This is the first of a series of articles about AP automation enhancements for Abila MIP Fund Accounting™.
Microix, Inc. is a long-standing development partner with Abila and has a built a suite of add-on modules that enhance and extend the base functionality of MIP Fund Accounting™. One of its most popular modules, Requisition, adds a purchase request and purchase order capability to MIP with an integrated Inventory module option for organizations that need it. This module is unique to other AP automation products in that it only works with MIP Fund Accounting™ being present. The Microix modules reside in a separate SQL database with access to MIP data through an application programming interface. This review assumes the organization already has MIP Fund Accounting™ and would not have to factor in the server space and related costs.
The following describes the Requisition module’s general functionality and provides ‘ballpark’ pricing information enabling comparison to other AP automation products.
Data Capture and Approval
Users are set up in Microix and assigned to one or more workflows as requesters or approvers. There can be multiple workflows and approval levels including a category approver for specialized requests (e.g., IT). Restrictions and coding rules can be imposed for each workflow by dollar limit and account segment. The process begins with a requestor entering a purchase request or a check request for an existing invoice that requires approval before being recorded in MIP.
Upon completing the approval process the purchase request becomes a purchase order that the requester emails or faxes to the vendor. An approved check request automatically creates an invoice in accounts payable. A budget encumbrance can be established in MIP for organizations that require that functionality. Dashboards showing document processing status and alerts keep requesters, approvers and accounting informed.
Receipt of goods or services are matched with the originating purchase order and then the invoice with the result of automatically creating an invoice in MIP and liquidating any encumbrance.
Payment of invoices remains a function of MIP. This means accounting staff would remain the main contact for research and resolution to vendor questions.
Budget Control – The requester and approver have real-time access to MIP’s budget, encumbrance and expenditure data. Is the module pulling budget information from MIP? If not, how is that information entered into Microix?
Vendor Punch-out Catalog – The requester with access to vendor shopping sites equipped to offer punch-out orders enters an on-hold order that creates a purchase request in Microix that is then routed for approval. Upon approval the requester completes the order with the vendor and a purchase order is created in the system awaiting receipting and invoicing actions.
Credit Card Processing – This feature downloads the organization’s business credit card statements into Microix for coding and routing for approval. The coding is semi-automated based on retention of previous coding patterns with source vendors. Upon approval, an invoice is created in MIP for payment.
Document Storage and Retrieval – All purchase requests, orders and invoice documents with attachments are available for viewing, replication as new orders, and printing.
Data Analytics and Reporting – Reports are available in Microix that relate primarily to the purchasing and receiving functions. These supplement the reporting available in MIP.
Cloud Companion – This is a parallel, web-based feature set that extends basic functionality to remote users to create and approve documents via a web browser, or on a tablet or smartphone.
HTML Email Approval – This add-on allows specific levels to approve documents within an email, whether on a PC, tablet or smartphone, without having to log into Microix.
System Alerts – This add-on feature monitors the approval process to ensure that actions are executed timely, helping to enforce organizational policies and making the approval process more efficient.
Microix adheres to a traditional client-server technology model but can be hosted in the “cloud” either by Abila or third-party services. As described above, the Cloud Companion and HTML Email Approval are web-based applications but must reside on the same server as the Microix main application and database.
Integration with Accounting Software (MIP)
Integration with MIP is dynamic via an API with direct access to MIP for reading AP, account and budget data and writing back approved purchase order encumbrance and invoices transactions for review and posting.
Licensing and Cost
Microix can be acquired as a traditional perpetual license or on a monthly subscription basis. There is a base cost plus a variable cost per user. Microix users are concurrent and most are not required to be MIP users as well. The following is representative pricing for a base system comprised of five concurrent users and 25 named web users.
Perpetual License – The initial investment is approximately $3,000. With add-ons, the base price can extend to $6,500. Additional concurrent users are $250 each and web users are $625 for an additional 25-user pack, the price decreasing with purchase of 50-user packs or more. Annual maintenance and support (M & S) is 25 percent of the license cost.
Subscription – The comparable monthly recurring subscription price that includes M & S is $360 and, with add-ons, up to $450. The cost of adding concurrent users is $25 each and $1.50 – $2.00 each for named web users.
Implementation Consulting – A realistic estimate based on experience can range from $2,000 to $5,000.
Organizations Best Suited for Microix
There are many factors that come into play when deciding on the best AP automation solution. Some of the important ones favoring the selection of Microix are:
- Require purchase orders and encumbrance accounting, along with a workflow approval capability
- Important that accounts payable and payments remain in-house while getting additional leverage from its MIP investment
- Basic affordability, not meeting the document processing volume that justifies a more encompassing general AP automation solution
NFP Partners is an authorized Microix partner and can respond to questions about the product. Please contact Lee Bengston.