The Accounts Payable Category

10 Reasons For Procurement to Work With Payments (Part 1) [Plus+]

Sometime shortly after the phrase “P2P” was born, we managed to collectively forget what the second “P” meant. As a friendly reminder, it stands for “pay.” Rather than spanning the length of a transaction from an initial order to payment to a vendor, P2P became known (while companies wrote RFPs for solutions and as vendors marketed tools) as the combination of e-procurement and e-invoicing. This duo, while extremely valuable, doesn’t exactly impact payment all that much (if at all).

But payment matters much more than most folks we talk to in procurement think. By taking control of payments, we can, for example, do an end-run around the administration hassles and supplier headaches that poorly run accounts payable (AP) functions create. And this is just one reason to consider getting more involved in payment strategy and execution. In fact, we can think of at least 10 reasons that should factor into a business case for procurement to seize control and initiative around payments.

An Opportune Time for Collaboration: Procurement and Accounts Payable (Part 1) [Plus+]

Historically, procurement and accounts payable have been slightly awkward bedfellows in many companies. They’ve been loosely coupled through the front-end (e.g., vendor on-boarding, registration process) and the back-end (e.g., approvals, dispute management, discounting, payment, invoice auditing) in both online and offline worlds for various aspects of supplier engagement and management.

Yet in the past decade, procurement as a role and business focus (not always as function, mind you) has garnered greater respect as a means of driving bottom line savings — often identified, not always implemented. It has still been one part of an odd couple, unfortunately, but the lesser odd partner. But that’s the subject for another post, let alone a volume of books. More important, for our purposes, accounts payable has not garnered the same level of interest, and has truly remained an odd cost-center and stepchild under the broader finance umbrella.

In fact, as many procurement organizations have been able to make the business case for more strategic resources based on quantifiable value (e.g., cost reduction, risk analysis/reduction) in the past decade, accounts payable has faced a near constant pressure to cut costs through reduced resources based on various automation schemes — internal shared services, business process outsourcing (BPO), technology or a combination thereof.

Procurement has not been overly keen on taking ownership of accounts payable, either. This goes back a long way. One of my favorites comes from Spend Matters UK/Europe Managing Director Peter Smith. Below, we feature his story and view into accounts payable from a CPO perspective.

Afternoon Coffee: Imported Washers and Solar Panels Hit with Steep Tariffs, Zylo Raises $9.3 Million in Series A

The Trump administration slapped steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels Monday, saying the measures were needed to protect the viability of American businesses. SaaS optimization upstart Zylo announced Tuesday it had completed a $9.3 million Series A funding round backed by Bessemer Venture Partners. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

5 Best Practices to Improve Accounts Payable Processes

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Spend Matters welcomes this guest contribution from Steve Johansson, director of marketing at iPayables.

The act of processing your invoices and handling your accounts payable has traditionally been considered a reflexive function of business, but in today's digital age it can become more strategic. Automated accounts payable solutions have undergone a significant evolution regarding efficiency and functionality, primarily through software that streamlines the entire process to ensure that best practices are being implemented consistently. The following is a list of methods you can use to within your accounts payable team to streamline your business and maximize the benefits of digital technology.

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

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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]

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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

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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.