7 Best Accounts Payable & AP Automation Software of 2023 (Ranked)
The accounts payable (AP) process is often cited as one of the most manual, paper-based, and error-prone processes in modern enterprise.
With paying vendors a process that needs to be repeated every cycle, it’s no wonder that many organizations are looking for ways to automate their accounts payable operations.
While many small business accounting software try to offer some basic AP automation features, having automation that can help organizations achieve true accounts payable transformation can be much more difficult to find.
With accounts payable being a module that falls under the ERP software umbrella, some of the most popular systems on the market offer built-in AP automation features.
However, many AP automation software solutions are still available for organizations that are not ready (or able) to commit to a full ERP implementation.
In this article, I will look at some of the best AP automation software on the market today, so you can decide which solution is right for your organization.
Let’s jump right in.
What Are The Best Accounts Payable & AP Automation Software?
The following are what I believe to be the best accounts payable and AP automation software solutions on the market today.
1. QuickBooks Online.
Best Overall Accounts Automation.
QuickBooks Online is one of the best AP automation solutions for accounts payable automation, offering a comprehensive and user-friendly solution for managing all aspects of the AP process.
The ability to track and manage vendor invoices, make payments, and track expenses all in one place makes QuickBooks Online an excellent option for businesses of all sizes.
You can also track receipts that have been attached to specific invoices, which can be helpful for auditing or dispute resolution purposes.
All your bank ACH transactions and credit card transactions will automatically sync to your QuickBooks Online account, making it easy to keep track of all your AP activity in one place.
You can also use the tagging feature to ensure that all your invoices are correctly categorized for easy reporting.
- Tracking income is as easy as keeping track of your bank deposits and credit card transactions.
- Payments by check or credit card are a snap, and you can automate recurring invoices to save time.
- Automate recurring invoices by setting them up once, and QuickBooks will automatically bill your customers on the schedule you set.
- You can also customize estimates to fit your brand, convert them into invoices, and manage and pay bills in one place.
You can quickly get to where you want to go with a left-hand side menu that encompasses all the features you need to manage your finances.
The interface is intuitive and easy to use, with a modern feel that makes it easy to manage your finances.
There are four pricing plans available when it comes to QuickBooks:
- Simple Start: $12.50/mo
- Essentials: $25/mo
- Plus: $40/mo
- Advanced: $90/mo
What I Like/Dislike About QuickBooks Online
- The ability to sync all financial accounts into one platform.
- The cloud-based aspect of the software makes it accessible from anywhere.
- An Intuit account is needed for clients to set up recurring payments, which can be an extra step for those who don’t already have this.
- QuickBooks Early Pay helps people use the software with their financial flow.
- Users can now become more productive and use ProConnect with Intuit Link to save time.
Best For Global Operations.
Tipalti can transform any business into a modern, efficient operation by automating the entire accounts payable process from start to finish.
Tipalti’s intelligent platform can help you eliminate manual AP processes, improve supplier relations, and increase visibility into your AP spending.
Tipalti can help you manage your growing AP operation when scaling your business.
You can send payments to up to 196 countries, which is excellent for those with global operations dealing with multiple currencies and that want to eliminate errors that occur with manual data entry.
This ensures that all your supplier information is accurate and up to date, saving you a lot of time and money.
- Get control and visibility over your company’s purchase orders while standardizing and streamlining purchase requests and approvals with Tipalti’s multi-entity architecture.
- The financial controls in place can help you manage your AP spending.
- The payment API allows you to make payments to suppliers in 196 countries.
- A secure cloud-based platform compliant with money services help you manage your accounts.
Sending a payment is easy with a step-by-step guide that takes you through the entire process.
The user interface is sleek and modern, making it easy to navigate.
You’ll have to schedule a demo to get pricing information.
What I Like/Dislike About Tipalti
- Great reporting features that give you visibility into your AP operation
- The platform is very user-friendly and easy to navigate
- Tax forms can be challenging to fill out if you’re unfamiliar with them.
- The ability to message via chats with approvers now helps with communication and collaboration across the board.
3. Sage Intacct.
Best For Customized Reporting.
Sage Intacct is a long-term solution that can be customized to fit the specific needs of any business.
