The Accounts Payable Category

Extinction event: Amazon Textract has just killed the OCR industry. Who’s next and who’s safe?

disruption

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, a business automation expert.

The annual Amazon AWS Re:Invent conference has just finished. The most interesting announcement in the conference was not one of high-profile changes to their serverless and machine learning platforms. The most interesting announcement was a three-minute video about Textract, a new OCR (optical character recognition) service from Amazon. This service extracts text and tables from documents and is priced at $1.50 per 1,000 pages.

The Textract OCR service is interesting for three reasons, each of which is worthy of an article in itself, but we'll briefly look at all three here and the industries that are affected.

Basware vs. Tradeshift: Accounts Payable, Invoicing and Supplier Network Head-to-Head Comparison

On the surface, Basware and Tradeshift appear to deliver similar invoice-to-pay technology capabilities as two of the top-ranked SolutionMap analyst picks for this area. (Note: We include e-invoicing, accounts payable automation, supplier network and related capabilities as components of invoice-to-pay.) After all, both beat the average functional benchmark score in the Spend Matters Q4 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap, which publishes Dec. 4, by a material percentage.

But when you unpack how Basware and Tradeshift compare in the two “best” and core areas in which they compete, comparative strengths and weaknesses begin to emerge. Such nuances could prove all the more important when analyzing how customers and potential customers should think about each provider given the potential for them to join forces as a single, merged entity.

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q4 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. These “Head-to-Head” columns share the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data along with the trademark quips that Spend Matters was better known for in its early years. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit Basware and Tradeshift against each other in the invoice-to-pay evaluation ring.

Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In certain invoice-to-pay categories — which include supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services, invoicing, payment/financing and overall invoice-to-pay scoring — Basware gets the nod. But in many others, Tradeshift takes the prize. Overall, the results suggest that the right solution will vary based on different organizational requirements. There’s no debate that invoice-to-pay selection processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs.

From Palm Pilot to AI: How Today’s Technologies Will Shape the Modern Finance Office

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Melissa Hendrick, Yooz North America's vice president of marketing. 

Remember the early days of personal digital assistants and cellphones? Before they were “smart”? We were wowed by the first hand-held computers like the Palm Pilot and BlackBerry, but few among us knew then that in a few short years, we would become dependent upon them in all aspects of our personal and business lives. Technology and time march swiftly on, and business moves fast. Senior finance executives need to understand how today’s emerging innovations are already impacting business operations, profits and productivity, and how to adapt or consequently fall behind.

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

Unlike Salesforce, Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time, commingling the value proposition of each to create something that it hoped would prove larger than either could be individually. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, and Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of this Vendor Snapshot series explores these questions and others. This Spend Matters PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

6 Ways To Really Mess Up Your AP Automation Project

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Melissa Hendrick, VP of marketing at Yooz North America.

Today, automation technology is one of the inevitable trends for companies wanting to improve their efficiency and agility in a complex economic environment. The reasons are clear: cost reduction, process optimization, data security, regulatory compliance and many more.

If you are considering automating your invoice payment processing workflows in accounts payables, or are already investigating solution providers, your success will be based on following some basic guidelines and avoiding some common pitfalls.

With that in mind, here are some insights to help you identify the pitfalls on your journey to AP automation, combining practical information with a little tongue-in-cheek humor.

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.

One of the Largest U.S. Universities Transforms AP Process through Automation

Imagine receiving 180,000 invoices a year from more than 50,000 vendors. Now imagine manually processing those invoices, one by one, using a paper-based operation. That was exactly the payables processing approach that the University of Florida, one of the largest universities in the nation, was operating under. Besides being a costly accounts payable process, the manual operation led to inaccuracies, loss of visibility into working capital and missed discounts.

Randy Staples, University of Florida’s associate controller, knew something needed to change. The state institution, serving 50,000 students, not only deserved something better, it deserved a best-in-class solution to its accounts payable issues, and Staples was determined to find it. His search led him to Corcentric, a provider of cloud-based financial process automation solutions.

