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Accounts Payable Vendor Portal: Functions, Benefits, Best Practices

By Annapoorna

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Updated on: Sep 13th, 2023

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8 min read

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Manual methods of connecting and collaborating with vendors can result in payment delays, leading to conflicts and resource mismanagement. According to a 2020 study by Atradius, 32% of vendors would stop business if they experienced late payments. 

This is where a vendor portal comes in! Vendor portals help streamline transactions by automating processes and reducing workers' administrative chores.

Continue reading as we discuss a vendor self-service portal and how to implement an accounts payable vendor portal into your business. 

What Is An Accounts Payable Vendor Portal?

A vendor portal, or a supplier portal, is a common online platform shared by businesses and their vendors. The supplier portal is used to enter supplier information, send documents, view status, and communicate with suppliers.

Vendor portals are widely used by companies and government agencies, particularly those dealing with large vendors across multiple operating areas daily. 

With a supplier portal, you can submit documents like contracts, electronic purchase orders, vendor bills for AP and payment, and Form 16A. It also lowers procurement cycle expenses by boosting business document exchange and reducing the time required to review these documents.

Functions of An Accounts Payable Vendor Portal

Some essential functions of an accounts payable vendor portal are:

  • Manages vendor orders: Supplier portals give vendors a consolidated platform to access and manage orders placed by the business, update the delivery information, and alert the business of any concerns. This removes the requirement for the customer and supplier to access their individual company software, which may need to be in sync.
  • Streamlines procurement: A supplier portal enables the customer procurement and supplier teams to post or view purchase orders, request change orders, track shipping and delivery, and get automatic vendor notifications. 
  • Automating invoices: Supplier portals eliminate the need for people to fill out invoice status and payment information inquiry forms by automating them. This helps companies and vendors save a lot of time. 
  • Integrating different payment methods: With a vendor interface, businesses can easily accept different payments, including virtual card payments. It allows sellers to get paid faster and helps the AP department in several ways, such as making payments more secure and giving cash-back rebates.

Benefits of An Accounts Payable Vendor Portal

Here are some benefits of accounts payable vendor portals:

  • Environmental sustainability: The portal improves environmental practices by eliminating paper usage.
  • Reduced errors: Automation minimises data entry mistakes, ensuring accuracy in financial processes.
  • Efficient workflow: The portal streamlines tasks, organises documents, and automates processes, saving time and effort.
  • Improved communication: The vendor portal enhances two-way communication, including real-time updates and status notifications.
  • Fewer interruptions: The portal reduces outside inquiries, minimising disruptions in daily operations.
  • Supplier empowerment: Vendors take charge of their part in the process, leading to better accuracy and problem-solving.
  • Cost savings: Integrating the portal with automation software reduces manual work, significantly reducing costs.
  • Accessible anywhere: The portal can be accessed online, providing convenience and flexibility.
  • Centralised management: If integrated with a payment system, the portal simplifies supplier management, reconciliation, and reporting.
  • Control and convenience: Like online banking, the portal offers suppliers control, convenience, and clear engagement in business transactions.

Best Practices While Integrating An Accounts Payable Vendor Portal With Your ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software helps businesses manage basic activities such as procurement, payment processes, and vendor relationships. It also enables them to handle them from a single system that connects to other software.

Integrating your accounts payable vendor portal with ERP software lowers human error and late or missing payments, enhances invoice verification and reconciliation, fortifies supplier relationships, and provides payment system assistance.

Here are some accounts payable vendor portal best practices that you can follow while integrating it with ERP software:

  • Choose a vendor platform linked to the ERP system by flat file or API interface.
  • Browse internet reviews to find the best accounts payable vendor software.
  • Inquire with the AP vendor about client retention rates. 
  • Request a customised study and report on the estimated return on investment (ROI) from the first year of deployment.
  • Begin an add-on app SaaS subscription with a plan that meets your company's requirements.
  • Plan and train for the implementation, using consultancy, customer support, and online documentation to get started quickly.
  • Review and streamline business procedures to achieve best practices with the AP system.
  • Use the system's built-in worldwide payment processing capabilities (with per-transaction fees).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a vendor self-service portal?

A vendor self-service portal is a shared, integrated platform businesses and vendors use. It is used for various activities such as communication, displaying status, entering supplier information, and submitting documents.

What is the vendor management process in accounts payable?

Vendor management is a process that organizations use to manage their suppliers (also known as vendors.) It includes selecting vendors, negotiating contracts, and reducing vendor-related risks.

What are some features of a vendor management portal?

A centralised vendor database, vendor performance tracking, and collaboration tools are some key features of a vendor management portal.

About the Author

I preach the words, “Learning never exhausts the mind.” An aspiring CA and a passionate content writer having 4+ years of hands-on experience in deciphering jargon in Indian GST, Income Tax, off late also into the much larger Indian finance ecosystem, I love curating content in various forms to the interest of tax professionals, and enterprises, both big and small. While not writing, you can catch me singing Shāstriya Sangeetha and tuning my violin ;). Read more

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