The Procurement Financials Category

Unlocking Deeper Value in the Procurement and Finance Relationship (Part 1) [Plus+]

finance

Much has been written about the need for procurement and finance organizations to better align with each other, in particular how the two functions can best integrate purchasing and payables into an end-to-end purchase-to-pay (P2P) process. The opportunity for aligning these two functions, however, is much greater than simply improving transaction efficiency. Unfortunately, the various sources of misalignment that plague procurement and finance prevent many businesses from identifying these opportunities in the first place.

The sad part of this story is that the two functions share many common traits. Both seek to:

  • Elevate their value propositions as enabling business partners by providing compelling service offerings — and overcome their perception as bureaucratic corporate overlords
  • Maximize enterprise value and profitable growth through disciplined spend management
  • Spend not just less but better in terms of process efficiency and process effectiveness
  • Use new techniques and technologies to help the business make better decisions that support the above goals
Additionally, these functions should in theory strive to serve each other as internal customers while also enabling the other to deliver higher value to their own internal (and external) customers. Unfortunately, theory has rarely translated into reality, and the result is that each function is leaving money (and risk) on the table.

Procurement can certainly help finance get more value from its suppliers, but it can also help finance improve service delivery in areas such as FP&A, treasury, tax, financial accounting, risk and compliance, commodity management and even accounts payable.

On the flipside, finance can help procurement in multiple ways, namely to help procurement on value-adding activities — including helping finance. This is a classic “help me, help you” moment. If procurement can help finance help procurement (and help finance help itself), then procurement’s value potential can be truly unlocked.

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 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.

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.

Extending Procurement Information Architecture to Provider Ecosystems (Part 1) [Plus+]

In our previous series on procurement services provision and information architectures (here, here, here, here, here, here and here) we discussed the importance of thoughtfully designing various architecture elements such as MDM, analytics, workflow, portal infrastructure, etc. to re-frame overall information capabilities beyond the traditional provider-led “module-menu” approach. Simply put, the idea is to loosely couple these capabilities so that they can be iteratively improved (and switched out as needed) while they squeeze more value out of the fragmented information topologies that litter the enterprise landscape. The coupling of these capabilities can – and should – create situations where the sum of a set of assets greatly exceeds their individual contribution elements.

The Allocation Game — Managing Cost Before Money is Spent

finance

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post form Steven Krueger, principal, and Matt Polvara, senior manager, at Ernst & Young LLP.

With more interest rate hikes a likelihood, banks are poised for growth. But that doesn’t mean they should stop their cost reduction programs. By strategically reducing or eliminating costs, and in particular by optimizing infrastructure costs (which account, on average, for about 40% of a bank’s cost base) banks can be leaner and more agile in a changing economic and regulatory environment. They will be better positioned to face off increasing threats from FinTech firms that are aiming to introduce disruptive technology-enabled business models. Ultimately, banks can reallocate funds they saved to invest in products and technologies to defend or grow market shares.

Overheard on the Quad: What We Learned When Supply Chain Finance Went to University

Michigan State University

Even with the increasing shift in focus to the importance of return on investment for a college education, many young men and women these days pursue a college education to answer foundational questions about themselves. It’s no surprise, accordingly, that so many university mottos include the word “veritas,” a nod to students and professors alike searching for “truth.” Likewise, as our sister site Trade Financing Matters explains, supply chain finance recently went back to school, under the tutelage of Professor David Wuttke of the EBS Business School. His team at EBS, in collaboration with Orbian, has been seeking the truth about trade finance, including a few foundational questions of their own.

Procurement Metrics: Understanding the Economic Language of Value (Part 2) — Expenditures, Expenses and Financial Reporting (CapEx, COGS and G&A) [Plus+]

finance

In the first installment of this series, we discussed the term “spend” (the noun, not verb), in the context of supplier spending, in a fair amount of detail. We discussed addressable spend, and what's included and excluded for the purposes of spend visibility/management, but also for the purposes of using spend within procurement performance measurement and benchmarking. In this installment, we dive a little deeper in terms of comparing and contrasting spend to other terms, as mentioned in the title.

Procurement Metrics: Understanding the Economic Language of Value (Part 1) — Spend [Plus+]

buzzwords

One of the challenges that procurement faces is "speaking the same language" as finance, as well as the language of its stakeholders. A marketing department, for example, may use the term “investment” for its spending. Similarly, many procurement organizations categorize some of their added value in a category called “cost avoidance,” even though the term is not taught or recognized formally by the finance function.

Even within procurement, many terms are used inconsistently. Consider the term “addressable spend.” Is all spend addressable, as represented by cash disbursements going to external parties? Or is it supplier spending that is reasonably under the influence of procurement? If you say the latter, what defines “reasonable”?

The friction and misalignment common between various functions often results from stakeholders not having a basic understanding of terms that seem similar but yet can be very different. This problem is exacerbated when the stakes are high and you start getting measured and benchmarked on these metrics. To prevent this, procurement needs to be “business multilingual” and understand the variations of terminology so that it can best speak these languages and help the organization make the best decisions to create value.

This is what we’ll address in this analysis, with a focus on procurement and finance within the enterprise. Clearly defined terminology is the foundation from which higher-level concepts, performance metrics and benchmarks can be consistently understood — and improved.

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How To Avoid Fake Spend Under Management (SUM)

Supply Chain Fraud

Savings is the primary performance measure for procurement. These key savings measures must be qualified relative to the actual spend under management to have true value. A definition that directly supports the savings KPI, however, is not always present. This leads to the illusion that spend is under management when often it is not, thereby deteriorating the overall savings results.

How to Justify Spend Analysis to Finance/IT When There’s No Clear ROI (Part 2) [Plus+]

funding

Yesterday, we discussed the first five of 10 possible strategies to justify a spend analysis initiative to finance/IT despite the catch-22 that comes from not knowing the potential value that may come from the initial investment. Today we pick up with recommendations six through 10 and close with some final remarks and recommendations.

How to Justify Spend Analysis to Finance/IT When There’s No Clear ROI (Part 1) [Plus+]

finance

Analytics are all the rage. And spend analysis is Procurement 101. So, getting some reasonable investment shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong. The problem with analytics is that the identified value is all “option value.” You don't know how much value opportunity you will uncover with the analytics until you actually perform them (and implement the identified opportunities)! This article is designed to help you overcome this catch-22. We've prepared 10 strategies to help you get the ball rolling with IT and finance (even if the ROI isn't clear).