Purchase Order Process Flow for Growing Companies

August 31, 2021 / in AP AutomationPalette

For many organizations the purchase order process flow can often be resource intensive.

That’s because purchase orders have to be matched to an invoice and/or a goods receipt, either at the header or line level. In most cases it’s a manual process performed by someone in accounts payable.

The downside of a manual process is that it is not only time-consuming (as the average matching session might take 15 minutes to an hour or more), but the back-and-forth communication with emails and spreadsheets leads to missed information and delayed payments. 

Matching POs with hundreds of lines can be a tedious exercise at the best of times, and not the best use of the limited resources you have. As well, companies that rely on manual PO matching leave themselves open to manual errors and the risk of fraudulent activity.

Some accounts payable software solutions will have an option for PO matching, but often it’s a visual process of comparing an invoice on the screen to a PO on the screen – which makes it a manual process still.

Using an advanced automated purchase order management system, supplier invoices are automatically matched by the software against the corresponding internal or external PO at the header or line level. The matching process takes place according to predefined business rules and tolerances. Invoices matching within the approved tolerances are sent directly to the organization’s ERP for recording. 

Purchase Order Process Flow

Automated PO Matching

Once the system is setup, a PO can arrive in the system, get matched to the invoice, and sent to the ERP for payment all within minutes of receipt. That means the matching process remains “touchless”, as software takes on the task of matching the invoice to the PO or goods receipt and forwarding to your ERP for recording.

If any information is missing or incorrect, the software sends the exception to the proper approver to be corrected and matched manually. The approver sees the invoice, the PO, and the goods receipt along with any communications between team members that are relevant. 

One invoice can contain items from multiple purchase orders, and one purchase order can be matched to multiple invoices, whether they have been delivered in part or in full. 

Purchase Order Matching Engine

This is where a solution like Palette can make a difference.

Palette’s automated PO matching module is advanced purchase order software in the cloud that matches purchase orders at both the header and line level. It matches both internal or external purchase orders with hundreds of lines. Exceptions are sent to approvers with all of the necessary information for approval. Approvers can validate the payment with one-click on desktop or mobile.

To reduce the risk of fraud, organizations need to have a good audit system. Palette time-stamps every step in the purchase order process, and provides an audit trail for investigations and enquiries related to invoice payables.

For more information about Palette’s accounts payable 3 way matching software, click here.

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