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The ultimate guide to choosing supplier statement reconciliation software

Choosing the right supplier statement reconciliation software for your business is a difficult task. There are multiple options to choose from and alot to consider. This blog lists some of the areas to examine so you can make a well-informed decision.
A person's hand picks up a wooden block with a tick sign on it. All the other block s in the row have X's on them. To signify choosing the right statement reconciliation software

Which statement reconciliation software is the best?

Choosing the right supplier statement reconciliation software for you means considering the unique challenges you face in your organisation. We list our top considerations below:

Automated Matching Capability.

How many statements?

To begin, look at how many vendor statements you intend to match monthly, and how many invoices you process per year. Some statement reconciliation software pricing is based on these figures, and they can drastically affect the price you pay. Therefore, it’s important to know your figures before comparing suppliers.

A good rule of thumb for getting the most value from your statement reconciliations is to complete 80% or more of the statements received.

How much of the process to automate?

A tougher aspect to investigate is how much of the statement reconciliation process you would like to control. How much do you want to leave up to computers?

Some software offers a no-touch approach, with automated follow-up emails sent directly to the suppliers. This is extremely useful, but it also can cause risk. While computers and AI are good at finding discrepancies, some automated solutions lack a human touch.

Certain discrepancies may need a conversation, particularly if the supplier relationship is rocky, or it is a valued supplier. Sometimes the discrepancy is internal, for example, a lag or error in a processed invoice or received credit. In these cases contacting the vendor is unnecessary.

Your procedure when finding a discrepancy will determine whether you choose to automate certain suppliers, all suppliers or only the discovery/matching process. 

Check your resources.

Determining how many licenses you need is useful as this can affect the price of some software. Delve into who in your team completes statement reconciliation. Is this something that has a dedicated staff member, or is it a task shared between the whole AP team? When choosing your provider, are you willing to pay for a set number of licenses or a set number of transactions?

Data Integration and ERP Compatibility

ERP integration

Check that the statement reconciliation software is compatible with your ERP, especially if your ERP is unusual or heavily customised.

Look at the various formats your supplier statements arrive in, for example Excel, PDF or another digital format, and see whether the software is compatible with these.

Email integration

Do you need email integration? Referring to emails with statement attachments from within the statement reconciliation software can be very beneficial. Alternately, some software options can scan a mailbox (often dedicated for the receipt of statements) and automatically import those statements into the software.

How automated you want this process to be will largely depend on your current method of receiving invoices.

Cloud-based or on-premises?

Most statement reconciliation solutions operate as SaaS cloud-based software. But if your ERP is on-premise it doesn’t mean you can’t complement it with a cloud solution. All ERP’s have the ability to provide a data extract, and if you migrate your ERP from on-premise to cloud, the statement reconciliation solution continues seamlessly.

Efficiency and Time Savings

Automated reconciliation speed

Automation means scaling down the amount of time often wasted by manual supplier statement reconciliation. Instead of spending 30 minutes panning for statement rec gold, the nuggets are there waiting for you to find out how much they’re worth.

The secret to choosing your platform here is knowing how much time each one truly saves you. That starts with your organisation.

First, get familiar with how your team works. How long does your team have to complete statement reconciliation? How often is it done? How often is statement reconciliation completed at the last minute?

Our supplier statement reconciliation software matches at an average of 7 seconds per statement. It can also automate imports from a mailbox, so your statements download and match immediately. The exceptions are then ready for review when you open the software.

Other solutions often have a 24-hour delay for newly imported suppliers and some may only work on a daily basis. It’s therefore important to know whether your team can wait on invoices or would rather they be ready to address.

Bulk reconciliation capability

Bulk uploads save time for Accounts Payable staff who reconcile large quantities of supplier statements. A solution offering at least one bulk upload option is ideal for businesses with a lengthy supplier list.

Our solution’s bulk upload options include a simple drag and drop method, or email integration so statements upload directly to the system.

Flexibility and Customisation Options

Reporting

Reporting on your statement reconciliation allows you see exactly how many discrepancies you find, and to what value. Looking into this in more detail can greatly help with your suppliers. For example, if a supplier is consistently submitting erroneous statements, you will be able to see this and investigate why.
 
You’ll see how your vendors stack up against your spending and can prioritise your key suppliers and their exceptions. Thus, it’s important to know which reports and dashboards come with the software and whether they will meet your needs.
 
