Purchasing Insight

Purchase to Pay, Purchasing & Procurement Process, Electronic Invoicing

Every service or solution provider has their USP – their unique selling point that makes them stand out from the crowd. But in reality, when you take a group of similar vendors, they’re actually not that different. Electronic invoicing is just like that. To the seasoned professionals there’s a world of a difference between the numerous vendors but to the end user – the ones whose views really count – they’re all the same. So it’s actually quite exciting to find an e-invoicing solution provider that really is a little bit different.

Consider this: They’re not disruptive. That’s right. A start up that doesn’t claim to be disruptive. In fact they have made a virtue of being positively non-disruptive. They are about as non-disruptive as it’s possible to get. That’s quite a challenge – getting suppliers who operate in a paper based world to deal with their customers electronically without demanding they change anything they do. Suppliers like that and suppliers also like that fact that CloudTrade don’t charge them. This is part of the reason that CloudTrade have doubled in size for two consecutive years but to understand the whole story behind CloudTrade’s success, you need to understand their secret sauce – the unique way they approach the market. continue reading…

I’ve become a fan of Nipendo. Nipendo offers, in many respects, what I see as the next evolutionary stage in Purchase to Pay. Rather than simply offering clever means to automate the traditional steps in the purchasing process through things like e-procurement and e-invoicing, they offer what I think of as ‘Packaged P2P’. When I visited some of their customers recently I spent time with Eyal Rosenberg, their CEO and we spent quite a bit of that time discussing how the Nipendo platform could be leveraged to offer supply chain finance. And now they’ve done it and the press release that accompanies their new partnership with Integrate Financial explains the synergy. continue reading…

New-World-of-B2B-FinanceIt has become a cliché. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the combination of constrained liquidity – shortage of available credit – combined with very low interest rates and the emerging maturity of technology like eInvoicing has created a perfect storm. While cash rich buyers are getting paltry returns on their cash, they can see value in their supply chain. At the same time their suppliers are cash poor and eager for affordable and available sources of working capital. Indeed, the crisis of 2008 highlighted how critical the supply chain is to everybody.

Governments, concerned to stimulate industries, still punch drunk from the worst recession in living memory, are looking at ways of supporting small businesses who are operating under the constant threat of running out of cash. It’s a tragic irony that for many small businesses the worst thing that can happen to them is to see their order book grow.

In times of economic uncertainty, cash is king and the plight of smaller businesses has been made worse by their customers extending payment terms in order to bolster their own cash position.

This is why Supply Chain Finance (SCF) is a hot topic. But what is it exactly? Ask a dozen experts and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Some will lead you to believe that it can deliver the panacea to address our economic woes. Others will explain that far from being the solution, it’s part of the problem. And they’re both right. The fact is that SCF is a complex business field that encompasses a wide range of business strategies, financial products and technologies and it’s easy to be blinded by science.

The aim of this paper is to unravel the jargon, distil complex business issues into bite size pieces and attempt to demystify Supply Chain Finance.

Download the free white paper here

Accounts Payable the MovieImagine you’re a casting director for a new Hollywood movie about Accounts Payable. I know what you’re thinking – a movie about Accounts Payable isn’t going to break any box office records – but you never know. Given the right characterization and a decent plot it could work.

So who would you cast the AP protagonist? Who could embody accounts payable?  Are they young or old? Male or female? Are they attractive or plain? Sexy? Heroic? Timid? Tall? Short? What does a stereotypical AP person look like?

9 times out of 10 you’d say it would be a woman and 10 times out of 10 you’d say they were a little bit crazy.

A little bit crazy to say the least. It’s true, AP people are nearly always women and nearly always wired in a way that the rest of us don’t understand. They memorize dozens, sometime hundreds of account numbers, cost centers and general ledger codes and they get pissed off when the rest of can’t remember them all too. But contrast that with the stereotypical purchasing person. How would finance people cast a procurement person in the movie? continue reading…

Today we are please to publish the first in a short series from Michael Wydra of REL, part of the Hackett Group

Cutting costs is a recurring and sometimes even a permanent imperative in most companies. But when firms need to slim down, their efforts usually focus on reducing direct expenditures, even though indirect spend areas provide higher improvement potential that is often easier to realise.

“Indirect” spend covers goods and services that are not used in the manufacturing of an end product or development service. This area is often referred to as “nonstrategic” spend, since it has low strategic relevance. Indirect categories include office products, travel, car hire, waste management, energy, facility management, security services, insurances, telecommunications, IT, packaging, and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) items. Because these areas are not always covered by central procurement, they may not be managed in a professional manner, resulting in a lack of visibility and control. However, these expenditures can add up to large amounts, making indirect spend worth a closer look. continue reading…

Quite some time ago now I came across a P2P provider, Nipendo. I have to say, the case studies that they presented on their website were quite astonishing. I’ve seen companies brag – quite rightly – of getting very high levels of PO compliance or impressively high e-invoicing stats but when a company boasts of well over 90% straight through processing – that is over 90% PO compliance with electronic POs matching e-invoices with receipt confirmations – it’s more than astonishing. In fact, I didn’t believe it.

Some of the largest and most sophisticated businesses in the world have spent years and hundreds of thousands, even millions  of dollars on supply chain process and they’ve not been able to achieve this. So what is it about the Nipendo approach that allows them to achieve such impressive results and let’s be frank about this, are their claims actually true? continue reading…

Today, we’re deligthed to welcome another guest post from Richard Manson from CloudTrade

Truth is truth, to the end of reckoning

I often hear the statement (usually from market space competitors) that PDF invoicing is not really electronic invoicing. Yet, in most cases this statement is simply not true.

Before we get in to the details, we first need to agree on what an e-invoice is. continue reading…