The NetSuite Accountant

Four ways a procurement system can automate the AP process

Paul Giese Jul 22, 2019 5:15:00 AM
Paul Giese

Accounts payable is the foundation of a biotech’s financial statements. This role is often filled by entry-level staff with high turnover. This can cause problems for financial reporting. Thankfully, an advanced procurement system, if configured properly, can automate parts of the accounts payable function, ensuring that disruptions have a smaller impact on financial reporting. Here are four configurations that can automate accounts payable:

  1. Enable electronic invoicing for high-volume supplier: enabling cXML invoicing for suppliers will bring invoices directly into the procurement system, removing the need for accounts payable to manually enter invoice information. Most high-volume lab supply suppliers offer this arrangement. Relevant suppliers for biotech include Fisher Scientific, Life Technologies, VWR, and Sigma-Aldrich.
  2. Configure auto-approval rules for 3-way match invoices: configure the procurement system to automatically approve these invoices subject to a three-way match once receipt has been entered. When this configuration is combined with point # 1 above, accounts payable should not need to touch any lab supply invoices that do not have any issues.
  3. Utilize a supplier portal for mid-to-low-volume suppliers: procurement systems, such as Jaggaer and Coupa, provide a free supplier portal for sending invoices directly to the procurement system. This is ideal for suppliers who do not use cXML because invoices can be processed faster and suppliers are given insight into invoice payment status. Organizations benefit because accounts payable will not need to manually enter invoice information.
  4. Empower users to approve 2-way match invoices electronically: invoice approvals completed electronically saves time, reduces lost invoices, and provides an audit trail for approvals. This prevents accounts payable from printing invoices, getting a wet-signature approval, and trying to chase down an approval. End users benefit because they get email approval notifications and can approve invoices anytime.

These four procurement configurations can help accounts payable save time and reduce mistakes. Organizations avoid unnecessary hires for an undesirable position that can be hard to fill and can cause nightmares for the whole team if done incorrectly. If you or your team is looking for assistance with optimizing your procurement solution, please contact We have led successful software implementations for biotech organizations and are happy to assist your organization.

Topics: Financial Reporting, Systems, Technology, Procurement, Coupa, Jaggaer