2020 was a chaotic and challenging year for us all. But the PurchaseControl team didn’t let it stop us from making some fantastic improvements that will help your company streamline and optimize Procure-to-Pay with greater efficiency, accuracy, and convenience than ever before.
Now that 2020’s safely in the rearview mirror, we’d like to share some insight from key team members on the features and improvements they consider to be the best from the past year. Take a look at what’s new, and get ready for a more powerful, productive, and profitable 2021.
A Trio of Trusted Team Members
In exploring PurchaseControl’s best new features, we asked Our Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Marija Topovic (MT), along with Product Manager Vilmos Kocis (VK) and Head of Content Keith Murphy (KM), to share their unique insights. Each had their personal favorites, but in the end their lists had a fair amount of overlap and included:
- AP Max (AP automation module with OCR and AI invoice processing) (MT, VK, KM)
- Supplier acceptance of POs and confirmed delivery dates (MT, VK)
- Requesting module (MT, VK, KM)
- API (MT)
- Amazon catalog and Punchout catalog integration (MT, VK, KM)
- New and improved graph reports (VK, KM)
- Integration improvements and automated export of authorized invoices (including Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, and NetSuite) (KM)
A Closer Look at PurchaseControl’s New Features
To get a clear picture of why our team members chose these new features as the best of the bunch for 2020, we’ll take a closer look at the specifics behind each, along with some thoughts on each feature from our trio.
1. AP Max
This new module connects directly into PurchaseControl’s existing AP workflow. The two-or-three-way matching process works as before, but the new module leverages OCR and AI to take invoice processing to lightning fast speeds in just five simple steps.
- Suppliers invoices arrive at a dedicated email address, where they’re automatically scanned and reviewed for import into PurchaseControl.
- Using OCR, machine learning, and AI, supplier emails—along with any attachments—are scanned and automatically matched against any relevant purchase orders (POs) in your PurchaseControl account. Ensuring suppliers include the PO number in their invoice or email will ensure swift and accurate matching.
- All invoices are stored in a new “Invoice Documents” area of the Accounts Payable section of your PurchaseControl account, where they’ll be ready for matching, authorization, and processing for payment in your accounting software or ERP.
- Select outstanding items from the PO to match against the invoice. Get all the information you need to match the invoice and invoice form side by side.
- Authorize invoices and send them for payment in your accounting software or ERP—without the need for double entry. Eliminate waste and incorrect payments while paying your suppliers faster to capture early-payment discounts.
Keith says: “Manual invoice processing is a slow, time-consuming waste of human effort. This new module, first made available in the summer of 2020, uses modern technology to help reduce AP processing costs by up to 80%. This ties in directly with all the existing AP controls already available in the software. With the procurement data available in PurchaseControl this results in a much better version of AP Automation than is available in standalone systems that focus only on invoice processing.”
“AP Max uses OCR, AI, and RPA to help reduce Accounts Payable processing costs by up to 80%.”
2. Supplier Acceptance of POs and Confirmed Delivery Dates
Improving communication and visibility are two surefire ways to improve efficiency and performance. Turning on this setting creates an optional step in the purchase order process requiring the supplier to accept the terms of the PO and confirm the requested delivery date. With this feature, suppliers can communicate directly with you about each PO and share a confirmed delivery timeline.
Marija says: “Receiving confirmed acceptance of a PO from the supplier is an important part of the process if you want to consider the document legally binding. Using this feature, you will easily know if a supplier has seen and/or accepted the PO. Plan your work by delivery date, confirmed by each supplier, all fully tracked in the PO’s audit trail.”
3. Requesting Module
This new module allows users to make a new type of request which is not directly converted into a Purchase Order. It allows you to keep all purchase requests in one place—even those originally created outside the system.
The requesting module has fully customizable workflows and separate granular permissions, so you can give selected users access without paying for a full PurchaseControl license.
Using the request module makes it easy to:
- Secure approval for purchases without an established supplier.
