Stampli Improves AP Automation with Advanced Vendor Management

Introducing Advanced Vendor Management

Vendors are critical to your company’s success. You need vendors who provide quality products and services at a reasonable price, and who can meet your delivery deadlines. Without reliable vendors, you can’t serve customers, and you may lose business to a competitor.

Automation can provide a better experience for your vendors. Many Stampli customers provide access to the vendor portal, a tool vendors can use to ask questions about invoices, check the status of an invoice, and to review payment details. Stampli is now introducing Advanced Vendor Management to streamline vendor onboarding, manage communications, collecting documents, and payments.

Once you find quality vendors, you can maintain a good relationship by creating a smooth process to do business with your firm. But onboarding vendors can be its own daunting task.

Vendor Management Challenges

Vendors may need to provide a number of documents and information before an invoice can be paid. Specific industries, such as construction, non-profits, and government entities, require valid copies of tax and legal documents. However, communicating with vendors and gathering documents can be difficult.

Documents required from vendors

There are a number of documents that a business may need to collect from vendors:

  • Tax documents: The IRS requires businesses to issue 1099s when payments are made to certain vendors, and other vendors may have to complete and submit Form W-9.
  • Insurance certificates: Construction firms often require vendors to provide a certificate of liability insurance before a plumber, electrician, or other subcontractors can work on a job. 
  • Licenses: Many professions require individuals to maintain licenses in order to work in a specific field, including architects and engineers.

How your business requests documents, stores data, and communicates with vendors has a big impact on the quality of the vendor relationship. Many businesses continue to manage documents using a largely manual process.

Outdated document management methods

Some companies use manual processes to send emails, open incoming emails, communicate with stakeholders, and to store vendor documents in filing cabinets. A manual system requires more time, creates confusion, and may frustrate vendors.

To illustrate, assume that Superior Construction is a home builder, and the company’s project manager hires subcontractors to complete work on jobs. Assume that Reliable Plumbing is hired as a subcontractor for the Smith home construction project.  Here is the Superior’s current process for managing documents:

  • The project manager emails Reliable to obtain proof of general liability insurance coverage. 
  • Reliable sends an email attachment with an outdated proof of general liability insurance coverage, and the Superior project manager emails Reliable a second time.
  • Work starts on the Smith construction project. Reliable Plumbing arrives on the job site and provides the correct insurance document.
  • A paper copy of the proof of insurance is kept on file in Superior’s office.

Superior’s current document management process creates a number of problems. 

Problems with document management

The project managers do not track document requests, and emails may be lost, unread, or simply never sent to a subcontractor. Email responses from contractors may not include the correct documents, and can also be lost or unread.

There is no process to alert the project manager when documents aren’t received. If Reliable Plumbing works on a job without general liability insurance in place, Superior has legal exposure if a worker is injured or property is damaged. Finally, managing paper documents is time-consuming and unreliable. Paper documents can be lost or not legible, and searching through files eats up the staff’s time. 

Superior Construction needs a system to communicate effectively with vendors regarding invoices and other documents.

Communications related to invoices

Vendors need cash inflows to operate, and getting timely payment on invoices is a priority. Superior Construction’s current process for communicating with vendors creates bottlenecks and payment delays. Superior’s vendors include subcontractors and companies that supply building materials and other items.

Vendors email invoices to Superior, but the invoices are not all sent to the same email address. As mentioned above, emails can be lost, unread, or not include the correct invoice attachment. Vendors do not have a system to confirm that Superior received an invoice. If an invoice is outstanding after the due date, the vendor must email Superior or call to check on the payment status.

Superior generates $10 million in annual revenue, and some vendors invoice Superior five or six times per month. Communication is more difficult with multiple invoices outstanding, particularly if the dollar amounts are similar. A $10,000 purchase of lumber for the Smith project may be confused with a $9,800 lumber order for the Jones project.

This inefficient system creates frustration for vendors, and leads to payment delays. Stampli’s new  add-on module for a premium vendor portal streamlines communication and document management.

Introducing Advanced Vendor Management 

Stampli’s Advanced Vendor Management functionality vastly improves your ability to onboard vendors, collect data, communicate with vendors, and to pay invoices using verified information in one central location.

Document & data collection in one place

Collect any type of vendor information (names, addresses, bank information), and set up requirements for vendors to provide documents.  Vendors can upload invoices directly into the vendor portal, eliminating the need to send email attachments.

To make data collection easier, you can create onboarding forms based on the type of vendor. For example, you can require a subcontractor to submit a W-9 and proof of insurance coverage, while a lumber supplier is only asked for a W-9. 

Put controls in place that require vendors to submit current documents before payments can be sent. Assume that, on January 3rd, Superior Construction receives a $5,000 invoice from Reliable Plumbing, due on February 3rd. Superior sends a weekly auto-reminder to Reliable asking for proof of liability insurance. If the document is not received by February 3rd, AP automation can prevent any payment until the liability insurance document is received.

Onboard new and existing vendors with ease

Users can onboard new and existing customers with ease, and Advanced Vendor Management reduces the time vendors spend on administrative tasks.  You can customize the information and documents you need to collect by vendor, provide onboarding forms, and send auto-reminders. Vendors can submit and update forms, ask questions, and review vendor status through a single vendor portal. 

Manage vendors with less effort

With Advanced Vendor Management, you can quickly access all vendor contacts, details, and documents in just a few clicks. Users can view all invoices, the average dollar amount, and the total. Stampli customers can request new documents, pull reports of vendor invoices, and you can display notes on the invoice tab in the activity feed. 

You stay in control of data collection, and users can block payments to vendors if any required documents are missing. The business can stay compliant with industry requirements and manage vendor relationships.

Move away from lost documents, frequent phone calls, and vendor frustration over delayed payments, and into a fully automated vendor management process. Vendor management is one component of Stampli’s end-to-end accounts payable automation solution.

Customized for your unique brand

Businesses can customize the vendor portal to fit their unique brand, including company logo and color.  You can create a message inviting vendors to join the vendor portal, and preview how the portal will look for your vendors. The portal becomes an opportunity to reinforce your brand in the minds of your vendors.

Use the Industry Leader in AP Automation

Stampli’s end-to-end AP platform gives you full control and visibility over all your corporate spending from cards to invoices to payments — all in one place.

Stampli uses AI technology to capture invoice data in real time, and learns your accounting process for accurate coding and approval routing. Pay your way with maximum flexibility and control. Use your preferred payment method, or Stampli Direct Pay for easy payment runs with painless paper checks, easy-to-reconcile ACH transactions, or Stampli Card.  Don’t just manage spend, control it with Stampli.

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