What is an invoice in accounting

June 20, 2022

Quick and efficient handling of vendor invoices, using an Invoice Management Solution, is crucial for startups, particularly those in hardware. This approach saves time and improves operations, preventing late payments.

Best Practices:

  • Tracking and Payment: Maintain vigilant tracking and processing of invoices. Pay supplier invoices promptly to avoid late payments and secure possible discounts.
  • Software Use: Implement a robust Invoice Management Solution. This streamlines the payable process, making it faster and less prone to invoice errors.
  • Automating Tasks: Automate tasks like prioritizing invoices and detecting fraud to replace manual processes. This simplifies the handling of professional invoices.
  • Handling Disputes: Efficiently address and resolve disputes related to unpaid invoices or invoice errors.
  • Managing Payment Schedules: Establish and adhere to payment schedules to prevent payment delays and ensure timely payments.


  • Saves time by reducing manual invoice processing.
  • Streamlines purchase process.
  • Strengthens relationships with suppliers by managing vendor invoices effectively.
  • Reduces fraud, delays, and invoice errors.
  • Increases transparency and boosts employee productivity.
  • Facilitates better control over unpaid invoices and procurement savings.

Effective invoice management, especially handling professional and vendor invoices, is essential for fast-growing startups to stay competitive and manage cash flows efficiently.

What is Invoice Management?

Invoice management, a vital internal business function, is a method that lets companies track and pay supplier invoices systematically and efficiently. Typically, this is a back-office function part of the procurement process, integral to the finance department. In most operations, the accounts payable department, a key segment of the accounting team, manages this process, utilizing invoice management systems. 

Accounting systems issue it. A more straightforward definition is that it is a process that works the process of receiving an invoice for purchased products and services, including various types of invoices such as sales invoices, debit invoices, and credit invoices, recording the data from it, and validating and ensuring the data is accurate. This also involves managing hundreds of invoices and handling physical paper and digital payments, thus necessitating efficient invoice management systems. 

Verifying the invoice, and then paying for the service follows. The final step involves recording the payment as a transaction in the company's books, reflecting in real-time for accurate accounting. When invoice management is applied, it is possible to regulate the payment process. That is, it is possible to ensure that invoices are approved and paid properly to minimize excessive fees, processing costs, and penalties for late payments. It also enables potential discounts for early payments, leading to cost savings. This is an important part of best practices with accounts payable, ensuring effective internal controls and reducing fraud risk.

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How Invoice Management Processes Work

The days of traditional invoice management using only physical invoices are gone in most operations. Though you may receive a paper invoice, most of the time, invoice processing is automated, thanks to advancements in online invoicing software. Invoice automation is an empowering process as it can make paying a purchase order more efficient, reducing manual invoice processing and storage costs. With invoice management software, there are typically four steps involved.

#1 Receive the Invoice from the Vendor

The first part of the invoice management process, an integral aspect of the invoicing process, is to receive the invoice from the vendor. Suppliers send invoices, which could range from proforma invoices to more detailed sales invoices, once they deliver products, complete work, or otherwise provide a service. 

The accounts payable, finance, or accounting person often receives the invoice. The invoice typically includes the date it was sent, the contact information from the supplier as well as buyer information, purchase details outlining what it is for, and the payment details.

#2 Recording the Data from the Invoice

The next step in invoice automation is recording the invoice data into the accounting software. The information from the invoice, such as invoice amounts and invoice details, is verified as a part of the invoice processing. 

This may be done manually or with AP automation, transitioning from manual invoice management to more efficient methods. Invoice management software typically handles this through automation. A digital version of the invoice is then made. This serves as a backup to the original. The copies are beneficial if suppliers find any problems, including a duplicate invoice or a mistake in the billing.

#3 Validating and Verification of Received Invoice

With the invoice logged, the next step is to have the accounts payable department or person verify that it is accurate. This is a final approval step, crucial in invoice management. It is done prior to making payment. With automated invoice processing, this task is eliminated. The invoice management software can compare the purchase order to the invoices as well as other goods receipts. 

