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:
- accounts payable
- accounts receivable
- account reconciliation
- cash management
- close management, and more.
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:
- accounting and financial management
- customer relationship management (CRM)
- inventory management
- human capital management,
- procurement and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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, 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
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:
Figure 4: NetSuite Pros.
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
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- Automated Invoice Validation: Benefits & Use Cases in 2023
- Finance Automation in ’23: What It Is, Best Tools & 6 Processes
- Enterprise Invoice Processing: 4 Guidelines & 3 Solutions in 2023
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