Don’t Forget Procurement When Automating Your AP

October 12, 2021

4 min read

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It’s hard to overlook the changes in the housing market. Every day, there’s an article about rising rents and housing prices, the “Great Reshuffling”, and the return to cities of people who left for the suburbs during the height of the pandemic.

All of this impacts a lot of people in real estate, including procurement teams, who are trying to buy everything that’s needed to make apartments, student living residences, and other locations ready to rent.

In fact, Nexus, the leading AP automation company serving real estate, has seen purchasing volume increase 40% since the beginning of the year. And it’s not exactly clear what will happen next.

procurement tools

So, before your AP and procurement teams get burned out trying to do three-way-matches by hand, or sorting through piles and piles of paper, you may want to look into tapping the e-procurement functionality in your AP automation platform. (Or, if you are in the market now for a new AP automation solution, make sure e-procurement is part of the one you choose).

Incorporate Electronic Purchase Orders

Some AP automation platforms incorporate electronic purchase orders (e-POs). These electronic POs work a lot like paper-based POs, but they are created, managed, and delivered online – as part of the AP automation solution.

An authorized user – which could be an e-procurement specialist or a property manager – simply creates an e-PO. They can check it against budget and actuals, too. It’s then automatically routed through your defined approval structure and sent directly to the supplier for fulfillment.

Once the order is fulfilled, users can “flip” the PO into an invoice with a single click – avoiding any double data entry.

procurement tools
Users can flip an electronic purchase order to an invoice with just a click.

All the data from the receipt, invoice, and purchase order is available at the click of a button, so the AP team can do a three-way-match and make sure everything ties. They can also compare against budget.

This all saves a ton of time and minimizes errors. In fact, Nexus customers report a 70% reduction in time spent on procurement activities because of e-PO functionality.

Use Embedded Procurement Catalogs

Another key way to avoid the spreadsheet swamp is embedding supplier catalogs into your AP solution.

An embedded supplier catalog pulls in your pre-negotiated pricing and works directly with your e-PO functionality.

Once users find what they need in the e-procurement catalog(s), they can add them to a shopping cart and generate electronic POs with a click.

With everything in one place, ordering is seamless. And every stakeholder has the visibility they need to control costs.

Some AP automation software providers may have procurement catalogs already set up with suppliers you use. With the Nexus AP automation platform, for example, you can start ordering from suppliers like Sherwin Williams, Staples, and CDW on Day One.

Electronic procurement saves you time and provides 100% visibility.

Changing Housing Markets Drive Demand for Electronic Procurement Tools

As the housing and rental market continues to change, it’s time to make your AP automation solution do more than just allow you to process invoices and pay vendors. You should be able to add on e-procurement functionality such as electronic purchase orders and embedded catalogs. These are just as essential for increasing productivity and transparency while reducing costs.