Invoice Processing In Zahara

Invoice Processing In Zahara


In Zahara you can record two types of invoices - standalone and those that relate to a purchase order. There are several different ways of recording an invoice in Zahara and there are two applications you can use to scan / load invoices - SmartInvoice & ABBYY FlexiCapture. Once an invoice is recorded, it can be routed for approval either automatically in a rules based way or in an Ad Hoc way where you choose the approver. Ultimately, Zahara is designed to export the invoice into your accounts system and there are many options to choose from fully integrated to just a CSV or Excel spreadsheet. 

Accruing for invoices 

Invoices should flow into your accounts system very quickly. Users can approve by email and can be reminded daily to do their approvals so there is no reason for big delays as Zahara is a paper-less process. However, there will be a point at month end where you will have invoices in Zahara that haven't been exported into accounts. There are a number of ways to report on this. Our reporting section has an Order / Invoice difference report. You can also create invoice reports with the export date, showing those invoices not yet exported. Zahara users work in different ways so there should be something for everyone in Zahara. Ultimately you can use the invoices list view to filter down on any invoices that have not yet been exported or approved.

Invoice Basics

Your invoice list view is available from the Documents > Invoices link. You can choose the fields you wish to display in this list by clicking the three dots. 

The first filter to work with is the time period you wish to display. This will be remembered provided you don't  choose all. You can also set this to show different types of invoices. You can search inside the results by using the search bar just above the list view. You can sort the columns and as stated above choose the fields you wish to display. Clicking the approval icon will show you the approval process. Ultimately you want to see green for approved, green for 100% match with an order and green for exported. 

Getting invoices into Zahara 

There are several ways to record an invoice: 

Invoice Inbox - Generate your own email address and have the invoices emailed into Zahara. With our Built-in OCR you can opt to buy a page count and have the invoices automatically read as well, saving all of the keying in. This is the recommended way of getting invoices into Zahara as the PDF element is handled and most of your suppliers will be emailing you their invoices anyway. 

Record against an Order - Our favourite way to record an invoice is to start with the Order. If you head to the purchases list view, you can see the status of the order. You can see if its approved and delivered. 

In the list view above, all we need to do now is tick the order and click Batch Invoice above. The wizard will then run and you can follow that. 

From the invoices Page - The invoices list view page also has two icons for recording an invoice. One is a standard invoice the other is for what we call a Grouped invoice. The only difference is that with a Grouped invoice you can have a different Division per line item. If you have read up on structures, you will know Divisions are significant. These icons will cause the Wizard to run and you can record the invoice easily. 

From the + menu item  - You can also record an invoice by simply clicking + and New Invoice. This is usually the way to record a standalone invoice that perhaps you have scanned or thats been emailed to you personally. You can either record it standalone or against an order. If you select an order, make sure you import the order lines so it matches. 

SmartInvoice - SmartInvoice is our simple Desktop OCR tool for scanning or loading invoices. It's easy to use and good for medium volumes of say 500 - 1500 invoices a month. 

ABBYY FlexiCapture - If you have significant volumes of invoices - say 1500+ a month then our go-to software is FlexiCapture. It allows you to work in Batches and has advanced recognition. As an example we could find a post code or Vehicle reg and set a Cost Code or Department ID automatically. 

Invoice Approvals 

There are two types of invoice approval - automated and ad hoc. The approvals help article needs to be read and understood to get the most out of approvals. If you get your invoice workflow right, invoices can hit Zahara and your workflow will determine whether the invoice needs to go for approval or whether it can export automatically into your accounts system (SmartSync, Xero & QuickBooks Online).
Make sure you have read up on Approvals and workflows by reading this article:  

Invoice Matching 

When recording an invoice against an order you are matching it. You will be able to see the GRN status (if an order has been receipted) and you can compare the invoice against the order. The key thing here is to import the order line items. This will save time and link the order and the invoice together. If you don't import the order lines, you wont see the balance between the two. 

Watch the video below to see how Invoice Matching works. This is a thorough explanation and shows how a credit not can also be recorded. 

One very important thing to know: Zahara doesn't do line by line matching - we only do value matching. ie You ordered £2000 of goods and received £1500 - the balance is £500. We don't take into account where that difference is and on what line. You can GRN an invoice to show received quantities to assist. We are planning to change this in the first half of 2020 so you will then see a balance on the lines as well. 

