The Accounts Payable Category

How Blockchain and Bitcoin Can Disrupt the AP Process — In a Good Way

blockchain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest contribution from Laurent Charpentier, chief innovation officer, Yooz Inc.

Blockchain. Cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin. These are certainly hot topics in today’s daily business news. It’s all still a bit of a mystery to most of us. It started with bitcoin (a cryptocurrency) in 2013 and the idea of a digital currency used to buy anything from music to cupcakes couldn’t have been more exciting — or more timely — as technology continues to advance at lightning speed. And blockchain is the platform used for verifying and recording transactions that’s at the heart of bitcoin, and is considered as having the potential to reshape the global financial system, among other industries.

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Will Procurement Automation be Transformed by Compulsory Real-Time Tax Controls?

Companies should be preparing for a world where government requirements for real-time transaction controls will be a major force in shaping the business-to-business (B2B) transaction automation systems of the future. With cloud becoming the principal deployment model for managing different types of B2B transactions, this revolution toward much-reduced freedom for companies to specify their process requirements can be expected to transform the way companies interact and contract with solution vendors. Let me explain through a couple of scenarios.

3 Routes to Strategically Linking Procurement and Accounts Payable

When it comes to managing accounts payable processes, leading procurement organizations know that invoicing, supplier management and payments present both serious risks and strategic opportunities for the business. But while identifying risks is a logical first step to elevating the charter of accounts payable from back office workflow to strategic capability, best-in-class organizations know they must push the envelope of what AP can offer to truly enable long-term business success. To do that, procurement must ditch last century’s manual, paper-based processes and embrace an automated approach.

Supplier Onboarding: Defining and Setting a Strategy (Part 1) [Plus+]

online talent platforms

The sourcing exercise is over, and you've found a great new supplier. You've vetted, scrubbed and polished throughout your diligent sourcing process. The contracting has just concluded, and the new contract still smells of fresh ink. The savings look great, so you toss everything over the fence to the vendor management team and accounts payable to get it sorted out so users can start saving money. A month later, you meet the new supplier and find out that no new business has been awarded to them, and that they are still being held up in the onboarding process. So, what is this onboarding process, and how can it be improved? That is the topic of this three-part Spend Matters Plus series.

3 Ways Ineffective AP Processes are Endangering Your Supply Chain

Procurement organizations tend to focus on the “procure” part of the procure-to-pay (P2P) process; so much so that the second “P” often has to take a back seat. Yet the payments side of P2P offers strategic opportunities that procurement should consider — as well as critical risks that it must take into account. When AP processes are neglected, they can endanger your supply chain, tarnish supplier relationships, and jeopardize supply quality and continuity. Following are three ways those negative impacts can occur, along with recommendations for turning these possible risks into strategic opportunities.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 6): Payment Best Practices and Recommendations [PRO]

early pay

Our goal in this research series on payments has been to provide procurement with a single point of reference to understand all of the intricacies and challenges associated with standard payment processes today, as well as the limitations of existing procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions when it comes to addressing payments in full. Spend Matters PRO subscribers can access the individual parts below:

The final installment in this series summarizes payment best practices today and provides recommendations to procurement organizations looking to take a leadership role in driving integrated processes that bridge supplier management, transactional buying, accounts payable, payment and working capital management processes.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 4): Setting Up Suppliers for Payment — The Intersection of P2P and Supplier Management (Part 4) [PRO]

Historically, most procure-to-pay solutions have put advanced supplier management capability on the back burner from a strategic development perspective. At best, they have paid lip service when attempting to tie a powerful supplier information management (SIM) capability into P2P and supplier network offerings (i.e., one-to-many or many-to-many connectivity approaches). While this is beginning to change, in general the worlds of collecting, validating, managing and keeping supplier record information up to date to enable timely payment and accounts payable vendor outreach are rarely bridged fully.

This Spend Matters PRO brief, the fourth in our series providing a comprehensive primer on everything “payments” from a procurement perspective, provides a background briefing on why collecting supplier information is critical to enable payments and a checklist for setting suppliers up for payment, starting with initial on-boarding steps. (See Part 1: Procurement’s Role and P2P Case Examples; Part 2: Best-in-Class P2P Technology Capabilities and the Reconciliation Process; and Part 3: Payment Operations — Challenges and Opportunities.) It also provides a vendor data collection template for basic and advanced fields that companies should compare against their own for an accounts payable-centric on-boarding process spanning company, ownership, insurance and remit/banking details. Finally, Part 4 concludes with examples of technology enablement capability that advanced supplier information systems can bring for supplier on-boarding and data maintenance.

