Avidxchange: Masterminds Of AP Automation

Avidxchange: Masterminds Of AP Automation

CIO VendorMichael Praeger, CEO & Co-founder While a number of business processes are making the best use of automation to drive efficiency and go paperless, operations like accounts payable (AP) and invoice processing are still lagging behind. Especially true for companies scaling for growth, dealing with challenges related to manual and cumbersome AP processes. According to a research conducted by PayStream Advisors—a business management consultancy— the average cost to process a transaction is 44 percent higher when conducted manually as opposed to an automated system. However, when it comes to adopting automation solutions, enterprises are oftentimes under the impression that they may lose control of their process. AvidXchange is changing this mindset by designing a system that can automate invoice and bill payment processing while not completely replacing a business’s existing processes and controls. AvidXchange’s unique payment solution enables users to transform their payables department into a profit center with more control and increased visibility into the payment process. “We are committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions in the payables space to solve business problems and create efficiencies, and we have invested in top talent to create what’s next for accounts payable automation and to facilitate a great client experience as we grow,” says Michael Praeger, co-founder and CEO of AvidXchange.

End-to-End Payment Automation

AvidXchange uses a combination of applications and services—ranging from purchase order to payment—to provide clients a ‘complete solution’ for AP automation. AvidXchange’s Purchase Order application automates a client’s purchase order process and controls costs by preventing unnecessary purchases. Users can simply begin their AP process by entering a requisition into the Invoice Application for the goods and services vendors require. Once the requisition has the appropriate approvals, it becomes a purchase order and is sent to the vendor for fulfillment. Alongside buyers, the company also provides bill services to suppliers, helping them submit all their invoices through a variety of methods. AvidXchange converts the invoice data and presents it electronically to buyers. The purchase order is associated with the invoice using the original purchase order number, vendor, and amount that was established at the beginning of the process. The purchase order and all of the individual line items and coding have now “flipped” to the invoice.

Following the fulfillment, the invoice enters AvidXchange’s E-Invoicing Software, a web-based invoice management system designed to automate the way companies manage AP documents. The Invoice Application provides finance executives and AP managers with enforceable controls, powerful reporting, and added “visibility” to all documents in their organization.

I strongly feel that our growth is directly tied to our focus on innovation and our decisions to align ourselves with industry-leading partners and investors

Clients can view their existing invoice approval process through AvidXchange Invoice. Paper invoices are either scanned and converted to an electronic format, or electronically submitted directly through the software. E-Invoices are automatically coded, assigned to the appropriate workflow, and routed for approval. Once approved, the invoices flow directly into the client’s accounting system for payment processing. By automating the entire payment process, clients can easily track invoices electronically, streamline workflows, and have a central repository for anytime, anywhere access to invoice data.

Businesses can then utilize AvidXchange’s full-service electronic payment system, AvidPay, to initiate payments. When the payment is selected, it is sent over to the AvidPay Network through which vendors are paid. The company also provides self-managed payment software, Create-A-Check that enables clients to manage vendor data and facilitate payments through MICR check, ACH/EFT, and wire transfers in-house.

AvidXchange in Action

For over 16 years, AvidXchange has helped various businesses overcome challenges in their accounting processes. The company’s success today can be attributed to its driving force, Praeger, who is considered a thought leader in developing creative solutions and best practices for payables and payment automation. Under his leadership, AvidXchange has successfully garnered interest from numerous enterprises. In an instance, RXR Realty—a commercial real estate company—processed over 2,000 invoices a month received by their 100 office properties throughout the New York tri-state area. The client’s paper-based process caused invoices to be transferred multiple times between offices to get all appropriate approvals, making it difficult to turn payments around quickly. RXR Realty’s AP team had no control over invoices, which delayed their month-end close. The client then decided to automate their AP using AvidXchange’s AvidInvoice solution, integrating it into their central IBS Property Management AP system. This allowed RXR Realty to receive, enter, and approve invoices in a paperless manner. Because all electronic invoices are available online at the beginning of the approval process, anyone with access to invoice can answer questions related to it at any time, from any location. With increased visibility into the status of outstanding invoices, closing the books at the end of the month became a one-day process. “When my boss asks if we can close tomorrow, I say ‘Sure, no problem!’” says Shanna Williams, AP Manager at RXR Realty.

AvidXchange, in partnership with Comdata and Mastercard, also offers an integrated purchasing card solution to provide better control over travel and expenses (T&E), while also lowering administrative costs to oversee the process.

By increasing visibility into spending and providing detailed and actionable reporting, the AvidXchange Purchasing Card is accepted at over 38 million locations for purchasing and T&E.

“We are committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions in the payables space to solve business problems and create efficiencies ”

The company’s ability to study financial operations enables AP managers to see and compare real-time metrics—such as days payable outstanding (DPO) and days sales outstanding (DSO)—for a complete overview of their company’s financial health. This enables executives in charting effective business strategies. With AP automation, an AP team can benefit from faster processing times, greater accuracy in payments, and less staff time allocated to data entry. AvidXchange’s AP automation solutions enable AP managers to ensure timely payments of vendor invoices and expense vouchers while maintaining accurate records and control reports. Through AvidXchange’s automated AP processes, AP managers can easily approve payments in batches and be automatically alerted when any issues surface, such as payment disputes with suppliers. This gives the managers time to focus on higher-level tasks such as overseeing and developing the AP staff and keeping up with the latest technological and financial advancements.

Strategic Partnerships Hold the Future

AvidXchange holds strong partnerships with companies like Tribridge, InterDyn BMI, and Massey Consulting to provide a competitive advantage to clients. In its recent endeavors, AvidXchange has partnered with Vroozi, a leading cloud-based business purchasing platform. The two companies will create an integrated offering to provide efficient and accurate automation from the procurement process all the way through the payment of the invoice using a combination of best-in-class solutions from AvidXchange and Vroozi. “We’ve been focused on the purchasing portion of the payables process for years, and we recognized the need to bring on an expert to help us solve for specialized procurement needs, such as customer-specific supplier catalogs for our customers to better manage their expenses,” says Praeger. Another significant alliance is with Mastercard to deliver accounts payable and payment automation to small and midsize businesses. “I strongly feel that our growth is directly tied to our focus on innovation and our decisions to align ourselves with industry-leading partners and investors.”

In addition, Praeger intends to focus on advancing Avid’s distribution channels. Currently, the company has 26 banks distributing AvidXchange products, whereby commercial bank customers can use the AvidXchange platform to automate their invoice and payment processes. “It is a long-term project from the standpoint of onboarding and training a bank to sell our products to their customers, but that is a big lever in terms of the business.” AvidXchange is also looking forward to launching its new product called Invoice Accelerator, a financing product for vendors on the Avid system. Invoice Accelerator will allow vendors to determine when they want to get paid and Avid will finance that transaction. With a futuristic outlook, AvidXchange will continue to help clients realize tremendous value from AP automation while riding a wave of innovation in fintech.

- Khyati Dubal
    September 15, 2017