15 Tools for digital Invoice Approval

Jan Schäfer

Time-consuming, confusing and error-prone: companies that approach their invoice processing manually have to overcome a multitude of challenges. The solution in this case is simple: There are numerous free and low-cost tools for digital invoice approval on the market.

What should founders, accountants and business managers look for when choosing the right tool? And: How can providers of invoice processing tools add more value to their software? We show 15 programs that make digital invoice approval efficient.

The most important facts about digital invoice approval in brief

  • A digital invoice release helps companies process, verify and archive incoming invoices.
  • With the right software, companies save time, make fewer errors and document invoice transactions in a traceable manner.
  • With Konfuzio, invoice processing tool providers optimize and automate their software to deliver significantly more value to their customers. 
  • Medium-sized and large companies create their own workflows for invoices with Konfuzio and automate them intelligently. Try the AI software now for free!

How digital Invoice Approval works

Digital invoice approval comprises a total of 6 steps. Depending on the tool, it takes on different numbers of tasks for companies. The more steps the software covers, the less work you have in accounting:

1. Invoice receipt

Digital invoice approval begins when invoices are received by the company, usually by email or post. 

2. Scanning and digitizing

The accounting scans physical invoices. This way they can convert them into a digital format. Digital invoices are automatically captured by software and stored in its system accordingly.

3. Automatic data acquisition

Advanced software automatically extracts relevant information such as invoice number, amount and supplier details from the digital invoice. Simpler programs cannot do this. Here, companies have to search out the data from the invoices themselves.

4. Verification and validation

Software checks the captured data for accuracy and matches it against internal records to ensure there are no discrepancies.

5. Booking

After the check, a tool enters the invoice into the accounting system. This prepares the payment of the invoice.

6. Payment release

Depending on the size and structure of the company or accounting department, each invoice requires an approval process. Once the invoice has been approved, the software triggers payment of the invoice. It marks the invoice as paid in the system. 

digital invoice approval advantages

Advantages of digital Invoice Approval

Software helps companies to process their digital invoices faster and with fewer errors. How do they benefit from this in practice? 

Faster processing times

Digital invoice approval speeds up the approval process considerably, even for small companies. A corresponding tool creates automatic notifications and assigns invoices to the responsible persons. This reduces waiting times and increases efficiency. For example, if a small manufacturer that has just entered the market with its product uses electronic invoice approval, the software automatically sends incoming supplier invoices to the owner. The owner is then able to quickly check and approve the invoices. In this way, the company avoids unnecessary delays.

Efficient communication and tracking

Digital invoice approval enables clear communication and easy tracking of approval processes. Status updates and comments are directly visible in software. This helps companies avoid misunderstandings and clarify requests quickly. For example, if a small online retail business uses a digital invoice verification platform, the owner can view the status of each invoice and provide feedback to responsible parties such as the purchasing manager or accountant. This promotes smooth internal communication and enables quick solutions to discrepancies.

Better control and transparency

Digital invoice approval offers companies improved control over their expenses. This is because: software logs all approval activities, which enables detailed monitoring of every invoice. For example, when a small family business uses digital invoice approval software, the manager is able to monitor all approval processes and ensure that the responsible parties are handling all invoices properly. This enables accurate budgeting and helps avoid unexpected costs.

Reduced costs and environmental impact

With digital invoice approval, companies minimize costs for paper, printers and manual labor. This results in significant cost savings for small businesses while helping to protect the environment. For example, if an IT startup switches to digital invoice approval, it significantly reduces its office supplies costs. This is because employees no longer have to print out electronic invoices.

digital invoice approval software selection criteria

How Companies find the right Software for digital Invoice Approval

One thing is clear: companies save a lot of time and hassle when they switch from manual invoices to digital invoice approval. But how do they find software that fits their needs and requirements? Basically, companies should check the following factors when choosing a tool:

Ease of use

Software that performs invoice approval digitally should be intuitive and easy to understand so that employees can work with it without extensive training. Practical example: A company chooses digital invoice approval software with a simple user interface. Employees quickly become familiar with the system and start processing invoices without delay. This increases productivity even with the first applications.

Integration with existing systems

Companies should be able to seamlessly integrate software into their existing IT infrastructure. This allows data to flow smoothly between different departments and systems, improving the accuracy of the data and the efficiency of the overall process. For example, a manufacturing company integrates digital invoice approval software into their existing ERP system. As a result, the software automatically transfers invoice information to accounting. This minimizes human error and eliminates a work step.

