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Invoice Approvals with AMP Intelligent Invoice Management

In the world of Accounts Payable processing it is no secret that even in 2021 many companies still struggle with the task of managing the procure2pay process efficiently.

The AMP Invoice management solution already provides great features to better manage the standard SAP Accounts Payable process. It provides the AP agent with a comprehensive SAP integrated cockpit for managing the incoming invoice flow effectively.

It offers a holistic approach, by bundling the available optimizations and latest technological advances. It makes use of optical archiving and content extraction through AI and machine learning technology and puts the results at easy disposal of the AP agent. It eliminates boring repetitive manual tasks and results in a much more transparent process with higher efficiency and with less risk of introducing errors. It results in an overall easier to manage process.

With the introduction of latest release of AMP Invoice Management all this got even better! With this release, users now have the option to enable the highly configurable Workflow Enabled Invoice Approval functionality. This means that customers can choose to activate this function to introduce the step of invoice approval into the procure2pay process.


The Process

Upon activation of the WF enabled approval process, an invoice arrives and is uploaded for extraction as usual. However, if the invoice is relevant for the approval process, it will require the approval or rejection of the assigned AP manager before it can be processed further by the AP agent. The process is supported by an email notification system informing the manager that an approval or rejection is required. The approval or rejection can be performed directly from the email!

To help understand the process I have included a simple graphical representation of the process steps below:

Figure 1-Invoice processing steps
  1. In the first step the optical invoice file is uploaded
  2. Next, the Invoice file is automatically processed, and the relevant information is extracted with the use of AI and Machine Learning technology
  3. The invoice is then automatically added to the invoice queue for further processing. This can either be manual processing by AP Agents or automatic (shadow) processing.
  4. If the invoice is relevant for Workflow approval, it will trigger the relevant approval emails for the assigned approval manager(s).
  5. After the invoice is approved it can be posted in SAP. This can either be done directly from the Invoice management cockpit or by the automatic processing functionality.


The steps

Below is a description of the manual process to illustrate the process from an AP user perspective. Please note that some of the steps can be automatically performed if so required by the user.


Invoice Cockpit

The central component in the AMP Intelligent Invoice processing solution is the Invoice Management Cockpit. This is where the AP user will access the work queue of uploaded invoices that are to be processed.

As can be seen from the screenshot below, it offers an easy overview of the respective invoices. Their processing status and other relevant information can easily be seen. New invoices are automatically added to the queue after they have been uploaded.

AMP Cockpit Invoice Queue
Figure 2-AMP Cockpit Invoice Queue

Workflow approval validation

When we load the invoice details by clicking on the invoice, we can see that the information was extracted correctly. We can verify the status of the invoice by pressing the validation button. We can see the message that invoice approval is required for this invoice. The approval process needs to be completed before the invoice can be posted.
Figure 3-AMP Cockpit invoice details screen

When we press the Start Workflow button, the system notifies us that a WF approval email has been sent and that the WF approval process is started.

When we click on the WF Details tab we can see the details of the approval WF, such as the users that are required for invoice approval. We can also see that the WF Approval status now displays a yellow triangle, indicating it is now “In Processing”.

Figure 4-WF Details Tab

Workflow approval email

The assigned AP invoice approval manager now receives the approval email in the mailbox. The email displays basic invoice information such as the vendor, invoice date and invoice amount. It also contains a copy of the invoice as an attachment for easy reference. The approval manager can either choose to approve or reject the invoice directly from the email by clicking the appropriate button.
Figure 5-AMP WF Approval email

When we approve the invoice, the approval status of the invoice will be updated. This can easily be seen by the green WF status icon in the WF Status field on the invoice overview screen in the AMP cockpit. In this case the invoice was approved and can be posted in SAP. This can be done directly from the AMP cockpit, either by the AP agent or by the automatic processing option.

Figure 6-AMP Cockpit invoice queue WF status

All the approval details are available in the WF details tab of the invoice, but for a more comprehensive overview there is also a report available that lists the invoices that were selected for WF approval and their actual approval status.

An example of the AMP WF status report can be seen below. We can see which invoices have triggered the approval process, when the process was triggered and what the approval status is. Also we can see individual approval details when multiple approval managers are required for the invoice approval to be successful.

AMP WF Status Report
Figure 7-AMP WF Status Report


The AMP Intelligent Invoice Management Solution offers a comprehensive solution to enable SAP customers to improve the performance and management of the Accounts Payable process. With the introduction of the WF enabled Invoice approval process, the solution can help SAP users to further improve the management of the incoming invoices process. I hope you find this article interesting and that it has raised your interest in the AMP Invoice Management solution. AMP Intelligent Invoice Management offers SAP users an easy way to benefit from AP invoice automation. Please follow the link to see what AMP Invoicemanagement can do for your company or to request a free product demonstration.

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