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You Know What a Vendor Portal Can Do, Right?

You know what a vendor self-service portal is. But are you aware of all that a vendor portal can do?

The forthcoming 2019 Financial Operations Networks survey on Accounts Payable Customer Service asked that question among many others. The result of that particular question revealed that while the most common functions of — and good reasons for — a vendor portal are fairly well known, people are less aware of other very useful functions.

It is common knowledge that a vendor self-service portal can deliver invoice payment status to an inquiring vendor — 90 percent of participants know that much about portals. And after all, for most of us, this is probably the most important and valuable function of a portal. It is the aspect that promises a significant return on investment in a vendor self-service portal — eliminating a majority of phone and email interruptions to the AP staff by vendors asking if they’ve received the invoice and when it will be paid. A portal can answer many questions quickly with a few clicks, when the vendor wants to know it, “no lines, no waiting.”

Invoice submission is another function of which 71 percent are aware — it may be the primary function in the minds of many if they associate a portal as part of an e-invoicing/electronic workflow system. Similarly 71 percent believe vendors can provide updated information via the portal. And more than three-quarters, or 77 percent, know that W-9s may be submitted through them.

But while 59 percent think a portal is an “online communication tool,” less than half are aware of some of the specific ways that plays out. That may be in part because not every portal necessarily does everything, and in part because people have not looked closely at what is available to them.

In one peculiar result, only 39 percent believed a Form W-8 can be submitted via a portal despite three-fourths believing that a W-9 can be. (Granted the W-8 is quite complex, but that’s in understanding it to begin with, not submitting it!) And only 38 percent imagine other types of forms — such as particular vendor onboarding forms or ACH payment forms — can be submitted via a portal.

Only half are aware of a nifty service offered by at least some portal solutions: inclusion of automatic TIN Matching to verify the vendor’s tax ID and name combination with the IRS.

And just a third knew that some portal solutions include regular checks of vendors against various watch lists, including OFAC’s SDN list and many others.

Certain portals can automate statement reconciliation, vendor notifications and duplicate payment reporting.

Such are the valuable, time-saving services that vendor self-service portals can offer. Now you know.

To learn more about how InvoiceInfo and VendorInfo self-service portals can benefit your operations click here to request more information or call (678) 335-5735.

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