Accounts Payable Automation in SAP®
EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions is the efficient solution for digital invoice processing directly in SAP®. Paper invoices or invoices received electronically are processed in a uniform, transparent process. The scanning of paper documents and the automatic recognition of invoice contents represent the beginning of the overall process. The same is true for the processing of electronic incoming invoices in various standardized formats. After the transmission of the incoming invoice to SAP®, it is automatically processed as far as possible. The invoice documents are archived revision-proof across all processing steps and are available with a click at any time.
Advantages of incoming invoice processing in SAP®
The SAP®-based invoice ledger supports accounting clerks in their daily actions, and comprehensive key process data serve the long-term process optimisation. A web-based approval mask is available to auditors and budget managers, who can also use it via smartphone or tablet, if necessary.
- Speed and efficiency: Today, fast month-end and year-end closings, especially close to the period, are practically standard requirements for financial accounting. Maintaining compliance guidelines and concrete figures for cash flow planning are also not ensured in a paper-based process. Employees often verify order-related invoices manually, in spite of previously successful order requests and order processes, even when correct receiving transactions are present. Invoices which are in the processing workflow are often subject to long transport and wait times. Last but not least, verification and approval processes demand time and effort, especially for paper-based processes. This is a thing of the past with the incoming invoice in SAP®.
- Profitability and shared service: The consequences are missed payment deadlines and the loss of discount options. Over and over again, invoices are lost and cannot be found due to inadequate process transparency and consequence. Also, no better: companies initiate the process for an invoice multiple times and may even pay twice. And if the financial accounting department works as a shared service center for several companies, an electronic solution such as incoming invoice in SAP® is almost indispensable.
- Mobile invoice approvals accelerate approval processes: Protracted approval processes are a consistent problem. The integrated processor location in the incoming invoice processing in SAP® takes issued approvals into account, thus reducing the workload for the approvers. Mobile work is supported. Approvals can be made conveniently on the desktop, smartphone, or tablet – with user-friendly interfaces in SAP® Fiori®/HTML5. That’s how user-friendly the incoming invoice processing in SAP® is.
- Format variety: The incoming invoice process begins with the standard processing of incoming invoices from a variety of channels: analog paper invoices are scanned and digital incoming invoices are automatically transmitted to the next processing step: for example, PDF invoices which arrive by email or are already in the ZUGFeRD or EDI format. ZUGFeRD-2.0 and XRechnung are, of course, available.
- Revision-proof archiving: All invoice documents are archived revision-proof across all processing steps and are always available with a click – legally secure but still easy for the user.
- Escalation management: Of course, the incoming invoice process in SAP® handles automated reminders of discount periods, payments due, etc. That way, you will never miss another discount period and can avoid default costs.
- Analysis & reporting: Extensive statistics provide relevant KPIs, such as cycle times, automatic processing rates, or discount potential. With that, the entire incoming invoice process is illuminated and offers the basis for long-term optimisation – a functionality for reporting and controlling which is not to be underestimated.
Discover the potentials of the SAP® incoming invoice solution
EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions is a coordinated total package for the processing of analog and digital incoming invoices in SAP® and can be quickly and easily implemented thanks to its high degree of standardisation. Companies which already have a scan solution or an external service provider also benefit from the short introduction times, since EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions can also be connected to other scan, extraction, and archive solutions – but see for yourself what other advantage the incoming invoice processing in SAP® has.
Automation & high recognition rates
Whether incoming invoices are analog on paper or digital, the automatic extraction of the header and item data takes place after they arrive. That is followed by validation by an accounting clerk. In this step, the focus is on the correction or indirect confirmation of the recognized invoice contents. The system learns both actions in the background and automatically uses the learned knowledge in the next invoices. That permanently increases the automatic recognition over the course of the period of use and reduces the manual effort of validation.
Shorten cycle times
Thanks to automated workflows, you will experience drastic reductions in the cycle times of incoming invoices in SAP®. If time is money, then you can expect savings of up to 50 percent here.
Integration in the purchasing process
EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions is a component of the extensive EASY for SAP Solutions which also reproduces and integrates adjacent processes in SAP®. Thus, all of a company’s contracts can be managed with EASY Contract Management for SAP Solutions and elegantly integrated into the incoming invoice process. Furthermore, complete purchasing processes can be better reproduced with EASY Procurement Management for SAP Solutions than in the standard SAP® and also linked to the EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions. In short, in this way complete processes from order request to billing and the entire document flow in SAP® can be provided in a central view in a user-friendly way.
The solution enters all incoming invoices in a central, SAP®-based invoice ledger. From there, the processing status of all invoices can be tracked on the one hand and on the other certain documents can be searched (for example, at the request of suppliers). EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions provides an active escalation management (reminders of discount periods).
Flexible & expandable
Modular: Use the EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions with your own archive or as Software as a Service (SaaS) from EASY in the German Cloud; it can be expanded with adjacent processes based on the EASY for SAP Solutions Suite.