- Create consolidated bills of materials covering multiple vendors.
- Allow staff to request a purchase without having access to pricing and other sensitive information.
Vilmos says: “Now your entire team can be given access to requesting capabilities without needing to know relevant suppliers or other information. No need to get requests for purchasing via email, phone or any other application; everything can be in one place, with approval and granular permissions, fully integrated in PurchaseControl.”
Consolidating your software environment with a custom integration is now easier than ever before thanks to PurchaseControl’s API. PurchaseControl already integrates with many of the leading ERP and accounting software, but your existing software isn’t among them, API integration makes it easy to link PurchaseControl with your other tools.
Marija says: “We have focused strongly on our options for integrating with other software and a key step for that was the release of our API in February 2020. Using the API, your company could automate processes which they need and avoid manual data export/import with whatever other systems you are using.”
5. Amazon Catalog and Punch Out Catalog Integration
Connect with the world’s largest retailer for greater flexibility, visibility, and convenience. Integrate PurchaseControl with your Amazon Business account to order through Amazon while retaining compliance control for your procurement processes in PurchaseControl.
Users can create orders inside PurchaseControl and access Amazon’s punch out catalog through the software. From there, they can order using the Amazon shopping cart, but instead of placing the order immediately, Amazon sends the data back and PurchaseControl creates a New Order form ready to go through the relevant approval process. Once approved, Amazon orders are automatically placed as a confirmed purchase order.
While Amazon has the most commonly used punch out catalog, PurchaseControl can integrate with any punch out catalog, including Dell, Roche, and many others from suppliers large and small.
Vilmos says: “Create purchase requests directly from Amazon, with no need to copy and paste item names, price or quantity. The catalog is always up to date and orders will process through your approval matrix in PurchaseControl before being finalized.”
“Create purchase requests directly in your Amazon cart and your order will process through the approval matrix in PurchaseControl before being finalized.”
6. New and Improved Graph Reports
The graphical reports available in the Advanced Reporting section of PurchaseControl have received some updates to make them even easier to create and use to harvest actionable insights from your data.
Some reports, like Top 5 Pending Department Expenditures and the Expenditure and Invoiced Bar Chart, are brand new. Others, such as the Check Budgets Graph and Expenditure Line Graph, have received powerful updates to expand their capabilities and granularity.
Keith says: “PurchaseControl has very powerful, customizable reporting options. In 2020 we saw the introduction of some great standard reports that give better visual representation of the information to help power more analytical and strategic decision making. The improved Check Budgets graphs for approvers makes it much easier to make approval decisions. The Expenditure and Invoiced Bar Chart gives really great insight for budgeting and AP. Sometimes a bit of eye candy in your reporting goes a long way!”
7. Integration Improvements
Whether you use Xero, NetSuite, QuickBooks Online or one of many other supported platforms, PurchaseControl now gives you powerful data management supported by out-of-the-box convenience thanks to several key enhancements to software integrations.
Keith says: “Getting the various systems you use to run your company working together is of key importance. This was a focus for PurchaseControl in 2020 and will continue to be in 2021. The API was greatly important but I think improvements for our direct integrations were also great steps forward as these integrations are ready to use straight away.
There were many improvements made but the highlights for me were:
- Automated export of authorized invoices – this removes the requirement for an additional manual step to push the invoices into your accounting software or ERP after they have been authorized.
- Scheduled import of data into PurchaseControl – regular scheduled checks for changes to your data in your accounting software or ERP and any updates or new data will be imported automatically to PurchaseControl to keep all your data fully aligned.”
Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet with PurchaseControl
PurchaseControl is better than ever—but we’re already looking ahead to create even more value, accessibility, and convenience for our users in 2021. If you’re ready to optimize your P2P process, gain total control over and transparency into your spend data, and make strategic business decisions that will give you a competitive edge, PurchaseControl might be the best investment you’ll ever make in your company’s future.
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