Author Archives: Guest Contributor



The evolution of product cost management tools and the state of the art

Spend Matters welcomes this two-part guest post from Eric Hiller, Managing Partner of Hiller Associates, a business performance consultancy specializing in product cost management (PCM).

A lot has happened in the world of procurement software in the last 20 years. Purchasing has added a lot of new tools to what was mostly a relationship-focused discipline. These developments include:
* Data-rich environments of spreadsheets, MRP and ERP systems
* Supply chain management and supplier relationship management systems
* Online auctions
* Spend analytics tools/product cost management (PCM) software

Although the relationship side of the business is just as important as ever (some might say more important), purchasing analytics are here to stay, and they continue to become more prevalent in the discipline. The same is true for product cost management tools and their offshoots of service cost management tools. In this series, I am going to discuss the evolution of these tools and the state of the art.

Procurement, operations and accounting disconnected: Expense management is broken, but 4 strategies can help

Close-up Of Businessman Stopping The Effect Of Domino With Hand At Desk

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Rich Ham, the CEO of Fine Tune, which partners with companies to source, negotiate, manage and audit certain burdensome expense programs.

Procurement, operations and accounting are three disparate parts of organizations that are simply not equipped to efficiently share information and work together so that individual expenses are optimally managed. This fundamental disconnect between them is costing millions and impacting the growth of companies everywhere.

Let's look at the issues and four strategies to help.

How digital transformation is reinventing finance and accounting departments

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Manoj Shroff, Accenture Operations’ managing director, finance and accounting business process services lead.

Thanks to digital transformation technologies like real-time data analytics, robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), financial management is no longer about looking back. It’s all about looking forward, with predictive insights that yield positive business outcomes at scale. While our industry has undoubtedly been disrupted, it’s also been dramatically improved.

These changes (and their benefits) are flowing far outside of the finance department too: Executives and department heads — CPOs and CIOs included — no longer have to repeatedly report back to the CFO. Today, with intelligent tools at their fingertips, they can easily access, share and analyze critical organizational financial data.

Who should have access to your projects and budget in your VMS?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Ivana Cvejic, Co-Founder and CSO for Renhead, an end-to-end workforce management technology provider headquartered in Las Vegas.

To outsource work while planning, tracking and budgeting projects, businesses procure transparent data and time management with vendor management systems (VMS). 

While it’s all well and good for businesses to have vital information and tools at their fingertips, that information must be made available to the right people so they can take the appropriate action that best benefits the organization. 

The value of branding: 9 tips for procurement to create a strong brand, improve its standing

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement. Part 1 of this two-part guest series appeared yesterday and was written by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council.

For years, procurement’s role has been to reduce costs, or at least this is how it has been seen by others.

Procurement has always been a value provider, not just a cost-cutter. It is unfortunate that in the past it has been looked at so negatively, with such a narrow view. Perhaps this was because the procurement environment was heavily focused on negotiating prices. It did not focus so much on people or assets. The bottom line was always price and value.

However nowadays, most of the low hanging fruit where an easy monetary negotiation could be made is gone. And procurement is moving more toward being known as the value providers.

Part of making the transition to value providers is to change the brand of procurement. Learning from those who do this well, here are nine tips that marketers use to create a strong brand.

The value of branding: 6 ways procurement can redefine its brand, change misperceptions

Spend Matters welcomes this two-part guest series by Charlotte de Brabandt, a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s Thought Leadership Council, and by Amanda Prochaska, the president of High Performance Procurement, whose article will appear tomorrow.

Procurement professionals are not typically known for their ability to be great marketers. However, having a strong brand ensures procurement is at the very center of any business strategy. Look at any of the world's great brands and you will see that they all use their brand strength to gain attention. Strong brands are simply the key to creating value, and when this is done well, the full potential of procurement is realized.

Unfortunately, procurement’s brand has been largely left to their customers to define. These include definitions like “those are the people who negotiate contracts,” or “they buy stuff,” or “they are slow and non-responsive.”

As procurement professionals, we understand we deliver much more value than how we are being defined. So, what does it take to proactively define the value of procurement? Let's look at six tips:

7 Simple Ways to Control, Automate Your Accounts Payable

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Finly, a provider of business spend solutions.

Accounts payable involves a lot of challenges, like providing payment approvals on time, budgetary restrictions, ensuring policy compliance and keeping the accounting systems up to date. Organizations reach a saturation level where manually processing all these becomes increasingly tedious and difficult to maintain.

An automated accounts payable system is a great way to overcome these issues and increase effective communication as well as employee productivity. To control your accounts payable, let’s understand the bottlenecks involved in the manual process of accounts payable.

From tactical to strategic sourcing: Going beyond daily battles to long-term victory

Do you ever feel like you’ve been winning the battles but still losing the war? In the art of war, military strategists are required to look beyond short-term skirmishes, where little if any ground is gained, and instead focus on a vision for victory in the longer term. That doesn’t mean suddenly pulling your forces from the front or ignoring enemy advances but has more to do with creating a better line of sight between the guys in the trenches and the generals in the tents.

Joonas Jantunen, Cloudia’s CEO for the Middle East, sees a similar distinction to be made in today’s business procurement wars. Every large procurement function aspires to be strategic, but most are running their operations on short-term tactics.

Strategic sourcing, in contrast, sets out to align all sourcing practices with an organization’s long-term business objectives, with a view to creating new and sustainable value.

SRM and tariffs: Supplier relationship management provides dream ticket to control purchasing in a complex international landscape

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Purchasing is a core part of any business. That means software that can address the whole purchasing value chain and integrate closely with key areas of an organization is a real bonus for companies looking to expand their operational flexibility with suppliers. Applications such as supplier relationship management (SRM) provide the answer, limiting non-value-added work, offering real-time insight and playing a key role in helping companies come to grips with purchasing in a complicated, unstable global market.

How to prepare for the IR35 reform, the UK’s freelancer work-status mandate for the private sector

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Martin Konrad, co-founder of Shortlist, a freelancer management system provider based in San Francisco and with an office in London.

The UK government has announced that the IR35 reform introduced to the public sector in 2017 will also be rolled out to the private sector in April 2020.

What does this mean? In less than nine months, all medium and large private sector businesses using freelancers will be responsible for checking their employment status with every engagement. If it is determined that freelancers should be treated as an employee for the purposes of IR35, the business will need to deduct income tax and national insurance contributions from payments made to freelancers.

In this article, I would like to discuss how companies can determine their freelancer's IR35 status, and how your company can prepare for the upcoming reform.

3 Reasons Smaller Consultancies Can Compete with Traditional Consulting — Procurement Take Note

Bigger is not always better. Yet traditionally, the view is that a bigger business has, presumably, offered scale advantages and stability. But reliance on small professional services providers across many categories (creative, IT, engineering, business consulting) has been increasing for a variety of reasons — like hyper-dynamic market environments, the need for ever-changing specialized expertise and the reasons covered in this article: outcomes-based approach, new technology tools and lower costs/faster results.

How smart data extraction makes for smart AP automation

What you really want to know when investigating AP automation solution providers is whether the solution has a complete technology, combining OCR (converting images to text), smart data extraction (transforming the text into relevant data) — and machine learning (remembering the data and populating it into the applicable data fields each time the data is recognized). You are looking for a system that gets smarter the more you use it!