What is invoice processing?
Invoice processing is the first step in the accounts payable process, where businesses receive, review, approve, and pay invoices that vendors send them for delivered goods and services. Steps include:
Businesses receive invoices from suppliers and service providers by mail or electronically. The invoice will often include a summary of goods and services supplied, payment instructions, time tracking, and important data for accounting purposes.
When an invoice is received, the data is compared with the shipping receipt and purchase order (PO). This process confirms that the goods ordered match the items received.
General ledger coding
The approved invoice posts expenses and other transactions in the general ledger before payments are processed.
Approval management system
Invoices are run through approval processes set by the company receiving the invoice. For example, some organizations have a primary invoice handler and final approver like a CFO or VP of Finance.
The approved invoice and other documents are used to pay the vendor according to their preferred payment methods.
At the month-end close, the accounting department reconciles the bank account and reviews the general ledger entries. Depending on the manual process involved, this can be a time-intensive, error-prone process for some organizations.
Why is invoice processing important?
Invoices must be processed accurately and promptly to pay vendors on time and to maintain solid vendor relationships.
The process validates that each invoice payment is supported by goods or services provided to the business.
Finally, well-designed procedures ensure that the financial statements accurately state the cash, accounts payable, and expense account balances.
Can you automate invoice processing?
Yes, and where you can, you should! Automated invoice processing eliminates most of the manual tasks required to review and pay an invoice.
Managing the flurry of invoices that a company receives can vary in form. Some businesses send paper invoices, while others prefer to use digital files.
Scanning refers to reviewing an invoice to identify key data as part of the invoice intake process. This data may include the vendor name, quantity purchased, specific goods or services purchased, and the dollar amount of the invoice.
Tracking all invoices, payment deadlines, relevant account information, and other important vendor information and ensuring each invoice gets properly approved and vendors are paid on time.
Bill creation and reconciliation
Creating bills based on invoice information and reconciling this information in your general ledger.
The accounting entries for accounts payable, expenses, and cash should be reconciled at each month's end so the business can generate accurate financial statements.
What is invoice processing software?
Invoice automation software is an application that streamlines the invoice process across intake, management, and payment, helping finance teams save significant time by eliminating manual processes.
Here is an example workflow to demonstrate the concept. A company receives an invoice over email. The controller then forwards the PDF to a designated AP inbox, triggering an automated process for scanning the invoice file.
The invoice is created in the general ledger based on information gathered from the document. Depending on the provider, this will then trigger an approval sequence to designated payment approvers, like a CFO.
Once approved, the AP lead is notified, and invoice payment is integrated into the accounting system. With Rho, you can apply multiple payment types to pay various invoices in one batch or multiple payments.
If you think this process is complex, you are right. Finance teams spend thousands of hours processing vendor payments monthly and then reconciling this information in time for month-end close.
As ERPs are generally the single source of truth for corporate bookkeeping, that's why it's essential that the invoice processing software you choose connects seamlessly with your ERP, like NetSuite.
Why automate invoice processing?
There are four major reasons why we recommend you automate the process.
You can save significant time.
Automation reduces the time your team spends on invoice data capture and processing so they can dedicate those hours to higher impact work.
You will see fewer errors.
Software automation helps reduce the risk of manual errors that can occur with highly repetitive tasks like invoice processing.
You will improve your vendor relationships.
Spending less time on processing means your vendors are more likely to receive timely payments and reduce frustrating errors.
You'll manage cash better.
You can unlock early payment discounts, avoid duplicate payment errors, and have better visibility over cash outflows to optimize payment timing for both your company and your vendors.
On this last point, this is why businesses like Willet + Cumro Innovations use Rho's banking-enabled AP automation solution.
What is OCR?
Optical character recognition (OCR) is a tool that recognizes text within a digital document, such as an invoice.
When a customer emails, mails, or faxes an invoice, OCR can convert the paper-based document or digital image into an electronic file that includes text (vendor name, invoice number, due date, etc.)
Whereas word processing software cannot easily convert paper invoices or digital documents into text data, OCR can create text data that can be read and processed by other types of business software.
Did you know? Rho leverages generative AI technology to automate the invoice scanning process in seconds.
