Pleo launches fully-automated invoice paymentsby
Business payment card provider Pleo has expanded into end-to-end payment automation with fully automated invoice tool ‘Bills’.
Bills is marketed as a fully automated invoice experience from capturing thea bill through to receiving payment. Pleo’s aim with Bills is to ensure that all stakeholders involved in a bill’s payment lifecycle – from initial recipients through to bookkeepers – have full visibility and accountability of its status.
“Processing invoices is still a tedious, manual process for a lot of businesses, and while there have been advancements in invoicing technology of the past couple of decades, it still involves a lot of manual data entry,” said Pleo co-founder and CEO Jeppe Rindom.
“What makes Bills unique is the transparency of the invoice payment process finance admins and accountants gain,” he added. “This gives them the ability to track, pay and account for every invoice or bill a team receives.”
Despite 30% of businesses admitting to paying invoices late at least once a year, 55% of admins still process and pay invoices manually. With Bills, Pleo is attempting to eliminate the room for human error element and lack of transparency caused by manual processing.
According to the fintech scale-up, Bills will help companies boost financial resilience and accountability by digitising and streamlining business invoice workflows and payment.
What does it offer?
Free domestic transfers: Pleo present Bills as the first all-in-one invoice tracking and payment solution with free domestic sterling wire transfers – a key feature for UK businesses with multiple suppliers, according to Pleo.
Bills digitises and centralises supplier invoices to track, verify and pay transactions with full, direct integration into accounting software options such as Xero and Sage50. Custom CSV formats and an integration with QuickBooks is also in the pipeline.
Approval flow transparency and control for admins includes verification of suppliers, an entire overview of Bill agreements, and processing of payments either immediately or on a scheduled date that benefits business cashflow.
Users can manage, bookkeep and pay bills in the Pleo web app and forward or upload invoices directly into Pleo. The simplified approval flow presents the invoices to users with admin access, who can pay them from the Pleo wallet. Customer bills can be exported from the export dashboard alongside other expenses.
Bills is free for all paying Pleo customers.
“It can be hard to predict which aspect of processing a bill will cause the most delay and stress,” said Rindom, “but with many accountants, it can be the hassle of tracking down the source of an invoice, or dealing with tedious approval flows.
“Bills means accountants and finance teams no longer need to spend hours doing this, and can view the status of each bill or invoice in one central location. An easy-to-use Export & Sync button ensures that the payment status of an invoice is always synchronised with the user’s preferred accounting software at all times.
How does it work?
Employees forward invoices to a dedicated Pleo Bills email address. The documents are then automatically processed using Pleo’s optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
“With all invoices stored in one place, the finance team has real-time oversight of what needs to be paid and when, helping with cashflow oversight, and eliminating late payment fees. OCR technology also automatically processes information such as supplier, due date, VAT etc with supplier checks to reduce the possibility of fraud,” said Rindom,
Each bill is cross-referenced for duplication and validated for authenticity before being approved for payment – all of which is completed via Pleo’s platform.
Using the designated email, employees forward invoices for payment. Only admins can upload invoices manually.
Pleo then scans and reads the uploaded/forwarded invoice, which will appear in the bills inbox ready to be approved and paid.
If Pleo was not able to read everything on the bill and is missing information – such as the bill owner, due date, amount of supplier – the admin will be prompted to fill in any missing elements.
Pleo also has a help article for step-by-step instructions on how to get set up and use Bills.
Upcoming features planned in the pipeline for Bills include:
- Supplier management: manage suppliers and create smart rules like auto-sync, and auto-pay.
- Smart approval workflow: approvals by the correct person/people, before they can be paid.
- Bulk payments: pay multiple bills at once.
- More roles and the mobile experience: Bills will be coming soon to the Pleo mobile phone app.
- Notifications: smart notifications (email and mobile) to inform you at the right times.
The fintech has also revealed that automatic bookkeeping is also in the pipeline.