This AP automation software provides businesses with a scalable platform that can grow with them as their needs change.
With multiple solutions that connect to create one seamless system, businesses can automate their accounting processes and save time.
Sage Intacct’s AP automation features include complete visibility of your supplier invoices, early payment discounts, and automated workflows.
You also get real-time, multi-dimensional reporting that can be customized to fit your business needs.
- Monitor performance in real-time to ensure that your business is on track.
- Plug-and-play native analytics give you instant insights into your data.
- Choose from over 200 prebuilt visuals to tailor your reports.
- Get instant visibility into your people’s data with the ‘People Dashboard.’
- Sync employee data to Sage Intacct in real-time to keep your records up to date.
- Simplify payroll in a few steps with the right integration.
Get a visual representation of various essential data sets to make informed decisions.
You can see your cash balance, revenue, and more in real-time, so you can always be on top of your finances.
You’ll have to request the pricing to get specific information.
What I Like/Dislike About Sage Intacct
- A simple interface makes it easy to use.
- The company releases various updates to the software quite frequently.
- Sometimes, a few extra clicks are needed to get to where you want to be in the software.
- GL Outlier Detection reviews any unusual or out-of-the-ordinary activity in your account to help you stay on top of everything.
Best For Professional Invoicing.
Freshbooks gives you various tools that can help you save time on accounting and invoicing.
You can create professional-looking invoices in seconds, and Freshbooks will also keep track of your payments.
Know exactly when a client has viewed your invoice and set up automatic late payments reminders to help you get paid on time.
This AP automation software can also help you save time on bookkeeping.
Integration with over 100 great apps means you can automate your accounting process and have all your data in one place.
If you want a solution that connects your clients to your team, Freshbooks is a great choice.
- Ensure compliance with accurate reporting that includes all the correct details.
- Make confident business decisions easily while having all the information you need in one place.
- Automated bank reconciliation saves you time and ensures accuracy.
- Create a summary report and export it to Excel for further analysis.
- Easily manage your bills with accounts payable.
- Track every type of transaction, ensuring that nothing is missed.
A detailed dashboard gives you access to significant numbers and categories of expenditures.
You can see where your money is going and how much is coming in, all in one place.
The following are the pricing plans on offer:
- Lite: $4.50
- Plus: $7.50
- Premium: $15.00
- Custom Pricing: Based on your specific needs
What I Like/Dislike About Freshbooks
- Streamlined operations and a focus on customer service
- Super easy to create invoices that look professional.
- Using retainers is sometimes challenging when it comes to the number of hours and goods received.
- The option to export all receipts using just a few mouse clicks makes it even easier to stay on top of expenses.
- You can now filter by archived and deleted clients on iOS to better manage your client list.
Best For Team Productivity.
Bill.com increases team productivity by ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
This AP automation software gives you a complete overview of your bills to see what needs to be paid and when.
You can also set up automatic payments, so you never have to worry about late fees again.
Bill.com also allows you to connect with your suppliers and collaborate on projects.
Share financial data with your ERPs and accounting systems, so everyone is constantly updated.
With Bill.com, you can ensure that your team is productive and your accounting processes are streamlined.
This is made possible with automatic 2-way sync that updates your data in real-time.
- Implementation services that help you get started quickly ensure that you are using Bill.com to its full potential from the start.
- The easy data import and export features make it simple to get your data into Bill.com and keep it up to date.
- You can integrate with any accounting system or ERP, so you always have access to the latest information.
- Faster reconciliation saves you time and ensures accuracy.
- Reduce manual errors with automatic updates that keep your data accurate.
As things scale, staying on top of which bills are due to pay can be challenging, but with Bill.com, you can see all your accounts in one place.
You can also see approvals and payments that have come in and gone out to keep track of your cash flow.
There are various plans to consider.
Most companies will probably use the ‘Pay bills and get paid” option.
If so, there are two plans:
- Corporate: $79 / user / month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing is available
There are also single plan options that cover paying bills and getting paid independently.
What I Like/Dislike About Bill.com
- Importing an invoice will pre-fill all the required fields, so you won’t have to do additional work.
