Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our UK site. Select your regional site here:
9 Min. Read

What Is Accounts Payable Automation & 3 AP Automation Software

What Is Accounts Payable Automation & 3 AP Automation Software

Time is the most valuable resource that any business has. As such, it’s important to make sure that you have plenty of it when you’re a business owner. One of the best ways to find more time in the day is through automation. Automation allows you to set up a standardized process and make it hands off, saving you time in the long run.

A popular process to automate has become accounts payable. Accounts payable automation, or AP automation, can free up a lot of your time. Keep reading to find out how!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Are Accounts Payable?

What Is AP Automation?

The Benefits of AP Automation

A Few Automation Software Options to Consider

Key Takeaways

What Are Accounts Payable?

Accounts payable describes any account that represents money owed by a business. This can be money owed to suppliers for goods or services, or for general business expenses. In the past, accounts payable has been a very manual process. Manual invoice processing and manual data entry take time.

They also require priority, because they need to be taken care of in a timely fashion. When they aren’t taken care of quickly, supplier relationships can suffer. That’s the last thing you want. That’s where AP automation comes in.

What Is AP Automation?

AP automation refers to tools that automate the accounts payable process. This eliminates the associated manual process, saving your business time. When processes can be automated with minimal human intervention, you can save time, which saves money.

The top three accounts payable processes that AP automation can handle are:

  • Submitting purchase orders
  • Approving supplier invoices
  • Automatic data capture

All of these functions require labour hours from your employees. When paper invoices and other aspects of accounts payable can be reduced, then other aspects of your business can prosper. Accounts payable automation software is able to provide an entirely digital workflow. This means less resources and more revenue.

The Benefits of AP Automation

The AP automation workflow benefits are numerous. The ways that your business can improve are all listed below.


When you use AP automation, you promote faster time across the board. This is the biggest benefit to using automation. Previously slow and repetitive work is no longer required. Faster processing time means more availability to handle other tasks. This is invaluable to any business, especially small businesses.

Errors Are Less Likely

Automation means that you’ll find fewer errors in your processes. You’ll no longer have to worry as much about erroneous payments, or issues with incorrect supply amounts. When people repeat tasks over and over, they tend to make more mistakes. Machines and software won’t do that. You can feel safer with automation.

Digital Document Management

One of the nicest things about using automated processes is the digital aspect. Any document that comes through the workflow is digitized. Automation technology will then sort it, and send it to who needs it. This aspect of the digital workflow makes things easier in the office.

Productivity Boosts

Moving to an accounts payable automation solution is an excellent way to boost your company’s productivity. The typical invoice approval process scenario is boring. Employees don’t want to do repetitive tasks. Most of them likely want to be doing something else. With automation they can do something else. It also means that they can be doing the tasks they should be doing.

Access Anywhere

The payables process, when done with paper, can be very frustrating. You have to be in the office. Forms and papers need to be placed in the right trays or bins. If the process is done through cloud-based software, then you can do it from anywhere! Remote teams with cloud-based accounts can monitor and work with the automated process. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that remote applications are invaluable.

Company-wide Autonomy

Accounts payable is almost always handled by a finance team. However, a good AP automation program can give all teams the ability to handle processes. This means that your accounts payable teams can do the work they really need to. Individual teams can handle their own electronic invoicing. This frees up the payable team to handle the approval of payments. Intuitive automation software will provide approval routing, making the approval workflow much easier.

Lower Costs

Processing costs are reduced when you use automation software. This is because the man hours needed to process payable accounts is reduced. Overall, this lowers many other costs throughout your business. Because over ordering and under ordering are reduced, you’ll never have to worry about high expenses due to errors, either.

When you use an AP automation tool, you will see more benefits the longer that you use it. However, it’s important to remember that the start of this process can be difficult. Some people will be reluctant to change. They may worry about being replaced through automation. The best thing you can do is make them understand how automation helps everyone.

A Few Automation Software Options to Consider

When you’re thinking about using automation software for your accounts payable processes, you’ll need to pick the right one. These are some of the most common options on the market right now.

Beanworks AP Automation

Beanworks is an automation tool designed for accounting teams. The main purposes of the tool are invoicing and reporting, two accounting tools that are invaluable to any company. The main reason it works so well for accounting teams, though, is because it’s easy for all users.

Beanworks AP Automation helps employees that aren’t finance savvy submit well-formatted requests. Data can also be easily pushed into tools with little manipulation. Some of the main benefits of Beanworks are listed below:

  • Imports and scans invoices automatically. This saves plenty of time when it comes to document management. It’s one of the best features of any AP automation software.
  • Centrally stores documents for the accounts payable process. Having easy access to all scanned documents is essential in the digital world we live in. Beanworks stores all invoices and purchase orders for your business.
  • Automatically matches invoices to purchase orders. Auto matching means that time-intensive tasks no longer need to be handled by your employees!
  • Provides approval workflows. Invoice approval routing is essential to faster approvals. Faster approvals mean that payments are sent quickly. This means that vendor relationships are maintained.

Overall, Beanworks is an excellent automation tool. When you use it, you can be sure that your employees and accounting professionals will love it.


The main priority of Stampli is automated invoice processing. This program allows your employees to feed invoices into the system for approval and processing. The main draw to Stampli though is the artificial intelligence (AI) bot named Billy.

Billy the Bot is an AI program within Stampli. As you feed him invoices, he gets faster at processing them. He reads them for key details, then extracts them for you. This makes the process easier on you the longer you use it. Stampli also comes with a vendor portal, allowing your vendors to submit invoices directly into the system. Stampli’s biggest strengths are listed below:

  • AI programming to make things faster. Billy the Bot increases the automated processes each time you use him. This means that your invoice processes will only speed up over time.
  • All outstanding invoices are visible. Approvers in the approval routing are notified when an invoice needs review.
  • Invoices are fully digitized. This means that you never have to phase into the digital workflow, you can start in it.
  • Direct integration with other software. Stampli can directly integrate with other software options that you’re using. This makes collaboration simple.

Stampli is an excellent option for people who only need to automate their invoicing. It doesn’t come with all of the other tools that competitors offer, but it’s really good at what it does.


Spendesk is a tool that goes beyond accounts payable automation. This program offers tools for expense reports, invoicing, and company cards. It is a single platform for all of your business’s operational spending. This means that it’s a large program, which may not be for everyone.

The best thing about the all-in-one approach, however, is that all employees become familiar with the software. This means that all processes are standardized across the business. This streamlining isn’t seen in many companies, and it tends to be a large issue for them. The best parts about Spendesk are:

  • All expenses are in one tool. This means that you can spend less time on invoicing processes and training.
  • Employees are given autonomy. Allowing employees to handle all of their business spendings is a great way to lighten the load on the finance team.
  • All approvals and limits are set in the program. This means the full managerial process is housed in the program. Nothing has to be outsourced to another area for handling.
  • Expenses are processed and approved in real time. This means that all actions are handled the moment a purchase is made. Things can stay up-to-date with no issues.

Spendesk is ideal for larger companies that have more expense requirements. For a small business, it may come with a suite of tools that are entirely unnecessary.

Key Takeaways

Automation is the way of the future. With artificial intelligence and automated processes, things like accounts payable can be taken care of in no time. AP automation is something that any business can benefit from. Which software you choose really depends on your business’s needs. Learn more about business software and topics with our resource hub! We gather information in one place so that you can find it easier. Check it out today!