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Invoicing and Finance

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.

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


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]


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.

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.

P2P and E-Invoicing Compliance: Spelling Out What TrustWeaver Does and Does Not Do [PRO]

Technology and solution providers typically deliver electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) compliance offerings as a component rather than the central focus of an overall procure-to-pay (P2P) or accounts payable automation solution. Few vendors focus squarely on compliance as the central value proposition of their offering. But one provider does offer invoicing compliance “as a service”: TrustWeaver. Yet TrustWeaver is “consumed” by organizations as an integrated component of third-party P2P and e-invoicing solutions rather than directly. This research brief explores precisely what TrustWeaver enables from a compliance perspective in its current summer 2017 offering. Also included are insights into additional TrustWeaver compliance capabilities that the provider plans to add during 2H 2017.

This brief provides checklists to understand specific areas of e-invoicing compliance centered on three areas: local laws and regulations, invoice processing and value-added services. In this context, it describes what localized e-invoicing compliance requirements TrustWeaver supports and those it does not support. In this brief, our goal is to help procurement and finance organizations understand what precisely a vendor means when it says it is a “TrustWeaver” partner — and what other steps they (or their solution partner) may need to take to ensure broader compliance requirements are met.

The Growth of E-Invoicing Compliance (Part 3): Buyer and Supplier Functional Checklists [PRO]

public procurement

Just what defines “compliant electronic invoicing” continues to be one of the least understood areas of procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions. One of the reasons for this is that many technology providers — not limited to just P2P providers but also accounts payable automation vendors — hawk compliance as if it were a bag of peanuts in the hand of a vendor at a baseball game. In reality, however, few single solutions even approach “full compliance” on a global, or even localized, basis.

The challenge for buyers of technology or managed services e-invoicing solutions is that when we address the topic of e-invoicing compliance, we’re talking about a complex barrel of goodies (the metaphorical equivalent of nuts, candy and fruit), not just a ballpark freshly roasted (or generically bagged) special. Further complicating the topic of e-invoicing compliance is that we must fully address both buyer- and supplier-led compliance depending on whether someone is on the issuing or receiving side of an invoice — the two are not the same.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief succinctly cuts to the chase (we hope!) of what a compliant solution must contain. It provides both a buyer and supplier diagnostic checklist to ascertain whether a provider is offering a compliant solution. Also see the first installment (E-Invoicing Compliance, Globally: Beyond TrustWeaver’s “Seal of Approval”) and second installment (The Growth of E-Invoicing Compliance: Exploring Vendor Capabilities and Approaches (Part 2) in this series.

The Growth of E-Invoicing Compliance: Exploring Vendor Capabilities and Approaches (Part 2) [PRO]

MBO Partners

In recent years, invoice-to-pay service providers have grown significantly, and there are now hundreds of them around the world. Some are truly local on an in-country basis. Others have a regional focus. And the largest tend to serve customers globally (albeit with partner support on a localized basis). We can even find service providers who handle just inbound invoices and others who can handle both inbound and outbound invoices.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the solution scope and reach of e-invoicing providers today, including Coupa, Invocus (Zycus), GEP, SAP Ariba, Taulia and Tradeshift. Our approach is to cut through the noise to help companies to assess providers to determine the degree to which they fully support VAT, regulatory, statutory, data privacy and related compliance areas on a localized basis — beyond just partnering with TrustWeaver, alone. Provider insight is in part based on the information collected and analyzed as part of the Spend Matters Q2 2017 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap.

PRO Subscribers can also access the first installment of this series: E-Invoicing Compliance, Globally: Beyond TrustWeaver’s “Seal of Approval”

E-Invoicing Compliance, Globally: Beyond TrustWeaver’s “Seal of Approval” [PRO]


Just about every solution provider with an e-invoicing or procure-to-pay (P2P) solution talks about compliance in the invoice-to-pay — and sometimes order-to-cash — area. Many often use language that would suggest their “unique” approach is a source of competitive advantage when it comes to complying with local government regulations. But all too often providers are referring to just having a digital signature or signing capability (often in part or in whole outsourced or certified by a third party) for the purposes of proving authenticity and certification of origin. Beyond this, there are other forms of e-invoicing compliance, such as complying with local VAT requirements and the archiving of invoices for audit purposes (e.g., the number of years varies depending on the country).

But compliance is even more nuanced than just simply checking the box on one or more of these areas for a particular country, and just having an agreement with TrustWeaver does not mean it is fully compliant for a specific transaction scenario. Depending on how tightly one wants to define compliance, it is also necessary to meet not only inter-country requirements but also intra-country (and intra-regional) requirements. This includes scenarios in countries where a submitted e-invoice requires a previous clearance by tax administrations and where part of the regulation requires that additional attachments be added to transactional documents in the invoice-to-pay process, as is the case in some Latin American and Asian countries.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores components of what true e-invoicing compliance is — or should be. It starts by taking a look at the basics, including what TrustWeaver certification provides vendors (and their customers) with. Yet our approach is not just to address the basics, even though they are important. Rather, we take aim at the myth of vendor e-invoicing compliance that permeates the market today and what a broader definition and approach to compliance should encompass. The second installment in this brief will explore what specific steps vendors such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, Taulia, Tradeshift and others are doing beyond the norm to provide compliant solutions for trading partners.

