Purchase to Pay Process

It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to understand the business case for some purchase to pay initiatives. Dynamic discounting - exchanging a discount in return for early payment - can give a return on capital of over 30%. Reverse factoring and other supply chain finance methods can substantially increase DPO and AP automation can reduce costs by 50%. But despite the compelling business case, most organisations remain firmly in the 20th century when it comes to purchase to pay optimisation. If the benefits are so great, why are more businesses not grasping the opportunity?

The purchasing card is a great business tool. It empowers people to make purchases without the need for a complex and often expensive purchasing process. When a low value item costs less than the cost of the purchasing process itself, it makes sense to cut through the purchase to pay red tape. But the purchasing card is beginning to show it age.  It hasn't really kept up with technological change surrounding it. The merchant fees are excessive, in a low interest rate economy the business case makes no sense and as far as reporting goes, purchasing cards have been trumped by electronic invoicing. Is it the end of the road for the purchasing card?

This is the second part of a two piece article on the touch points between purchasing and finance. You can read part 1 here

Purchase to pay plumbing manual – part 2

Purchasing InsightKnowing your end of the purchase to pay process is all well and good but, if you are at the purchasing end for example, which part of the payment end do you need to be joined up to? Here’s a few more of the purchase to pay touch points that should help get the P2P plumbing in place.

Have you ever installed the plumbing in a large office? Neither have I. And if I did I would hold out much hope of it not springing a leak or two. It's a complicated business and you would think twice about having your corporate plumbing  installed by anyone other than a trained professional. It's a shame that most organisation don't apply the same rigour when it comes to installing P2P processes. It's a useful analogy. Installing only half of the purchase to pay process is like installing half of the plumbing. Turn the water on and it will be like a monsoon. Both ends of P2P need to be joined up - but knowing which purchasing component joins with which payment component isn't always obvious.

AP automation has got a bad name for itself in some quarters. You will often hear of projects that meant well but either failed to meet expectations or were abandoned completely. There are many reasons why projects fail such as poor change management or lack of sufficient resource but for AP automation projects, there are three particular issues that crop up again and again in failed or disappointing projects.

It's standard business practice. Chase customers for payment as soon as possible and pay your suppliers as late as possible. Cash is king and in some industries - retail being a prime example - cash flow is the pivot of profitability that can make the...