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Small and medium-sized company users of Microsoft Business Central ERPs need to apply artificial intelligence for efficiencies, vendor invoice processing workflow automation, and decision-making related to accounts payable and business spending.

To achieve these goals, what’s available in Business Central accounts payable, and what’s lacking in Microsoft AP? How does your business find a solution to fill  Business Central accounts payable gaps? Let’s explore. 

What is Microsoft Business Central? 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) is the cloud-based successor to Microsoft NAV ERP (formerly Navision) that’s also available through other types of deployment, including on-premises. Microsoft Dynamics Business Central also includes Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains), which is an on-premises Microsoft ERP system. 

Accounts Payable & Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Which AP Features Are Built-In? 

Basic accounts payable (AP) features suitable for manual invoice processing are included in the Dynamics 365 Business Central Finance Management module. 

Dynamics 365 Business Central features include a Vendor Template for manually setting up new vendors and updating the vendor fields for a Purchase Order, on-screen filters to check for items received for which supplier invoices aren’t yet in the accounts payable system, manual invoice processing, standard reports (or create user-defined report layouts), and paying invoices. 

Which Accounts Payable Activities Are Not Well-Supported in Microsoft Business Central? 

Microsoft Business Central doesn’t support end-to-end touchless digital invoice processing in its basic Microsoft AP functionality. But you can add on integrated third-party Microsoft Dynamics AP automation for Dynamics 365 BC and Microsoft Dynamics GP accounts payable automation. 

Augmenting Microsoft 365 BC with Accounts Payable Add-Ons & Integrations 

Your company can augment  Microsoft 365 BC with seamlessly integrated AP automation add-on software from a third-party developer.

AP automation for Business Central automatically captures invoice line items and headers through OCR (optical character recognition) with machine learning for accuracy, streamlines and automates workflows for vendor invoice processing, including automated matching and guided approvals, and pays supplier invoices in batches using EFT payment methods. 

The Top 10 Accounts Payable Products & Reports for Microsoft Business Central 

Top accounts payable add-on software and Microsoft Business Central accounts payable reports and extensions are highlighted next. 

1. Nanonets

Nanonets AP automation software automates data entry, approvals, and invoice processing, and helps you manage your entire vendor lifecycle as well as document management and analytics.

How Nanonets improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

AI-driven, end-to-end Nanonets AP automation contains pre-built accounts payable automation workflows, logic, and built-in OCR for data extraction and capture.

Use Nanonets AP automation for supplier communications, uploading and capturing invoice data, 3-way invoice matching to POs and receiving reports, routing approvals, and making global payments. You set up controls and get visibility into business spend. Nanonets will sync all information to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

Nanonets also lets your business use Microsoft Power Automate for some automated document data extraction workflows by building a custom connector. 

2. MetaOption

MetaOption’s Business Central contractor software is industry-specific. 

How MetaOption improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

MetaOption, a Gold Microsoft Partner, provides add-on construction-industry software for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Business Central Dynamics 365. The software includes job costing and project expense tracking that relates to materials purchased through accounts payable. 

3. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Aged Accounts Payable Report

Generate the primary accounts payable report with Business Central. 

How the Aged Accounts Payable report improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

The standard detailed Aged Accounts Payable report in Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC shows amounts due on open invoices with due dates and days outstanding columns. It’s grouped by vendor to help you forecast cash requirements and calculate the Days Payable Outstanding metric. 

4. Microsoft Power BI app

Do you understand pictures better than words?

How the Power BI app improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

Integrate Microsoft Power BI at $9.99 per user per month into Business Central for powerful data visualizations that use Microsoft Excel or other data inputs. Power BI is Microsoft’s Tableau equivalent. 

Data visualizations help you understand accounts payable trends and can be imported into analysis reports used by stakeholders. 

5. Business Central AL language extensions

Give your existing objects more functionality.  

How AL Extensions impr we areove AP with Microsoft Business Central 

Use the development environment for Dynamics 365 Business Central to add extensions to existing objects in the AL language with Visual Studio Code. Get creative with how to make BC accounts payable more functional with extensions. 

6. SharePoint Connector

SharePoint Connector integrated with MS Dynamics 365 Business Central reduces task duplication. 

How SharePoint Connector improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

When you access Microsoft SharePoint from within Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can directly view content from a SharePoint folder without leaving BC. You can add template-generated documents from Business Central to a specified SharePoint folder and map data types in Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC to specific SharePoint folders for document organization. 

7. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Purchase Statistics Report

View any five months of statistics by vendor. 

How the Purchase Statistics report improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

The included Purchase Statistics report in MS Dynamics 365 BC can be viewed as accounts payable lookups for posted payments, discounts, and vendor transactions. You’ll see whether your business is losing discounts offered by vendors. The Purchasing Statistics report includes total purchases, payments, finance charges, and discount information.

8. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Vendor Balance Report

Knowing a vendor balance at a certain date is essential. 

How the Vendor Balance report improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

Another standard Business Central Dynamics 365 accounts payable report to use is the Vendor Balance report. This report lets you set a date range to find unpaid balances and underlying invoices for the specific vendor. You can choose to specify local currency vendor balances. And use the Vendor Balance report to find vendors with zero balances due. 

9. Microsoft Power Apps

To create accounts payable workflow automations in-house, use Microsoft Power Apps. 

How Microsoft Power Apps  improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

Before you add on an end-to-end AP automation solution from a third party to Business Central (like Nanonets Flow), use Microsoft’s answer to creating automations for each of your accounts payable workflows. Microsoft Power Apps pricing is approximately $20 per user per month. 

10. Local Functionality

International operations require localized functionality and languages for Business Central. 

How Local Functionality improves AP with Microsoft Business Central 

Microsoft has developed local functionality for certain countries, including regulatory compliance in that geographic area. Where Microsoft doesn’t have a direct Business Central Dynamics 365 localization solution, check for localization apps by Microsoft partners in Microsoft AppSource.

Does Business Central Come Equipped with AP Automation? 

No, Microsoft Business Central isn’t already equipped for AP automation. Microsoft Business Central gives you access to drag-and-drop Microsoft Power Automate with Microsoft Power Apps. However, your company would need to use Power Automate to design and automate accounts payable workflows (see the PA tutorial). 

In 2023, Microsoft started making Dynamics 365 Business Central better by adding AI features through Microsoft Copilot digital assistant at no extra cost in Essentials and Premium software license plans. With Microsoft Copilot, you can automate some workflow tasks. In 2024, Microsoft is adding conversational chat through Copilot to let you answer questions, locate records faster, and learn skills. 

Therefore, those Business Central users, who don’t internally develop Microsoft Power Automate or Copilot workflows or get integrated AP automation software, are performing manual data entry and visual invoice verification tasks.  

How Does Invoice Processing Work With Microsoft 365 Business Central?

Microsoft Dynamics invoice processing relies on manual data entry and other manual processes. 

Invoice processing with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central works as follows:

  1. Use manual data entry to set up new vendors, including payment methods, and update vendor information using Vendor Template fields. 
  2. Code purchases in BC’s Purchase Order function, using your company’s chart of accounts, and enter non-inventory/service codes to later code in the Accounting department. 
  3. Check that items on the purchase order were received through a filter of “Amount Received Not Invoiced” and compare details to match the supplier invoice received.
  4. After visually verifying the invoice, manually enter the invoice number for PO items received to enter supplier invoices into the system and Post the invoice.
  5. View spending by vendor and other vendor statistics onscreen. 
  6. Run accounts payable reports, including the Aged Payables Report. 
  7. Pay bills using the vendor-assigned payment method.

What’s The Best Solution for Integrating AP Automation with Microsoft Business Central? 

The best accounts payable software solution for integrating AP automation with Microsoft Business Central is cloud-based, Nanonets Flow. Nanonets, for Dynamics 365 AP automation and Dynamics GP Business Central, incorporates AI-driven automation to make digital invoice processing more streamlined and efficient instead of requiring your accounts payable staff to use manual processes. 

How To Handle PO Matching with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central 

When using accounts payable functionality in Microsoft Dynamics 365 alone, for invoice matching, you need to visually compare the Purchase Order details manually entered into Business Central and receiving information entered by your Receiving department into the system to the invoice details. 

In contrast, when you use Nanonets Flow for AP automation, you’ll get automated 3-way invoice matching for all invoices related to a purchase order (PO) and items received. 

Other Considerations Microsoft BC Users Should Be Thinking About 

Microsoft Business Central users should be thinking about how to gain efficiency and cost savings and free up more time for better use. With an AP automation add-on improving Microsoft accounts payable, you will reduce duplicate payments and invoice errors,  improve controls to reduce fraud risks, and increase global payment security and cost-effectiveness. 

Does your company have unlimited resources for hiring accounts payable employees, or should you devise a plan for increasing efficiencies to reduce hiring? What could the finance and accounting team accomplish if it’s not just completing routine accounting processes? 

Conclusion / Summary 

Business Central accounts payable, which is designed as a manual AP system, will be much better when you integrate add-on AP automation for Business Central to achieve effortless accounts payable invoice processing and spend management.

Nanonets AP automation will help your business achieve automated invoice processing with streamlined workflows to replace time-consuming manual processes, digital invoice capture, automated 3-way matching, approval routing, and global payments using EFT methods like ACH, credit cards, and wire transfers. Get started with Nanonets