Procurement is from Mars and Finance is from Jupiter: How to Align Planets [Plus +]


Mars might be the god of war and mighty in its own right – ready to battle any time with a combative supplier or recalcitrant internal stakeholder. But Jupiter is the king of gods: large, distant, cold, foreboding. (There is no Venus here...that's a Plus brief — nay, multipart series — for another day on working with Marketing). These gods might seem similar, and in the business world, Procurement and Finance should in theory be highly aligned and focused on cost management, risk mitigation, quantitative analysis, and other areas. For example:

  • Enterprise risk management requirements (e.g., fraud, regulatory compliance, etc.) should extend seamlessly into the supply base.
  • Working capital should be optimized alongside cost reduction and compliance.
  • The Source-to-Settle process should have an embedded P2P process that aligns purchasing and AP to each other and to broader spend category requirements.
There are many things that keep the two groups from singing Kumbaya. In this Spend Matters Plus brief, we list five important ones and give practitioners some suggestions on how to align and conquer (no lightning bolts or Holst necessary).

Basware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]


Basware, a Nordic procure-to-pay (P2P) provider that until recently pursued a conservative global growth strategy, is not as well known outside its customer base for its set of differentiated and robust capabilities, especially in the AP automation, e-invoicing and supplier network areas. Most recently, through its acquisition of Verian, it added sufficient e-procurement capability to compete against other best-in-class purchasing technology providers (previously, its cloud-based Alusta platform, which forms the basis of its AP automation and invoicing capability today, was not competitive in the e-procurement market against specialized providers). In the trade financing area, we have applauded Basware in the past for taking a highly strategic approach, in partnership with Arrowgrass, to both payables and receivables financing (yet as with most competitive providers, execution in both areas has been slow to date).

Above all, the differentiated capabilities of Basware’s solutions are not well known because the company has underinvested in global marketing efforts. Moreover, at least until recently, Basware has lacked a common theme or rallying cry (e.g., Coupa’s “value as a service”) to unite both its own organization, and partners and customers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Basware’s strengths and weaknesses in the P2P, supplier network and trade financing areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]


Basware is one of the largest technology providers in the global procurement and accounts payable technology market. Founded in 1985 in Espoo, Finland as Baltic Accounting Systems to deliver enterprise finance software solutions, the company (which has been public since 2000 and is traded on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd. as BAS1V) has grown from a small country player to a global platform that does over 143.4M Euros annually (2015) with its client base of over 2,500 international P2P customers that collectively do business with over 1 million companies in over 100 countries.

The numbers do not tell the full Basware story, however — nor do the firm’s higher-level marketing efforts, which in turn do not get at the level of nuance, and capability, of its often deep and clever P2P solutions. Sure, the company manages one of the largest e-invoicing and B2B commerce networks, and supports its global customer base through its operational footprint that spans over 50 countries on six continents and includes over 100 partners and resellers. Yet while Basware may look to be doing well on paper, it has even greater potential if it can execute more successfully on a commercial basis in the coming years, including maximizing the Verian asset and it’s cheeky “WeProcurement” positioning around its e-procurement offering. For more on the Verian acquisition, see our first take and market analysis, competitive and customer implications, and solution comparison and integration strategy analysis.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Basware’s P2P and network capabilities, including strengths and weaknesses in the market, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

E-Invoicing Market Outlook 2016-2018: 10 Technology and Mega Trends (Part 1) [PRO]

technology maturity model

With apologies to Hollywood and those behind a recent Oscar winning film, E-Invoicing is a market undergoing radical transformation from both the inside (and) out. A combination of disruptive new technology models that go far beyond first generation supplier networks and evolving market and customer requirements (and expectations) are in the early process of taking a sleepy accounts payable-centric solution area and putting it front and center as an enabler of broader procurement, finance, supply chain and IT strategies. Spend Matters research and analysis based on interviews with a variety of solution providers, practitioners and consultants indicates the largest visible changes will take shape in the years ahead. This multipart Spend Matters PRO brief provides an e-invoicing outlook and forecast for 2016-2018. Included in this series are 10 technology and mega trends, a market forecast and sizing analysis, market growth and adoption scenarios and a look at the evolving competitive landscape and vendor shortlists, including how e-invoicing will increasingly intersect with supplier networks, invoice discounting, transactional analytics (procurement, A/P, payments), statement/invoice audit recovery and related market segments. For organizations looking to get started with the e-invoicing basics – or accelerate program adoption – we recommend starting with the PRO series E-Invoicing: What it Takes to Get to World Class (see Part 1 and Part 2).