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Automatic processing of invoices for SAP

Automatic invoice processing is only available for PO invoices. For more information about invoice types refer
to Vendor invoice automation overview.
Automatic invoice processing allows you to automatically process invoices originating from a given
vendor without any human intervention, provided that the automatically extracted data are correct.

Important note about payment approval workflow


In a payment approval workflow, if Document Manager is configured to automatically set approvers for the
current vendor (via the AP - Payment approval rules table), then these approvers will not receive the
payment approval form for this invoice, and it will be implicitly approved.
It can be configured from a PO invoice validation form, under the Automatic processing tab in the invoice header
section.

When enabling this feature, your invoice workflow will be structured as follows:
1. A received invoice is analyzed and relevant data extracted to create the invoice validation form.
2. The data on the form are checked:
o If the data are correct, the invoice is silently approved without requiring any intervention, just as if
the AP specialist had clicked the Post / Send to approvers button.
o If some data appear to be incorrect (i.e. could not be properly extracted), the document cannot be
silently processed. The AP specialist to whom the invoice was sent is prompted to fix the data and
to manually approve the document before the workflow can continue.

See also
 Requesting automatic document processing for a given customer or vendor
 Tracking automatically processed documents
 Improving the automatic processing performances

Requesting automatic document processing for a given customer or vendor


Automatic processing can be configured either by the user in charge of validating an invoice (i.e. the AP
specialist), or by his administrator.

As an AP specialist validating an invoice


From the validation form interface, open the Automatic processing tab and set the Enabled for this vendor option
to Yes:

Once the option set to yes, finish approving this invoice. The next time a PO invoice originating from the same
vendor as the current one is submitted, it will be automatically approved if data were correctly extracted.
Use the Ignore warnings option to specify whether automatic processing shall be carried out or canceled in case
of warnings. If canceled, the invoice needs to be validated manually by the AP specialist. Please note that should
any errors be generated, automatic processing will fail, regardless of the value you selected for this option.

As an administrator
Administrators can set automatic processing information by editing the AP - Automatic processing table as shown
below.
Tracking automatically processed documents
When automatic processing is enabled for a given vendor, the documents issued from this vendor still generate a
validation form in Document Manager. Therefore you can track them the same way as you can track manually
processed validation forms from the Validation tab.
Select the Approved forms view from the Validation tab to list all the forms that have been approved either
manually or automatically.

Tip on narrowing down the list of approved forms to automatically approved forms only
The Automatic processing requested and automatic processing done fields of a processed invoice are
effective indicators to identify invoices for which automatic processing was requested and/or applied. Use
these fields to filter the view.
When you click on an automatically approved form, and in addition to standard web form fields , you will also be
able to view detailed information about the automatic processing of the invoice, such as:

 The messages and documents generated after the automatic document processing (typically, a new job
of Invoice processing)
 The date and time when the document was taken into account
 The date and time when it was automatically processed
 The user who automatically processed it
Click here to view a sample of these invoice properties

Viewing the errors that blocked the automatic approval


Below is the list of errors that block the automatic processing workflow. When one of these errors occurs, the
user is prompted to validate the form which contains a list of the errors that prevented the automatic validation.
This list is displayed in the Automatic processing failure reason field under the Automatic processing tab.
View the list of possible automatic posting errors for vendor invoices .

Improving the automatic processing performances


To improve the automatic processing performances by increasing the number of documents that are successfully
processed:
1. First use default reports or create new reports to obtain statistics,
2. Then use the teaching feature to try and eliminate blocking errors (after identifying the most frequent
blocking errors through reporting).

Using default reports or creating new reports to obtain statistics


The vendor invoice automation comes with some predefined reports that help you monitor vendor invoice
processing. Amongst these, some reports have been specifically designed to track automatically processed
invoices:

 AP - Automatically processable invoices: a report on all the invoices likely to be processed automatically.
 AP - Automatically processed invoices: a report on the invoices which were successfully processed via
automatic processing.
Refer to Default reports for more details.
If these reports aren't sufficient for your needs you can either duplicate and modify them, or you can create a
completely new report. You can use the following specific fields available in the document archive properties:

 Automatic processing is required (filled with Yes or No)


 Automatic processing done (filled with Yes or No)
 Automatic processing is possible (filled with Yes or No)
 Automatic processing failure reasons (filled with the error codes in the above table)

Important
These fields are always filled in, even when automatic processing is not requested. This allows you to
know how many documents could be automatically processed if automatic processing was always
requested, for example.
Refer to Fields list for details on each field.
For example, create a chart report to identify the most frequent failure reasons of automatic processing. Once
you have identified the most frequent problems, you can try and improve the automatic processing performances
through teaching.
For details on how to create such reports, refer to Creating a report.

