What is Invoice-to-Pay?

What is accounts payable?

Invoice-to-Pay is the accounts payable (AP) process of managing, processing, and paying supplier invoices. When a supplier sends goods or provides services to a customer, they will then send a statement of the money owed with a payment request to the buyer. This is the first step in making supplier payments.

What is the Invoice-to-Pay Process?

Traditionally, the invoice-to-pay process is all manual: A supplier generates an invoice, the AP team receives it, enters invoice data into their accounting system, collects signatures, approves payment, prints paper checks, and finally mails the invoice payment to the supplier. The traditional invoice processing system is expensive, time-consuming, prone to fraud, and ultimately strains supplier relationships. Many AP teams don’t realize that they can manage this process more efficiently. But they can!

MineralTree request a demo

How Does an Automated Invoice-to-Pay Platform Work?

An invoice-to-pay platform simplifies the end-to-end AP process with automation that increases the efficiency of AP teams while mitigating fraud risk and providing greater visibility and control over AP spend. Let’s take a look.

Automated data capture and coding

Automated Data Capture & Coding

Automated invoice data capture speeds up invoice processing by extracting header and line-level information from invoices and automatically syncing them with your company’s ERP. Invoices are coded at 99.5% accuracy so the risk of recording incorrect supplier information is eliminated.

Automatic routing & on-the-go approvals

Automatic Routing for On-the-Go Approvals

With an invoice-to-pay platform, you can set approval rules to automatically route invoices to the appropriate stakeholders for approval, with automated reminders so you never have to chase anyone down. You can easily configure routing logic to your existing policies and tiers. Best of all, invoice approvers can then make approvals from anywhere, at any time.

Simplified payment authorization

Simplified Payment Authorization

Financial leaders can easily authorize and schedule payments with a single click of a button with simplified payment authorization. You can also take advantage of payment controls such as two-factor authentication, dual approvals, and segregation of duties. These capabilities further protect your organization against payment fraud.

MineralTree TotalPay

Speedy Payment Execution and Remittance

Once a payment has been authorized, the invoice will be automatically paid on your behalf, streamlining the entire invoice-to-pay process. MineralTree pays each supplier using the optimal payment method: virtual card, ACH, international payment, or check. We continuously optimize your payment mix by enrolling new and existing suppliers, while managing day-to-day inquiries. Detailed remittance on every payment will be sent to your vendor electronically, providing transparency within each payment made.

What are the Benefits of an Automated Invoice-to-Pay Process?

Automated invoice-to-pay allows businesses to streamline their end-to-end AP workflow with easy, dependable, and efficient payment processing. Here are some of the benefits you can expect to gain from an automated invoice-to-pay platform:

Improve Visibility

Improve Visibility

AP automation allows users to have greater control and visibility throughout the entire invoice-to-pay process; from features that automatically route invoices to designated approvers to real-time insight into the entire payment timeline. Improved visibility allows businesses insight into who does what when, how payments are being made, and where any bottlenecks may be occurring.

Lower Processing Costs

Lower Processing Costs

Lower processing costs mean more spending capital! Your business can save 70% or more on payment processing costs, in addition to capturing more early-pay discounts and receiving cash-back rebates from virtual card payments.

Gears

Increase Efficiency

By leveraging automatic invoice capture and coding, routing and approvals, and payment execution, the entire invoice-to-pay process is simplified. Eliminating the need for paper and cutting down the time traditionally spent waiting on approvals means your business will drastically increase efficiency and productivity, enabling your business to grow without adding AP headcount or freeing up resources to focus on higher-value activities.

money bag and coins

Control Outgoing Cash Flow

Payments should be quick and easy, and should get to your suppliers in the fastest way possible. Automated invoice-to-pay provides a clear line of visibility into the timeframe of a payment and how long it takes to reach your supplier. Additionally, vendor payments can be precisely timed to ensure maximum control over outgoing cash.

Reduce Payment Fraud Risk

Protecting your payments is a number one priority. Look for an automated invoice-to-pay solution that has security features such as two-factor authentication, segregation of duties, and payment verification. Reducing the risk of fraudulent payments can save your business time, money, and potential impacts on your reputation.

Preserved Audit Trails

Preserved Audit Trails

Any invoice that is approved and processed is automatically stored in a central archive which authorized users can access at any time. The system maintains a record of each invoice and the journey it underwent to be approved. Complete visibility into invoice data allows teams to conduct internal audits or provide external auditors with specific information with ease.

Data Analytics

Data Analytics

Certain invoice-to-pay platforms include robust real-time data analytics that provide the level of visibility necessary to help manage spend, cut costs, and optimize cash flow. This data can be further used to help support future supplier negotiations by providing proof of on-time payments and other meaningful KPIs.

Why Automate Invoice Processing with MineralTree?

MineralTree TotalAP is the ultimate invoice-to-pay solution. TotalAP eliminates inefficiencies at every pain point in the accounts payable process and enables more than 2,000 businesses to improve operations, mitigate fraud and risk, simplify reconciliation, bolster supplier relationships, generate cash back savings, and enhance internal accounting controls.

MineralTree does this by streamlining the entire AP process with invoice capture and coding, automatic approval routing, and flexible payments that allow your business to utilize any payment method — including virtual cards to further protect your business against fraud and generate cash-back rebates. Want to learn more? Let’s get in touch!

Why is a Streamlined Invoice-to-Pay Process Important?

A streamlined invoice-to-pay process increases the efficiency of AP teams and helps strengthen vendor relationships while mitigating fraud risk. It also provides greater visibility and control over AP spend.

What Business Terms are Most Common When Discussing Invoice-to-Pay?

There are several terms within the invoice-to-pay process. Here are the most common terms you should know:

  • Cash in Advance (CIA): Requires buyer to pay for goods or services before any work is done or goods are received.
  • Payment in Advance (PIA): Requires the buyer to pay the total invoice amount upfront.
  • 50% Upfront: Requires the buyer to pay 50% of the total invoice amount upfront.
  • 15 Month Following Invoice (MFI): Requires buyer to pay the invoice on the 15th of the month after receiving the invoice.
  • End of Month (EOM): Requires buyer to pay by the end of the month after receiving the invoice.
  • Net 7 (21, 30): Requires buyer to pay 7 (21, 30) days after an invoice is received.

What are the Steps in an Invoice-to-Pay Process?

The traditional invoice-to-pay process is as follows:

1. A supplier generates an invoice.
2. The AP team receives it.
3. The AP team enters the invoice data into their accounting system.
4. The AP team sends the invoice for approval. 5. Designated individuals authorize the payment.
6. The AP team prints and cuts a paper check.
7. The AP team sends invoice payment to the supplier.
8. The AP team manually updates their ERP system once payment is made.

This traditional invoice processing approach is expensive, time-consuming, prone to fraud, and ultimately strains supplier relationships. As a result, many AP teams have switched their manual processes to an automated AP software to optimize and streamline their invoice-to-pay workflow.

How are Invoices Read and Recorded?

Invoices can be read and processed in a few different ways. The most common ways include:

  • Physical mail
  • Fax
  • Invoice Capture
  • Email
  • Supplier Portal

Want to learn more? Let's get in touch!