February 12, 2020

Vendor Invoice Automation with Dynamics 365

Small Business
Ronald B. Allen

With Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can make your accounts payable processing more efficient by automating vendor invoice processing. This process is often handled by giving the paperwork to a provider of optical recognition services. In return, the company receives data that is machine-readable as well as scans of all invoices. Then the business needs to develop the last step that feeds the invoice data into their invoicing system. That “last step” is now efficiently handled by Dynamics 365 as an already-assembled solution to invoice automation.

The Context in Which the Dynamics 365 System Works

Invoices contain lots of information, commonly referred to as Meta data. There are all of the identifying details as well as invoice amounts, past due amounts, and more. And, there are commonly attachments as well with even more necessary information. All of this information is put into digital form and fed into your vendor invoice processing system.

Example of an Invoice Integration Process with Dynamics 365

The Dynamics 365 solution fits several scenarios so long as you receive the appropriate data to input into your system. This information will include the header, invoice lines, and the attachments. The data set is also referred to as a data entity. The invoices go to be scanned and come back as scanned images and the necessary data. Then they go into the Dynamics 365 system for automation.

Creating Test Data Including Invoices and Attachments

To do this, start by signing in to your instance. Then go to Accounts payable, Invoices, and Pending vendor invoices. Then create the invoices with lines and attachments. The system supports header attachments but not line attachments.

Now open the Data management area and create an export job which includes Vendor header, lines, and attachment data.

And, export that data.

Download this data package and you can use it by importing into multiple instances for testing.

What Is the Legal Entity of an Invoice?

There are two ways that an invoice can be associated with its legal entity.

The system starts with the import job and is processing the invoice and imports to the same company where the job had been scheduled within the Data management workspace. In this case, the company whose job it is decides the company which the invoice belongs with.

The other way this works is that the data package is routed to Finance and the application that sends it added the company ID in the HTTP request. Thus, the company context from Finance is overridden. And, the invoices imported this way go to the company indicated by the HTTP request.

Processing Exceptions

A great feature of Dynamics 365 is that failed invoices and exceptions that arrive via integration can be efficiently dealt with.

You can find of list of Vendor invoices that did not import correctly going to Accounts payable, Invoices, Import failures, and the list of failed imports. The page gives you all invoice header records in a staging table from the Vendor invoice header entity. You can also look at these from the Data management area and you can deal with exceptions in both of these areas.

The list on the exceptions list page gives you the company name, error message, invoice number, account, invoice date and description, posting date, and purchase order number as well as the name of the vendor and an invoice description. In addition, the currency is listed, any log items are listed, and there is a line reference for the error(s).

The list page has a handy preview pane that lets you view the entire message as well as the entire list of attachments.

You will make your edits on the exception details page when you use the edit mode. As you make your edits, any attachments can be displayed alongside of the exception details page.

From the exception details page you can create a pending invoice after making any fixes. This actually happens simultaneously with your making adjustments in the invoice you are working on.

Who Processes Exceptions?

You can set this up according to user, user role, or legal entity. In this way you can limit access to exception records to those with the need to see them and work on them.

Viewing Attachments Side by Side

When there are lots of details to work with, a handy feature of Dynamics 365 is the ability to process attachments side by side. You can see various document types as supported by document management including URLs, images, files, notes, and multi-page TIFF files.

Dynamics 365 provides extensive ability to edit and correct invoice errors in order to get them into your automated processing scheme.

When you have received error-free invoices from your OCR processing service or when you have made the necessary corrections, the invoice data is fed into your system for automatic processing and payment.

Vendor invoice automation is just one of the many tasks made easy and efficient by Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. If you need help deciding how your business can use this advanced software or in putting it to use, contact us at Exigo Business Solutions today.

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