Whether you’re looking to pay your office rent, secure more inventory, or settle taxes, it’s essential that you identify the best accounts payable software for your business. It streamlines operations, requires less need for data entry, ensures that you pay your bills on time, and helps you to avoid late fees. Fortunately, there are several options for accounts payable software, from basic to more complex. We have gathered a few of our top picks, which range from the best for a mobile device to the best for small to medium businesses (SMBs).
- QuickBooks Online: Best overall accounts payable software
- Zoho Books: Best accounts payable software in a mobile app
- Sunrise: Best free accounts payable software
- Beanworks: Best A/P automation software integration for QuickBooks Online and Desktop
- Tipalti: Best A/P automation software for small businesses with global vendors
When to Use A/P Automation Software vs Accounts Payable Software
Most accounting solutions include accounts payable features but don’t necessarily provide the functionality to handle more complex processes, such as batch payments. Depending on the size and needs of your business, the accounts payable features that are included in good bookkeeping software may be enough to do the job. Otherwise, automation software is helpful for processing a large volume of bills and simplifying complex A/P activities. For the purpose of comparison, we have included both types of software in this guide.
QuickBooks Online: Best Overall Accounts Payable Software
We selected QuickBooks Online as the best overall small business accounting software, and for good reason—it’s the most comprehensive and scalable software on the market for small businesses, and it also allows you to easily track your cash flow with its accounts payable features. With QuickBooks Online, you can either pay bills by printing checks or electronically with their online bill pay feature which can be done directly through the software. This allows you to track payment status and remittance information. You can also generate reports that provide insight into your company’s performance, such as an A/P Aging or Unpaid Bills by Vendor report.
The A/P feature within Quickbooks Online simplifies the bill-paying process. After you have entered your bills, you can navigate to the Pay Bills screen, which will show you a list of all bills that are still outstanding along with their due dates. Click the checkbox to the left of the vendor name and enter a full or partial payment for each. You can pay bills by printing checks or you can use the free QuickBooks Online Bill Pay option. For more detailed information about how to pay bills in QuickBooks, check out our online tutorial.
Our Expert Opinion
Using QuickBooks Online for your accounts payable needs allows you to save time on data entry because bill payments sync automatically with the software. The added convenience of using Bill Pay for QuickBooks Online makes processing payments even easier. Although the reporting features can be limited, you have access to A/P reports that will provide a snapshot of your cash flow. You also have the ease of knowing that you can manage all of your financial data on one platform, with real-time dashboards.
Zoho Books: Best Accounts Payable Software in a Mobile App
Zoho Books is a cloud-based accounting software suite that helps small and mid-sized businesses to automate their back-office operations and perform their financial transactions from a single platform. We found that its robust mobile app is ideal for monitoring expenses and bills, and you can gain instant insights about how well your business is performing through a key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard. There’s even an app for Apple Watch, which enables you to keep an eye on your financials while multitasking. The document management tool allows you to scan bills and expense receipts and upload them to Zoho Books.
Zoho Books allows you to create, send, and manage bills online. Purchases that occur at regular intervals can be managed with recurring billing, and you can also associate customers with billable items. As shown above, a list of unpaid bills is available for review, and you can record the form of payment as well as send bills for approval:
Our Expert Opinion
Zoho Books is a comprehensive accounting program that allows you to stay on top of your payables. Some of its most useful features include the ability to set up recurring payments or an approval feature which increases security by only performing the transaction once it’s approved by the right person. Its mobile app is as powerful as the browser-based version, and detailed contact records allow you to view contact information easily and the receivables/payables balance. With the functionality of the mobile app, you can easily run your business while on the road.
Sunrise: Best Free Accounts Payable Software
We ranked Sunrise as one of the best free accounting software, and its accounts payable features are among the reasons that it was chosen. You can create and track vendor bills and connect to your bank to import transactions, and it also includes a mobile app. While Sunrise offers free software that gives you access to all of its features, it’s predominantly a bookkeeping service and the paid plan gives you access to a dedicated bookkeeper who will import and reconcile your transactions for you. This is ideal for budget-minded businesses that may want to start with doing their own books but eventually transition to assisted bookkeeping as their business grows.
In Sunrise, bills are recorded as expenses. You can enter them by clicking on the Record Expenses tab on the left navigation bar. This will take you to a page that lists all bills that are due, with amounts and due dates. To add a new bill, click on the green Create Expense button at the upper right, and enter the necessary information. You can then enter the payment information and mark it as paid:
Our Expert Opinion
Sunrise is an excellent choice if you are looking for free and easy-to-use accounting software with a robust set of features. Although it cannot reconcile bank accounts, its accounts payable functionality allows you to stay on top of your bills. The fact that it supports multiple users and companies in the paid plan is a bonus, especially considering that the software is free. It reminds you of your upcoming payments and bills that are due, streamlining your A/P processes and helping you to manage your accounts efficiently.
