Examining SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing Functionality


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify how SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing can help streamline procure-to-pay processes across the organization by automating manual tasks and enabling close collaboration with suppliers.

Invoicing Flows in SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing

​Customers might have unique configurations in their SAP Ariba applications for their invoice workflow, depending on their specific business processes. However, the SAP Ariba invoicing solutions, SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing and SAP Ariba Invoice Management support a common general process. ​

SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing is an application that can be used by buying organizations for their entire procurement process, from purchasing all the way to invoicing and submitting payment requests to suppliers. Meanwhile, the SAP Ariba Invoice Management tool is used for the invoice creation, reconciliation and payment part of the procurement workflow. 

Depending on the site enablement options and the invoice process flow configured for the site, an invoice can be created in several ways:

  • ​In an external ERP system and loaded into the SAP Ariba solution through SAP Business Network. This option is only available if your solution includes SAP Ariba Invoice Management.
  • ​By the supplier on SAP Business Network and transmitted to your SAP Ariba solution.
  • ​Manually by a user in your site using a paper invoice sent by a supplier.
  • ​Manually by a supplier punching into your site from their SAP Business Network account to create a contract-based invoice.​
  • By an invoice conversion service (ICS) provider that converts paper invoices to electronic format and sends them through SAP Business Network to your site.​
  • Automatically by SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing for procurement transactions from supplier locations that are enabled for Evaluated Receipt Settlement (ERS) and automatic invoicing.​

When an invoice is submitted in any of these ways, your SAP Ariba invoicing solution creates an approvable invoice document.

​​When the invoice is approved, two associated approvable documents are automatically created:

  • An invoice reconciliation (IR) document, which invoice exception handlers use to resolve any discrepancies between the invoice, associated orders or contracts, and receipts, to validate accounting and other information.​
  • A payment request document, which is used to generate a payment once the invoice is reconciled.

Invoice Workflows

Play the video to learn the Invoice workflows​

Manual vs. Electronic Invoices

Manual invoices are those invoices submitted by suppliers that do not currently have an account on the SAP Business Network. ​Manual invoices are paper invoices submitted via mail, fax or email. There could be any number of reasons for this. A supplier may have unique circumstances. The supplier may not have a need for electronic transacting or any of the additional advantages of the benefits of online commerce. Or the buyer organization may be leveraging a multi-phased supplier enablement onboarding approach.​​

Electronic invoices are those invoices transmitted over the SAP Business Network by suppliers that are enabled and active on the SAP Business Network. These invoices are seamlessly routed to the buyer’s invoicing application where they are reconciled based on the business rules configured.

​​As customers usually wish all supplier invoices to be reconciled and sent for payment online, SAP Ariba offers solutions for cases when invoices are received in paper format.

​Manual invoices can be entered into the invoicing system by employees of the Accounts Payable department. They must belong to one of the following system groups:

  • Invoice Entry User
  • ​Invoice Entry User (non-PO)
  • ​Invoice Entry User (PO and Contract)​
  • Invoice Agent
  • ​Invoice Manager

Depending on your role and your site's configuration, you might view, edit, create, approve, and deny invoices.

Another way of converting manual into electronic invoices is through an invoice conversion service. A service provider receives invoices on behalf of the buyer (that is, the buying organization) and converts them to an electronic format for posting to SAP Business Network.

For more information on invoice conversion services, please review the SAP Business Network Guide to Invoice Conversion.

Log in to track your progress & complete quizzes