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There’s the adage, “Life is expensive when you don’t know accounting.” An accounts payable software solution that’s not right for your business can also cost you dearly: inefficient workflows, high monthly fees, too advanced or too few features, to name a few.

This post looks at the 5 top Accounts Payable software systems, focusing on core features, strengths and weaknesses, and who is best suited for each solution.


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Plooto

Overview

Plooto is a cloud-based, end-to-end payments automation company that helps small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) and accounting firms automate, streamline, and make more efficient their domestic and international payment operations. By managing their account payments, account receivables and reporting through a single AP/AR platform, companies can more easily track cash inflows and outflows and have greater cash flow visibility.

 

Key Features

  • Single platform provides end-to-end automation integrating both accounts payable and accounts receivable processes
  • Customized payment approvals and electronic sign-off of checks enable authorized individuals to approve invoices online 24/7
  • Two-way sync with Xero and QuickBooks accounting software results in clear payment records, complete audit trails, and automatic account reconciliation
  • Plooto Capture, using best-in-class optical character recognition, automatically processes and converts invoice details into payments
  • Smart workflows support recurring payments and pre-authorized debit (PAD) payments
  • Plooto handles multiple payment types, including check payments (Plooto takes care of printing and mailing), E-transfers, credit card, ACH, and EFT payments
  • International payments in the US, Canada, and over 40 other countries with competitive exchange rates
  • CRA Remittance Payments (Canada Only)
  • ISO Certified for both physical and digital security

Strengths and Weaknesses

Pros

  • Plooto dramatically reduces accounts payable processing costs and manual touches through smart automation, quick and accurate data capture, and robust integration with your accounting software (Xero and QuickBooks). All details about your vendors, customers, bills, and invoices will seamlessly sync directly into Plooto.

  • All facets of Plooto — from pricing to workflows, from the user interface to the user experience — have been designed with the needs of small and medium-size businesses in mind.

  • Seamless and robust data integration between Plooto and your accounting software ensures accurate recording of information, correct payments, and a more manageable, faster end-of-month reconciliation.

  • By managing payments and reporting through a single integrated AP/AR platform, businesses can easily track cash inflows and outflows and have greater cash flow visibility. With Plooto you can see every detail of your payment’s status – when payment was made, where it is, when it will arrive in your account.

  • Plooto enables electronic sign-off of checks so that authorized individuals can approve invoices online 24/7, making the approval process easy and convenient, In addition, Plooto provides visibility into invoices paid, pending, and who has given their approval.

  • Through smart workflows and automating electronic payments, Plooto increases overall processing efficiencies. Less effort devoted to repetitive manual tasks allows the AP team to concentrate on more on high-value activities that will contribute to the growth and success of the company.

  • Plooto dramatically reduces accounts payable processing costs and manual touches through smart automation, quick and accurate data capture, and robust integration with your accounting software (Xero and QuickBooks). All details about your vendors, customers, bills, and invoices will seamlessly sync directly into Plooto.

  • Seamless and robust data integration between Plooto and your accounting software ensures accurate recording of information, correct payments, and a more manageable, faster end-of-month reconciliation.

  • By managing payments and reporting through a single integrated AP/AR platform, businesses can easily track cash inflows and outflows and have greater cash flow visibility. With Plooto, you can see every detail of your payment’s status – when the payment was made, where it is, and when it will arrive in your account.

  • Plooto enables electronic sign-off of checks so that authorized individuals can approve invoices online 24/7, making the approval process easy and convenient. In addition, Plooto provides visibility into invoices paid, pending, and who has given their approval.

  • Plooto provides personalized customer service and onboarding assistance via phone, email, and live chat.

Through smart workflows and automating electronic payments, Plooto increases overall processing efficiencies. Less effort devoted to repetitive manual tasks allows the AP team to concentrate on more high-value activities that will contribute to the growth and success of the company.

 

Cons

  • Integration limited to QuickBooks and Xero.
  • Not cost effective for businesses that have very few transactions per month where the value of the fixed monthly is not realized.
  • Supports a limited number of foreign countries and currencies (45+ countries but growing).

Who is a good fit for Plooto?

  • Small to mid-size businesses with finance teams looking for a cost-effective solution to automate, streamline, and make more efficient their payment operations.
  • Accounting professionals, accounting and bookkeeping firms looking to:
    • Scale their practice and become more efficient, streamlined, and profitable in managing AP and AR for their clients.
    • Move their practice entirely to the cloud.
    • Add software to fill the payment operations gap in their tech stack.
  • Companies seeking a single AP/AR platform to track cash inflows and outflows more easily and have greater cash flow visibility.

