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Updated! CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Procure-to-pay (P2P) keeps the cash flowing during the crisis

03/26/2020 By

Updated April 24: This installment of our Coronavirus Response series has been updated with a profile of a solution that can help with payment automation on a global scale — and because of the COVID-19 disruptions, a special offer has been extended to guilds, nonprofits and trade groups to get free access to the solution. Note: New passages in this post are italicized, and the new profile is toward the bottom.

In this installment of our “Coronavirus Response” series, Spend Matters will focus on procure-to-pay solutions and how they can help manage cash flow during a crisis.

The mission of this PRO series is to examine categories of relevant solutions (and example providers) that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk. And even if the solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future when sanity returns to the world.

This article addresses the fourth category of the seven we currently have outlined:

1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc. (Read this category’s PRO analysis and solution recommendations here.)
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source. (This category was updated April 23 and is discussed in-depth here.)
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes. (Its profile for this series was updated April 22 and is available here.)
4. Procure to Pay (P2P) that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers.
5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP. (Its profile for this series is here.)
6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic. (Read in-depth detail on this category here.)
7. Contingent Workforce and Services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions: for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing mobile-first contract workers anywhere you need them; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; and solutions for data management and analytics.

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, Spend Matters recently made the series introduction available for free to all readers. PRO subscribers can see our follow-up pieces that profile the other categories and their solutions in that market. We will include a lot of information on each category PRO brief that readers can see without hitting a paywall, but since we also draw heavily from our existing deep-dive analysis of the providers from our SolutionMap database, some information will be available only to our PRO subscribers.

We began our coverage of procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions from three of the P2P suite players (Basware, Tradeshift and Coupa) with particular strengths in emphasizing working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the supply base (especially harder hit suppliers in need of cash) via the P2P process.

In this update, we’re also profiling an AP automation solution from Tipalti that can do e-invoicing and automate payments on a global scale. The solution facilitates cross-border payments in 120 currencies via multiple payment methods. In response to the coronavirus crisis, it is offering guilds, nonprofits and trade groups free access to its platform for a year.

These initial three vendors, while each unique in the P2P/financing space, all have deep capabilities in payment automation and financing programs — like intermediate trade financing and not just basic non-intermediated early pay discount execution. Tipalti also has robust supplier management and early payment capabilities.

If your organization doesn't have a P2P platform with payment and financing capabilities, one of these platforms could be the most fit-for-purpose, off-the-shelf solution to help you preserve, deploy or have access to cash through the COVID-19 crisis, but obviously longer-term too.

If other practitioners, providers or consultants would like to contribute to coverage in this category, please let us know or fill out this survey.

Each category-specific PRO piece in this series will have three sections:

1. Problems and Use Cases. We’ll highlight the problems in force (which will vary through different phases of the crisis) and the various scenarios where solutions can provide deeper insights, intelligence and scalable workflows.
2. Solution Rationale and Value. We’ll outline how various solutions can help solve the problems and the specific questions that they’ll help answer.
3. Example Providers. We’ll highlight the solution providers that can support the problems and deliver some value.

Some providers are offering COVID-specific programs and “freemium” commercial offers, and we’ll note those whenever we update this piece. We’ll also start the series with providers that we already have deep knowledge on, but we’ve been seeking information from other vendors too.

OK, let's dive into the power of P2P solutions.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more
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Coronavirus Response