This speeds up the billing process allowing for faster approval. This invoice management process tends to be more efficient because it will enable the supplier invoice to receive approval faster, allowing the invoice to be paid sooner. Invoice approval is an option for many invoice-processing software programs like this.

#4 Approving Payments

The next step is the payment. At this point in the invoice approval workflow, the purchase process has received approval from the system. The invoice management software checked for duplicate invoice documentation. Every step is complete, and the invoice is sent to the payment person. The payment process can take several days or longer. The payment system itself is an essential component of this process, often involving digital payments.

In some cases, email confirmations can get lost. Accounts payable needs to then ensure that there is good communication in this step to ensure processing invoices is appropriately done. Automated invoice processing can handle this step for you as well. It will allow you to set up the invoice processing through payment and allow for approval to be automated or done by hand, depending on your needs.

How to Get the Best Out of Invoice Management

Automation is an important solution for many engineering directors who need to speed up the procurement process. If you handle procurement within your startup, it is critical that no delays in payment occur, as that can slow down the procurement process for your organization.

With a limited supply chain and vendors often having multiple buyers for their products, it's critical to ensure invoice approval can be fast and efficient. It is not uncommon for vendors and creditors to stop working with companies that fail to make payments on the agreed terms. 

This could impact your startup's ability to compete, especially in situations where the supplier has other buyers.Consider these best practices for invoice processing and billing management.

#1: Prioritize Invoice and Billing Processes

While invoice management is a valuable tool, organizations must prioritize invoices to keep track of what is paid and what is essential to pay first. In fast-growing startups, this can be critical. The accounts payable department must understand the payment date and terms upfront to streamline the billing process. 

That is the case even with automated invoice processing.Prioritize which items are most important to pay first, such as recurring invoices, those that relate to accounts receivable, and those where the supply chain and procurement process are of the highest priority. It is also important to focus on the costs associated with the process. For example, some purchase on credit carries a higher interest rate than others. Spend on the lowest level of interest possible, but ensure that billing pays down the highest interest rate first to save money.

#2: Streamline the Invoice Processing Workflow

A streamlined process is critical to ensure billing is handled correctly in a procure-to-pay system. Look at existing workflows within the accounts payable department. Look for any bottlenecks that could delay invoice approval, especially with recurring invoices no matter the accounting system, ensure that invoice approvals are centralized and standardized. 

This should be applied throughout the organization and all invoice management software used. Also, factor in a purchase order or paper invoice that may need to be a part of the process.Do not overlook the value of AP automation. Automated invoice processing saves time, reducing the risk that invoice approval may not occur on time. AP automation may reduce the invoice processing time by as much as 709 percent in some situations. At the same time, it ensures the invoice in a p2p process is accurate, and payments are made on time.

#3: Ensure Fraud Detection Is Present

This is one of the best practices you cannot overlook when it comes to invoice management. Even with Invoice management software, mistakes can occur. It is critical to ensure that invoice software has some type of backup that can help to detect and eliminate fraud in the procurement process and billing. Recognize the risks. With automation, the risk of someone writing a check to themselves or otherwise manipulating the spend within the company is much harder to do. Purchasing is streamlined, and invoicing software is difficult to manipulate.

#4: Track Problems Within the Invoice Management Tool

Another way that invoice management software can help you is by providing a way to track any disputes within the procure to pay process. Mistakes happen, and errors occur in any aspect of the supply chain. With invoicing software like this, it is possible to pinpoint those problems, dispute them, and track resolutions. 

That can be a part of the accounts payable automation.This is important in procurement. In the p2p process, good relationships with suppliers are critical. At the same time, organizations need to manage cash flow and ensure their purchasing is properly documented. The procurement team needs to know that information is up to date and accurate and that if a purchase requisition is inaccurate, it is fixed quickly.

