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SmartMatch 3 Way Match – A Revolutionary Advance in PO Automation

Matt Wald
Author:Matt Wald

PO matching is one of the most tedious and error prone tasks in the accounts payable department. In this post we’ll highlight how SmartMatch 3 Way Match uses revolutionary artificial intelligence (AI) to do this task automatically.

First, let’s take a look at the traditional way to automate three way match. And then learn how to take it to the next level.

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Traditional OCR Based 3 Way Match

The most common way to automate 3 way match is using OCR technology in combination with a PO matching platform to automatically compare the three critical PO documents (PO, Receipt/Packing Slip and Invoice) and highlight any discrepancies between them.

You can read more about that approach in our article AP Automation Makes 3 Way Match or 2 Way Match Simple.

But what if you are looking for a higher level of automation?

Then you are in luck.

SmartMatch is 3 way match automation for purchase orders that not only looks for exact matches between characters, but uses algorithms and machine learning to identify whether line items match.

The Limits of Traditional 3 Way Match

SmartMatch 3 way match pencil-icon

One of the problems with automated three way match using OCR is that POs, receipts, and invoices don’t always use precisely the same characters to identify the product.

Then again, that’s not supposed to be a problem if your purchase orders are based on SKUs. Generally speaking, numbers are numbers.

Except when they aren’t.

Sometimes a letter or other character is added to a SKU in one of the PO documents. Or an SKU is mistyped.

And then, with non-SKU purchasing, the automated 3 way match becomes even more of a challenge. Now exact words and letters – or even a description of the product or service need to match.

A traditional system may even be able to identify a ‘close’ match. But inevitably you will spend more time on manual intervention into the matching process than you would like.

How Does SmartMatch Improve Automated Match?

SmartMatch is a revolutionary new approach to 3 way match for PO processing.

Through proprietary AI algorithms, SmartMatch determines if the PO document line items match or not.


First, SmartMatch looks at what items or services have been received. And then it checks the extended totals of the lines. Using our artificial intelligence program, the system then calculates what combinations of lines are being invoiced against – based on subtotals. Finally, the system automatically uses this calculation to perform the 3 way match for you.

And because it is using math rather than looking at characters, SmartMatch cuts out an enormous amount of manual intervention from the automated 3 way match process.

Best of all, SmartMatch is so smart that it works just well on partially received orders as it does when all items or services are delivered at once.

And it works equally well with SKU or non-SKU POs!

Use our savings calculator to see how much you could save

What if 2 Items are the Same Price and Quantity?

SmartMatch 3 way match puzzle-icon

SmartMatch works best on POs with fewer than 25 lines to match.

But it will try to match even if the PO has more lines. The issue is that the combination of pricing and items become too common and you end up with 2 items that are the same price and/or quantity.

So SmartMatch AI only 3-way matches when it finds unique combinations that create a correct line item match for PO, receipt, and invoice.

Here’s what it looks like when SmartMatch is 100% sure that all items on the PO and the invoice match.

3 way match

But when items have the same price and/or quantity SmartMatch never tries to guess.

Instead, it provides you with the potential matches and lets you decide which item or service was delivered and invoiced.

automated PO match

We call this ‘one click matching’ because SmartMatch does all the work and all you have to do is choose which item was delivered!

Bottom Line: A Revolutionary Advance in PO 3 Way Match Automation

SmartMatch truly takes 3 way matching to the next level.

It takes a tedious manual task and makes it virtually touchless!

Used along with manual match on our PO matching platform, it will significantly reduce your time and efforts.

But combing SmartMatch with OCR technology provides an unparalleled level of 3 way match automation!