For multichannel retail management, Brightpearl cannot be beaten. It helps smaller companies stay on top of the game as well as the big dogs and brings the bulk of the backend functions into one central hub.
But, we should say this right off the bat: Brightpearl isn’t necessarily an accounting software. At a glance, it’s better. The heading on the website frames the tool as a powerful, all-in-one back office solution. Designed to streamline everything from order management, warehousing, financials, and accounting, Brightpearl promises to make working life a little easier. Oh yeah, you get a CRM, too.
The cloud-based platform helps users manage inventory, accounting, orders, and help customers from one central hub. It’s designed for omnichannel professionals—but retailers, procurement pros, store owners, and others are using the tool to get their backend processes in order.
Today. We’re considering Brightpearl in the context of accounts payable. We’ll look at how well it can process payments, handle vendor data, and keep tabs of inventory.
Keep reading for a look at how the tool can automate the AP process, and where it comes up short.
What is Brightpearl?
Automation is the name of the Brightpearl game. The makers of this product say that the tool streamlines your processes. Across the board. So, Brightpearl is cloud-based software that offers a ton of functionality from one web-based platform.
The tool is made specifically for anyone working in the retail space. This spans B2B, B2C, wholesale, e-commerce, and brick and mortar stores. Because of the narrow focus, the tool isn’t right for everyone, but it looks like it could be a powerful piece of software for anyone operating within this niche.
Brightpearl is a comprehensive platform. Companies use the tool to manage orders and fulfillment across their omnichannel businesses. What this means is, you’ll get inventory reports, you can look at cash flow, profitability by the product, customer data, and yes, handle your accounting.
Essentially, the tool aims to complete the e-commerce lifecycle in one location. The automation features aim to cut back on errors and data entry and the data collection means you’ll get real-time insights on how you can improve your business.
At a glance, its hard to determine how much of the focus is on accounting—but the Brightpearl offers a whole suite of tools geared toward financial management.
From automated journal entries and real-time financial snapshots to email marketing, and accounting—Brightpearl comes equipped with workflows that don’t require a developer.
Additionally, the Brightpearl automates inventory updates and generates new purchase orders when supplies are running low. According to the official website, Brightpearl can automate the entire order process—from generation to fulfillment to shipment.
While Brightpearl seemingly does it all, you don’t have to give up your existing applications. Brightpearl offers integrations with Amazon, BigCommerce, Magneto, Shopify, ShipStation, and others.
Specifically for Merchants
The benefit of Brightpearl is, it’s a tool that’s for people who sell. The company makes this clear on every page, stating that the software is for e-commerce, wholesalers, and brick and mortar shop owners. While that means that not everyone can use the tool, it’s nice that there’s a platform that caters to these specific needs.
The goal here is to automate all of the backend stuff–printing shipping labels, updating inventory, and managing payables and receivables. This way, you can focus on growing and promoting your services instead.
A quick note, on automation. Some customers have reported buggy functionality. Automatic tasks like inventory updates may require you to go in and fix the problem from time to time.
We mentioned what a behemoth Brightpearl is—with its inventory management, ERP, and automated features. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the key accounts payable functionalities.
Manage Purchase Orders
The purchase order function in Brightpearl allows you to do more than place orders and turn your PO into an invoice. Here, the function has been adapted to the retail customer. You’re able to receive inventory, get an overview of your purchases, and apply supplier credits.
You can also “clone” batches of purchase orders, so if you regularly order the same items to build products, you don’t have to search for them each time it’s time to reorder.
According to Brightpearl, the benefit of integrated PO management is you an maintain accurate records of costs and margins, as well as track orders, and make data-driven decisions.
All supplier data is centralized. You can order products straight from Brightpearl and you have a clear picture of the bills you owe and supplier price lists. Because Brightpearl combines sales, inventory, and PO data, you can easily see which suppliers are best for your bottom line.
Beyond that, the supplier database brings easy contact access to the table. You can email contacts and create custom notes for future reference. This way, you’ll always know where you stand with suppliers, helping you maintain positive relationships long-term.
Real-Time Financial Reporting
Real-time data feeds through the system as invoices are paid, and payments are sent. You can get the quick rundown from the accounts dashboard:
These reports also come equipped with the ability to update payments, pay bills, or send payment reminders, and messages all through the portal. While this sounds like a basic feature, the cool part is—you can perform these tasks while viewing a report, eliminating the need for multiple screens.
Supports Multiple Currencies
Because Brightpearl is focused on supporting omnichannel and online retailers, the software comes with a multi-currency module. The platform will show the base currency and the foreign currency on the backend, but show the customer or supplier their local currency only.
