ADP: An E-Invoicing Alternative Across Industries (Part 2)

- February 7, 2013 7:42 AM
Categories: Technology | Tags: , , ,

With its P2P capability, ADP checks the general e-invoicing (not eProucurement) feature boxes with ease. Its solution encompasses precisely what you’d expect from an accounts payable (AP) driven invoice automation program (for further background, read our first installment of this series). This includes a portal capability for suppliers to check on invoice status (among other features), broader solution interoperability and integration (ERP/MRP, supplier systems, etc.), flexible data submission types across multiple formats/types, matching and workflow, contract compliance checks and analytics and reporting. The roots of the solution go back to supporting complex requirements (often with minimal PO guidance) for the oil and gas business, where large services providers must manage teams of subs and roll-up this information to the ultimate upstream or downstream buyer.

When users log into the ADP environment, they’re greeted with a traditional enterprise applications-type screen (i.e., it does not look like Tradeshift’s socially-informed UI or Basware’s slick new .Net driven framework) that provides numerous immediate options for navigation. A user may opt to navigate to a general message area, for example, where messages, reports and invoice status (and data) is quickly presented. Screen customization is possible, including custom lists and related fields.

The AP workbench of the product provides a lot of information on a single screen for the power user. This includes detailed lists of invoices flagged for approval and associated information (last actions, dates, coding, amount, currency, etc.) Color-coding provides a familiar user with the ability to see how an invoice came in (EDI, portal/direct entry, scan/capture). For invoices coming in via a scan/capture approach, ADP can extract data from the PDF/paper copy and present it in the way a particular stakeholder wants to see it.

So far, for the more informed Spend Matters reader, this may sound fairly pedestrian as best-in-class e-invoicing solutions go. But ADP begins to differentiate with the ease and approach to how it breaks down individual invoice information (remember, in the oil and gas business, initial PO data is often lacking detail – the invoice contains the most detailed information). ADP enables users to quickly allocate different lines of an invoice to different GL codes, entities, etc. and then further break out descriptions by different units of measure, rates, discounts, etc. The solution can scale and integrate to meet the needs of disparate ledgers and accounting system resident in one buying organization from the business in which it came.

As with other e-invoicing tools, ADP’s solution can flag invoices and individual lines based on workflow, approvals and permissions (an invoice or lines within invoices might be flagged as an exception for straight through processing, based on lacking required authorization approval or exceed amounts beyond authorization approval). It’s also possible to quickly dive into all of the information associated with an invoice, including the metadata created from the workflow and activity associated with it, including invoice dates, status trail (e.g., originally in dispute but with corrected pricing), supplier type, message trail highlights, contact details, etc.

E-invoicing solutions tend not to differentiate themselves when information is accurate the first time. They stand out in resolving issues that might arise between AP and suppliers. In this regard, ADP enables AP to electronically dispute specific fields that could be tied to a broader contract agreement or MSA (e.g., a unit price might exceed a contract price based on certain volume thresholds being met). For receipting, ADP can provide a by-supplier look at activity by date in a calendar-driven, color-coded format (e.g., a disputed invoice on a certain date might stand out because it’s flagged red).

The capabilities behind the receipting front end can support different types of matches as well as integration into different financial, procurement and contracting systems. Matching may or may not require a PO. And matching on contracts, service entry sheets, or goods receipts is flexible and configurable on just about any level (e.g., requiring particular matching based on invoice, category or supplier tolerances).

Stay tuned as our analysis continues.

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