Who is not a good fit for Plooto?

  • Small businesses that process very few transactions monthly.
  • Businesses with high volume cross-border payment demands.

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BILL

Overview

Bill.com is a web-based billing and invoicing software for small and mid-size businesses and accounting firms. Bill.com automates accounts payable and settlement of vendor invoices. Users can receive payments from clients, pay vendors and contractors, and handle financial reporting. Using the Bill.com platform, customers can manage end-to-end financial workflows and process payments.

 

Bill is a web-based billing and invoicing software for small and mid-size businesses and accounting firms. Bill automates accounts payable and settlement of vendor invoices. Users can receive payments from clients, pay vendors and contractors, and handle financial reporting. Using the Bill platform, customers can manage end-to-end financial workflows and process payments.

 

Key features

  • Accounts Payable Module designed to receive payments on invoices and to send payments
  • Billing and invoicing solution for both businesses and accounting firms
  • Multiple payment methods available, including credit card, ACH (Automated Clearinghouse) and paper checks
  • Invoice generation and distribution
  • Multiple accounting integrations, including QuickBooks and Xero
  • Dashboard syncing
  • Reporting module
  • AR automation
  • Recurring invoices

Strengths and Weaknesses

Pros

  • Converts bills and invoices into digital records
  • Offers a variety of payment methods
  • Provides user-defined policies
  • Allows for multiple approval levels

Cons

  • Bill charges per user so pricing adds up
  • You need to pay extra for accounting software integration and reconciliation
  • Limited customization of reports
  • Limited invoice-creation features
  • Long response times
  • Can't fully utilize the invoice tracking features for customers processing invoices outside of Bill

Who is Bill a good fit for?

  • Businesses that need to process a substantial number of A/P and A/R transactions.
  • Accounting firms that need help streamlining their invoicing and billing processes.
  • Users of QuickBooks Online and Xero accounting software: two-way integration makes it easier for businesses to record bills and bill payments without manually importing transactions.

Who is Bill not a good fit for?

  • Businesses seeking an accounting software program: Bill isn’t a substitute for accounting software.
  • Freelancers seeking easy-to-use accounting software with A/P and A/R capabilities.
  • Businesses looking for integrated A/P and A/R software with unlimited users: Bill charges per user, and the monthly cost can be too expensive if you need to enroll many employees in the software.

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Melio

Overview

Currently available only in the U.S., Melio is an accounts payable software that allows you to pay bills online. You can pay your bills via bank transfer and through a fee-free debit card, even if your vendor only accepts checks. Melio takes your online payments via bank transfer, debit card, or credit card (2.9% transaction fee) and deposits or mails a check to your vendor in your name without delivery charges.

 

Key Features

  • Billing, Invoicing and Payment Scheduling
  • Payment Approval Workflow
  • AP sync with QuickBooks Online
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Check, ACH payment, Debit/credit card processing
  • Add unlimited users for free

Strengths and Weaknesses

Pros

  • No monthly subscription fee
  • Recipients don’t need to sign up
  • Pay international vendors
  • Melio automatically syncs with your Quickbooks
  • Make paper check payments online
  • No delivery fees
  • Unlimited users

Cons

  • No automated OCR data entry
  • Integration limited to Quickbooks Online
  • Regarding international payments, you cannot convert or make payments in your vendors’ local currencies
  • No vendor management
  • No accounting automation
  • No built-in expense reporting

Who is a good fit for Melio?

  • Small businesses looking for an inexpensive way to pay bills and manage cash flow.

Who is not a good fit for Melio?

  • Businesses that process a substantial number of A/P and A/R transactions.
  • Companies that do business internationally and need to convert or make payments in their vendor’s local currencies.

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Tipalti

Overview

Tipalti is a cloud-based, end-to-end accounts payable automation system. Tipalti’s suite of tools — supplier management, invoicing, global payments — helps businesses manage and streamline the processing of vendor billings. Users can manage suppliers, invoices, purchase orders, taxes, and all other related billing matters in a single place.

