Understanding Three-Way Matching: Exploring Automated Solutions For Accounts Payable


Accounts payable departments must understand the risks associated with vendor payments in order to optimize efficiency and ensure accuracy in their accounts payable processes. This requires an audit-level of precision, and the ability to effectively manage three-way matching. Three-way matching is the process of validating orders against purchase orders and invoices to ensure that all terms and conditions have been met before paying an invoice or accepting goods and services.

For finance executives seeking to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their accounts payable processes, automated three-way matching can offer immense value. This article outlines the steps necessary for evaluating automated accounts payable solutions to support three-way matching.

Step 1: Assess Current Workflow

In order to successfully integrate automated accounts payable software, finance executives must first assess their current workflow for three-way matching, with focus on identifying any inefficiencies that are hampering accuracy and preventing effective implementation of best practices. This assessment should include an evaluation of the existing user experience, both from the side of accounts payable and their external vendors, as well as the system?s ability to ensure timely payments and proper matching.

Step 2: Articulate Desired Outcomes

Having fully evaluated their existing process, C-Suite executives should establish the desired outcomes they hope to achieve with new automated accounts payable software solution. Ideally, the solution should enable accurate three-way matching by automating manual tasks, reducing time and cost associated with traditional methods, and providing the necessary visibility and control over vendor payments.

Step 3: Define Requirements

Next, C-Suite executives should craft comprehensive set of requirements around the desired outcomes. This includes full set of functional and technical requirements, such as user experience, security, cost, scalability and integration, to ensure the new solution meets their needs. This is particularly important for evaluating automated three-way matching solutions, given the scope of the process.

Step 4: Review Solutions

Finally, C-Suite executives should begin to analyze the solutions that fit their requirements to assess the services and features offered by each automated accounts payable software. In addition to assessing functional capabilities, it is equally important to take into account the provider?s support and implementation services to ensure smooth and successful transition to the new solution.

By evaluating automated accounts payable solutions based on their unique requirements, finance executives can quickly identify, implement and utilize system that best supports their efforts to streamline three-way matching. With the right system in place, C-Suite executives can reap the time- and cost-saving benefits of an automated accounts payable process.