NetSuite’s AP automation is a powerful and important step in its SuitBanking vision
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend NetSuite’s SuiteWorld event, where it announced new products for its suite, primarily focused on enterprise resource planning (ERP).
This year was my first year at SuiteWorld, and I’m impressed with NetSuite’s growth and market share potential. NetSuite is on the right track to grow its business and I believe it has a bright future ahead of it. Larry Ellison even said that NetSuite’s goal was to reach 100,000 customers in five years, three times more than its current customer base.
One avenue I see NetSuite achieving this goal is through its Suitbanking solution. Last year, NetSuite announced its Suitebanking solution which integrates fintech into its cloud ERP. This year, NetSuite enhanced its capabilities with Accounts Payable (AP) automation, the first step in the Suitebanking vision. Let’s take a look at what NetSuite has announced with its SuitBanking AP Automation.
The Accounts Payable Challenge
Ultimately, money is the resource that keeps business operations running smoothly. Sometimes governments forget this, but companies don’t. Without cash flowing elegantly through business systems, budgets aren’t easily balanced, projects aren’t approved as quickly, and future endeavors are just that.
While modern computer technologies and the internet have accelerated the process of moving finances in and out of the business, cash flow still poses many challenges and is still paper-based or PDF-based. . For example, the invoice approval process requires more than two parties. AP processes may have different preferred payment options or mediums to send a receipt with faster or slower processing times.
As business operations scale, APs can support greater loads, making the AP process even more difficult and time-consuming. This difficulty could become a scalable bottleneck affecting supplier relationships, cost control, and ultimately it could slow business growth.
Access point automation
NetSuite’s AP Automation is a solution that automates the AP process by processing invoices and paying vendors with their preferred payment method. Using the HSBC banking service, NetSuite AP Automation is able to capture invoices and scan them using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to detect relevant information in the invoice. AI uses previously saved invoice records to populate invoice information for AP teams to review and approve.
NetSuite’s AP Automation can match invoices to purchase orders and confirm specific fields in the invoice, such as price, quantity, and totals. NetSuite says that with the help of Suite Approvals, invoices are routed to the appropriate personnel for review and approval with automated reminders.
Once the invoice is captured, matched and approved, the invoice is processed with the help of HSBC banking services. HSBC banking services offer ACH, check or virtual credit card payment options depending on the supplier’s preferred method of payment. With the virtual credit card, single-use card numbers are automatically generated for an extra layer of security. AP Automation also has an intelligent rules engine that can match and reconcile virtual credit card charges and report discrepancies in payment.
The AP process is one of the most difficult operations within a company. One statistic that continually rings in my ear when I look at NetSuite’s AP automation solution is that NetSuite has processed over a billion invoices for its customers in the past year. With AP Automation, NetSuite customers can further automate the AP process, speeding up payments, improving supplier relationships and increasing the number of invoices processed.
The automation process should improve as AI and ML process more data and the process becomes more precise. It also frees up accounting teams to focus on other workloads and more priority-driven processes. AP Automation also affects how quickly payments are resolved, reducing overcharges or unpaid debts, making it easier to balance budgets and move finances where they need to go.
HSBC is also one of the largest banks in the world, and as NetSuite seeks to triple its customer base, I believe partnering with one of the largest banks in the world is convenient for new and existing NetSuite customers. HSBC has security and privacy with its virtual credit card solution and is also said to be compliant with overseas providers.
NetSuite’s vision with SuiteBanking is to integrate financial technology into enterprise systems that would struggle to scale without it. AP processes are cumbersome and time-consuming, making them poorly scalable, and if done poorly, could jeopardize supplier relationships. By automating the AP process, businesses are able to quickly process bills and invoices using AI and ML.
NetSuite took a tedious process and automated it into its ERP solution, and I think AP Automation could have a huge impact on a company’s desire to scale. Payments are made faster and accounting teams can focus on priority workloads. AP Automation is an important first step in NetSuite’s SuiteBanking vision, and as a NetSuite partner with other banks like HSBC, I’m excited to see the technologies driving ERP.
What I like the most is that the solution is suitable for SMEs, neither too complex nor too basic, a bit like the three bears.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.
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