 

Key Features

  • Support for global payments — pay in more than 190 countries, choosing between 120 currencies and 6 payment methods (PayPal, Wire, Prepaid Debit Card, U.S. ACH, Global ACH, or Local bank transfer)
  • Support for national and international tax and value-added tax (VAT) compliance
  • Performance-based and invoice-based workflow automation
  • Accounting software integrations, including Xero and QuickBooks
  • Vendor/supplier self-service management portal

Strengths and Weaknesses

Pros

  • Choice of 6 payment methods and 120 currencies
  • Ability to view invoice and payment history
  • Purchase Order (PO) matching
  • Ideal for businesses that bill many vendors locally and internationally
  • KPMG-prescribed tax forms and vendor self-registration requirements
  • Fraud detection
  • Self-service supplier/vendor portal

Cons

  • No mobile app available
  • Pricing is not transparent or straightforward
  • Too advanced for small businesses that only need basic bill payment features

Who is a good fit for Tipalti?

  • Businesses that need to process and pay a high volume of bills regularly
  • Businesses that handle a large volume of global vendor payments
  • Businesses that require assistance with tax and value-add tax (VAT) compliance
  • Companies that require advanced AP financial and reporting controls for audits, fraud control, tax compliance, and regulatory requirements

Who is not a good fit for Tipalti?

  • Businesses with limited budgets: The platform fee alone starts at $149 per month
  • Businesses seeking a complete bookkeeping system: Tipalti only offers A/P management
  • Businesses that need mobile accounting functionality: Tipalti doesn’t currently have a mobile app available.

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Stampli

Overview

Stampli is a cloud-based AP automation platform that organizes accounts payable communications, documentation, and payments in one place. Stampli enables AP to have full control and visibility over corporate spending.

 

Key Features

  • Accounts Payable
  • Billing & Invoice processing management
  • Audit Management
  • Accounting Software Integration
  • Dashboard
  • Approval Process Control
  • Electronic Payments, ACH Payment Processing, Check Writing

Strengths and Weaknesses

Pros

  • Automates invoice capture, coding, and approval workflows
  • Send, track, and view invoice communications in one location
  • Accepts multiple payment options

Cons

  • Limited reporting capabilities
  • Size dependent — not a time-saver If you manage a limited number of vendors or process few invoices.

Who is a good fit for Stampli?

  • Mid-size companies and accounting and bookkeeping firms
  • Accounts Payable departments looking to improve their processes, especially the invoice approvals process.

Who is not a good fit for Stampli?

  • Small companies who work with few vendors and process a minimum number invoices

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How to find the right AP automation software solution for your business

Finding the right AP automation software solution for your business can feel like trudging your way through a dense jungle without a map, compass, or guide. Even the savviest AP professionals can find managing the AP workflow, processing invoices, and staying current with the latest technology to manage and protect the data overwhelming.

 

Finding the right AP automation software solution for your business is challenging, but not impossible. The following tips, checklists, and strategies will help you identify your AP automation needs — and gaps — prepare you for conversations with vendors, and aid you in evaluating potential software partners.

 

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5 qualities to look for when evaluating an AP automation software solution

  1. Quick, streamlined, and accurate invoice data capture
  2. Easy and convenient invoice approvals
  3. Ability to track AP invoices through the entire process
  4. Robust integration with your accounting system
  5. The ability to automate electronic payments

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How to prepare for selecting AP automation software

  1. Know your AP workflow. 
    Before evaluating an AP automated software solution effectively, you need a clear and thorough understanding of all steps, resources, and results required throughout the AP process. Key points to address:
    • Invoice reception and data capture
    • Invoice workflow and approval
    • Supplier payment

  2. Identify your gaps and pain points. 
    Know what your AP automation software solution needs to address.

  3. Establish your AP goals.
    Know what your goals are so you have a baseline for measuring success.

  4. Identify your key metrics.
    Knowing your key metrics lets you understand what you want to get out of your AP automation software solution.

  5. Get your AP team on board. 
    Ask for your team’s input to ensure everyone agrees on the pain points and opportunities for improvement.

  6. Identify system dependencies.
    Know what systems integrate with your AP automation solution and inform other processes and workflows.

Finding the right AP automation solution does not need to be an arduous, complicated journey. As this post shows, several products address a wide variety of needs. The key is to be prepared in your search. When evaluating AP software, know your payables process; identify the pain points you need to solve today and plan for the demands you’ll need to meet tomorrow. Also, consider the big picture: think how AP integrates with other systems and workflows within your company. With this in mind, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the best AP software automation solution for your business.

 

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CHAPTERS

00  Considering Online Payment Software? Payment automation explained

01   Accounts payable software: A guide for strategies, benefits, and solutions

02  Accounts receivable software: A guide for strategies, benefits, and solutions

03  What is the future of Accounts Payable?

04 Comparing the best AR automation software solutions

05 What’s the best AP software for your business? 5 Top vendors compared

06 Scaling for growth with AP automation

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