Automated Accounting Journals
Brightpearl’s accounting software automatically creates journals when you pay your bills, ship inventory, or get paid. Journals continually update and feed into your real-time finance reports, so everything is up-to-date.
While some users have reported issues with the automation functionality, when it works, it’s pretty good. The automation section of the site is very straightforward and comes with tons of options. So, you can set your own rules. Use it to segment your customers, automate inventory updates and automatically download orders.
The set up may take some time, but the website includes an e-book guide to help you out. Brightpearl claims it can automate your end-to-end process–which does sound pretty exciting if you’re looking to offload some tasks.
Brightpearl is offered on a by-the-quote basis. The solution is so robust that it requires some customization for it to make sense for most customers.
Instead, the pricing page asks potential customers to choose from three options: High-Growth, Enterprise, and Brand Leader.
High-growth is the entry-level product, and Brightpearl recommends this option to companies that do $500k-$2M in sales and up to 2,000 orders per month. Here, the software should serve to fill in the gaps for each department. Ideal for the business owner who wants to automate as many admin tasks as possible so that they can focus on business development instead.
Enterprise is the mid-level option. Here, you’re getting a solution that works best for companies with up to $5M in sales each year and between 2000 and 5000 orders per month. In this case, Brightpearl recommends customizing some options, adding ERP features into the mix.
Finally, the Brand Leader package is built for the company doing over $5M in sales and over 5000 orders a month. Options vary, but the site recommends going with an accounting-focused ERP solution and top-of-the-line accounting software.
In looking at the pricing, it’s even more clear that Brightpearl isn’t just this one-size-fits-all solution. And honestly, it’s pretty cool. So, it seems you can customize the tool based on where you need help most—be it inventory management, automating parts of the accounts payable process, and so on.
Still, it would be nice to get more specific on pricing, but again, it depends on so many factors. If you’re interested in giving Brightpearl a try, get in touch with the vendor.
Brightpearl is based in the cloud. This makes things easy for consumers, as any modern device that connects to the web will work just fine. You’ll probably want to ensure that your browser is up-to-date for best results.
Brightpearl integrates with a wide range of sales channels like eBay, Shopify, and Amazon, as well as other handy tools like MailChimp, ShipStation, FedEx, and UPS. The site doesn’t say how many integrations it has, but they mention they’re compatible with all of the leading e-commerce tools from shipping tools and 3PL solutions to online marketplaces.
Additionally, Brightpearl supports both B2B and B2C businesses and will help you put together a solution that works with your business model and size. Things like the e-commerce plugins and payment processing can all be tailored to your needs.
Brightpearl’s API is available to subscribers and allows you to incorporate the tool’s functionalities into a third-party or private app. The site provides ample information in case you need help getting set up.
Again, the website is so robust; it’s a challenge to work your way through the whole thing. Overall, the company makes it easy to get in touch. Fill out a form for a quote or give them a call.
The site features an individual tab for each set of features. So, you can comb through, Financial Management and learn about that collection of features. Or, you can look at Automation and get the bullet points on the multiple workflows you can equip with the tool.
Overall, the amount of content the Brightpearl team has put together for prospective and existing customers, alike is impressive. There are tons of videos, tutorials, and basic walkthroughs. The effort really shines through, here.
Additionally, there’s a resources section which comes with these graphically appealing guides that walk you through a collection of e-commerce basics. They cover things like resource planning, as well as marketing stuff like getting your store to rank for SEO.
They also have a blog that covers topics like the Amazon Buy Box, Omnichannel trends, and data and automation features becoming standard in the e-commerce space.
The help center will walk you through the various tools you might be having trouble with—but it’s not super comprehensive. The accounts payable section, for example, comes with a basic rundown on most of the features. Not, bad for those looking for a quick fix solution.
This section goes over the bulk of the Brightpearl offerings with a brief explanation. You’ll find more actionable tips in the help center, but the Documentation section serves as a good place to start learning whether or not this tool makes sense for your business.
Conclusion—What’s the Verdict on Brightpearl for Accounts Payable?
Brightpearl has the unique distinction of being a platform that can be adapted to your business. If you need some sophisticated AP software, this option may well be worth the investment.
Navigating the site seems a bit overwhelming. And at first, it’s hard to determine what all the company has to offer the consumer. That said, we did a little digging and found that the tool is a comprehensive accounting option—especially if you want automation.
Still, there are some notable drawbacks. You have to pay for phone support and the costs may be a little high–especially if you’re a newer company. Additionally, we came across complaints about Brightpearl’s lack of automation. But, if consolidation is important to you, Brightpearl is a good choice.