New Research: Today’s AP Organizations Need to Do More to Minimize Risk

risk

All fields evolve, but accounts payable (AP) has undergone truly big changes in the past four decades, moving from being a set of decentralized, manual processes to a strategic organization working alongside procurement and other functions, not to mention the important value AP can provide in risk management. Today’s AP organizations represent a wide range of performances, according to APEX Analytix’s 2017 Financial Leaders’ Benchmarking Report, which surveyed Global 1000 businesses across numerous industries.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments: Best-in-Class P2P Technology Capabilities and the Reconciliation Process (Part 2) [PRO]

BuyerQuest

There have been two (somewhat bad) jokes around product naming since procurement technology adoption became widespread. The first was when SAP labeled its e-procurement product “supplier relationship management” (SRM), which was a misnomer, to say the least. SRM, which competed against Ariba, Commerce One and others at the time, was about managing transactional buying, not about strategic supplier relationships. The other naming “fail” was unfortunately more generalized outside of a single provider, and that was labeling the broader transactional procurement tech sector as “P2P,” with the second “P” standing for “payment.”

If there is a silver lining in this naming misstep, however, it’s that we have the power to actually do something about it today. P2P solutions are finally beginning to embrace the payment ecosystem more holistically, and procurement is taking an orchestration role in the process. This Spend Matters PRO series provides a procurement-centric view into payments, exploring the payments process and all that it encompasses through a “get smart” primer.

Part 1 provided an introduction to the topic and explored what e-procurement systems do (and do not do) to enable payment processes. It also explored what SAP Ariba and Coupa have developed from an integrated e-procurement, e-invoicing and payments offering perspective though various partnerships. The second installment in this series provides a summary checklist of best-in-class e-procurement and e-invoicing native payment capability and integrations (internal system and third party) to enable payments and an overview of the invoice to reconciliation process, outside of P2P systems alone. It includes an introduction to various electronic funds transfer (ETF) models, tax considerations, currency considerations and related topics. It also includes a look at all of the internal and external functions and parties involved in different stages of the reconciliation process.

Why Partial Automation Will Be a Smart Tool — Not a Replacement — For the AP Clerk

e-invoicing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Laurent Charpentier, chief innovation officer at Yooz North America.

Accounts payable (AP) clerks at leading companies are already seeing machine-learning programs automate and streamline their daily work, flagging suspicious invoices, reducing cycle time and saving their organizations money. Artificial intelligence is boosting efficiency and making life easier for thousands of AP professionals today. But many of these professionals are undoubtedly wondering if sophisticated software might one day put them out of a job.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments: Procurement’s Role and P2P Case Examples (Part 1) [PRO]

E-procurement is essentially what is sounds like. The same goes for e-invoicing, too. But when you add payments to the equation, things get messy.

Whether procurement and finance organizations are looking for an integrated procure-to-pay (P2P) solution or standalone invoice-to-pay (I2P) technology, the notion of either solution incorporating end-to-end payment and reconciliation capability is misleading at best. Granted, some providers, such as SAP Ariba and Coupa, have taken steps toward enabling the payment lifecycle through partnerships. But their payment solutions focus on the outcome rather than providing a broader toolbox around payment process management and reconciliation for buyers and suppliers alike.

How can these vendors, which deal predominantly in indirect goods, influence the total payment picture?

This Spend Matters PRO research series unearths the often misunderstood components of the “second P” in P2P. We start with a high-level overview of what procurement systems do (and do not) do today to enable payment processes, as well as what procurement’s responsibilities for payments are (and are not). We also profile what SAP Ariba and Coupa are enabling on the payments front, as well as the general approaches of other vendors.

Subsequent briefs in the series will provide a detailed summary of best-in-class e-procurement and e-invoicing native payment capability and integrations to enable payments, a detailed overview of the invoice to reconciliation process, an exploration of P2P and payments best practices, and guides for how to set up suppliers for payment in a system, the integration of cash management and payments, how to think about trade financing and payments, and the role of shared services in payments.

Freeing Yourself From the Chains of the DPO Stretch: An Empirical and Experiential Analysis [Plus+]

Before on Spend Matters, I highlighted an analysis where, in 12 of 14 manufacturing industries I analyzed, I found negative correlations between Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) and enterprise performance (e.g., debt you may incur to raise cash to invest in high payback initiatives such as B2B trade financing where early payment discounts and/or supply chain finance programs are established). In this Spend Matters Plus article, I’ll dive into the industry details and also provide some additional insights based on some research that we conducted with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).