Coupa Pay – taking the pain out of payments

Like AP or eInvoicing, Payments doesn’t really strike a cool, sexy cord in the source-to-pay journey. It’s a necessary, rather administrative part of the process. Or so you’d think.

Rajiv Ramachandran, VP Product Strategy and Management with Coupa Pay lights up when I ask him what’s been happening since I last met up with him 6 months earlier. “More effective, useful functionality and services for buyers and suppliers,” he says.

The Coupa Community concept is one of the coolest developments in procurement (business spend management) technology: to facilitate shared buyer experiences across many global organisations including group sourcing, supplier risk flagging, and CSR initiatives has no negatives. To then extend community opportunity to suppliers is very smart. For example, suppliers can configure their networked profile to offer a discount to anyone in the Coupa buying community if early payment is made. Effective and efficient.

I wondered if they heard different concerns from European customers from those in North America. “Yes. VAT.” The firm response from Adam Alphin, Senior Director, Product Management with Coupa Pay. “Tracking, accounting and reclaiming VAT, including VAT from card payments is a real money pit for many businesses in Europe, a problem not experienced too widely by companies only doing business in the United States.” The hassle and cost of reclaiming VAT can often make it a frustrating and futile exercise.

Coupa Pay facilitates the process, particularly with their ‘Virtual Card’ functionality which includes all the information in one place to reconcile appropriately. Great to have functionality that will facilitate rightful recovery of tax where otherwise it may have been on the ‘not worth the hassle’ pile.

Having all your banking facilities in one place, on one screen to switch between the accounts without the multiple log in code creator devices, no matter the entity, no matter the bank, is a further neat feature of Coupa Pay technology. Having the payment intertwined within the spend transactions (requisition/PO, invoice, and expense report) is a key Coupa Pay differentiator and one driving adoption.

It was a year ago when Coupa announced their partnership with Barclaycard and that relationship seems to have gone from strength to strength with new features, functionality, discount opportunities having been introduced. More recent partnerships have now been announced with American Express, Citi and J.P. Morgan giving organisations choice of virtual card provider, typically based on geographic coverage.

I’ve mentioned to several people how I was struck by the omittance of terms like ‘AI, RPA, Data modelling’ at Coupa Inspire EMEA this year. It was very much about highlighting the challenge of a buying persona and showing us their solution; using the language of procurement professionals, rather than needing a deep understanding of technology parlance. Whether intended or not, it went down well. We can look forward to further problem solving functionality from Coupa Pay in the coming year with developments in timesheet based payments, supply chain finance, invoice financing and more. Stay tuned.


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