Workflow automation

Automated workflows automatically route invoices to the right people for approval, based on predefined rules. This significantly speeds up the approval process. For example, a logistics company uses a tool to implement automated workflows that correspond to internal processes. In this way, the software automatically forwards invoices to the responsible person, depending on the type of order. This leads to a drastic reduction in invoice processing time.

Security and data protection

Digital invoice approval software must meet strict security standards to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of invoice data. The most important factor here is data protection. This ensures that sensitive business information such as personal data is protected.

In practice, for example, the compliance officer of a fintech startup chooses a digital invoice verification tool that supports end-to-end encryption and multi-level authentication.

In this way, the software securely transfers all invoice data and ensures that only authorized users have access to the invoices.

Scalability

Software should be scalable and able to grow with the business. It is important that the software provides optimal performance even as the number of users and invoices increases, without losing efficiency. So, for example, if an expanding start-up needs to process 200 invoices a month instead of 20 after a year in business, scalable software will do it just as quickly and without errors. 

digital invoice approval tools

14 digital Invoice Approval Tools for small Businesses

You can find countless digital invoice approval tools on the market. First, let's take a look at 5 applications that are available for free or at an inexpensive price:

ToolDescriptionMost important functionsExample of use
LexwareLexware is an accounting and financial software for small businesses and the self-employed. In addition to the accounting functions, Lexware offers a digital invoice release that is particularly user-friendly and integrates well with the platform.- Customizable invoice templates with company logo- Automatic tracking of invoice status and payment receipts- Digital approval and online payment options for customersA small consulting firm uses Lexware for its digital invoice approval. The ability to monitor payment status in real time speeds up payment processing. Customers can also pay invoices online, resulting in improved cash flow management.
WaveWave is a free accounting software that is especially suitable for the self-employed and small businesses. Besides the accounting functions, Wave also offers the possibility of digital invoice approval.- Creation of invoices with individual branding- Sending of invoices by e-mail- Tracking of open invoices and incoming payments.A small web design studio uses Wave for digital invoice approval. The clear user interface allows the studio to send invoices efficiently from the start without making mistakes. This results in fast payment processing and therefore more time for design projects.
InvoicelyInvoicely is a user-friendly invoicing software with affordable rates that is well suited for small businesses and freelancers. It allows businesses to handle the entire invoicing process online.- Customizable invoice templates- Online payment options for customers- Digital approval and signature function.A small marketing company uses Invoicely for digital invoice approval. Easy customization of invoice templates and the ability to digitally sign invoices speed up the invoice process and ensure transaction accuracy.
SlickPieSlickPie is a free accounting software for small businesses. It offers basic accounting functions and the possibility of digital invoice sharing and management.- Automatic creation of recurring invoices- Online payment options for customers- Tracking of expenses and revenues.A small online retail company uses SlickPie for digital invoice approval. Automatic creation of recurring invoices minimizes invoice preparation time, while online payment options result in faster payment receipts.
AND COAND CO is a comprehensive platform for freelancers and small businesses. It offers not only invoicing features, but also project management and time tracking features. There is a free version with limited features and affordable premium plans.- Invoice template creation and customization- Automatic expense and revenue tracking- Digital approval and online payment optionsA freelance IT manager uses AND CO for digital invoice approval and his project management. The seamless integration of invoice functions with time tracking and expense tracking helps him keep track of all aspects of his projects and work efficiently.
DatevDatev is a well-known accounting software for companies and tax advisors.- Customizable invoice templates in corporate design - Electronic signature for legal validity - Integration with accounting software for seamless data transfersA medium-sized company uses Datev for digital invoice approval to ensure that all invoices are legally valid and seamlessly integrated with accounting.
iflowiflow is a cloud-based software for electronic invoice processing and approval.- Automatic capture of incoming invoices - Workflow for digital invoice release and approval - Archiving of invoices according to legal requirementsA small marketing agency uses iflow to automate the entire invoicing process. Incoming invoices are automatically captured and digitally approved, resulting in efficient accounting.
FastBillFastbill is an intuitive accounting software for self-employed and small businesses.- Creation of professional invoices and quotations- Automatic reminders for open invoices - Management of expenses and receipts.A freelancer uses FastBill to create and send his invoices digitally. The automatic reminders for open invoices support him in tracking payments.
ZervantZervant is a user-friendly invoicing software for small businesses and freelancers.- Create invoices with a few clicks - Recurring invoice creation option - Automatic notifications for late paymentsA small catering company uses Zervant to send recurring invoices to regular customers. The automatic notifications help the company receive payments on time.
SevDeskSevDesk is a cloud-based accounting software with extensive invoice creation and approval features.- Creation of professional invoices with customized design - Management of incoming invoices and expenses - Integration of online payment options for customers.A small online trading company uses SevDesk to create and send invoices for their products. The online payment options make it easy for customers to pay quickly.
DebitoorDebitor is a simple accounting software for small business owners and the self-employed.- Fast creation of invoices and quotations - Management of customer data and product information - Easy monitoring of open invoicesA self-employed graphic designer uses Debitoor to quickly create invoices for his clients. The easy monitoring of open invoices helps him keep track of his finances.
RW EasyRW Easy is an accounting software designed specifically for small businesses and freelancers.- Clear user interface for easy operation - Management of customer and supplier data - Archiving of invoices for legal requirementsA small family restaurant uses RW Easy to create and store its invoices digitally. The ease of use allows the restaurant team to manage the invoicing process smoothly.
AccountingButlerAccountingButler is a user-friendly accounting software with a focus on ease of use.- Creation of invoices and quotations with just a few clicks - Automatic posting of incoming invoices - Integrated online payment options for customersA small flower store uses AccountingButler to create and send invoices for customer orders. Automatic posting of incoming invoices saves time in accounting.
FastInvoiceFastInvoice is a user-friendly invoicing software for freelancers and small businesses.- Creation of professional invoices with individual branding - Automatic reminders for open invoices - Online payment options for customers.A freelance graphic designer uses FastInvoice to create and send invoices for his client projects. The automatic reminders for open invoices help him track payments.