How does Rho compare to other AP automation software and invoice processing point-solutions? We tackle that next!
The 13 best invoice processing software solutions in 2024
Rho recently released AP automation built into Rho’s all-in-one finance platform.
The Rho platform executes the entire payable lifecycle, processing thousands of supplier invoices in seconds and at scale – all in the same fee-free platform where you can manage your expenses, banking, and treasury.
Rho AP starts by capturing bill data sourced from invoices or your ERP, then schedules thousands of corresponding payments using supported payment methods (ACH, card, checks, and wires) in seconds.
Throughout the process, Rho’s multi-level approval process controls to enforce compliance with your spend policy.
- End-to-end finance: Streamlined, unified payments, banking, and expenses in one platform
- Free service: The Rho platform, including AP, is free to use
- Banking-powered AP: Bank integration enables faster payment settlement times and accurate payment status reporting
- Scalable: Designed to support 10-person growth-stage startups and 200-plus employee, multi-entity businesses
- 24/7 customer support: Available to assist with implementation and questions
- 3-way match: Not yet available. Scheduled for release later this year
- Global support: W9 and 1099 support is not yet available but is planned to be released in Q4.
Rho integrates with QuickBooks Online, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and Sage Intacct.
Rho also supports flat-file CSV exporting, so you can automatically tailor transaction categorization to your business needs. Read more about our accounting integrations here.
Pricing & Fees
The Rho platform is free, with no fees for users, payments, accounts, or the overall platform. Rho only charges a 1% fee on FX payments and a wire recall fee.
Airbase is a spend management platform for small and midsize companies. It combines comprehensive accounts payable, a corporate card program, and employee expense reimbursements into one system.
Airbase users receive invoices via email or through the vendor portal. The platform uses OCR to scan invoice data and create a bill, and the software can perform 3-way matching with POs and shipping receipts.
The invoice approval process is automated, and payment data is synced to GL.
All documents and communications can be accessed in one location. The company provides corporate cards, expense management, and AP automation.
- AP automation support: OCR scanning, automated approvals, vendor portal
- ERP integrations: Effective integrations with Oracle NetSuite, Sage Intacct, and other software providers
- Ease of use: From a user perspective and administrator perspective
- Expensive fees: Fees charged for reimbursements, bill payments, and custom NetSuite fields
- No banking services: Airbase is an expense management platform but does not offer any banking solutions
- Time lag before payments: According to some customer reviews, there is too much time between debiting the user’s bank account and paying funds to the vendor
NetSuite, Sage Intacct, Xero. Additional integrations for bank and credit card apps.
Pricing & Fees
Airbase offers Standard, Premium, and Enterprise pricing levels. Airbase requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote.
Airbase vs. Rho
Airbase is an effective expense management and procurement system but lacks more robust banking and treasury features that exist in the Rho platform.
In addition, Airbase follows a subscription-based software fee model so that costs can add up, whereas the Rho platform is free.
3. SAP Concur
SAP Concur is primarily a travel & expense management platform companies use to manage travel booking and employee expenses. However, SAP Concur also offers invoice processing support.
SAP Concur provides automated invoice capture by email, and the software performs 2-way and 3-way matching with POs and other documents. The platform uses OCR to gather invoice data and to reduce manual input.
SAP Concur provides integrations with ERPs, accounting systems, and with payment providers. Users can monitor invoice processing using reports and dashboards.
- Travel integration: Travel expense management and mileage tracking controls built into the same workflow
- Brand recognition: SAP has been around for several decades as a brand that many Fortune 500 companies trust
- Automated invoice approval process: Incorporates a level of automation into the invoice management process
- UX: SAP Concur has a reputation for having a clunky user interface
- Expensive: SAP Concur is enterprise-grade software that typically has expensive contract fees
- Expenses first: SAP Concur is primarily an expense platform, so its AP functionality is less robust than other offerings.
SAP Concur integrates with SAP’s ERP SAP S/4HANA, Oracle NetSuite, QuickBooks, Xero, and several other ERPs.
Pricing & Fees
SAP Concur requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote, but it can cost companies upwards of $10,000+ for annual usage.
