The Procurement Financials Category

How the Contagion Effect Could Blow Up Network Finance

In the real world, you plan for an event and it works out for a while. Then things fall apart. So you react and plan more — hoping to stop the problem from creating a contagion effect.

And here you are, thinking that you built this nice network finance model to finance your suppliers not just on approved invoices, but invoices that have been issued, or even more upstream, purchase orders that have been issued. And things have been working smoothly for a couple of quarters, or maybe for even a year or two.

But then it happens. More things fall apart.

How to Inspire a Cash Flow Revolution: Insights from Taulia’s Working Capital Summit

Investors, CEOs and suppliers are pushing procurement and finance organizations to improve working capital performance, and this renewed interest in the state of the balance sheet is poised to create a revolution in how businesses approach cash flow, according to Taulia, a provider of financial supply chain solutions. There is $14 trillion in annual spend volume trapped in global supply chains, and for every $1 billion in revenue, working capital programs can create improvements totaling as much as $70 million, Taulia said last week at its 2018 Working Capital Summit in Chicago.

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.

How Procurement Can Help Save The World From ‘Lease-Pocalypse’

contract

In less than 90 days, one of the biggest accounting changes the world has ever witnessed will take effect. Starting in January 2019, a new set of rules will require companies to begin transferring almost $3 trillion worth of leases onto their balance sheets. Going forward, leases will be center stage in financial reports. To apply the new accounting standards, businesses must really know the leasing contracts. Only the procurement team has that deep knowledge.

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Steve Keifer, LeaseAccelerator's vice president of marketing.

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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.

Post-Confirmation Dilution in an Uncertain Credit World

e-invoicing

How long has this benign credit cycle been going on? How about since 2008, when the Fed began dumping money into the economy to go way beyond its mandate as a last-stop liquidity gap. This has led to many distortions in the credit and capital markets, and one area where this is poorly understood is around “approved” invoices. Despite what many players in the space might believe, underwriting is necessary — even  critical. Even though the invoices that are on the platform are, by definition, approved for payment (i.e., highly de-risked), they are by no means risk-free.

CPOs Owning Accounts Payable: Does Supply Chain Finance Make it Interesting at Last? [Plus+]

Historically, most CPOs and procurement leaders have not taken a huge amount of interest in the final stage of the end-to-end purchase-to-pay process. The mysterious land of accounts payable (AP) has been out of bounds to many of us in the profession. But that was, if we’re being honest, how we liked it. In my 10 years as a CPO in three organizations, I never had any desire to expend my empire in that direction. It didn’t look like a “mysterious” place in a good way; it was full of people doing what looked like pretty dull administrative tasks for a start — not what we wanted to be as we tried to build our procurement functions into strategic, business-focused powerhouses. So in the vast majority of organizations, procurement has been happy to let AP stay under the auspices of finance.

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.

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The Imperative to Improve Working Capital: Driving Forces and Emerging Solutions

Improving working capital performance has become increasingly important to companies in recent years, yet few procurement and finance organizations have found truly sustainable, long-term solutions to support this goal. The problem is that immediate external forces are pushing businesses to make working capital improvements now, while the sound financial strategies to maintain these changes require more than a few “quick fixes” to ultimately succeed.

U.S. Companies Improve Working Capital Performance — But Is It at the Expense of Suppliers?

finance

U.S. companies’ working capital performance is at its strongest since 2008, according to The Hackett Group. However, this is in large part a result of companies shifting their working capital burden on to their suppliers by extending payment terms. The average days payable outstanding in 2017 was 56.7 days, 3.4 days more than in 2016. This data comes from The Hackett Group’s 2018 U.S. Working Capital Survey of the 1,000 largest non-financial companies with headquarters in the U.S.

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Italy and the Real-Time VAT Control Big Bang

Electronic invoicing is on the decline — and rapidly so. No, I don’t mean companies have started exchanging fewer invoices in electronic format. I mean that the domain that we have in the past 15 years called “e-invoicing” is converging with the broader VAT compliance domain. Together, the two are morphing into what might be called “VAT compliance v2.0.”

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.