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NetSuite Accounts Payable (AP) Automation in 2024

NetSuite’s accounting software emerges as a key player in the AP market, offering a comprehensive suite of tools in the domain of finance automation (see Figure 1). The most notable among these functionalities include:

Source: Oracle Netsuite

Figure 1. Sample of AP dashboard. 

Amongst these, the automation of accounts payable process is crucial for maintaining continuous financial operations. According to the Ardent Partners report from 2023, implementation of AP automation accounts for 41% of the incoming agenda of businesses. The report also highlights that 71% of AP leaders consider smart systems are a critical factor in influencing AP performance.1 As This article will delve into one of those, NetSuite, as an AP automation software.

Oracle NetSuite overview

NetSuite Inc., headquartered in Austin, Texas is an American company specializing in cloud-based enterprise software. In November 2016, Oracle Corporation acquired NetSuite in a deal valued at around US$9.3 billion.

For AP features offered by NetSuite, take a quick look at: 

The services NetSuite offer includes:

This article will only focus on NetSuite’s accounting software, and accounts payable automation it offers in particular.

Features & key capabilities of NetSuite AP automation

NetSuite’s accounts payable (AP) system automates the AP process of supplier invoice management, invoice processing, reviewing and approving, and making payments. This automation improves control over the complete procure-to-pay cycle. Some of the key features offered by Netsuite ap automation software are:

Accounts payable dashboard

The dashboard offered by NetSuite is configurable. Key performance indicators (KPIs), and alerts are also included in the services offered. Through these tools, businesses can track vital information such as open purchase orders (POs), invoices pending approval, due dates for invoices, scheduled payment process, and more.

Vendor records

Netsuite AP automation allows businesses to keep extensive records for each supplier including:

  • contact details
  • e-mail addresses
  • banking information
  • purchase orders
  • historical payments, and credit memos.

You can also compare received invoiced data with vendor information, and can verify accuracy.

Purchase order automation

Through NetSuite, businesses can monitor purchase requests, and have them automatically forwarded to the relevant managers for assessment. Once approved, these requests can be converted into purchase orders. By matching vendor invoices to purchase orders and receiving documents, you can prevent overpayments or duplicate payments & transactions.

Invoice capture

You can upload digital invoices to NetSuite either by dragging and dropping them or by capturing them through email. These invoices are then scanned, and key details such as vendor name, purchase order number, ordered items, quantities, and prices are converted into digital text. NetSuite uses AI in AP automation to automatically generate a bill record by learning from past data to pre-fill relevant fields. A side-by-side display of the actual invoice and the NetSuite interface can simplify the review & verification process for AP staff, and avoid manual data entry.

Source: NetSuite2

Figure 2. A sample of invoice capture & process on Oracle NetSuite.

Invoice matching & approving

Vendor invoices are aligned with corresponding POs and receiving documents to verify the accuracy of details such as unit pricing, quantity, and total amounts. These vendor bills are then directed to the relevant staff members for straightforward review and approval. The use of automated reminders and a mobile approval application can help automate the process.

Payment automation

NetSuite allows arrangement of payments through various methods like cash, check, credit card, or electronic transfer, timed according to invoice due dates, or implementation of custom rules to take advantage of early-payment discounts. You can also set up and authorize recurring invoices for regular expenses like utilities or subscriptions, as long as they meet predetermined limits. NetSuite also provides payment processing services for HSBC.

Reports

Businesses can utilize standard AP reports, configurable reporting segments, and saved searches for in-depth analysis across various dimensions, such as expense category, department, location, or any other pertinent criteria. The report allows monitoring payments based on date, status, and vendor.

For overall information and to have idea how the product works, see:

NetSuite Pricing structure

Netsuite’s official pricing policy is only available through individual contact. However, secondary sources state that the starting price for the platform is around $99 per user each month, in addition to a monthly licensing fee of $999. Yet, this base price is just an estimate, and your actual expenses may differ considerably.3

According to another secondary source, the pricing is as follows:

 Source: SCS Cloud4 

Figure 3: NetSuite Pricing

Use cases of Netsuite AP automation

Veckridge Chemical

Veckridge, aiming to transform into a progressive distributor, launched NetSuite in 60 days. Additionally, Veckridge incorporated NetSuite AP Automation to process bills. Now, NetSuite automatically generates a bill upon receiving an order, using the PO data already in the system. The company’s staff have also utilized these tools for tasks such as automatically calculating sales commissions and updating customers on their orders.5 

Brex

Brex, having expanded with several subsidiaries including one in Canada, needed an ERP system capable of handling multi-entity accounting. NetSuite OneWorld fulfills this need by enabling Brex to gather data from various business units, establish unified processes, and meet the international accounting and compliance norms.

Additionally, it facilitates cost allocation across different offices, like distributing rent expenses based on headcount, as noted by one of the founders. The founders also emphasize the integration capabilities of NetSuite that brings major components to handle into a singular module.6 

T3 Micro Supercharges

T3 Micro aimed to eliminate the need for physical signatures on invoices & guarantee timely payments to vendors. NetSuite allowed the company to establish an automated approval system and accelerate vendor payments. Later, some users found the new system challenging due to its two-factor authentication requirement. NetSuite connected T3 Micro with their partner, Tipalti, whose vendor payment solution effectively resolved the authentication issue.7 

NetSuite Pros

Customers widely mention the integration and customization capabilities of NetSuite, particularly the benefits of its regarding the accounting system.8 

For overall picture on what customers praise about Netsuite, see:

Source: G2

Figure 4: NetSuite Pros.

Cons

There are several bottlenecks worth mentioning about NetSuite. For instance, some of the users complained about bad onboarding experiences and inefficient searching tools.9  Others stressed the problems they had in the implementation process.10

For overall picture on what customers did not like about NetSuite, see:

Figure 5: NetSuite Cons

Further Reading

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Burak Ceylan
Burak is an Industry Analyst in AIMultiple. He received his Masters' degree in Political Science from Middle East Technical University. He has background in researching location-based platforms.

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