#5: Automation Saves Money

With strategic sourcing so important today, a procurement team or an engineering director must ensure that spend is controlled and procurement is as affordable as possible. Automation enables this.Within the invoice management process, automation is often the solution organizations need to fix bottlenecks within procurement software (AKA purchasing software) that cost time and money. 

In addition to this, accounts payable automation increases transparency in the invoice process. It helps improve relationships with the preferred suppliers, which are critical to strategic sourcing efforts. Overall, it helps to simplify the procurement process while at the same time boosting employee productivity. In many ways, this is a very valuable solution in accounting software.

Key Takeaways

For accounting, procurement, and engineering teams at a hardware-centric, fast-growing startup, this type of automated accounting software offers a number of core benefits.

  • It saves time.
  • It creates potential improvements in the purchase requisition process.
  • It builds supplier and vendor relationships.
  • It works to eliminate fraud and minimizes the risk of problems and bottlenecks in the entire process.
  • It makes procurement software more streamlined and efficient, boosting employee productivity.

Essentials Invoice Management

Invoice management, bolstered by tools such as purchase order software, purchase requisition software, and purchase approval software, is no longer an option for many organizations. 

They need to have a vital tool to remain competitive, especially in a fast-growing startup where managing supply chains and purchases with such sophisticated software is critical.

What is Invoice Management?

Invoice management helps teams in startups to efficiently track and pay bills. It makes handling bills and payments easier. The process includes receiving bills, recording their details, checking their accuracy, and approving payments. Using software for this can speed up these tasks and reduce late payments.

Benefits of Invoice Management Software

Using invoice management software has many advantages. It helps organize bills, making it easy to know which ones to pay first. This software can speed up payment processes and reduce delays by having a clear and consistent approval system. It also detects fraud, helping to keep the billing process safe. Quick problem-solving is another perk, improving relationships with suppliers and managing cash flow better. Automating these tasks saves time, prevents errors, improves clarity, and increases productivity.

Why Use Invoice Management Software in Startups?

This software is key for managing supply chains and purchases for startups, especially those focused on hardware. It offers time-saving benefits, improves purchase requests, builds better relationships with suppliers, prevents fraud, and enhances overall efficiency. In short, automated invoice processing is a smart financial move for better business outcomes.

What is invoice management, and how can it benefit my startup?

Invoice management is the game-changing solution that allows you to track and pay supplier invoices efficiently and with automation. It saves you hours of tedious work, reduces manual processing, and ensures you never lose an invoice again. With this awesome tool, you can streamline your financial processes and focus on what matters most – growing your business!

How does automated invoice management work?

It's as easy as 1-2-3-4! First, receive the invoice from your vendor. Next, record the data into your accounting or procurement software. Then, verify that everything is accurate and ready for approval. Finally, hit that "pay now" button, and you're all set!

How can I maximize the potential of automated invoice management?

You're in for a treat! Prioritize invoices to pay the most important ones first and take advantage of early payment discounts. Streamline your invoice processing workflow with centralized and standardized approvals. Rest easy knowing the software has your back with fraud detection, and it even resolves disputes swiftly to keep your supplier relationships strong.

What are the benefits of using automated invoice management?

A: Buckle up for some major perks! Not only does it save you precious time and money, but it also boosts employee productivity. Plus, it fosters strategic sourcing, making your business operations a breeze. And let's not forget the peace of mind that comes from knowing your finances are safe and sound.

Is automated invoice management suitable for hardware-centric startups?

Absolutely! Whether you're a hardware-centric startup or any other type of business, this cutting-edge solution is designed to supercharge your financial processes and keep you ahead in the competitive world.

How do I get started with automated invoice management?

It's as easy as hitting that "subscribe" button to stay updated with amazing content. If you're ready to revolutionize your startup, jump on the invoice management train, and say hello to a world of efficiency and innovation!

What is the Procurement Life Cycle?

The procurement life cycle is astrategic process that encompasses planning, sourcing, contracting, delivery,payment, and closeout. It guides the entire journey of acquiring goodsand services.

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