Also consider your Key Progress Indicators alongside your regular reporting and ensure that the software can report on those. Think about what would make it easy to deliver those results, such as exports and graphs.

Accuracy

Discrepancy identification

When comparing any software that looks for errors, you need to know how it scrutinises your data. Some software completes a series of routine checks, which can be as simple as a comparison of supplier statements and invoice values. Others have more complex checks, including comparison against historical ERP data, or supplier data and previous transactions. Where possible, ask for a demonstration using your data.

User Experience and Ease of Use

Onboarding

The onboarding process should be relatively simple. It will depend on how your ERP is implemented, but if you or your IT team work together with the company, onboarding can happen fast. Add on time if your ERP is on-premise, as someone may need to visit your site during the setup stage. If your ERP is cloud-based, some support from your IT team could mean you’re in action in as little as two weeks.
 
Want to figure out how long the onboarding will take? Consider your team’s training availability, plus your IT resource capacity and how fast they can take action on requests. This can affect how long your onboarding takes. We know how busy IT and finance teams are!

Training and ongoing support

Investigate everything you can about training. Does training come as part of the package or does it cost extra? Is remedial training available and is that chargeable? This is an important factor when thinking about your budget.

You’ll also want to know where and how the training will take place. Will it be on your premises, at a training facility or online? This, alongside the number of users you will need to train, will enable a clear understanding of how soon you could use automated statement reconciliation.

User interface and intuitiveness

When you see a software demonstration, keep your team members in mind and ask yourself how easy it would be for them to use. If it seems difficult, they may need more training to become competent. A good interface will have everything well labelled, with information points to help your users. The process will be intuitive, and issues with data will show clearly. The next step in the process should also be clear.
 
Second, ensure the software gives you everything you need. If you have large volumes of vendor statements to reconcile each month, does it give you options for bulk upload? Does it supply you with a list of errors or discrepancies that are easy to decipher? Does the dashboard give you the information you need to complete reports or to drive continuous process improvements? For example, our dashboards give insight into spending and invoice quantity, and the number of statements with exceptions.

Support and Customer Service

Support availability

After implementation, your team are going to be using the software. Sometimes it’s plain sailing, other times that ship sails away with their memory of the training. You’re going to want support.
 
Investigate how the company will support you after onboarding. Is there a dedicated account manager to contact, a technical support email, a helpline or chat functionality?
 
Our team give you a dedicated customer relationship manager as your point of contact, so you get the bespoke support you need.

Software updates and upgrades

Check how often the software receives updates to ensure you’re getting good value for money. What new features are upcoming, and will they be included in your subscription without extra charge?
 
At FISCAL, we are constantly working to ensure our software is optimal. Our dedicated team issues regular updates to our risk management software offering. Some are as small as adding a filter to a report or as large as adding whole new components. We also listen to you. You can speak to one of our team or report any issues or ideas you have for improvements inside our software.

Data security measures

Your sensitive financial data matters, and you need to know how secure it will be. Ensure you know how the providers ensure a high level of security. Ask about their procedures on data handling, NDAs, and what their information security management certification is. For example, we have NDAs in place and ISO27001 Certification for our cloud-based solutions.

Pricing and return on investment (ROI)

Providers should be able to give you a rough idea of the ROI you’ll get or the average value their customers receive. Our users, for example, are finding multiple credits with an average value of £13,000 and missing invoices with an average value of £8000.

They could ask for a sample of your data for a proof of concept. It should give you an exact idea of ROI and how long you might achieve it.
 
You can then calculate the cost savings. That will depend on how you currently run your statement reconciliation.
 
Finally, you’ll need to know the total cost of ownership so you can compare it to your budget.

So, what do you need to research when choosing automated statement reconciliation software?

  • Automated matching capability.
  • Data integration and ERP compatibility.
  • Efficiency and time savings.
  • Flexibility and customisation.
  • Accuracy.
  • User experience and ease of use.
  • Support and customer service.
  • Pricing and return on investment.

Evaluating these options and making an informed decision will allow you to find the best-fit solution for your team and your procedures.

For help with choosing your supplier statement reconciliation solution, we’ve made a helpful checklist (seen above). Find it here.

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[email protected] or call +44 (0) 845 680 1905

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