The 8 Best AP Automation Software for Hotels: A Comparison Guide
by Jacob Statler
We love automation, don’t we? Looking for the best AP software for your hotel?
Auto shipments, auto payments, auto-updates, and the beat goes on. The thing is, automation just makes life easier, doesn’t it?
Nod your head. You know it does.
The hotel industry has no less than a thousand and one tasks that, if automated, would make life easier and your guests happier.
Your hotel accounts payable is a prime candidate for elevation in the area of automation.
This isn’t groundbreaking news — many hotels are bringing their AP up-to-date by transitioning to an automated AP workflow. Because of this, hotel AP software solutions have been steadily rolling out.
How do you choose the best AP software to integrate with your current systems among all the available options?
We’ve listed 8 of the top accounts payable software solutions available for hotels with their features so you can make the choice that best suits your hotel operation. Our guide covers:
- The new hotel accounts payable
- What to look for in hotel AP software
- 8 Best hotel AP software solutions
- The right decision for your hotel AP software makes all the difference
The New Hotel Accounts Payable
There’s been a shift in hotel AP in the last few years — moving from a manual accounts payable workflow to a more streamlined AP automation approach.
The hospitality industry is coming around to the benefits of AP automation — and as they do, they’re reaping the benefits of automation:
- Saves money
- Improves vendor relationships
- Streamlines the AP workflow
- Enables scalability
According to Goldman Sachs, the total cost (processing + labor costs) to manually process a single invoice is $16.00 for a medium-sized business. In an automated system, the cost dropped to $5.89, about 60% in net savings.
With this shift, multiple hotel AP software solutions are available. So, how do you pick the best AP software? It’s essential to do your research before choosing an AP solution for your hotel.
What to look for in hotel AP software
Your hotel AP software must “get” the uniqueness of the hospitality business. If they don’t, run away…fast.
If they pass the test of understanding what sets apart hotel accounting, then be sure to look for these top 5 features when choosing an AP software.
1. Invoice automation
Your software should support a multi-property chart of accounts. Automatic GL coding and splitting should be available, as well as an automated invoice approval process. You should be able to create rules in advance for proper GL coding, splitting, and invoice approval to tailor it to your hotel operation.
2. Bill pay
A quality hotel AP software solution should provide an option of receiving and paying your vendors within the AP system. Look for software solutions with virtual cards that offer cash back when you pay your vendors and reduce your hotel’s fraud risk.
3. Expense management
Your hotel AP software must allow for creating expense allocation programs that can be tailored to fit your hotel(s) and each department. For example, the Plate IQ Card allows you to issue a virtual card designated for a particular vendor with a pre-set spending limit. This allows for automatic expense management with the big fat bonus of prompt vendor payment.
4. Digital document storage
A digital filing cabinet to store all your documents securely and have them easily accessible is a must-have feature that’ll revolutionize your accounting department. No more storing paper and searching for documents packed away in boxes.
5. Seamless integration
Whichever hotel AP software solution you choose must offer seamless integration with your existing systems. It’s no good if your systems don’t sync and communicate. You’ll be doing work that could easily be automated, which is a shame since THAT’S THE POINT of transitioning to AP automation.
8 of the Best AP Software Solutions
Below we’ll cover the 8 top hotel AP software solutions on the market to help you make the best decision for your hotel’s needs. When you read through the options, think of your hotel and what specifically needs improvement in your AP workflow.
1. Plate IQ
Plate IQ is a top-shelf AP automation platform designed specifically for hospitality vs. other generic AP platforms that just can’t handle your hotel’s unique needs (e.g. reading line items rather than just invoice header info). Plate IQ offers hotel AP the white glove treatment through superior invoice management, billing, and data insights. Invoice management allows digitizing of high-volume complex invoices to streamline and lighten your AP workload.
Other generic AP platforms tend to be spendier because they cater to a wider range of industries — they charge per transaction while Plate IQ doesn’t.
Plate IQ’s Vendor Pay allows you to make unlimited transactions with one simple flat-rate cost per month.
You can pay vendors directly without having to mail checks, and you can schedule future payments to be made on a schedule that suits them.
Plate IQ’s cutting-edge features make it an excellent fit for remote or partially remote accounting teams. For example, insights provide you with spending analysis to identify new saving opportunities, and you can use actionable reporting to control costs.
Plate IQ Features
Plate IQ is a full-service AP automation solution that provides all the bells and whistles to make your hotel’s AP workflow run smoothly and efficiently.
- Invoice automation at the highest level
Create your own rules for GL coding, splitting, and advanced invoice approval that can be pre-set to run automatically.
- Real-time expense control
Because GL coding can be programmed in, once an invoice is scanned in, the GL coding is automatically done. So you can analyze your spending rather than waiting for paper invoices to be shuffled through the AP workflow, eventually coded, and entered into a financial report.
- Plate IQ Card
The Plate IQ virtual card lets you earn up to 1% cash back on vendor pay. It also reduces fraud risk because you can pay vendors with a Plate IQ card issued with a one-time number to protect your accounts. In addition, you can issue unlimited cards for vendor payments and employee expenses.
Using the Plate IQ Card, Clutch Coffee of North Carolina banked a whopping $5,342.00 in cash back in 6 short months.
