Afternoon Coffee: Google to finalize SAP Ariba implementation; U.S. re-imposes tariff on Canadian aluminum; payments firm Stripe hires GM exec; COVID-19 relief plan confuses employers

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Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. announced this week that its transition to SAP Ariba’s cloud-based services will be finalized Aug. 24 after beginning the process last October, according to PYMNTS.com. This final wave of transition concerns the Asia Pacific region. U.S. suppliers switched over in October. In May, the rest of North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa switched.

The transition was set up to help streamline transactions and “further strengthen Alphabet Inc. and Google’s existing and new relationships through improved communication methods,” the article reports. Due to the SAP Ariba Network, suppliers have better visibility for invoices and orders, with the ability to self-manage account information, submit invoices electronically and receive new purchase orders.

The added capabilities for Google include a unified supplier record, the ability to integrate supplier qualification and segmentation with other procurement processes, and compliance for supplier risk management throughout the supply base. SAP and Google began their partnership in 2017, according to the article.

Tariff on Canadian aluminum causes stress for northern neighbor

The Trump administration re-imposed a 10% import tariff on Canadian aluminum, causing heightened worries for America’s northern neighbor that a similar tariff for steel could be imposed, according to our sister site MetalMiner. In 2018, the U.S. imposed Section 232 tariffs, but eventually lifted them following the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“I hear that they’re going to do tariffs on our steel industry as well,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said to Bloomberg in Toronto last week. “There are 40 categories of steel, they’re going to go and tack on a certain percentage ... onto our steel.”

Capacity utilization is low on both sides of the border. Steel producers have struggled from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while attempting to catch up from the lockdowns earlier this year. The re-imposition of the aluminum tariffs came from the U.S. suffering a surge in imports of the light metal, according to the article. However, Canada denies that argument, saying its imports remain at long-term historical norms.

Payments company Stripe hires GM’s CFO

Payments giant Stripe announced Tuesday it hired General Motors’ Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara as the start-up builds up its C-suite amid an e-commerce boom brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNBC.

Suryadevara was named the automaker’s first female CFO in 2018, leading it through the pandemic that pressured GM’s finances as global factories closed this year, according to the article. At Stripe, she will have to balance “aggressive growth while maintaining the highest standards in discipline and fiscal responsibility,” Stripe said. The announcement comes after Stripe’s recent flurry of high-profile hires.

“Stripe’s mission to increase the GDP of the internet is more important now than ever,” Suryadevara said in a press release reported by CNBC. “I really enjoy leading complex, large-scale businesses, and I hope to use my skills to help accelerate Stripe’s already steep growth trajectory.”

Trump’s executive order addresses payroll taxes for employers

President Donald Trump’s plan to allow deferred payment of payroll taxes has caused concern for employers facing the costs and uncertainties of his program, according to the Wall Street Journal. The president shared his plan in an executive order Saturday to aid the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the plan includes a section outlining how employers can stop collecting the 6.2% levy of employee shares of Social Security taxes for many workers.

However, the president’s memo doesn’t change how much tax employees and employers actually owe, according to the article. They could still have to pay the taxes since Congress is the only one that can dictate it. Many attorneys and payroll professionals said they would be watching for answers before the program is set to begin Sept. 1.

“We’re looking at a crystal ball not knowing what we’re going to see,” David Fuller, a tax lawyer, told the Wall Street Journal. “If I’m an employer, I’m not going to do anything until I see that guidance.”

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