Konfuzio - Digital Invoice Approval for large Enterprises

Medium-sized and large companies need more than basic functions in an invoice software. They often process countless invoices every day. This means that they must be able to use software to create and automate their own approval workflows. This is the only way they can minimize the effort required for digital invoice approval. 

This also applies to providers of tools for invoice processing. In order for their customers to use the tool to process their invoices efficiently, they need to offer workflows that are as flexible as possible, customizable and controllable. 

Konfuzio's AI software streamlines and automates the entire invoice workflow:

Invoice capture

Konfuzio automatically captures and imports incoming invoices. These can be invoices received by email as well as invoices from various portals such as Amazon.

Document classification

If necessary, Konfuzio sorts the captured invoices by classifying them into different types. For example, companies are able to create invoice categories such as supplier invoices or credit notes. In this way, they specify the control of the processing process.

Data acquisition

Konfuzio automatically extracts all relevant information in the invoice. You specify in this process which data - such as supplier address, invoice number and amount - you want to capture. Thereby an automated matching with DATEV or other third party systems is also possible, for example to assign already existing supplier numbers to invoices.

For this purpose Konfuzio uses optical character recognition (OCR). OCR is a technology that converts printed or handwritten text into machine-readable text. It does this by scanning the image or text, identifying letters, numbers and symbols, and converting them into electronic characters. This enables digital information to be edited, searched, stored and further processed.

Verification and validation

OCR is not only capable of extracting digital data from documents, but also of checking the captured data for accuracy and matching it against internal records to ensure there are no discrepancies. This saves you a crucial step that requires manual checking in applications without AI. 

Release of the invoice

Konfuzio releases invoices automatically. Only if necessary - such as high invoice amounts - you can tell the software to submit the ready-to-pay invoice to a responsible person and get their approval.

Archiving and booking

After digital invoice approval, Konfuzio automatically archives the invoices. If desired, the AI stores incoming receipts, for example, in your GoBD compliant, electronic archive in an audit-proof manner. In this way, you not only settle receivables on time and without errors, but also make the entire payment process transparent and traceable - indispensable for flawless compliance.

If required: data export and integration

If certain invoices are not only to be archived, but also transferred to other company systems or integrated into other workflows, Konfuzio offers the possibility to export the files into the desired format and then forward them.

Try Konfuzio now for free!

Still have questions about how to integrate Konfuzio into your workflows? Then talk to one of our experts now without obligation!

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