Author: Pete Loughlin

It's been my guilty secret for a few years now. I buy Apple stuff. Why the guilt? Because of Apple's reputation about their supply practices. The reputation says that Apple products are built in factories in far flung places where working conditions are so poor that overworked and underpaid staff are flinging themselves from the rooftops. But actually, the facts about Apple's supply chain have been difficult to ascertain because, like their product development, the details have always been a closely guarded secret. Until now that is.

Purchase to pay process, SOX controls, segregation of responsibilities - to a business they can, and are, seen as obstacles to just getting things do. But they are a necessary evil. Without them fraud would be rife. So what are the most common purchase to pay frauds? We can't know for certain which are employed most often but based on common knowledge and a bit of personal experience we think these are good candidates for the top six.

The global economic crisis is bad enough and forcing business to work with their hands tied behind their backs isn’t helping. The failure of the dominant western economies, the US and Europe in particular, to encourage better business processes is testament to their lack of vision, their ignorance and their weakness. While their economies are crumbling, their governments’ paranoid insistence in archaic and bureaucratic  record keeping is allowing competing economies to take leaps ahead.

People still debate whether social media and twitter in particular is a useful business tool for purchasing and finance people. There is still the perception that twitter is all about celebrities and politicians using it as a vehicle for self publicity. Well it is that but it's much more too and as more and more people embrace twitter in their professional lives, it can be difficult to know who is best to follow and why. Now, if you are still skeptical, there's a great paper that will help you out.

If you had a crystal ball for your business, would you use it? Of course you would. And what if it said that within the next decade, you’d be filing for chapter 11 protection and putting your patents – the core assets of your business – up for sale in an attempt to salvage something? You don’t need a crystal ball to see that the expected growth in electronic invoicing is going to send a few businesses - big names, healthy and substantial businesses – down exactly this route. Businesses who grew to support their customers in a paper world – a world that is disappearing rapidly – simply won’t survive the decade unless they make major adaptations to the way they work.

Ready for the new year, Patrick Harbin has published and amazing 50 ways to reduce costs in accounts payable.  They say about new year’s resolutions that you should ensure they are achievable so for those that think 50 major change management  programs in one year - that’s 1 per week – is a little too much, you might want to consider the first 5 because we think the first 5 are the best 5.