What is Invoice Processing?

Invoice processing refers to handling a supplier invoice, from its receipt to when it has been posted in the ERP system and is ready for payment. Invoice processing is handled by the accounts payable (AP) department within an organisation.

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Processing supplier invoices

Supplier invoices are often received in a variety of different formats – paper, PDF in email, e-invoice, EDI etc. The invoice data must be digitised and transformed into a standardised format. In some cases accounts payable staff will manually key in data to the finance system. But today, most companies use an accounts payable (AP) solution with automated invoice scanning and invoice data capture functionality. This means the solution will automatically extract the invoice data so that the AP staff can spend their time on more valuable tasks.

The invoice amounts are then coded to the correct G/L account, project, and cost center. Then, the invoice is distributed to the responsible buyer or budget owner for review and invoice approval. With an AP invoice automation solution, this entire invoice processing workflow can be digitised and automated for faster and more efficient invoice processing.

The invoice processing procedure

To understand invoice processing meaning, it’s important to learn the different steps of the invoice processing process:

  1. The invoice processing procedure starts with the reception of a supplier invoice
  2. In order to process invoices in a digital workflow, the invoice data needs to be extracted and captured in a standardised format
  3. The accounts payable team is responsible for invoice handling and will then apply accurate coding either manually or automatically using an AP automation solution that is pre-configured with the specific organisation’s business rules
  4. The invoice processing continues with invoice approval. This part of the invoice processing procedure differs depending on the type of invoice: expense invoice or PO-based invoice. For PO-based invoices, the invoice processing can be performed touchlessly using automated invoice matching through an AP automation solution.

Learn more about invoice processing

Read this blog post: What is the full cycle of the accounts payable process?

Explore more definitions in this blog post: Key terms for AP professionals

Learn from your peers: How Marc Jacobs automated invoice processing in 3 weeks