Blackbaud Accounts Payable (AP) Automation in ‘24: In-Depth Review
Blackbaud offers accounts payable automation with direct API integration of AvidXchange. Together with Blackbauds’ accounting product named Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT, the most basic processes they propose to automate in AP are:
- invoice and payments processing
- receiving & tracking invoices
- management of the invoice approval process
- Insights into expenditure through reporting and audit trails
Automating the accounts payable process is essential for sustaining ongoing finance automation. The 2023 Ardent Partners report indicates that 41% of businesses have prioritized AP automation in their upcoming plans. The report also emphasizes that 71% of AP leaders believe intelligent systems play a pivotal role in enhancing AP efficiency. In this article, we will explore Blackbaud AP automation solution and AvidXchange analyzing the key features offered.
Blackbaud AP automation overview
Blackbaud, founded in 2000, participates in the ‘Other Membership Organization Activities’ sector (ISIC: 9499). The revenue of the company is currently ~900$ million.1 Blackbaud offers Financial Edge NXT for overall accounting solutions such as:
- Bank and credit card reconciliation
- Automated budget and report creation
- Financial activity and position monitoring
- Compliance & audit tracking and more.
In 2022, Blackbaud integrated with an AP automation software named AvidXchange that was worth ~$300million.2 The company claims to have processed 70+million transactions over the year.3 The goal is to achieve the automation with a single platform that occurs through Avidconnect.
Features & key capabilities offered by Blackbaud in AP automation
Avidxchange, which is integrated with Blackbaud, offers a lot of services in accounting automation (Figure 1). Although some of these services intersect with AP automation, not all of them serve the same context. Here, we will focus on products that provide AP automation.
Figure 1: Avidxchange product range.4
Avidxchange offer an invoice-to-pay system for financial institutions accounting departments in banks and credit unions to automate their accounts payable procedures, including vendor payments, fixed assets management, expense reporting, as well as the handling of prepaids, accruals, and other related tasks.5 The company claims that within 45 days, the implementation is completed. The modules also include:
- accounts payable automation
- invoice inbox
- approval workflow
- fixed assets
- purchase requisitions
- vendor and shareholder management
The invoice automation solution, AvidInvoice (Figure 2) offers core services such as intelligent document processing (IDP), automatic invoice categorization, cloud-based data archiving, and OFAC screenings for suppliers. The product supports 3-way matching. AvidInvoice also offers services such as:
- Automated invoice data extraction & routing
- AI and machine learning for data entry
- customizable approval workflows
- invoice status monitoring
- reporting and analytics
Figure 2: AvidInvoice sample process
For more information, also check:
Blackbaud & Avidxchange pricing structure
For the Financial Edge Nxt, Blackbaud only offers custom pricing.7 Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT offers a demo, but the product does not offer a free trial. According to secondary sources such as Capterra, the pricing of Financial Edge NXT is USD $0.01 per year.8
Avidxchange also does not share their pricing details openly. To obtain information on their pricing, you can either provide your details to us or reach out to them directly. Again, according to secondary sources such as Capterra, the pricing of AvidAscend is USD $0.01 per year.9
Use cases of Blackbaud & Avidxchange AP automation
Property Management Systems, Inc.
Property Management Systems, Inc. (PMSI) is a community association management service that faced significant inefficiencies in its accounts payable (AP) operations. They were majorly manual and labor-intensive. The community manager was responsible for sorting paper invoices and manually routing them for approval, a process that was not only time-consuming but also lacked transparency for vendors and community boards inquiring about invoice statuses. The transition to an automated AP system has revolutionized PMSI’s operations and decreased the time spent on AP tasks. The automation has integrated community board members into the approval workflow, with increased transparency.10
Norbella is a media agency located in Boston. Initially, they used a different payment provider, which was effective at first but eventually became less efficient. The effort to enhance and develop its technical features slowly decreased, and customer service quality also dropped. AvidXchange attracted Norbella’s CFO with its customer support and easy API connection features that offered time savings. The system provided timely alerts, improved the current workflow without hassle, and made the payment process quicker and clearer for Norbella.11
Massaro Construction Group (MCG)
Massaro Construction Group (MCG) is a construction company that manages large projects like schools and hospitals. Their IT department, responsible for managing accounting and construction management software, worked with the accounting team to handle over 600 paper invoices and checks each month. This manual process was time-consuming, error-prone, and costly, involving gathering invoices, printing, and mailing, which also increased the risk of fraud.
By adopting AvidXchange’s automated AP system, integrated with Sage 300 CRE, MCG streamlined its operations, reduced the AP process by about 14 hours monthly and saved over $4,200 annually on paper and supplies.12
Blackbaud & Avidxchange Pros
Invoice tracking is one of the most mentioned and praised features of Avidxchange by the reviewers. For an explanatory example, see Figure 3:
Figure 3. User review on Avidxchange. Source: G2.13
Avidxchange users also commonly mentioned that the product helped solve the invoice approval process significantly.
Figure 4. User review on Avidxchange. Source: G2.14
Blackbaud & Avidxchange Cons
Several users complained that Avidxchange’s 1099 and PO functionalities are not efficient enough.15
Figure 5. Cons of Avidxchange. Source: Trustradius
Other users pointed out administration and payment check issues. For overall complaints on the platform, see Figure 4:
Figure 6. Avidxchange Cons. Source: Capterra16
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