Teaching
You can teach a validation form for which automatic processing was requested but that could not be
automatically processed because of an error on the form. This allows you to fix the errors that block the
automatic approval and to improve the performances.

Note
You can also teach a validation form that has successfully been automatically processed. However, note
that reprocessing the form with the new settings set in teaching mode is not available in this case. The
new settings will only be taken into account when processing upcoming documents.
For more information, refer to Teaching in Document Manager.

See also
Vendor invoice automation overview
View this page on esker.com >
Vendor invoice automation overview
The vendor invoice automation allows you to simplify the vendor invoice workflow, from data capture to payment
release and invoice archiving. It ensures the traceability of vendor invoices and an easy access to its associated
documents.

How does it work?


When a vendor invoice is submitted to Document Manager, a new validation form is created, which will allow an
AP specialist to view and approve the invoice. Depending on how the administrator configured the invoice
automation, the validation form content and payment approval workflow will change, as described below.

Validating an invoice for archiving (Package A)


This method of invoice validation offers a way to manually archive invoices from your ERP system into Document
Manager. The AP specialist will enter basic information regarding the invoice, such as its reference number in the
ERP, and this information will be stored along with the original invoice image in the created archive for later
viewing.

 The AP specialist creates the invoice in his ERP.


 The invoice is submitted to the AP specialist in Document Manager. He enters the requested data for this
invoice in the provided form, which depends on his ERP:
o SAP environment: refer to Validating an SAP invoice for archiving
o Other ERP: refer to Validating an invoice for archiving
 When he approves the invoice, the archive is created. It contains the entered data along with the
original invoice image.

Validating an invoice for an ERP (Package B)


This method offers an automatic data extraction from the invoice to simplify and accelerate invoice processing for
the AP specialist, and leads to the fully automatic creation of this invoice in the ERP system, along with an
archiving of its data and image in Document Manager.
 The invoice is submitted to the AP specialist. Taking advantage of the OCR (Optical Character
Recognition) capabilities of Document Manager to automatically extract information from the submitted
invoice, the Invoice validation form is therefore already filled with some information when he opens it. He
must only check that the presented data is valid, and correct it if necessary. The form contents depends on
his ERP:
o SAP environment: Editing an invoice for SAP validation form
o Other ERP: Validating an invoice for an ERP
 The AP specialist approves the invoice which will lead to:
o The creation of the invoice in the ERP system (e.g. in SAP).
o The creation of an archive of the invoice accessible from Document Manager. This archive contains
both the data extracted from the invoice (which was sent to the ERP to create the invoice), and the
image of the invoice originally submitted.

Validating an invoice for an ERP with approval workflow (Package C)


This method of invoice validation adds a complete approval workflow to the previous method. This workflow can
be configured by your administrator to be run either before or after the invoice creation in the ERP:

 Pre-approval workflow: The AP specialist validates a new invoice in Document Manager and specifies
some approvers which will in turn approve the payment of the invoice. Once every approver has given his
approval for the payment, the invoice is created in the ERP.
 Post-approval workflow: When validating the invoice, in addition to specifying some approvers, the AP
specialist also specifies that the payment of the invoice is blocked. The invoice is immediately created in the
ERP system. The approvers will then approve the payment of the invoice in turn. Once every approver has
approved the payment, the invoice in the ERP is updated to specify the payment is unblocked.

