Best Accounts Payable Software for 2022

Accounts payable software can streamline a very manual process. Integration with your accounting software is key.
Apr 18, 2022

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Accounts payable software helps you keep track of what bills are due and when — a key component of successfully managing accounts payable and your business in general. The best options automate the often manual accounts payable process and include timesaving features, like invoice scanning and accounting software integration.

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for accounts payable software for small businesses.


Lightyear

Price: $99-$1,199+ per month.

Pros:

  • Unlimited number of users.

  • Live support.

  • Mobile app.

  • Free trial.

Cons:

  • Price can be a deterrent for smaller businesses.

  • Requires upgrade to handle purchase orders.

  • Least expensive package only processes 100 bills or statements per month.

Why we like it: Lightyear offers multiple pricing options, including plans starting at $99 a month. The software can read invoices, extract line-item data from them, send invoices off for approval from the appropriate people and automatically assign accounting codes to the data. The product integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, Sage, Oracle NetSuite and more.


Bill.com

Price: $39-$69+ per month.

Pros:

  • Competitive pricing.

  • Risk-free trial.

  • Mobile app.

  • Intelligent Virtual Assistant technology flags duplicate invoices.

Cons:

  • Integrates with relatively few accounting systems. Users must upgrade from the lowest-priced plan to integrate with QuickBooks, Xero or other accounting software.

  • Requires a plug-in to generate 1099s.

  • Must submit a request for support.

Why we like it: Bill.com offers multiple pricing options, including plans starting at $39 a month, which may make it more accessible for many small-business owners. You’ll get a centralized inbox for receiving invoices. The software can read invoices, capture the data on them and even flag if something looks off.


AvidXchange

Price: Quote only.

Pros:

  • Integrates with many accounting software packages.

  • Live support.

  • Stores invoice images for 7 years.

Cons:

  • Price transparency is low: quotes only.

  • No mobile app.

  • No free trial.

Why we like it: AvidXchange has invoice automation software, purchase order software and bill payment software that integrates with over 220 different accounting programs, making it more useful for small businesses that use something other than QuickBooks. There’s also a customer service phone number for live support.


Tipalti

Price: $149+ per month.

Pros:

  • Can handle purchase orders.

  • Live support.

  • Includes machine learning technology for assigning accounting codes and approval routes.

Cons:

  • No mobile app.

  • No free trial.

  • Price can be a deterrent for smaller businesses.

Why we like it: Tipalti matches purchase orders with invoices and receipts, and lets you assign bill approvers to streamline workflows. All products on this list include optical character recognition for automatically scanning invoices, but Tipalti also features machine learning that helps it perform better over time. Live support is a valuable feature, too.


DocuWare

Price: Quote only.

Pros:

  • Integrates with a wide variety of accounting software packages.

  • You design the approval process.

  • Free trial.

  • Mobile app.

Cons:

  • No live support.

  • Price transparency is low: quotes only.

Why we like it: DocuWare can capture and store invoices from any device or from scanned paper, email and mobile captures in a searchable file structure. A non-cloud version is available, too. The software integrates with more than 500 different applications, including QuickBooks, Sage, SAP, Oracle, Outlook and more. Support includes a knowledge base, community forums and a tech support ticketing system.


Airbase

Price: Free version; upgrades are quote only.

Pros:

  • Can handle purchase orders.

  • Mobile app.

  • Free version may work for very small startups.

Cons:

  • Integrates with relatively few accounting packages.

  • Email and ticket support only.

  • Price transparency is low: quotes only.

Why we like it: Like most of its competitors, Airbase uses OCR technology to scan invoices and extract the data you need to move the process along. The mobile app makes it easier for busy business owners to get things done on the go. If you make a lot of payments to overseas vendors, Airbase’s foreign currency support might be especially attractive, though it integrates only with QuickBooks, Xero, Oracle Netsuite and Sage Intacct.


Stampli

Price: Quote only.

Pros:

  • Dedicated inbox for vendors to send invoices.

  • Bot alerts you to duplicate invoices.

  • Stores invoices for 7 years.

Cons:

  • No mobile app.

  • Email-based customer support.

  • Price transparency is low: quotes only.

Why we like it: Stampli uses a bot to do various things, such as manage approval identifications, alert you to duplicate invoices and even autopopulate fields with certain accounting codes. It integrates with several different accounting packages, including QuickBooks, Sage Intacct and Oracle Netsuite.


What are accounts payable?

Accounts payable is a general ledger account for money your company owes and will pay at a later date. Accounts payable, which include unpaid invoices and bills your company receives, show up as liabilities on your balance sheet, a document that conveys your business’s financial health at a particular point in time. When the accounts payable account gets credited upon receiving a bill or invoice, the expenses account is usually debited for the same amount.

How does accounts payable software work?

To understand where accounts payable software might fit in your company, it’s important to understand the accounts payable process. It generally goes like this:

  1. Receive a bunch of invoices via email, snail mail or digitally.

  2. Get important data off each invoice and into your accounting system.

  3. Figure out if each invoice is correct and whether anyone in particular should look at it or approve it before you pay it.

  4. Generate and send a payment for each invoice.

  5. Record that each invoice is paid, and then file the invoice.

Accounts payable software can streamline that process by integrating with your accounting system and helping you better manage cash flow. Here are some of the advantages of using it:

  • Avoid unexpectedly running out of cash. Keeping track of what invoices are outstanding helps you understand how much cash you’re going to need and when, so you can keep your business running smoothly.

  • Get discounts. Many vendors offer discounts for paying early or charge fees for paying late. Good AP software will help you make the most of those deadlines so you don’t throw money away.

  • Avoid having to hire extra people. It can take a lot of time to manually key in data from invoices, generate payments and make journal entries, which can mean hiring more people if there’s no technology or systems to speed up the work.

  • Prevent errors. Accounts payable software can help detect whether you’ve already paid an invoice, whether an invoice amount isn’t what it should be or whether an invoice looks fishy.

How to choose accounts payable software

Ask yourself these questions to help determine what accounts payable software is right for you.

Is it scalable? 

Make sure to think about the future, not just the present. Many accounts payable packages set prices based on how many users or bills you have; business growth could mean rising costs. Look for software that supports the business you plan to run in a year without requiring you to leap up to a much higher pricing tier.

Is it easy to use for you and your clients? 

Most software makers offer free trials to potential customers. Take advantage of these to make sure you understand how to use the features you need. Choose software that accommodates your vendors, especially if you have vendors overseas and need to support multiple currencies. If the vendors will interact with your accounts payable software (perhaps when they remit invoices, for example), take time to test the software from the vendor’s end, too.

Does it integrate with the software you already use? 

Your existing accounting software may have all the accounts payable firepower you want. But if it doesn’t, look for an option that integrates with your existing accounting software. Make sure to test those integrations before you commit to one program. The right software might allow you to consolidate some tasks. If you use a payments app, for instance, consider switching to software with native, or built-in, integrations that can meet those needs too.

How much does it cost? 

It can be hard to project costs. Growth in your purchasing base or changes to your staffing levels might bounce you into a different price tier. Plus, some important features might actually be add-ons with additional fees.