The Accounts Payable Category

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).

How to Smooth Manufacturer-Supplier Relationships Through AP Automation

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Howie Hahn, senior sales engineer at Esker.

Success in manufacturing depends on the mutually beneficial relationships between manufacturers and suppliers. Each party relies on the other to live up to its obligations, if either expects to move towards long-term success and growth. But business, like life, doesn’t always go as planned. Even relationships based on trust and mutual benefit can get rocky.

The key is to make sure that the inevitable bumps in the road don’t morph into ill feelings, mistrust or, worse, lawsuits. One tool that can help ensure that manufacturers and suppliers maintain smooth relationships is accounts payable (AP) automation.

Accounts Payable and Digital Transformation: The Next Frontier

finance

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Anna Tujunen, head of product at Dooap.

Digital transformation, buzzword or not, is vital to the success of today’s business. In the immortal words of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “Every company is a software company.” It’s no longer an option to incorporate technology into company organization but a necessity. There is no other option but to go digital or go down with the past. Many areas of business and development have been impacted by digital transformation, including HR, DevOps, asset management, and finance. It’s high time for accounts payable to join the digital revolution.

SciQuest: Solution Review & Analysis [Plus+]

SciQuest is arguably the most challenging procurement technology suite vendor to compare directly to the competition. This perhaps explains why it has tended to surface less in competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) or source-to-pay (S2P) suite opportunities outside of its traditional key vertical sectors for transactional procurement (e.g., higher education, laboratory/research, life sciences, public sector) in the past. While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that to date, the provider has competed in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market.

Historically, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and competitors for its core P2P product and its sourcing optimization, spend/supply analytics and contract lifecycle management solutions. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments (e.g, eProcurement, invoice-to-pay, etc.) rather than more as primary entry points to customers.

Yet after being acquired by Accel-KKR last year, SciQuest has started an accelerated strategic and marketing transformation process that is uniting its disparate suite elements. Today’s Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to SciQuest for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration, as well as competitive alternatives.

Here are 5 Key Benefits to Accounts Payable (AP) Automation, or: Can We Be Done With People Already?

“Can we just be done with people, already?”

The automation issue resonates within countless organizations across the globe — and if it doesn’t yet, it should — but AP organizations could especially benefit from automating and digitizing their processes. When it comes to finance and accounting, 47% of AP professionals consider manual data entry and inefficient processes their biggest challenge. But how should my AP organization even begin to automate and digitize? Easy — start thinking of it like riding a bicycle. Read on to find out how.

Oversight Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Procurement fraud comes in many forms and types. Recent front-page news stories can involve multi-million dollar frauds managed at the P&L level by suppliers, such as Pfizer’s recent complex overbilling scheme with the NHS. But procurement and payables fraud most often takes place on a smaller level, with varying degrees of sophistication. Oversight Systems provides an analytics managed service (and front-end software) capability for procurement and finance organizations to fight procurement fraud, whether perpetrated by suppliers, internal participants or both. It also provides similar capabilities to monitor for regulatory compliance (e.g., FCPA violations) as well as detect overpayment errors. Its solution is a complement to procure-to-pay (P2P), travel and expense (T&E) and various audit recovery solutions and approaches in the market today.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Oversight Systems provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Oversight Systems and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Oversight Systems’ capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Oversight as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the solution’s user experience.

Oversight Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) –– Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

graft

What do you get if you cross P2P payment compliance, procurement and payables fraud detection and management, and a big data solution together? You get Oversight Systems. Unlike other overpayment prevention and recovery audit providers, Oversight decided to pursue what we might best describe as “data science as a service,” hiring data scientists who are experts –– or have become experts –– in spend areas including travel and expense (T&E) and procure-to-pay (P2P), as well as regulations affecting supplier management and payables such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). This team continually works to develop new algorithms to confront the types of continuously evolving over-billing and procurement and T&E fraud scenarios that employees, procurement staff and suppliers engage in, either intentionally or as a result of complacency.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Oversight System’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this class of solution alongside other P2P, T&E, payables/card and related investments. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Transcepta: A Procurement Technology “Best Kept Secret” — Year-End Tech Review

e-invoicing

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review series, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. Today we’re highlighting a company in the e-invoicing space.

Transcepta, a closely held business, was founded over a decade ago. Throughout this time, the provider has focused on building and expanding its global supplier network capabilities to support vendor onboarding and e-invoicing efforts, including most recently in the invoice discounting and trade financing areas.

Supplier Readiness and E-Invoicing in Latin America

e-invoicing

As we have seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, e-invoicing has produced great benefits for governments in terms of tax collection and streamlining its own control processes, for which they have implemented mechanisms that companies must comply with, ranging from the simple to the complex. For both buyers and suppliers, this represents a new technological challenge — especially for companies with operations in multiple Latin American countries.