Paper has been replaced by an increased volume of emails or electronic documents in general. If you speak with purchasing or accounts payable departments you hear that they work with a high amount of PDF invoices from countless suppliers.
Entering these supplier invoices takes tremendous effort: So why not automate it? This blog outlines the approach.
The procure to pay process we look at is part of source to pay in the SAP S/4HANA Intelligent Enterprise framework. There are many variations possible but in principle it’s like that:
- Purchase requisitions bundled into purchase orders.
- Purchase orders are either with an account assignment e.g. to a cost center (often for indirect procurement) or to stock.
- Supplier confirms date and quantity (scheduling, PO confirmation)
- Logistics processes are involved for delivery e.g. inbound delivery or not depending on the goods procured. Goods receipt process is needed for inventory managed goods.
- The supplier provides and invoice which Accounts Payable or Purchasing enters into the S/4HANA system as a supplier invoice.
- Accounts Payable department triggers supplier payment and clears the suppliers AP account.
Our automation addresses point 5: We assume we receive PDF invoices from suppliers into our outlook mailbox.
This video illustrates the end-to-end process from email to created invoice in S/4HANA Cloud.
The architecture uses standard S/4HANA Cloud APIs made available by integration scenario
Scenario ID: SAP_COM_0057 Scenario: Supplier Invoice Integration
You can set this scenario to “inbound communication” only as there are only calls made into S/4HANA Cloud.
Altogether this boils down to below solution architecture using the OData v2 APIs shown above with the technical user defined for the scenario.
The APIs require CSRF tokens to be called, therefore a GET precedes every POST. The business object type to be used is BUS2081.
Finally a walk through the flow with some – hopefully – noteworthy details of how to develop this automation.
We have seen an example of how SAP Process Automation can help your hyper-automation journey. Of course the story doesn’t end here. With AI business services you can also train your own document information extraction and apply it to other business processes:
- Delivery documents/ Goods receipt documents
- Quality Management: Scan paper forms to automated QM result entry
- Purchase order to sales order conversion in an O2C scenario
Do you have other scenarios in mind? If there is strong interest we can help you to firm up your use case and idea with a prototype! Feel free to contact me.