Promis Concepts & Features

Promis Concepts: Automation

25 Jul Promis Concepts & Features

“Whatever data exists electronically should not be re-entered”

This is one of the guiding Promis concepts. All features have been created from that. And wherever we could reduce a user interaction we would. So most of our automation happens silently in the background without the user having to think about it. As you use Promis, it learns from you and keeps doing what you would do.

Bill Sources

Connected suppliers are the most efficient way to consume bills. If they use one of the supported accounting packages, this is a 10 min setup process, which does not affect their processes after that, but just silently works away. We are in the process of connecting to larger ERP systems (Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains already works).

As we built Promis, the e-invoicing interoperability framework was being created. Promis is one of the first accredited providers. That means that any invoice that is sent through the framework will arrive with Promis users and any invoices sent through Promis are received by any user of the framework (once it is fully operational, currently waiting for the ATO).

The benefit of both approaches is that all bill details come across 100% accurately. No human review needed.

The downside is that both parties (the sender and receiver of the bill) need to be connected. That takes time.

Bill UploadSo we have integrated an OCR progress that extracts the data from invoices. You can either upload it straight to our site or forward an email with the attachment. You can also just give your specific email address to your supplier and get them to email it directly.

But it means you have to check the data. While the process we are using is quite sophisticated and actually uses machine learning to learn from your reviews, it can never give the same accuracy as the actual digital bill data from a connected supplier.

Inviting Suppliers & Clients

Naturally, we have included a quick and automated way to invite your relevant contacts. They are filled from your accounting system (so we use existing data). You can customise the email and choose who to send it to, straight out of Promis. No need for any other data entry.

We recommend getting started slowly and inviting your most relevant suppliers first. Remember for them, it might seem like a nuisance at first, until they learn more about then benefits that Promis bring.

Dashboard

“Condense to the minimum relevant view”

Most bills are loaded with information no one ever looks at. Ads, Terms & Conditions, payment options. We are already overloaded with data.

True to the second Promis concept, the dashboard condenses all of that to a simple view of how much has to be paid to who and when. A single click “Pay When Due” handles all the necessary action from there.

Promis sorts all bills by due date, so you always have the most relevant things at the top.

Promis Dashboard

Sometimes, you might need more info. What we found is that the most useful data is a comparison to earlier bills from the same supplier. That way you can see whether the current bill is in the expected range.

And naturally, you can access the full bill as a pdf to look up any other details.

Our research also showed that 90% of bills are coded to a single expense account. So for most people, they can do that straight from the Promis dashboard.

Expanded View

The other important question is: Do I have enough money in the bank to pay this bill right now. That is why your current bank balance (updated every 30 min) shows right in your Promis dashboard. And if you use multiple bank accounts, you can just switch between them.

Automation – Underlying the Promis Concepts

“Whatever can be automated, will be.”

For us, this was not a future vision, but a challenge to be solved right now. We looked at the processing of how bills are handled and picked it apart. There is really just one important human input necessary: “Do I want to pay it?” And the underlying question is whether I trust my supplier to get the bill right.

Removing all the data entry was the first step in automating. Extracting the user expertise around how to code a bill was the next step. So when you get the first bill from a supplier through Promis, the system does not know the correct expense account to use. But once you choose it, Promis always gets it right. No need to think about it any more.

Most people look at a bill multiple times.

  • When they get it
  • To remember that they need to pay it
  • When they pay it and
  • When they enter it in the accounting system

With Promis, you can look once and take the necessary action (Pay When Due). Everything else is automated. We even do a real-time lookup on the official government website to make sure your supplier is registered for GST and charges the correct amount.

And we pushed it further.

Fully Automated Bill Payments

Trusting a supplier to get the invoicing right was the basis of paying an bill in most cases. So when you set a supplier invoice to be paid when due, a quick question pops up to ask whether you want to automate that action for future invoices from this supplier.

By default, the automation rule applies only for the amount of the current bill. That means any subscriptions that invoice the same amount each month will be fully automated and not take up any of your time.

Automation RulesIf however, the supplier changes the amount, you’ll see that straight away, as the bill will show up in your Promis dashboard. Accepting future automation for this bill expands the range of acceptable values (lets say the first bill was $100, the second is for $120, that means that from now on, all bills valued between $100 and $120 will be processed and paid automatically).

So even the setting up of the automation is automated. Promis learns from your actions without you having to think through a lot of settings. It is possible of course to edit the rules manually. You always have full control over what happens.

We like to think of the third Promis concept as:

“Whatever can be automated, is.”

We are not satisfied with any less.

And for the suppliers where you want to review each bill before paying it, you will get a notification 3 days before a bill is due. It means you don’t have to think about the bill until it is relevant and you can take action straight away.

In the next post, we’ll share about payments, another essential part of the Promis concepts.

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