.
Tasks from the initial set up of a supplier right the way through to invoice processing, payment and bank reconciliation can be made more efficient, free up your staff to be more productive in other areas, and reduce the overall time it takes for documents to be processed.
Below we will explore some of the following areas of Sage X3:
- Master data management
- Workflows and notifications
- Scheduling ‘batch’ tasks
- Automated solutions
- Hierarchal approvals
- Traceability and auditing
Master Data Management
When setting up Business Partner records, such as Suppliers, Carriers and Staff for payables purposes, you can make use of Categories in Sage X3 which provide default settings and timesavers for various elements of a payables account: numbering sequences, currencies, payment terms, approval process, and so on. You can also decide whether setting up or amending a record should generate some form of notification email, such as if the supplier needs secondary approval before it can be used, or if you need to track changes in payment terms, bank accounts, and so on.
Workflows and Notifications
Workflows are also a great way to streamline the approval process for purchase requisitions and orders. You can base these on any number of criteria, such as to highlight variances against a supplier price list, invoke approvals based on overall order values and even making use of budget controls. It is also possible to use them to notify the person who raised the order when their goods have been received.
Scheduling ‘Batch’ Tasks
Automated, scheduled despatch of approved purchase requisitions, and particularly orders, is another way to ensure that precious time isn't wasted through unnecessary admin.
Then, when the invoice comes in, AP automation solutions can allow for supplier emails to be processed and the invoice presented for review. Using either OCR technology or text recognition (depending on how the document was created and received), and with reference to its ever-growing global invoice library, X3CloudDocs can help you to code up your invoices quickly, accurately and efficiently, suggesting account codes to use or matching the invoice to the originating PO and receipt lines from Sage X3. After a while, you may find that invoices from certain suppliers only need a cursory glance (and maybe not even that!) before they move through to the approval or posting stage.
Approvals can be based on a number of criteria and involve different steps depending on your different lines of business and the requirements of different entities and departments around the business. Supporting documentation can be attached and comments recorded, so that your staff have all the information that they need in order to approve their invoices and send them on for processing into Sage X3. Invoices can then be viewed in a number of places, so whether you need to view the associated accounting entries, approval comments, or the original email and its attachments, your documents are securely stored electronically and available precisely where your users need to see them.
Traceability and Auditing
Journal traceability in Sage X3 also means that you can track your invoice back to its originating PO and forward to its payment details, so you can quickly and easily deal with supplier queries and audit requests.
Using Sage X3 you can also set up a schedule of daily, weekly and/or monthly payment runs based on the relevant supplier groupings (external, intercompany, or staff for instance), invoice due dates and whether you're paying them by BACS, SEPA, or any other payment method. Remittance advices can be automatically sent to suppliers and payment files routed securely to your banking or payment portal, from which you would also expect to be able to download payment responses and statements that you can then use to systematise your bank reconciliation process.
So, from the setup of your suppliers and configuration of approvals, right the way through to the automated delivery of orders and processing of invoices and payments, Sage X3 has the Accounts Payable process covered. You'll save your company time and money, ensure that documents aren't lost as they travel around the business, ensure a high level of control and visibility, and even maintain positive supplier relationships, as they see the benefits to their business of an efficient, automated process in yours.
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