Author: Pete Loughlin

OB10 has been named as a finalist for a 2013 Innovator award in the category of Best B2B Payments Innovation for OB10 Express Payments, a unique early payment solution. One of five finalists in their category, OB10 is being recognized as a leader in the payments industry. Voting is open now through March 8 on PYMNTS.com with the winners being announced during a live ceremony hosted by The Office’s BJ Novak on March 21 from The Innovation Project, a two-day program that will challenge the way that the payments and broader commerce ecosystem thinks, develops, and ignites innovation.

Travel is always an adventure and I love coming home with tales to tell of unexpected encounters and once in a lifetime experiences. In New York this week, I was absolutely thrilled to find myself amongst a bunch of paparazzi at JFK waiting to shoot Anne Hathaway. Seriously - I was in Gotham City and Cat Woman bumps into me. But that was nothing. I also got to meet Susie West.

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In the fast moving space that is e-invoicing, like many other areas of business, the impressive announcements of vendors can become tiresome. Claiming customers that everyone claims - promises of new approaches and ludicrous claims about the use of bleeding edge technology that turn out to be no more than smoke and mirrors. Tradeshift's announcement of a partnership with Intuit was genuinely impressive but it's not till you hear the other side of the story - the Intuit version of events - that you get to see what the true significance is.

Over the years I’ve had some great ideas. I’ve had some pretty dumb ideas too. I’ve followed through on some – both the good ones and the dumb ones but most, I have to admit, have been left as just ideas. But it still gives me great satisfaction when I get to see one of my great ideas executed perfection – by someone else. A number of years ago, I had the great idea that smart phones could be used as purchase to pay tools. I wrote about it here. The problem of process compliance in some situations like construction sites it that it has, historically at least, been difficult to put IT solutions in place. Purchasing Cards have been tried but rather than helping to support a robust purchase to pay process they tend to remove the process entirely – the “Nuke” option. But now, everyone carries a smart phone and it’s perfectly feasible to put purchasing software in the hands of everyone, regardless of their working environment. It’s not just possible – it’s delivered, and a few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure to speak to Patrick Hopkins, CPO at Coca Cola Bottling Company to understand how they’ve implemented a Coupa solution to do just that.

How much does it cost to implement purchase to pay best practice? Having spoken to many senior finance and procurement people, I get the impression that many of them think more about how much they can save by ignoring it. Sure, they value the basics but the whole nine yards is seen as an expensive luxury. So how much does best practice cost to implement? How long is a piece of string? It depends of course on the size and scale of the organization and it may be better to ask an alternative question: How much does it cost not to implement best practice? There’s some really interesting research that’s just been published by OB10 that can help answer that question.

I won’t lie. When I first started Purchasing Insight in 2009 I didn’t know what it was. The motivation was personal and the mission was straight forward. I wanted to set up a pure play internet business that was built on a social media platform. Initially, I had no idea what the business model would be but I was driven by a gut instinct and an intuition educated by nearly 20 years in B2B internet technologies. My instinct proved to be sound and increasingly people within the procurement community are understanding the importance of social media as professional tools and vendors are becoming more savvy about employing social media in their marketing mix.

Everyone knows that times are tough and times are toughest for small businesses. They're faced with obstacles that can seem insurmountable - paperwork, regulation working capital costs. But there's one obstacle above all others that can strike fear into the every small business - the late payer. They are a scourge. Over years, an obsession with the optimisation of DPO (that's accountant-speak for funding your business at the expense of your smaller, weaker suppliers) has become a central financial strategy for many large organisations. Some of the biggest household names in the UK were recently outed for extending their payment terms to an astonishing 180 days and there is an increased awareness among the public and politicians that this practice is grossly unfair.