SAP Concur vs. Rho
SAP Concur has been a de facto travel & expense platform for decades but has limited invoice management capabilities.
For businesses that process many invoices every month, SAP Concur is not designed to scale to handle this payment flow, whereas Rho’s AP automation is.
Lastly, SAP Concur’s UX and expensive fees have led many companies to move to more modern solutions like Rho, which has the added benefit of having built-in AP, banking, and treasury.
Stampli provides AP automation for companies that want to improve efficiency without reworking their ERP or changing existing AP processes, with some drawbacks.
Stampli’s platform automates invoice capture, coding, and approvals. The solution can perform 2-way and 3-way matching with POs and shipping receipts.
All invoice-related documents and communications are located in one place, and users can configure payment workflows to fit their needs.
The platform can be deployed quickly, is easy to navigate, and provides integrations with dozens of ERPs.
- Visibility: Invoice tracking at every stage of the approval process
- Invoice management: Centralized communication hub that includes all invoice documentation
- Customer support: Access by phone, email, and chat, and reviews show that the support team is responsive
- No in-house bank payments: Lacks built-in banking similar to Rho, which may impact payment processing times and tracking visibility
- No read/write with ERP: Lacks two-way sync with some ERP connections, meaning changes made and transactions processed in Stampli are not automatically synced to the general ledger.
- UX: Credit memo processing can be confusing, and some ERP interfaces do not smoothly sync all invoice data
- ACH Payments: Some reviewers pointed out that ACH payments took longer to process than expected
Stampli offers more than 70 ERP integrations, most linked via CSV exports.
Pricing & Fees
Stampli uses month-to-month pricing that varies based on the needed services. Stampli requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote.
Stampli vs. Rho
Stampli is a point solution for AP automation compared to Rho’s all-in-one finance platform.
While it does offer invoice processing features, Stampli isn’t built to integrate with other interconnected finance processes, such as banking, which could impact payments.
Rho offers a robust AP automation platform that benefits from a banking connection, leading to better transparency and control over AP payments and invoice management.
5. BILL (formerly Bill.com)
BILL (formerly Bill.com) is a popular AP automation solution that small and middle-market companies use to automate the AP and AR functions.
BILL users can import invoices automatically, and minimize manual effort. The platform offers 3-way matching with POs, invoice and order receipt, and you can tailor approval workflows and route invoices to the right people.
BILL provides multiple payment options, including ACH, check, credit card, and wire transfers. The platform can sync data with a number of accounting software tools.
- Invoice processing: The solution generates invoices using email attachments from vendors
- Approval workflows: BILL can manage multiple invoice approvers
- AI and machine learning: As users process more invoices, the system learns the company’s processes and becomes more efficient
- UX: AP process and workflows are more complex than other AP automation providers
- Expensive: Depending on your organization's size and payment volume, the solution can get expensive.
- Extensive workflows: Paying vendors requires more steps than other AP automation solutions
- Errors: G2 reviews indicate issues with payment times and responsive customer support.
BILL Corporate pricing level provides QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro/Premier, and Xero integrations. The Enterprise pricing level integrates with QuickBooks Enterprise, Oracle NetSuite, Sage Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics, and other ERPs.
Pricing & Fees
BILL’s Corporate pricing level is $79 per user per month, and BILL offers Enterprise (custom pricing) for more complex organizations.
There are additional fees for some ACH, check, and wire payments. BILL requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote on the Enterprise service level.
BILL vs. Rho
Thanks to integrated banking, Rho gives companies more control over vendor payment timing and better payment transparency.
BILL debits your third-party bank account, waits until the payment clears, and then pays your vendor, whereas Rho pays your vendor directly on the payment due date.
With Rho, companies can maximize their cash flow efficiency while ensuring vendors are paid on time.
Lastly, BILL can be expensive for organizations with significant payment volume, whereas Rho is free. This is why many companies, including Willet + Cumro Innovations, choose Rho over BILL.
Rossum offers end-to-end automation with intelligent document processing. The business automates manual work using technology to extract data and provides a low-code platform for users.
The company uses automated self-learning AI to gather invoice data, post information to the general ledger, obtain approvals, and pay vendors.
Once data is input, the invoice and other documents are forwarded to approvers, based on the company’s approval workflows.