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

Yooz is one of the dozens of providers that frequently compete in the accounts payable automation market. This specific market is a bit difficult to “bound” as it represents a narrower “cut” of the functional requirements in Spend Matters’ invoice-to-pay SolutionMap — yet with more granular requirements in support of specific AP-centric (and sometimes industry-specific) needs.  

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Yooz’s solution offering in payment automation and e-invoicing markets. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Yooz in the finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

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Working Capital Optimization: 3 Things to Avoid

In my last blog I outlined why you needed to reconsider your approach to working capital and why current programs are limited in their capabilities. In this blog I wanted to outline the things you need to avoid, or at the very least be aware of when approaching a working capital program.

8 Quantifiable Levers Where Invoice-to-Pay Solutions Deliver ROI — Beyond Accounts Payable (Part 2) [PRO]

Invoice-to-pay (I2P) solutions can provide significant leverage for a range of business functions that extend beyond accounts payable alone. In Part 1 of this series, we introduced the topic of where to look for value levers and ROI outside of AP enablement alone from I2P solutions and explored the initial four levers to pull: managing, controlling and enabling visibility into 100% of an organization’s spend; providing a means of onboarding and actively managing suppliers; driving stakeholder collaboration; and technical and business integration support that makes AP a “hub” rather than a spoke.

As we conclude our analysis, we will explore four additional areas where I2P solutions deliver extended value and measurable KPI improvement beyond AP-centric metrics alone. These areas center on compliance enablement (business and regulatory), data analytics, EBITDA improvement and working capital enablement, and driving broader business objectives (while reducing the “cost to serve”).

Please note that a SolutionMap Insider companion research brief is also being published that will detail SolutionMap vendor performance for all of these areas, ranking how individual vendors perform against these requirements based on the Q3 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap benchmark.

Global E-Payment Software Helps Companies Cross Borders and Cash In, Report Finds

MBO Partners

A wealth of opportunity awaits in emerging markets around the world, and global e-payment software is helping businesses cross borders to tap into that revenue — and navigate the fiscal risks that can strain supply chains and supplier relationships, according to a report that surveyed more than 400 organizations. According to the report, 73% of U.S. companies are now making some type of cross-border payments. But writing a check and sending it to Peru or even relying on wire transfers to far-flung locales no longer cut it with businesses trying to expand globally yet stay profitable. Those methods can be slow, fraught with fraud and take up too much time for a company’s accounts payable department.

8 Quantifiable Levers Where Invoice-to-Pay Solutions Deliver ROI — Beyond Accounts Payable (Part 1) [PRO]

finance

Invoice-to-pay (I2P) solutions exist to serve the broader business, not just accounts payable functions. Spend Matters defines the I2P area as a combination of electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and e- payments, which may leverage a supplier network model for connectivity and value-added capabilities.

I2P solutions not only reduce paper-based processes and increase efficiency (e.g., reduce cash disbursement costs per FTE) but also serve as a foundation for enabling finance organization improvements generally (e.g., by reducing late payments, optimized working capital and lowering non-compliance). The value-added capability of technology providers offer today can help procurement and finance to configure and deploy complex invoice workflow, matching, approvals, cash disbursements, trade financing options and better process management overall. ilities.

Yet all too often, these technologies are viewed as tactical and transactionally focused, when in fact they can deliver multiple strategic outcomes. Confining invoice-to-pay solutions to an AP-centric value proposition is a mistake that many organizations make when selecting technology. And it is one that that software providers also make when “under-selling” them into organizations. ilities.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores eight business levers that I2P solutions can pull to deliver return on investment (ROI), as defined by the functional requirements in Spend Matters SolutionMap. We have authored it to help organizations better quantify the extended returns they can realize from I2P solutions when building business cases and to help solution providers better sell the full business value of what they deliver. ilities.

Please note that a SolutionMap Insider companion research brief is also being published that will detail SolutionMap vendor performance for all of these areas, ranking how individual vendors perform against these requirements based on the Q3 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap benchmark.