Automate your invoice processing, approval, and payment process with Liquid.
Assuming you’ve mastered onboarding new contractors and vendors, creating and tracking SOWs, and completing simplified payments on Liquid, then you’re ready to learn how to add invoice processors and approvers to your workflow. Doing so will automate your invoice payment processes — and you’ll reduce the task hours spent on reviewing invoices.
Setting up Invoice Processing and Approvals in Liquid
Liquid allows you to set invoice approvers and invoice approval policies for your company. Invoice approval policies can be customized so that they apply to all invoices and/or only invoices that exceed specified dollar amounts. Additionally, a history of the invoice approval flow is maintained, and invoice processing and approval notification workflow are automated.
Here’s how to set up invoice processing and approvals in Liquid.
Start by Inviting Additional Users to Your Liquid Account
To start using invoice approvals, begin by inviting others in your business to manage or use your Liquid account. While logged in to Liquid as a Hirer, navigate to Business Settings. Under Business Settings, click on Users.
Press the + purple button to bring up a pop-up where you will enter the new user’s email address and title; you’ll have to also select a role for this user. An email is then sent to that user to create their account and join your company on Liquid. Once they’ve joined your company on Liquid, you will see their name listed in the Users sub-section of the Business Settings section.
Turn on Invoice Processing and Set Your Invoice Processor in Liquid
Now that you have additional users for your business in Liquid, you can set your invoice process. Go to Settings —> Approvals and turn on invoice processing.
Now, you will need to set your Invoice Processor. The Invoice Processor is usually the person who is responsible for handling received invoices and ensuring that they are being sent to and reviewed by the correct invoice approver(s), if necessary.
What is an Invoice Processor?
An Invoice Processor is anyone that should be able to add additional approvals on any given invoice, as well as remove those additional approvers. Any approvers added on a specific invoice can be removed, but approvers added automatically via Approvals Settings cannot be removed from specific invoices. Companies usually add their AP person, accountant, or bookkeeper as an Invoice Processor.
When an invoice is received from your Vendor, the Invoice Processor can elect to get copied on emails as Invoices go through the approval/rejection process — or they can choose to save their inbox and opt out of these emails. The important thing to note is that the Invoice Processors aren’t required to do anything to move an invoice along, though some Invoice Processors will want to make sure that the correct invoice information is in the system (vendor, date, amount, chart of accounts).
Who can pay Invoices?
As always, only people set as Administrators, Controllers, and Invoice Payers (roles with permissions to pay Invoices) will be able to pay invoices.
Automated Approvals via Hiring Managers
In Liquid, you can set a Hiring Manager for each Vendor. In addition, in Settings —> Approvals invoices can automatically be routed to each Hiring Manager for approval. That Hiring Manager is then the default Hiring Manager for all Work Orders with that specific Vendor. Alternatively, you also can specify a different Hiring Manager for each Work Order.
If automated routing to Hiring Managers is turned on, then the Hiring Manager for each Invoice is automatically an approver for that Invoice: that will be the Work Order Hiring Manager if the Invoice is tied to a Work Order or the Hiring Manager for managing the relationship with the Vendor if the invoice is sent without a Work Order.
How to Implement Organization-Level Invoice Approval Policies
Once Invoice Processing is on, and an Invoice Processor has been set on Settings—> Approvals, you will be able to add a new approval policy under ‘Invoice Approval Policy Settings.
If you want someone in your business to view and approve all invoices, set an approval policy that requires that person’s approval for invoices with a minimum of $0.
You can also set additional approval policies for varying levels (for example, you might want invoices of $5K or more to be approved by a manager and invoices of $10K or more to be approved by a director and invoices of $15K or more to be approved by the owner). Create each approval policy individually by specifying the specific dollar value associated with that person.
When an approval policy is active, it will be automatically applied to all invoices that are received by your business.
How Invoice Processing and Approvals Work
Now that you have Invoice Processing and Approvals turned on in Liquid, let’s be sure you understand how it works.
When an Invoice is received from your vendor, the invoice is automatically routed to the Hiring Manager and any Invoice approvers set via organization-level processes.
The Invoice Processor can elect to be notified as the Invoices go through the Invoice approval/rejection process, but does not need to do anything to move Invoices along. Some Invoice Processors prefer to review each invoice to ensure the correct invoice information is in the system (vendor, date, amount, chart of accounts), but most prefer Liquid’s automated system that includes Work Order to Invoice matching.
Once all Invoice Approvals are complete, a notification is sent to your organization’s Accounts Payable person to pay the invoice.
Rejecting an Invoice in Liquid
If the Invoice Processor finds that something is wrong with the invoice, or an approver rejects the invoice, the Invoice Processor can elect to ‘Reject’ the invoice, and it will be sent back to the vendor to make edits and resubmit.
Note that if invoice processing is not turned on, received invoices will be sent to Accounts Payable directly for payment or rejection. You can always reject an invoice, even if you have Invoice Processing and Approvals turned off.
Adding Additional Invoice-Specific Approver(s) on a Specific Invoice
Once the Invoice Processor is set, they have the ability to add one or more invoice-specific approvers on each invoice that is received.
Here’s how this works:
When viewing a specific invoice, approver(s) can be added to the approval chain on the process invoice module.
The Invoice Processor can remove these invoice-specific approvers as well. Note that your organization’s organization-level approvers (set under Settings —> Approvals) automatically appear on each and every invoice, and cannot be removed on a specific invoice.
If one of the approvers rejects an invoice, the Invoice Processor can decide to reject the invoice, which will send it back to the vendor for them to modify/resubmit.
Once all approvals are completed, notice to pay the invoice is sent to your organization’s Accounts Payable person.
Note that a history of the approval flow, along with a reason for any invoice rejection, is available for review.
Automate Your Invoice and Payment Processes with Liquid
Now that you’ve set up Invoice Processing and Approvals in Liquid, you’ve gained the ability to automate your invoice review and payment process.
We continue to roll out new features based on user requests, so be sure to get in touch to share your pain points and let us know what features you need!
Start using Liquid today to activate the liquid workforce.