All documents and related communications can be accessed in one place. Rossom offers a customizable interface, cloud hosting, and configuration tools for APIs.
- Customer support: Responsive and helpful customer support
- User interface: Intuitive and user-friendly
- Software updates: When the software is updated, it may take time for the hardware and software components to configure
- Cost: The system can be expensive, depending on the use cases for the customer
- Software updates: When the software is updated, it may take time for the hardware and software components to configure
- Processing large documents: Difficulty processing large PDF documents promptly
Rossum offers several integrations, including QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, and Oracle NetSuite.
Pricing & Fees
Rossum.ai requires you to book a sales call for a specific quote.
Rossum.ai vs. Rho
Rossum is, first and foremost, a document processing company with many applications, including invoice processing, with limited functionality beyond that.
With Rho, you can manage the other aspects of the end-to-end AP workflow, including payment and accounting reconciliation, all for free.
7. SAP S/4HANA Cloud
SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s core ERP product. The brand has spent the last few years attempting to integrate its other solutions, including SAP Concur, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Ariba, into one unified system, but work still needs to be done.
The SAP S/4HANA platform uses AI and machine learning to extract data from uploaded invoices.
The software then performs an automated match with POs and shipping receipts (if applicable). Invoices and supporting documents are forwarded to approvers for review.
Accounting entries are posted as transactions occur, and users have access to APIs for easy integrations.
- Reports: Reports can be accessed quickly and provide accurate information
- SAP integrations: Integrations with other SAP tools that are widely used
- Training: The platform offers a guided tour that explains how to use the software tools
- Cost: In some reviews, users explain that they would prefer a less expensive option that offers fewer functions and applications
- Slow loading times: Software may require extra time to load and update data
- User interface: The user interface is not intuitive, possibly because of the platform’s complexity and numerous capabilities
The platform offers ready-to-go APIs with supporting tools for integrations. The solution also integrates with many widely-used SAP product offerings.
Pricing & Fees
SAP requires you to book a sales call for a specific quote. Historically, SAP projects are quite expensive, requiring months of implementation work and contracts surpassing $1M annually.
SAP S/4HANA vs. Rho
SAP S/4HANA’s ERP platform can manage dozens of operational tasks, including invoice processing, and the solution can integrate with many industry-specific SAP tools.
However, SAP technology is known to be expensive, and the UX of their products is a common target of criticism.
Rho automates the entire end-to-end accounts payable process, including invoice processing, and can be implemented in as little as 20 minutes.
Docsumo is a document AI platform that extracts data from unstructured documents. The platform minimizes the manual effort required to process documents and maximizes data accuracy.
Docsumo’s invoice processing solution extracts data from emailed invoices. The system uses OCR to learn as invoices are scanned, which increases accuracy over time. Users can set up fields for cost centers, project codes, and other needed data.
Docsumo matches invoices with POs and other documents, and data is automatically sent to approvers. The solution integrates with several other accounting software platforms.
- User interface: User-friendly and easy to navigate
- Customization: Users and customize data extraction to fit business needs
- Workflows: In some reviews, users report that workflows are difficult to set up
- Document uploads: Uploading multiple documents can lead to software glitches, according to some reviews.
- API: Some users feel that the API has some limitations, which slow down integrations
Docsumo integrates with several ERPs, including QuickBooks and Xero. The company also integrates with several e-commerce platforms.
Pricing & Fees
Docsumo requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote.
Docsumo vs. Rho
Docsumo is primarily a document data extraction tool, and the invoice processing functionality is more challenging than many competitors. It doesn’t handle the payment workflow or accounting reconciliations, whereas Rho does.
Tipalti provides end-to-end AP automation, global partner payments, procurement, and business expense solutions.
The platform integrates with several ERP and accounting systems. Tipalti strives to improve efficiency, controls, and visibility so businesses can scale with less manual effort.
Tipalti’s AP automation solution uses machine learning to scan, capture, match and process invoice data. The software can perform 2-way and 3-way matching of invoice documents.
The invoice approval process is automated and payments can be scheduled on the platform. Tipalti automates the month-end reconciliation process and is integrated with a corporate card.