- The web app is comprehensive and reliable, so you can trust that your data is accurate.
- The default ACH option for sending money does not always work as expected.
- Sync improvements ensure that your data is always accurate.
- 1-click bill creation makes the process of creating and sending invoices much faster.
6. Zoho Books.
Best For Assigning Roles.
Zoho Books helps the various departments in your organization work together by providing the right roles to the right people.
This means that everyone has the information they need when they need it.
Zoho Books also offers a range of features that can help you save time on accounting and invoicing.
You can create professional-looking invoices in a matter of seconds, and Zoho Books will also keep track of your payments for you.
Along with Zoho Payroll, Zoho Books is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an intelligent way to manage your finances.
- Create invoices in seconds so you can get paid on time.
- Ensure payments happen by sending payment reminders that help you keep on top of your receivables.
- Create and send purchase orders to suppliers to streamline your procurement process.
- Upload expense receipts so you can track your spending and stay within budget.
- Know when stock is low and set reorder levels such stock gets low, so you never run out of the products your customers need.
- Organize your inventory with vital information to make informed decisions about your stock.
There are three pricing plans on offer:
- Free: $15 /month billed annually
- Professional: $40 /month billed annually
- Premium: $60 /month billed annually
Best For Reducing Costs.
Beanworks is an excellent solution for reducing the costs associated with accounts payable.
Traditionally, processing invoices was a time-consuming and expensive process.
Beanworks uses OCR technology to automate the data entry process, so you can get your invoices processed quickly and efficiently.
This means you can spend less time on accounting and more on running your business.
Get the correct details of any payment, invoice, or credit easily by using this cloud-based software that integrates with any workflows you already have.
If you want to eliminate the paper invoices and cheques, AP automation is the way to do it, and Beanworks can help you get there.
- Centralize your AP for multiple locations that need to be approved to keep track of all your spending in one place.
- Match your purchase orders to invoices, so you can be sure that you’re paying the right amount for the products and services you’ve received.
- Automate approval routing for POs, invoices, and credit notes so that you can speed up the payment process.
- Quickly find any AP document and see all AP workflow approvals at a glance, allowing you to track the progress of your payments.
- Quickly approve and release vendor payments with the click of a button so that you can get your invoices paid on time.
There are various plans to consider when it comes to Beansworks:
- Beansprout: Start for Free
- Purchase orders
- Invoices Payments
You’ll have to request the pricing for the options that are not free.
Other accounts payable software not mentioned in this article include Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamic, Xero, Avidxchange, and more.
What are Accounts Payable & AP Automation Software?
Accounts payable software is a type of business software that helps organizations automate and keep track of their accounts payable processes.
This includes creating and managing invoices, payments, and vendor relationships.
In addition, AP automation software helps ensure cash flow by streamlining the accounts payable process— all the way from invoice to payments.
This software is often used with other accounting software, such as accounts receivable (AR) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
The right accounts payable systems in a company will enable it to improve its bottom line by automating manual tasks, reducing errors and late payments, and improving vendor relations.
Having multiple payment methods in the entire accounts payable process is time-consuming and creates more opportunities for human error – AP automation software will help reduce the chances of mistakes being made.
With an increase in the global mass vendor payments, many organizations are turning to AP automation software to manage and make their payments on time.
Benefits of using accounts payable software
Financial services are one of the most important aspects of any business.
The Accounts Payable (AP) department handles all the money a company owes its vendors and suppliers for products and services.
An efficient AP process is essential to maintaining a good vendor relationship and avoiding late payment penalties.
With human error being one of the leading causes of late payments, it is essential to have a system that can automate and keep track of all your AP processes.
There are also many benefits to using accounts payable software, including:
- Reduced chances of errors: An accounting solution that integrates with a CRM can help reduce the chances of errors in data entry and improve the accuracy of your financial records.
- Improved cash flow: WIth invoice management, the ability to better understand your spending, and automated payment reminders, you can improve your company’s cash flow.
- Enhanced vendor relations: an automation process that helps cash management will improve your vendor relations by ensuring timely payments.
- Increased efficiency and productivity: Since there is an audit trail, it also makes the approval process more efficient and can help improve the productivity of your AP department.
