The Finance Category

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.

Dr. Edward Altman and CreditRiskMonitor CEO Jerry Flum on the Looming Corporate Debt Crisis

Debt is a growing problem, both in the U.S. specifically and worldwide. As the Congressional Budget Office announced earlier this year, U.S. debt held by the public is projected to reach 150% of GDP by 2047. Currently, the $19.9 trillion of U.S. public debt equates to about 107% of GDP, according to the Pew Research Center. In short, there’s a mammoth debt problem, which was the title of a webinar that CreditRiskMonitor recently hosted on this very topic.

How to Use Planning and Budgeting to Transform Procurement — and the Enterprise [Plus+]

As summer turns to fall, that time of the year that so many enterprises enjoy and look forward to is here: the annual planning and budgeting process for next year. Yes, I’m kidding. This process ranks only a few notches above root canal for most budget owners. Yet if you had to look at the single most powerful best practice within procurement, especially for indirect procurement, it would be procurement’s involvement in the planning and budgeting process to improve the effectiveness of this process for stakeholders and for procurement.

To restate this: The best way to increase spend influence and to translate it into economic benefits is to increase the quality of spend influence. Getting a seat at the table can be challenging, but this table is a perfect entry point, and it also allows procurement to set its own table and bring stakeholders to it. The beauty of planning and budgeting is that it requires some incremental capabilities that are critical for procurement and, more important, for the business. This includes analytics, benchmarking, policy setting and continuous improvement (most of it enabled by strong technology, of course) even beyond this annual process.

Such early engagement also creates a moment of truth where procurement and finance either come together to unlock this value or where they are left to their own devices. In this analysis, I will highlight the hard dollars surrounding this broader practice and how progressive organizations are creating this critical joint capability, as well as give some pragmatic advice regarding how to implement this benevolent and transformational multiheaded beast.

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 5): Dynamic Discounting and Supply Chain Finance Models [PRO]

The payment process is integral to not just transactional procurement, accounts payable and supplier management. It is also an essential component of receivables and payables trade financing models. This fifth installment in our Spend Matters PRO series exploring how procurement touches and is impacted by the payment process provides insight into the intersection of payments and trade financing, especially buyer-led (or influenced) models. See also:

In this brief, we explore the two most popular (non-factoring) trade financing models — supply chain finance (SCF) and dynamic discounting — as well as their payment intersections, especially from supplier on-boarding and enablement perspectives. We also provide an introduction to hybrid early payment and trade financing models.

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.

RapidRatings: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis [PRO]

RapidRatings is a proven supplier risk management solution that specializes in financial risk management. Many large enterprises depend on it as a core component of their supplier risk management programs. It brings the ability — a critical one — to evaluate privately held suppliers, including a methodology to get even small and middle-market firms to submit financials with very high success levels.

Spend Matters analysis suggests that RapidRatings has a proven and comparatively superior methodology to alternative established models for developing accurate and predictive supplier financial risk ratings — especially for privately held companies — and gaining insight into overall supplier financial health. But it is important to note that the provider does not offer a comprehensive supplier or supply chain risk management solution and ideally should be considered as a component within a broader supply risk management capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering RapidRatings offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers (suite and otherwise). It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider RapidRatings.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 3): Challenges and Opportunities for Payment Operations [PRO]

e-invoicing

As anyone tasked with extending and integrating a procure-to-pay (P2P) system to fully support the second “P” has no doubt learned, corporate payment processes and systems are highly complex — perhaps even more so than transactional purchasing activities. This Spend Matters PRO series provides a procurement-centric introduction to the topic of payments, offering a look into the payments lifecycle and how it integrates with core P2P processes and workflows.

Earlier installments (see Part 1 and Part 2) explored the invoice-to-reconciliation process, internal and external parties involved in core payments workflow and P2P technology best practices. In Part 3, we turn our attention to the nitty-gritty of managing core payment operations, examining a full list of the challenges companies face in confronting payments today, as well as the financial and operational costs of managing payments sub-optimally. We also provide an overview of shared services environments for payment operations while also exploring the many challenges companies face in attempting to drive payment process and system centralization generally.

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.

The Challenges of Supplier Financing Adoption within P2P

finance

Our colleague David Gustin recently published a post detailing the results of a study on supply chain financing over at Trade Financing Matters, and I thought it would be worthwhile to expand the insights gained related to procure-to-pay (P2P) processes and solutions. In his article "5 Hypotheses Tested on Supplier Use of Supply Chain Finance", Gustin explores some conclusions from a study developed by Prof. David Wuttke of EBS Business School together with Prof. Eve Rosenzweig of Emory and Prof. H. Sebastian Heese of North Carolina State University where they observed patterns of conduct on the subject of supply chain financing.