- Fast vendor payments: Automation helps Tipalti process payments quickly, including international payments
- Easier supplier onboarding: Tipali gathers vendor documents that can be accessed electronically. The AP staff can quickly verify that all vendor data is current.
- Ability to scale: Many reviews note that users can scale the business and handle more invoices using Tipalti
- Glitches and lags: Some reviews mention glitches and lags with the platform, and users may have to reenter lost data
- Customer support: Not all customer support staff have the needed experience to resolve issues, according to some reviews
- PO data input: There are sometimes delays when posting PO data into the platform
Tipalti has ERP integrations with Oracle NetSuite, Sage Intacct, and SAP.
Pricing & Fees
Tipalti Express is the pricing model for the basic platform, which starts at $149 per month. If users need advanced capabilities (W-8 tax forms, multi-entity payables), Tipalti requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote.
Tipalti vs. Rho
Tipalti pricing is based on the number of invoices processed, and the platform is more expensive than Rho. Tipalti also has a time-consuming implementation process due to data mapping challenges.
For businesses looking to simplify their AP processes overall, implementing Rho takes less time, and Rho offers a more intuitive user experience with both spend and cash management capabilities.
Coupa provides a unified business spend management platform for procurement, invoicing, expenses, and payments. The company offers travel and expense management, supply chain planning, and contract management.
Coupa automates the invoice capture process, and uses machine learning to code invoice data. The platform offers automated 2-way and 3-way matching of invoice documents. Customers can use a variety of payment methods within the software.
Vendor details can be tracked and managed in real time, and Coupa automates the month-end reconciliation process.
Coupa offers ERP integrations and zero-code customization to automate manual processes.
- OCR capability: OCR functionality makes it easy to scan and collect key invoice data
- Automated approvals: Platform speeds up invoice approvals so that vendors can be paid on time
- Intuitive platform: The platform is user-friendly and intuitive for customers
- Sourcing, contract modules: Some reviews indicate that users have difficulty navigating these modules and getting the data they need
- Learning curve: The number of available customizations makes learning the system difficult for some users who posted reviews
- Supplier onboarding forms: Some reviews mentioned the need for more customization for onboarding forms
Coupa has ERP integrations with SAP, Oracle NetSuite, and others.
Pricing & Fees
Coupa requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote.
Coupa vs. Rho
Coupa’s implementation process takes longer than many competitors. In addition, customer support is available only by chat, which makes resolving problems more difficult. Some users have issues with the number of notifications they receive from Coupa.
Rho offers a much faster implementation process, live expert service 24/7, and the ability to manage spend and cash in one platform.
Melio allows businesses to pay vendors exactly the way they want. Users can pay every business expense and invoice online via check, ACH, or card. Melio offers credit card rewards, including points, cashback, and miles.
Melio provides easy invoice capture using your PC or phone, and the platform uses AI to scan invoice data.
Users can set up roles and permissions for approval workflows, and pay vendors by check, ACH, or card. The platform can manage international payments, partial payments, and has the ability to combine invoice payments with a single vendor.
- Setting up payment: Users can set up check, ACH, or credit card payment functionality for vendors before payments are due.
- Competitive pricing: Several reviewers mentioned Melio's low cost
- Security: Advanced encryption and security protocols
- Few integrations: Melio does not offer the same number of ERP integrations as many competitors
- Slow check processing: Some reviewers believe that Melio takes too long to issue a vendor check
- Customer support: Customer support can be slow to respond, according to some reviews
Melio has integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, Freshbooks, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Some reviews report problems with the QuickBooks integration.
Pricing & Fees
Melio’s platform is free to use, and the business charges users for mailing checks, credit card usage, same-day ACH transfers, international payments, and other services.
Melio vs. Rho
Melio’s customer support is reportedly not as responsive as many competitors, and some reviewers believe that Melio is slow in sending payments to vendors.
Melio also charges customers a transaction fee for checks and ACH payments.
With Rho, businesses can optimize payment methods and realize savings without fees. Rho provides better oversight over spending and faster payment processing. In addition, Rho allows CFOs to manage spend and cash in one platform.
Kofax provides cloud-based invoice management that automatically captures, analyzes, validates, and approves invoices from any source.
