Webinar recap: bill automation tech stack for QuickBooks Online

We recently hosted a webinar about the Receipt Bank to ApprovalMax integration for QuickBooks Online and would like to share with you the questions we received from the attendees as well as the answers. 

Q: Do you need Receipt Bank for using ApprovalMax?

A: The Receipt Bank to ApprovalMax integration provides a fully automated workflow, but it is not mandatory to use Receipt Bank in order to use ApprovalMax. Bills and purchase orders can be created manually directly in ApprovalMax, all data you enter here will be synced with QuickBooks Online. It’s also possible to set restrictions for people who create bills in ApprovalMax, e.g. allow only particular persons to create new suppliers, or specify certain categories for which they will be able to create bills. 

Q: Can you email bills directly to Receipt Bank for processing?

A: Yes, Receipt Bank has an Email-in feature, which is an easy way to submit documents. When you send a receipt or invoice to your Email-in address, it will be extracted and added to the Costs Inbox automatically.

Q: How long does the publishing from Receipt Bank to ApprovalMax take?

A: With the direct integration it’s almost in an instant: you click on the “Publish” button in Receipt Bank and the documents show in ApprovalMax within seconds, just like they would when syncing with QuickBooks Online. Receipt Bank does require some time to process documents and extract the relevant data but as soon as a document has been processed and published, it will appear in ApprovalMax.

Q: Can you see the chart of accounts in ApprovalMax or just the bill itself?

A: The chart of accounts is synchronised from QuickBooks Online and you’ll see it in ApprovalMax whenever it’s needed, e.g. throughout bill creation, during the ApprovalMax configuration, in reports, etc.

Q: We use project accounting in QuickBooks Online and need a field each for customer and class. Is that possible?

A: We support the three key fields that can be defined in QuickBooks Online: class, location and customer. Based on these fields, you can both define rules and restrict requesters. 

Q: Can you upload the PDF of an invoice in ApprovalMax?

A: Yes. During bill creation, you can upload PDF files. However, we won’t extract any information from it. If a file gets attached in Receipt Bank, this file will appear in ApprovalMax as well and you’ll be able to do a side-by-side comparison of the original bill and the bill in ApprovalMax. 

Q: Does ApprovalMax work the same way for purchase orders as it works for bills? 

A: Yes, we do cover both bills and purchase orders. Purchase order approvals provide an additional layer of spend control because the authorisation of a purchase begins with approving the intention to buy something. The definition of approval rules is similar to defining those for bills. ApprovalMax can also automatically email purchase orders to suppliers once they’ve been approved.

Q: Is it possible to print a report of all bills awaiting approval to determine the total amount of outstanding bills pending completion?

A: Yes, it’s possible to create a report on all not yet approved bills. Reports can be exported as a CSV file, which allows to calculate the totals in Excel.

Q: How do approvers get notified? Is there a mobile app, or do they have to be at a desktop computer to approve?

A: Approvers have 3 options: they can approve from the email notification, via the web app or in the native iOS / Android app.

Q: Can purchase order templates be modified; for example, can we change the language in the form?

A: There are some capabilities to modify the purchase order creation form, but it’s not 100% flexible. You can restrict requesters in terms of which values and fields they can select from. You can also specify which fields will be available in the form and which of them will be mandatory – this can be either Category or Item table, or both Category and Item table. You can also set up a message that requesters will see during purchase order creation – such as instructions they might need, e.g. “Please do not forget to attach a quote.” As for the language, we currently only have English. 

Q: Is it possible to have the side-by-side view as default when approving bills?

A: ApprovalMax remembers how you view bills; so, if you viewed the last one side by side, all others will also open in side-by-side view. 

Q: Is it possible to add files/documents to bills pending approval or those that were rejected; for example, when a bill was submitted without a signed packing slip and the approver rejected it for that reason?

A: A requester can change bills, e.g. attach a document, but then the workflow will start anew. If a bill has already passed a couple of approval steps and then someone asks to attach a packing slip, the requester will be able to do so. However, as this represents a significant change to the bill, the approval workflow will start over. 

Q: Can a bill be sent to a specific approver instead of going through the approval workflow?

A: There are various scenarios for cases where it’s not quite clear how to define the rules. You can add a step called something like “Initial review” and add just one person in this step. This person will receive all bills and purchase orders and is able to reassign them to other approvers. Although this is a semi-manual process, ApprovalMax will still provide notifications, mobile access and an audit trail. Typically,  this is only done in the very beginning of automating the approval process because, with time and practice, the person who reassigns the requests will learn how to configure the approval rules. 

Q: I know this is a webinar about the ApprovalMax partnership with Receipt Bank. Are you by any chance also working with Bill.com?

A: We currently don’t have a direct integration with Bill.com. It’s possible though to have it as a fourth part of the tech stack, meaning Bill.com could pick up the bills from QuickBooks Online and then they can be paid in Bill.com. 

Q: Can you include projects from QuickBooks Online? How can ApprovalMax work with budgets in QuickBooks Online?

A: Projects and budgets are currently not available, but it’s something we keep in mind.