Are Your D365 Business Central Payments Truly Automated

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One of the most common reasons a business doesn’t implement accounts payable automation is because they believe they already have automated. Maybe they are storing invoices electronically, maybe their accounting solution does automatic field population for invoices, and maybe they are paying by ACH or other type of electronic funds transfer. While this is some of the great out-of-the-box functionality you get with Dynamics 365 Business Central, it hardly scratches the surface of what true invoice payment automation can do.

Related: Why SMBs Don’t Automate AP & Why they Should

Questions to Ask Yourself About Business Central Payments Automation

Ask yourself these questions to determine just how automated your Business Central vendor payments really are.

Is paying vendors from multiple bank accounts hassle-free? Paying by ACH is supposed to simplify vendor payments, but only using the base functionality in Business Central means you have to manually create each NACHA file, then download each of these files individually and upload them to the bank one-by-one. This can become a huge burden as an organization’s payments become more complex, paying hundreds of vendors from dozens of bank accounts. Printing checks for multiple bank accounts on the other hand presents its own set of challenges and makes you vulnerable to fraud and costly errors.

Are all of your payments actually secured? If you are processing ACH manually with just BC, odds are you have not fully secured your vendors’ banking info. Downloading and storing NACHA files on desktop local drives leaves files open to be edited, either maliciously or mistakenly. It also leaves your vendors vulnerable to cyber crime as the files are in transit or at rest on your servers. Related: Are ACH Payments Safe?

Do your vendors submit invoices via a vendor portal? If you are not able to get invoices automatically through a self-service vendor portal, you are missing a key piece of automation. With a portal in place, vendors can also update their own banking info and check invoice status, so that means fewer calls and inquiries for you or your team to manage. It also reduces risk of entering outdated vendor info.

Are invoices coded automatically for your default GL settings? OCR is just the first step in data capture for accounts payable invoices. Ensuring the data gets entered into your ERP properly doesn’t have to take multiple steps and a bunch of manual data entry on your part. With the right payments processing solution, all you have to do is choose what you want to pay and the software makes it happen.

Is paying invoices out of Business Central as easy as picking what you want to pay and clicking? All of the questions listed above can be boiled into this one larger question. Vendor payments can be as simple as picking an approved invoice to be paid and it automatically updates your Business Central data. If there are multiple steps in between required to ensure your data is accurate, protected and processed quickly, your Business Central vendor payments aren’t truly automated.

Approvals Automation: In addition to payment processing, invoice approvals can present challenges and bottlenecks when processed manually. When truly automated, approvals should be as easy as a click.

  • Do all your managers across locations have approval access to invoices without requiring D365 Business Central login access?
  • Are they enabled with one-click approvals and automated reminders?
  • Can approvals be routed by multiple data points including location address?
  • Can invoices be approved from any device?
  • Do your workflows provide audit traceability and easy reporting?

Why it’s Important to Automate Vendor Payments in Business Central

1. Save Time

It has been estimated that automation can reduce invoice processing times by 70-80% over manual payments.

2. Cost Savings

Businesses have been known to save up to $8 per invoice compared to manual processing.

3. Ensure Timely Payments

Paying on time means fewer penalties and AP automation may help you take advantage of early-bird discounts.

4. Improve Flexibility

A cloud-based AP automation solution makes it easier to scale up or down, pivot your business model and implement work from anywhere abilities.

5. Secure Your AP Process

Processing ACH payments out of Business Central does not natively protect your vendors’ banking info. The right automation solution will make it simple. What's more, digitizing and automating payments can help prevent AP fraud by reducing dependence on paper checks, minimizing human data input, and increased tracking & visibility.

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