The platform uses OCR to extract, classify, and route invoice data to approvers. This solution integrates with other systems to provide a seamless end-to-end process.
Kofax uses adaptive AI to extract invoice data more precisely and speed up document processing. Users can implement the workflows they already use to process AP.
The platform routes invoices for approval based on user roles and permissions. Kofax provides pre-built dashboards for real-time processing visibility.
The solution integrates with several ERPs and offers comprehensive 24/7 cloud-based support.
- Invoice processing speed: Fast and reliable
- Robotic process automation (RPA): Speeds up document processing workflow
- Zero code deployment: Faster implementation with no need for additional coding
- Lack of customization: Fewer configuration tools to customize processes
- Licensing costs: Pricing is higher than competitors, according to user reviews
- Training: Fully utilizing the platform requires a large amount of training
Integrations with Microsoft Dynamics, SAP 4/HANA, Coupa, Oracle NetSuite, and Oracle EBS.
Pricing & Fees
Kofax requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote. Note that several reviews commented on the high price of using Kofax.
Kofax vs. Rho
Kofax’s AI-powered invoice scanning might add value for customers who process their AP payments in an ERP like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. However, Kofax does not offer benefits on the actual payment processing part of the AP workflow.
Kofax users report problems with image recognition and data extraction tools that could be improved to reduce error rates.
Rho realizes that CFOs must reduce costs while finding growth. Rho’s invoice processing features work with best-in-class payment workflows, allowing businesses to ramp up productivity without increasing costs, and users can manage spend and cash in one place.
13. Sage Intacct
Sage Intacct provides cloud-based accounts payable software that eliminates repetitive tasks with automated processes and built-in visibility. The platform provides an intelligent virtual assistant to eliminate data entry.
The platform’s AI tool captures invoice data and creates a bill in Sage, and machine learning increases coding accuracy over time. Users can customize workflows to meet their specific needs, and invoices and supporting documents are automatically sent to approvers.
Sage works with multiple payment partners to process check, ACH, and card payments. Reconciliations are automated, and Sage Intacct provides easy access to a complete audit trail of all transactions.
- Interfaces: Sage Intacct interfaces with dozens of applications
- Upgrade from QuickBooks: Several users have successfully migrated from QuickBooks to Sage Intacct to manage more complex transactions
- Customization: It is easy to add different types of coding (classes, customers, departments) to generate more detailed reports
- Sync issues: Some users report difficulty in syncing data between Sage Intacct and other systems
- GL reporting: Moving from a general ledger account to see the details of a particular transaction may not be user-friendly
- Steep learning curve: The platform has so many features, and learning how to navigate the platform takes time
Sage Intacct has several ERP integrations, including Bill, Concur, Expensify, and other platforms.
Pricing & Fees
Sage Intacct requires you to speak to a salesperson to receive an exact quote, but some customer reviews report costs running into the thousands.
Did you know? Sage Intacct integrates with Rho.
You can automate accounting with Rho’s Sage Intacct integration. Use Rho’s integration to automate manual data entry, save time, and avoid human error. All data is accurately entered and mapped to the right Sage Intacct accounts every time.
It’s worth noting that Sage Intacct also offers a powerful AP automation platform, but users must add integrations to handle banking and treasury management.
Wrap-up: Choosing the right invoice processing software for you
After reviewing the different invoice processing software solutions on the market, think about the features and tools that are most important for your business.
And if you still need help choosing the best invoice-processing software, let's make this easy.
- End-to-end finance capabilities
- Bank-powered AP with faster, more trackable payments
- A scalable platform that grows as you grow
All wrapped up in unbeatable pricing and 24/7 customer support sounds nice to you, so you should consider Rho.
Schedule time with a Rho payments expert today!
Ken Boyd is the co-founder and chief educator for accountinged.com and owns St. Louis Test Preparation. He provides tutoring, podcasts, blogs, articles, and speaking services on accounting and finance. Ken is also the author of several books, including Cost Accounting For Dummies, Accounting All-In-One For Dummies, The CPA Exam For Dummies, and 1,001 Accounting Questions For Dummies.
Competitive data was collected as of September 27, 2023, and is subject to change or update.