The 7 steps of the incoming invoice processing in SAP®
1. Invoice receipt – record
From paper-based incoming invoices to invoices attached to email as PDF up to electronic invoices in standardized formats: ZUGFeRD-1.0, ZUGFeRD-2.0, XRechnung and EDI, etc. The EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions system excels at processing incoming invoices.
EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions automatically determines all the necessary invoice contents: invoice header with creditor, total amount, invoice date, and all individual invoice items – this occurs in compliance with the GoBD.
3. Validate in SAP® or in EASY
In the next step, the read data are checked for validity, for example verifying the validity of an order number. Alternatively, validation can be performed directly in the scan client – EASY delivers an appropriate component with EASY Capture Plus for this. This validation can also take place directly within the SAP® GUI.
4. Store & archive
The original documents – scanned paper documents or email attachments are then stored revision-proof in an archive connected via SAP® ArchiveLink. Both early archiving with workflow and late archiving are supported. All history data about the document, such as document changes, workflow approvals, etc. are also stored – incoming invoice processing in SAP® has it all.
The invoice data are then recorded in SAP® and are available in the invoice ledger.
6. Verify & approve
This is followed by the start of one SAP® workflow per invoice. Every SAP® incoming invoice goes through an extensive verification and rule set which has been tried and tested in many customer projects and, of course, can be adapted to individual customer needs. The rule set checks invoices, for example, for purchase order reference, amount and price deviations, booked or missing goods received, payments already made, or just the supplier name. After processing of all the rules and the exception handling, the system forwards the invoices to the relevant approver for approval by SAP® workflow according to the sign-off guidelines of your company. Approvals can be made conveniently on the desktop, smartphone, or tablet – with user-friendly interfaces in SAP® Fiori®/HTML5. The invoice documents are only a mouse-click away in every processing and approval step – the system even visualizes EDI invoices in a user-friendly way.
Most invoices go through the above steps automatically, without further intervention being necessary. All others are posted following the conclusion of invoice verification and approval.
Questions about the accounts payable process in SAP®
Functional interaction with the standard SAP®
Is the solution integrated into SAP®?
The solution was designed and developed as an SAP® add-on. The interfaces provided by SAP® (BAPI = Business Application Processing Interface) are used for the processing of documents, as well as many other things.
How and where are the original documents stored?
The original documents (scanned paper documents or email attachments) are stored revision-proof in the archive connected via SAP® ArchiveLink. All the document’s historic data (document changes, workflow approval) are also stored.
What archiving does EASY support (early, late, bar code)?
Both early archiving with workflow and late archiving are supported.
Does EASY offer SAP® Fiori®/SAP® UI5 apps?
SAP® Fiori®/HTML5 apps are included as standard. These offer a variety of tiles which can be integrated into the SAP® Fiori® Launchpad (All my approval tasks, Only my order-related approval tasks, Only my non-order-related approval tasks) – the number of open work items can be seen directly in the tile. The Fiori® apps are included in the StarterKit in accordance with the license agreement; the services for setup are billed according to time and effort.
Does EASY support mobile scenarios?
Mobile scenarios are supported by using SAP® Fiori®/SAP® UI5. For example, managers can access documents via their mobile device and process approval workflows and approve invoices.
Does EASY support mobile scenarios?
Mobile scenarios are supported through the use of SAP® Fiori®/SAP® UI5. For example, managers are able to access documents via their mobile device and process approval workflows and approve invoices.
What are the required prerequisites for using the SAP® Fiori® apps?
SAP NetWeaver Gateway configuration is required. EASY will be happy to help you with the configuration.
Workflows and processes
What types of documents can be processed?
All bookkeeping documents such as invoices, credit memos and payments can be processed.
What input channels are supported?
Paper documents, electronic documents, for example email attachments in PDF format, read out of an email inbox, EDI invoices/processing of IDocs.
Where does the validation of the scanned documents occur?
The correction of the results of the automatic invoice reading is called validation. This validation can be performed directly in the scan client – EASY delivers an appropriate component with EASY Capture Plus for this. Alternatively, this can also take place directly within the SAP® GUI.
Which processes does EASY support in the standard product?
- Creation of an electronic incoming document and assignment of the document to an accounting clerk
- Automatic posting scenarios
- Invoice cancellation with subsequent process restart (posting, approval, etc.)
- Creation of rejection letter with automatic sending via SAP® connect
- Support of vendor master maintenance from the process
- Automatic workflow start/sending of approval workflows
- Multi-stage approval workflows for FI and MM documents
- Handling of logistic reasons for blocking and payment blocks
Which SAP® transactions are supported/how is the document posted?
- The SAP® BAPI (Business Application Programming Interface) technology is used in the background for posting the documents.
- A jump to the following transactions is possible from the document:
- MIRO (MM postings)
- FB60 (FI posting)
- FB01 (FI posting)
- F-47 (down payment request)
Does EASY use the SAP® Business workflow for the process?
Yes, EASY Process2Design for SAP Solutions is based on SAP® Business workflow technology.
How are the workflows defined and set up?