Pre-approval workflow
This method has the great advantage that the invoice remains editable (by the AP specialist) during the whole
workflow, and that approvers can complete the invoice data by providing the cost centers if the AP
specialist could not set them. Approvers can send back the invoice to the AP specialist in case of a problem. The
AP specialist will modify the invoice data before resubmitting it to this same approver, and the workflow will
continue.
 A new invoice is submitted to the AP specialist in Document Manager.
 Data is automatically extracted from the invoice to pre-fill the validation form. The AP specialist
completes and/or corrects the data and adds some approvers who will be in charge of approving the
payment of the invoice, before finally approving it. The form content depends on his ERP:
o SAP environment: Editing an invoice for SAP validation form
o Other ERP: Validating an invoice for an ERP
 The invoice archive is immediately created in Document Manager (it will be updated later if needed), and
the approval workflow begins:
The first approver receives a payment approval request in Document Manager. When he opens it,
he can view the invoice image and its data as approved by the AP specialist. From there he can:
o Approve the payment: In this case, a payment approval request is sent to the next approver in
the list.
o Send back the invoice to the AP specialist: If some data is incorrect or incomplete, or if some
attachments are missing, the approver can send back the invoice to the AP specialist who will
be able to apply the correction and send it back to the approver, or even to completely reset the
approval workflow (e.g., if the invoice was not sent to the proper approvers from the beginning).
o Add an extra approver: As the approver can see the list of defined approvers, he can decide
that he wants another approver who is not in the list to approve the payment instead of him (e.g.
if the amount is too large for his accreditation, he can decide that he wants his manager to
approve it).
o Reject the payment: In this case, the workflow ends and the invoice will not be created.
This process is then repeated for each approver in the list.
The payment approval form content depends on the ERP:
o SAP environment: Payment approval of an invoice for SAP
o Other ERP: Payment approval of an invoice
 When the last approver approves the payment, the invoice is finally sent back to the AP specialist so that
he can post it.
 The AP specialist receives the invoice validation form one last time. He can check that the payment has
been approved by all the approvers, and do a final check on the data. He then clicks on the Post button to
create the invoice in the ERP, and the archive is updated to its final status (including the list of approvers
and their comments).

Post-approval workflow
In this method, the invoice is created in the ERP before the approvers can access the payment approval forms.
The invoice payment is blocked in the ERP, and the succession of approvers actions will lead to the unblocking
of the payment in the ERP. This means that once the invoice has been approved by the AP specialist, the invoice
data cannot be modified anymore (but approvers can still request that he adds some attachments). In case of a
problem, the approver can put the invoice on hold while waiting for the problem to be solved.

 A new invoice is submitted to the AP specialist in Document Manager.


 Data is automatically extracted from the invoice to pre-fill the validation form. The AP specialist
completes and/or corrects the data and adds some approvers who will be in charge of approving the
payment of the invoice, before finally approving the invoice.The form content depends on his ERP:
o SAP environment: Editing an invoice for SAP validation form
o Other ERP: Validating an invoice for an ERP
 The invoice archive is immediately created in Document Manager (it will be updated later if needed), and
the invoice is immediately created in the ERP as blocked for payment, and the approval workflow begins:
The first approver receives a payment approval request in Document Manager. When he opens it,
he can view the invoice image and its data as approved by the AP specialist. From there he can
either:
o Approve the payment: In this case, a payment approval request is sent to the next approver in
the list.
o Send back the invoice to the AP specialist: If the approver considers that he is not the
legitimate recipient for this payment approval or if he needs some additional files to be attached,
he can send back the invoice to the AP specialist who will be able to add the requested
attachments or reset the workflow accordingly.
o Add an extra approver: As the approver can see the list of defined approvers, he can decide
that he wants another approver who is not in the list to approve the payment instead of him (e.g.
if the amount is too large for his accreditation he can decide that he wants his manager to
approve it).
o Put the invoice on hold: If the approver considers there is a problem with the invoice, putting
the invoice on hold pauses the workflow. Once the problem with the invoice is solved, the
approver can resume it.
This process is then repeated for each approver in the list.
The payment approval form content depends on the ERP:
o SAP environment: Payment approval of an invoice for SAP
o Other ERP: Payment approval of an invoice
 When the last approver approves the payment, the invoice payment is unblocked in the ERP and the
archive is updated to its final status (including the list of approvers and their comments).

Identifying your invoice validation environment


As an AP specialist, if you are not sure of how your invoice automation environment has been configured by your
administrator, you simply need to check the series of letters at the bottom right of your validation form interface:

This series is comprised of the following groups of letters:

Group Condition Possible values

 AP: vendor invoice


1

2  PA: vendor invoice for archiving


 PB: vendor invoice for ERP
 PC: vendor invoice for ERP with payment approval workflow

3  ERP: the form is designed for any type of ERP, including SAP if the form is
disconnected from SAP (data are not automatically updated in SAP).
 SAP: the form is connected with your SAP system while you are validating
it. Document Manager will retrieve in real time some data from SAP to help
you complete the form.

4 If the second group  FI: non-PO invoice validation


is PB or PC
 MM: PO invoice validation, with line items reconciliation
Group Condition Possible values

5 If the third group  PR: pre-approval workflow


is PC
 PO: post-approval workflow