AP Automation in NetSuite: What You Need to Know

AP automation is a big step in the right direction for organizations. But like any other significant investment, it’s vital to understand the landscape before diving in. In this article, we’ll answer some common questions about AP automation, as well as some that are specific to AP automation in NetSuite.


3 min read

Can accounts payable be automated?

Yes, accounts payable can be automated. Accounts payable automation (AP automation) replaces manual AP work with technological solutions that can automate the AP process from start to finish. AP automation cuts costs, enhances efficiency, increases accuracy, improves reporting, and helps vendor relationships. 

Curious to see what your ROI on AP automation could be? Try our calculator to find out.

What is an AP automation system?

An AP automation system is a technological solution that automates the accounts payable process. AP automation software removes the need for manual work and human intervention during the AP process, making it faster, more accurate, and less of a burden for your finance team.

How do I automate AP payments?

When looking to automate your AP process, there are three key areas to consider first: data entry, invoicing, and approvals. Each of these can be automated, but you may want to start with one and add from there, if necessary. For data entry, you can trade messy manual work for accurate automation via an OCR (optical character recognition) tool. For invoicing, you can switch to fast, digital-only e-invoicing. And for approvals, you can automate the process with an approvals solution that allows you to build and customize workflows that you can set and forget.

Does NetSuite have AP automation?

Yes, NetSuite AP automation was unveiled in 2022. It’s designed to reduce the amount of manual labor involved in the accounts payable process by automating the invoice-to-pay process. Benefits and advantages of NetSuite AP automation include: increased processing speeds for invoices and payments, enhanced data accuracy, lower costs, and higher profitability. There are also several native NetSuite SuiteApps designed to accelerate finance workflows, including AP automation. 

Does NetSuite have OCR?

Yes, ZoneCapture is the native AP automation solution for NetSuite. With it, your team can view, edit, and approve everything related to bills and credits without ever leaving their NetSuite screen. Using a combination of OCR technology and AI, ZoneCapture simply processes your bills as PDFs and, alternatively, if you’re using e-invoices, XML files are forwarded automatically through a secure network.

Does NetSuite have an approvals solution?

Yes, ZoneApprovals is the native approvals solution for NetSuite. ZoneApprovals allows you to effortlessly build, manage, and edit simple-to-complex approval workflows right inside of NetSuite. Thanks to the configurable workflows, in-system reminders, and email notifications, you no longer have to chase people down for approvals. Plus, you can essentially approve from anywhere as long as you have a phone.

When should I consider AP automation? 

It’s never a bad time to consider investing in AP automation. That said, companies that are growing fast or struggling immensely with a slow, costly, or inaccurate manual AP process should start considering AP automation immediately. 

What is the ROI of AP automation?

It all depends on a few factors: volume of monthly vendor bills, company size, and average total cost to manually process a bill. But with average manual invoice processing costs of $14–$50 and 56% of finance professionals claiming their businesses experienced cash flow forecasting issues due to manual AP hangups, positive ROI is almost guaranteed. To find your potential ROI on AP automation, try our AP Automation ROI Calculator.

AP automation is the way forward

If you want to say goodbye to things like late payments, duplicate invoices, and invoice-vendor mismatching, then AP automation is your answer. With it, you and your team will spend less time on manual entry and invoice processing and more time on value-added tasks that drive your business forward. Learn more about how ZoneCapture automates AP in NetSuite.

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