- App enters all line items of a PDF invoice into an accounting program.
- Works with Xero and Saasu. MYOB AccountRight Live in the works.
- Automates payables department, saves many hours on data entry.
Restaurants swamped with invoices for fruit and vegetables, soft drinks, liquor and meats could automate the process and save hours in bookkeeping fees, said Mark Burch, CEO of cloud app InvoiceSmash.
Burch spent several years automating processes in large companies using a standard called electronic data interchange, or EDI. The efficiencies from automating high volumes of transactions between trading partners was enormous, Burch said, and he wondered if the same could be done for SMEs.
SMEs “have exactly the same problems and inefficiencies as the big boys but haven’t had a low cost way of addressing it,” Burch said.
The ability to connect two cloud programs easily and cheaply has made it possible to replicate the expensive automation driven by EDI. InvoiceSmash gave a business a special email for suppliers to send their PDF invoices which were automatically entered into a cloud accounting program.
“A typical customer would be a restaurant receiving hundreds of invoices a month. its the same 12 suppliers over and over again and because it’s repeatable, you can automate it,” Burch said.
The common PDF format was a strong choice as the interchange mechanism because every business was familiar with it. Suppliers didn’t have to change how they did business except to change the email for the invoice to the InvoiceSmash address.
“Over 95 percent of businesses are capable of doing PDF attachments when they’re requested to by their trading partner,” Burch said.
Information extracted from PDF invoices was matched to inventory and coded to the general ledger in the cloud accounting program. InvoiceSmash learned how to categorise invoices from certain suppliers based on the user’s instructions.
“Every time you specify something you can check a box to not ask me again. Next time around the software will automate it,” Burch said. “The more you use it and automate it the less you will do the next time around.”
InvoiceSmash was more focused on automation than a close competitor, InvitBox. InvitBox required the user to map the required fields for each supplier’s PDF while InvoiceSmash did the mapping automatically, Burch said.
InvitBox responded that their approach gave users greater flexibility and control.
Burch had had several conversations with virtual CFO firms that were driving clients to improve the quality of their data. The firms wanted more data captured from every invoice rather than the typical approach of entering just the total amount.
“In the financial services industry the bookkeeper will take the total on the invoice and type it into MYOB. There’s no attention paid to the items in that invoice,” Burch said. “The business owner can’t run a report saying what is my most lucrative or least profitable item. They’re not tracking the invoice items over time.”
InvoiceSmash could enter every line of data in a 40-line invoice which let small businesses do better financial reporting, Burch said. This has allowed small businesses to start tracking inventory for the first time.
InvoiceSmash connected to cloud accounting programs Saasu and Xero. MYOB’s AccountRight Live was next on the list, although InvoiceSmash was waiting for MYOB to finish its connector (API) for third-party cloud programs.
InvoiceSmash had found a niche in food services, trades and small manufacturing, Burch said.