The workflows are graphically defined and set up with the Process Designer – the Process Designer is a component of EASY Process2Design for SAP Solutions.
Is there a 4-eyes principle?
Yes, for multi-stage approval workflows different end users must process the respective workflow steps. These are determined according to their approval authorisations (amount/cost centre responsibility) and “contacted” via a work item.
Is there an automatic determination of the approvers in the approval workflow and how?
Different determinations for the recipient identification can be defined in the standard. For example, from the purchasing documents (order creator, requester, purchasing group, company code) or from the SAP® Org. Management (when used). For FI documents, allocation can be based on account assignment elements or supplier names.
Is there a reminder or escalation option for the workflow function?
Yes, both workflow reminder and escalation options are available. The reminder is sent to the current workflow processor; an alternate end user can be defined for the escalation.
User groups and authorisation options in the solution
Do the users require an additional SAP® user?
All persons involved in the process require a corresponding SAP® user account and thus an SAP® user license.
Does EASY require its own authorisation concept?
No, since the solution is fully integrated into the standard SAP®, EASY for SAP Solutions uses the SAP® authorisation concept. The authorisation objects which are required for the processing of electronic bookkeeping documents can be integrated in their own or already existing user roles.
Who can process the documents?
Depending on the processing scenario, documents are initially assigned to an accounting clerk in bookkeeping or a workflow processor. The documents are then processed according to the assigned role.
How can users search for invoices?
Document search is provided via its own transaction. A list is created according to the search criteria used (ledger) from which it is also possible to jump to the processing with the appropriate authorisation. Search criteria can be added.
Reporting and Logging
Which reports are standard in EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions?
Reports on the invoice statistics and from the ledger are included in the delivery. These are:
- Age structure of the workflows
- Input statistics (mail/scan/EDI)
- Discount loss
- Document reception per supplier
- Evaluation of wait/processing times per process path (Number of days per approval/posting step)
Additional reports can be implemented using the optional “statistics cockpit”.
Can results be depicted graphically?
Yes, a statistics cockpit is optionally available and can display evaluations graphically.
How are document changes logged?
- Changed field contents are stored for every document via SAP® change documents and can be clearly displayed as needed.
- Workflow logging occurs for every action performed.
- The workflow logs are archived at the end of the workflow.
What version of SAP® does the customer need?
The prerequisite for installation is SAP® ECC6.0 with EHP6.
Is additional hardware required?
If incoming documents are not currently processed electronically, the EASY software solution component Capture Plus can be additionally installed. Additional hardware is required for that.
Scanner: all ISIS/TWAIN-based scanners are supported.
To be able to work effectively in Bookkeeping, monitors with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 are recommended.
How and where are the documents stored?
The documents are stored in the linked archive system via the SAP® ArchiveLink interface. It is recommended that you set up a distinct content repository in the archive.
Can customers use an existing archive?
Yes, every archive which is or can be linked via the SAP® ArchiveLink interface can be used.
Provision and implementation of the solution
How does the EASY solution get into the customer’s SAP® system?
EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions is provided in the form of SAP® transports and is to be imported through the customer’s SAP® basic division. Adjustments (that is, customising) are then performed by EASY consultants.
Does EASY support SAP® Transport?
Yes, both product transports as well as the customising and, if necessary, project-specific additional implementations are managed via SAP® Transport.
What is the advantage over a non-SAP® solution?
Because EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions is fully integrated into SAP®, no interfaces to additional systems are necessary. The vendor master data in SAP® can be accessed directly. Functions, technologies, and messages available in SAP are sometimes used. Administrators do not need to be trained in new software, because EASY for SAP Solutions is completely integrated in SAP®.
Is the solution from EASY revision-proof?
Yes, since all activities are logged by the SAP® system and/or the archive. To support revision safety, it is necessary to check if process instructions were created for processes outside of the SAP® system (for example, preparation of the scan process) – however this is independent of the solution used.
What languages does EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions support?
The standard product supports English and German. Additional languages can be provided individually in the customer project.
Can customers further develop the solution with their own resources, or must the services be purchased from EASY?
Customers are welcome to further develop EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions through adjustments to the customising or customer-specific additional developments – it is not necessary to purchase these services from EASY. EASY also offers special administrator training to facilitate the development of the corresponding expertise in house with the customer.
Is EASY for SAP Solutions certified by SAP®?
Yes. EASY Accounts Payable for SAP Solutions is based on EASY Process2Design for SAP Solutions and provides a preconfigured customising for the incoming invoice special process, which means that the solution is certified.
What does the solution documentation look like?
As part of the product standard for the installation, there is an Installation Guide and Release Notes; there is a Customising Guide for setting up the product.
In addition, EASY generally provides project-specific technical documentation which precisely describes the customising on the customer’s system. If requested, EASY will also compile custom training documents which can be used for training the key users and end users and which can be developed into an individual manual by the training participants.
Discover useful white papers, webinar recordings, guides and checklists on procurement.
Learn in our whitepaper how to avoid stumbling blocks and optimize the incoming invoice process in a short time with digital incoming invoice processing in SAP® .