- Scalability: With the right system, you can easily scale up or down as your business needs change.
Features of accountable payable & AP automation software
The functionality of each AP software solution will vary depending on the vendor.
However, some core features are essential for any good accounts payable system.
These are some of those features.
The best accounts payable software solutions will have features that help you manage invoices.
This includes the ability to create and send invoices, track payments, and keep track of vendor information.
Apart from processing, automation can automatically match invoices to purchase orders and payment terms.
This can help reduce the chances of errors and late payments and improve overall efficiency.
Automated Approval Workflows
Automating accounts payable to create an approval workflow is one of the essential features to look for in this type of software.
This can help speed up the approval process and ensure that invoices are paid on time.
Invoice approval happens when an invoice arrives in the system and is then routed to the appropriate approver for review.
After the approver signs off on the invoice, it is sent to accounts payable for bill payment.
The ability to automate payments is another key feature to look for in an accounts payable solution.
This includes the ability to set up automatic payments, as well as the ability to track and manage all payments.
Many accounts payable automation software are now cloud-based.
This means that they can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.
This can be a great benefit for businesses with remote employees or needing to access their financial information while on the go.
On the other hand, some businesses might still want to use on-premise solutions – while these can be more expensive, they can offer more features and security.
Whether it’s cloud-based or on-premise all depends on the specific business needs.
With many business processes that are now automated, machine learning is becoming an increasingly important feature in accounting software.
Machine learning can help with things like fraud detection, as well as improving the accuracy of financial reports.
Accounts payable tools that use machine learning can help you save time and money and improve the overall accuracy of your financial information.
Ensure Company Cash Flow Is Maintained
With KPIs that focus on DSO, companies can see how long it takes for customers to pay invoices.
DSO measures the number of days it takes for a customer to pay an invoice.
The lower the DSO, the better as customers are paying invoices more quickly.
This is important because it can help maintain a company’s cash flow.
Reduce Accounting And Finance Department Workloads
Having enterprise resource planning (ERP system) be part of the accounting process can automate many tasks, helping reduce the overall workload of the accounting and finance teams.
This includes creating invoices, managing vendor information, and tracking payments.
Procurement of goods and services is another area where ERP can be helpful.
The AP process can be integrated with the procurement process, which can help reduce the overall workload of the accounting and finance departments.
Eliminate Manual And Duplicate Data Entry
With small businesses, document management is a crucial challenge.
You need to track and manage all of the documents that come into your office – from invoices to purchase orders.
An accounts payable solution can help you by providing a central repository for all your documents.
A general ledger that is automatically updated can also help reduce errors and improve accuracy.
While manual processes might seem faster and easier, they can be quite time-consuming – and error-prone.
As a solution, invoices received electronically can be automatically entered into the system, which can help eliminate errors.
Customized To Match Company-Specific Needs
Bookkeeping and accounting practices will vary from business to business – as such, it’s essential to find an accounts payable solution that can be customized to your company’s specific needs.
This might include things like integration with other software solutions, as well as custom reports and workflows.
Payment and invoice data should be included in your accounting software solution.
This will help improve accuracy and efficiency and provide you with a complete picture of your company’s finances.
With various modules that can be added on, you can find a software solution that can be adjusted to meet your company’s needs.
The accounts receivable and accounts payable process is essential to the smooth running of any business.
However, if done incorrectly, it can be time-consuming and error-prone.
This is where accounts payable and AP automation software comes in.
Handling vendor invoices, managing customer payments, and tracking expenses are essential aspects of the AP process.
From the CFO down to the AP clerks, all team members will reap the benefits of AP automation.
The right software solution will be customizable to match your company’s specific needs and can help to improve accuracy and efficiency.
It can also help to save time and reduce the overall workload of the accounting and finance departments.
Do you use an accounts payable automation solution in your business?
If so, which one do you use and why?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Did you know that order management systems can help a business automate accounts payable?
Combined, these two systems can provide a complete view of your company’s finances and improve accuracy and efficiency.
In addition, you can also use a CRM alongside an ERP system to help streamline your business processes.
Here’s an article that compares an ERP vs. CRM system and discusses the benefits of each.