Beanworks: Best A/P Automation Software Integration For QuickBooks Online and Desktop
Beanworks is a cloud-based accounts payable automation application designed for businesses of all sizes. The company advertises itself as built by accountants for accountants, which is evident by its productivity tools. Beanworks provides real-time cash flow management, approval management, and bill management tools and also integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks to automate the accounts payable process from purchase orders to payments. Beanworks’ streamlined workflow allows vendor payments to be approved and released in a smooth fashion when users opt for the automatic option for approving purchase orders (POs), invoices, and payments.
The Beanworks payment module can be used for paying vendor bills and reimbursing employee expenses. This allows you to select the invoices and expenses that you want to pay and submit the payments for approval. As shown above, each bill is color-coded to indicate what stage of the payment process that it’s in. The Actions column at the far right lets you edit, view, or approve each bill:
Our Expert Opinion
Beanworks is a software package that’s targeted specifically towards business owners who need to take a more efficient approach to accounts payable tasks. The software allows you to centralize your activities, match purchase orders to invoices, and automate many of your day-to-day accounts payable tasks. Since its A/P feature set is much more robust than QuickBooks with capabilities, such as approval management, you may wish to use Beanworks for your A/P and integrate it with QuickBooks for your general bookkeeping. It helps to eliminate paper invoices and information can be synced from Beanworks into QuickBooks, streamlining your processes and eliminating data entry. It’s also possible to set and manage spending limits by department, manager, vendor, and so on.
Tipalti: Best A/P Automation Software for Small Businesses with Global Vendors
Tipalti automates your A/P by streamlining the entire bill-to-pay reconciliation cycle, making it ideal for larger small businesses. The platform functions seamlessly in a cloud-based environment with built-in tax compliances. It’ll match purchase orders to invoices and receipts and schedule batch invoices for payment. It also offers many advanced features, such as automated approval workflows and self-service supplier onboarding, for efficient management of accounts payable. Tipalti provides for global mass vendor payments by providing businesses with multiple methods of payment in 120 currencies, making it an ideal tool for businesses dealing with international suppliers and vendors.
Tipalti’s automation process emphasizes self-service and minimizes manual effort. Vendors can input their own bills once they are registered on your Supplier Hub by providing their contact information, billing details, and tax identification number. They can then upload their invoices or email them to your payables address. Machine learning (ML) will fill in as much of the accounting and approval routing data as possible, based on past bills. Once the bill has been entered, you and other approvers in your workflow can review it and then schedule the invoice for payment:
Our Expert Opinion
Tipalti is an end-to-end payment solution that’s ideal for larger small businesses that foresee expansive growth. It distinguishes itself from other similar A/P automation software by providing a cloud-based solution to automate accounts payable. In addition to giving you a 360-degree view of the entire A/P process, it supports multiple payment methods for global payments and offers a self-service supplier portal that allows for efficient management of your accounts payable. The major drawbacks are its lack of transparent pricing and the lack of a mobile app.
How We Evaluated Best Accounts Payable Software
We employed specific criteria to evaluate the best accounts payable software. This includes the following:
- Automatic payments: We looked at whether the software automates the payment process for recurring bills.
- Automated alerts: For every vendor that’s set up in the system, we considered whether you can create custom alerts to inform you when a bill has arrived or is due.
- E-bill aggregation: We evaluated whether electronic copies of all your bills can be sent directly to your accounting software.
- History: You should be able to view payment history for each vendor and a list of pending payments.
- Bill submission: We looked at the bill submission process, including data transfer, data capture, and bill tracking.
- Multiple accounts: We looked at whether it’s possible to pay a bill from multiple bank accounts, like checking, savings, or a money market deposit account.
- Integrations: When purchasing A/P automation software, we looked at whether it’ll integrate with your accounting systems.
- Approval workflow: We evaluated the approval workflow, if available. This includes approver permissions, automated approvals, and payment prioritization.
- Scalability: A/P solutions that are appropriate for SMBs may not be appropriate for enterprise-level organizations. We considered whether the software can readily scale as your business grows.
Accounts payable software helps you to track what bills are due and when, which is a key component of managing your business successfully. Some A/P solutions take it a step further by automating the process, allowing for more complex features like approval workflows and global payments. The right fit for your business is the software that suits both your current needs and is also scalable for the future.