- Multi-property chart of accounts
Split, code, and approve multi-property invoices right within the software system.
Plate IQ can support a multi-property chart of accounts which provides enhanced oversight and lets you compare one property to another and analyze performance.
- Digital storage
Store all your documents safely and securely in Plate IQ’s digital filing cabinet, significantly reducing storage space. Documents are easily accessible come tax time, for an audit, or if you just need to sneak a peek at a past invoice.
Golder Hospitality is a full-service hotel management, development, and consulting group based out of St. Paul, MN, managing a portfolio of 8 hotel properties throughout the Midwest. They saved $24,000.00 a year by switching to Plate IQ from another AP solution.
2. SAP Concur
Concur users like the ability to copy previous reports and update the details instead of having to create a new report every time. They also appreciate the ease of tracking business travel expenses. However, Concur users repeatedly complain about how outrageously expensive this platform is.
When transitioning to an automated hotel AP software, you’re looking to improve your workflow and save time, right? Be aware that Concur’s invoices take 2 days to process while Plate IQ only takes 24 hours.
Want to compare apples to apples? Check out how Concur compares to Plate IQ here.
SAP Concur features:
- Paperless invoice management
- Expense reporting
- Travel management
- AI/Machine learning
onePAY users like the streamlined approval process that allows for multiple layers of approval. It makes it easier to get vendors paid promptly. It’s important to note here that onePAY is not designed for the hospitality industry.
onePay is a more generic AP solution that doesn’t embrace and make allowances for the uniqueness of the hotel industry, which could end up making you want to pull your hair out after a while.
On their website, under the tab, “Who we serve” is listed:
- Outsourced accounting
- Private equity
- Restaurant operators
Which most likely means they serve those customers well and you’ll need to fit into those business models rather than a hotel-specific system.
One Pay features:
- Invoice processing
- Vendor management
- Approval process control
- Data extraction
- AI/Machine learning
Avidxchange software users like the feature that allows vendors to send invoices directly to Avidxchange. However, according to customer reviews, the indexing portion seems to be a struggle — vendors must have all info correct to suit the software. Otherwise, users are dealing with glitches that leave a lot of invoices stuck in research queues that have to be researched and handled manually.
Avidxchange users like going mostly paperless and having a history for every processed invoice. They say, “mostly paperless” because there will always be vendors continuing to cling to their paper invoices and those invoices have to be entered into the system.
Unfortunately, with Avidxchange, you can’t batch upload invoices. Each page must be scanned as a separate pdf which might cancel out time saved from vendor invoices sent directly to your software.
- Paperless invoice processing
- Bill pay automation
- Purchase order automation
- Integration with top accounting software
5. Nimble Property
Nimble property software users say they appreciate obtaining operating statements faster than when using a spreadsheet. However, while the software’s sufficient, Nimble Property may lack some functionality.
For example, Nimble Property is integrated with Plaid banking, which is a nice addition IF your bank and all your vendors’ banks work through Plaid (not all banks do). Each time you run into a vendor bank that doesn’t work through Plaid, you’ll be forced back to manual AP work while still paying for your AP software.
- Paperless invoicing
- Improved oversight & control over AP management
- A.I. AP automation
- Multi-property management
Beanworks software users cite the ability to remotely approve invoices and going paperless while still having access to past invoices in the cloud as benefits.
However, errors on the Beanworks side (i.e., Beanworks typers entering incorrect data or choosing the wrong vendors or payment amount) cause extra work on the user end because they need to audit everything before payment is made to catch costly mistakes.
If you’re looking to choose a truly automated option for your hotel AP software,
Beanworks might require manual tasks that diminish the benefits of an automated workflow.
- AP automation
- Invoice automation
- Customized approval channels
- Simplified purchase order process
- Digital storage
- Payment automation
- Expense management
- Accounting software integration
Want to know how Beanworks stacks up against Plate IQ? Check out this comparison.
Centreviews software users report an improved workflow using this system (which is the #1 goal of ANY automated hotel AP software). In addition, they appreciate the accessibility of having documentation stored online in a pdf rather than stuffed in a file cabinet.
A cited downside from users is that reports can be confusing, making them less helpful in monitoring your hotel operation. Also, Centreviews doesn’t allow you to edit chart data, so if you have a 1-to-1 GL account name to account number structure, you may end up doing redundant work to enter your info.
- Robotic process automation
- AP automation
- AR automation
- Purchase order matching
- Accounting software integration
Stampli users report benefits from going paperless, improving workflow through automation, and paying vendors directly by ACH. On the flip side, users complain about the difficulty of trying to view and work on an invoice because it shows up in a small box, and is tough to see clearly.
Other users cite a lack of high-level settings to ensure proper controls are in place — the controls are not entirely customizable.
Finally, Stampli charges additional fees for specific workflows, counteracting the point of AP automation, which is to automate every task that can be automated and streamline all workflows.
- AP Automation
- Intelligent Invoice Management
- Stampli Card
Choosing the Best AP Software for your Hotel Makes All the Difference
Choosing your hotel AP software is an important decision. You need cutting-edge technology, seamless integration, affordable pricing, and ultimate automation.
The right software will improve your workflow and should make life easier.
Jacob Statler writes about the unique challenges of hospitality AP automation for Plate IQ.
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