If you find you cannot record a second invoice against an order, with the message saying "its full received" then turn off the feature in 
Business > Settings > Validations: 

One PO - Multiple Invoices 

One of the really nice features of Zahara is that you can record an order and then record multiple invoices against it. It could be its a master PO and you expect 12 invoices in over the next year. You can record those invoices and always see the order invoice balance. It's entirely down to you how you create the master PO - whether it's 12 separate lines or one master line. If you have watched the video above you will see that keeping the line items in place is very important. 

One invoice and multiple orders

If you send out lots of orders to the same suppliers, and they send in one invoice covering all of these orders then you can handle this in Zahara. The best way to do this is to head to the Orders page again and to search for the supplier in the list view: 

In the example above, when we click Batch Invoice, all of the order line items will show as shown below: 

Now you can manipulate these order line items to create the invoice.  

Invoice Inbox 

If you want hands-free processing of Invoices then the invoice inBox for you. there are tow elements to this. 1. Getting the invoices in there and 2. Getting them read automatically. The best and fastest way to get invoices to arrive in the Inbox is to generate an email address in Business > Settings > Invoices Email - you can create one email address per Business Unit. You will then put this on your purchase order template and and make sure your suppliers send invoices to this address. 

The other way is to create a Zapier link or a Microsoft Flow. This will be the choice for this that already have an inbox and want to use that instead. The main thing to remember is that we match the supplier and the Business Unit from the "from" email address and the "to" email address. Read the dedicated help article on the Invoices Inbox to understand it in more detail. 

Built-in Invoice OCR

We have chosen a provider that we are comfortable working with, who has great technology and can provide the recognition of  line items as well as our purchase order number. This was released in April 2020. We call it InvoiceExpress and it's designed to make light work of processing your invoices. The key features are: 

  1. Line items reading 
  2. PO number reading so automatic matching 
  3. Built-in rules cascading and validation 
  4. Fast real-time recognition - no waiting
  5. Page splitting - handling multiple invoices in one PDF
All you need to test or try this facility is a page count. You can buy a page count from us at any time or ask for a sample test of 50 invoices. Read this help article to find out how to get it setup. 

Invoice Importing from Xero 

If you are a Xero user and you also want to use Receipt Bank, Auto Entry or Dochub, you can import your invoices placed in Draft in Xero. Enable the feature in Business > Settings > Integrations and then an import icon will appear in your invoices list view page. Read the dedicated article on this to find out more

Invoice PDF's 

Always record an invoice in Zahara with a PDF. It will be stored in Zahara for at least 7 years. The PDF of the invoice can always be viewed by clicking the paper clip icon in the invoice record. The invoice PDF will be copied over to both Xero and QuickBooks Online and can also be downloaded onto your network or PC with our SmartSync tool. 

For belt & braces PDF storage we would recommend you also consider FileDirector which is our go-to document management system. Invoices can be exported into FileDirector as part of a workflow. 

Invoice Notes & History 

You can add notes to an invoice at any time. Just click into the invoice and then see the history section at the bottom. Click the + icon to add a note or "Add Document" to upload a supporting document. 

Adding a Credit Note 

You can record a credit note at any time. Just create a standard invoice with negative values. The quantities will be positive but the monetary values will be negative. 

Controlling who can export invoices 

You can control who can export invoices. Head to Business > Settings > Validations. You will see this section: 

You can multiple select the users you want to grant permission to using a Ctrl Click. However, only users with the Finance & Admin role will appear in this list. You will need to edit user roles to change this (and you will need the Tenancy Admin permissions to do this)

Finding Invoices 

The global search icon is at the top of the page is next to the help icon. This is a useful tool as you can search for:

  • Order Numbers
  • Invoice Numbers
  • Suppliers
  • Line Items Contents
  • Products
  • Projects 

First off choose the type of entity you wish to search for. ie Choose invoice. Then key in an invoice number. Then click search or hit return. The results will show. if you choose 'All' as the category, you can search inside the line item content as well. This is the fastest way to find an invoice. 

Coding Approvals 

When an invoice is sent for approval, you can specify - both for Adhoc approvals and rules based - whether the Approver can or must edit the coding. This can be useful if you receive an invoice and you don't know how to code it. in this instance, the user cannot simply approve or reject. They have to adjust the coding on the item you specified - ie Project / Job code. 
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