CFOs’ Tips: How to Navigate Today’s Purchase to Payment Business Process

While consumers have navigated the transition from branch banking to ATMs to mobile banking, employees are traversing the purchase to payment business process changes facing today’s global businesses. 

With the introduction of these paperless solutions, employees have a greater responsibility to make informed purchasing decisions for their department and to complete processing steps traditionally held by the accounting team.  Employees are accountable for buying from approved vendors, capturing documents, obtaining approval of purchase requests, tracking budgets and, often, completing the GL coding. 

Accomplished multi-taskers, yet burdened by navigating multiple or in house developed solutions, employees today need easy-to-use solutions that combine procurement processing steps in an end-to-end cloud solution.  To assist you in finding the right solution to automate how you buy and pay for goods and services, we’ve listed what CFOs like you say are the top five criteria when evaluating cloud purchase to payment solutions.

5 Top Business Software Evaluation Criteria:

Does the solution offer a common workflow for employees to submit or approve contracts, requisitions, AP invoices, expense reports and payments?

Employees no longer have the time to log in to and learn multiple applications.  If you want to help your employees focus less on processing transactions and accomplish even more in their work, keep it simple by selecting a solution where users can be set up and trained once.  Whether employees are submitting or approving a contract, AP invoice or purchase requisition, the process should follow the same logic for quick and easy submission and approval.

One login to one application allows you to manage the complete purchase to payment cycle from anywhere and any device.  This means that you and your employees only need to learn and navigate one solution for entering purchase requests, tracking contracts, processing expense reports, capturing invoices and searching and reporting on the business metrics for corporate expenses.

Does the solution make it effortless to capture and process AP invoices and other documents?

A solution with document capture capabilities can help your employees and accounting team to have instant visibility to documents and quickly process AP invoices for approval and payment.  For example, Ariett’s Document Automation and Capture Service receives emailed invoices and automatically generates a pending AP invoice transaction with the document attached.

As CFO, if you need to review some of the higher dollar value invoices and are currently at a conference (for example), you have the ability to take out your phone and select a link in your email to look at all pending invoices.  On your phone, you open an AP transaction, review it side by side with the invoice, click “approve” – then you’re on to your next conference session!

Does the solution provide upfront control over spending with approval workflows for purchase requests?

Most AP invoice and payment processing solutions don’t include purchase requisition approval workflows for upfront control over purchases, which is a major concern for CFOs. Purchasing pre-approval empowers you and your employees to make smarter purchasing decisions that positively affect the bottom line. 

When purchase to payment solutions allow employees to connect to preferred suppliers’ websites, employees can buy at the best price.  Once a purchase request has been submitted, you can quickly review it against a department or contract budget before giving approval.  This access to information on purchase requests and budgets informs your decisions about when and if you want to approve a purchase.

Does the solution provide secure, electronic payment processing?

An integrated solution will culminate with secure, cost-effective electronic payments.  Once invoices have been selected for a payment batch, you can review the payment, drill back to invoices, make any edits if necessary and approve the payment.  The purchase to payment solution and your bank statement will retain a complete record of amounts paid to your vendors.

Does the solution deliver end-to-end visibility for better purchasing decisions and cash management and faster month-end closing?

Your organization will benefit from having only one application for reporting on contract budgets to analyze contract performance and reporting on invoice accruals for month-end closing.  Run reports on expected payment dates to determine your cash flow status and to inform your decision to make future purchases. 

Ready for a Modern Cloud Purchase to Payment Solution?

If you and your team are on board with implementing a comprehensive solution for managing the entire purchase to invoice to payment cycle, then you might want to read industry expert PayStream Advisors’ “2016 Indirect Spend Report.”  Please click here to learn more about this trend toward adopting unified procurement solutions: