5 Ways Senior Finance Executives are Improving Visibility Across the Procure-to-Pay Cycle

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1 5 Ways Senior Finance Executives are Improving Visibility Across the Procure-to-Pay Cycle An IOFM white paper, sponsored by

2 5 Ways Senior Finance Executives are Improving Visibility Across the Procure-to-Pay Cycle Canon Controller Survey Q5 4. Please rank the following priorities within the F&A function, with 1 being the highest priority and 7 being the lowest priority. Improving procure-to-pay visibility is a top priority for senior finance executives, IOFM research finds. Please rank the following within the F&A function, with 1 being the lowest priority and Answered: 7 being the 122 highest Skipped: priority. 2 SurveyMonkey Liquidity management 4.1 Cash flow analysis 4.9 Compliance measure/risk tolerance 4.5 AP/AR/payments management 4.7 Managing debt 3.6 Managing corporate growth 4.3 Reducing costs An eye-popping 78 percent of CFOs surveyed by Aberdeen Group identify improving visibility into cash flow and cash management as their top job priority. Improved visibility also tops the list of 2015 priorities for controllers surveyed by IOFM % In fact, 14.17% 45.4 percent 11.67% of controllers 11.67% 14.17% say a lack 12.50% of visibility into invoices and payables information is the biggest 23.0 challenge 17.0 in their 14.0accounts 14.0payable 17.0 (AP) department, 15.0 finds an IOFM study. Similarly, 42 of controllers 23.77% say the 22.13% handling, 19.67% management 9.02% and 12.30% retrieval of 9.02% invoices and payables information is their AP department s biggest challenges. Liquidity management Cash flow analysis Compliance measure/risk mitigation Total Average Rating 19.01% % % % % % % % % AP/AR/payments management 2015 IOFM, Diversified Business 20.49% Communications % No part of this 16.39% publication may 18.85% be reproduced, 12.30% stored in a retrieval 9.84% system or transmitted 4.10% by any means,

3 ADP Controller 2014 SurveyMonkey Q19 What do you believe is the primary benefit of AP automation solutions? 5 Ways Senior Finance Executives are Improving Visibility Across the Procure-to-Pay Cycle What do you believe is the primary benefit of AP automation solutions? Answered: 82 Skipped: 20 Improved visibility into invoices and AP documents Lower invoice processing costs Lower payments/ settlement costs Improved ability to find or manage paper-based documents Improved cash management according to business needs Mitigation of payment-related fraud Reduced supplier inquiries Canon Controller Survey SurveyMonkey Answer Choices Improved visibility into invoices and AP documents Lower invoice processing costs 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Q7 6. Of the following, which are your top F&A priorities for the next year? (check all that apply) It is no surprise that senior finance executives are focused on financial visibility. Of the following, which are your top finance and administration priorities Answered: 119 Skipped: 5 for the next year (check all that apply)? Responses 41.46% % 18 Improving visibility into Lower cash payments/settlement flow/cash management costs 68.9% 1.22% 1 Improved ability to find or manage paper-based documents Lowering invoiceprocessing according costs to business Improved cash management needs 41.2% 10.98% % 18 Mitigation of payment-related fraud Developing effective measures to Reduced gain supplier visibility inquiries into overall performance of F&A functions 2.44% % 0 Total 82 Capturing more early payment discounts 17.6% 66.4% Exploring outsourcing options 17.6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Answer Choices Improving visibility into cash flow/cash management Lowering invoice-processing costs 21 / 29 Developing effective 2015 IOFM, measures Diversified Business to gain Communications. visibility into No overall part of performance this publication may of F&A be reproduced, functions stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, Capturing more early payment discounts Responses 68.9% % % % 21

4 Nearly 40 percent of senior finance executives say cash management is the most important metric to their job, IOFM reports. Seventy-five percent of CFOs spend more time on liquidity management than any other functional requirements, according to a 2013 study by Aberdeen Group. Similarly, controllers surveyed by IOFM in 2014 identified Cash flowliquidity management as a top job priority. And 22.8 percent of senior finance executives track and/or against... regularly report on discounts captured. Days Payables Outstanding Please rank the following priorities within the F&A function. (Scale of 1 to 7) Days Liquidity Sales management Outstanding Operational Cash flow costs analysis for AP Compliance Operational measure/ risk costs mitigation for AR AP/AR/payments Operational management costs for... Invoices paid Managing debt per terms Managing Discount corporate capture growth and... Alternative Reducing costs financing... 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 4

5 Q10 Which of the following metrics do you regularly track and/or report on? (check all that apply) 5 Ways Senior Finance Executives are Improving Visibility Across the Procure-to-Pay Cycle Which of the following metrics do you regularly track and/or report on (Check all that apply)? Answered: 80 Skipped: 22 Cash flow against current/future expenses Days Payables Outstanding Days Sales Outstanding Operational costs for AP Operational costs for AR Operational costs for payments Invoices paid per terms Discount capture and analysis Alternative financing options 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Answer Choices A 2014 Accounting Today article listed big data as one of the main issues that accountants face. Responses In fact, the 2014 AICPA Survey on International Trends in Forensic and Valuation Services found that 85 percent of businesses expected to spend more time on electronic data analysis or big data. Cash flow against current/future expenses 55.00% 44 Days Payables Outstanding 42.50% 34 The problem is that paper processes make it difficult to access key procure-to-pay information: Days Sales Outstanding Operational costs for AP Operational costs for AR Operational costs for Payments Invoices paid per terms Discount capture and analysis Alternative financing options Total Respondents: 80 Key information is not captured Data is poorly organized Information is not timely Systems are not well-integrated Access to key variables is limited 45.00% % % % % % 19 The solution is to leverage automated end-to-end procure-to-pay solutions that provide enhanced visibility and reporting across the procurement, invoice processing, and payment functions % 9 10 / 29 5

6 The Problem Paper processes negatively impact financial visibility throughout the procure-to-pay cycle: Procurement: Only half of the businesses surveyed by Ardent Partners say that they have strong visibility into enterprise spend. Similarly, just 55 percent of businesses have strong visibility into spend under management, Ardent Partners reports. One reason for the poor visibility into procurement processes is the use of non-po-based invoices, which provide no visibility into liabilities. Against this backdrop, it is no wonder that 66 percent of businesses surveyed by Ardent Partners want earlier visibility into sourcing opportunities. Moreover, 42 percent of businesses want to reduce the costs associated with procurement, while 39 percent of businesses want to streamline procurement processes, according to this same report from Ardent Partners. Invoice processing: The average organization receives 74 percent of its invoices in paper, , PDF, or fax format. Ardent Partners notes that receiving invoices as an , PDF, or fax is no better than paper unless a data capture solution is in place to automatically identify and extract data and convert it to a digital format. Otherwise, the data needs to be manually keyed. Unfortunately, only one in four organizations has highly automated processes with fully optimized systems to manage invoice payment efficiently, according to a 2014 report called Creating Payment Energy conducted by independent research firm Loudhouse. All of this paper processing limits visibility into invoice status and makes it difficult to gain insight into financial liabilities. Moreover, 39.5 percent of organizations surveyed by IOFM in the same report say lost or misplaced invoices are one of their challenges. Making matters worse, 85.1 percent of organizations admit that fewer than 51 percent of their suppliers submit invoices electronically so that no manual handling is required for input into an ERP system, according to IOFM. A whopping 88.5 percent of organizations say that they process less than 51 percent of their total invoice volume straight through, without manual intervention. And more than twothirds of organizations report that more than 90 percent of their invoices require manual intervention. Manual vs Electronic Invoices 26% 74% Manually (paper, PDF, , Fax) Electronically (einvoice, EDI/XML, web-portal) Ardent Partners Electronic Payment Usage ACH Commercial Card Products Wire transfer Paper checks Manually (paper, PDF, , Fax) Electronically (einvoice, EDI/XML, web-portal) Ardent Partners % 35% 50% 81% 6

7 Payments: Paper checks are inefficient, prone to fraud, and offer very limited visibility into payment data. Fourteen percent of senior finance executives say the lack of reporting is their biggest challenge with paper-based payments, IOFM found in a study conducted in Conversely, suppliers can never be sure when paper checks will arrive, necessitating phone calls or s to buyers to inquire about payment status. The unpredictability of receiving paper payments may only get worse as the U.S. Postal Service continues to adjust its delivery times. Paper checks also are expensive. Ardent Partners pegs the fully loaded cost to process a paper check payment at $12. While the overall trends in paper check volumes are encouraging, businesses still write a lot of checks to suppliers. Sixty-five percent of businesses surveyed by the Remittance Coalition report that they pay suppliers mainly using paper checks. What s more, 43 percent of all payments to major suppliers are made via paper check, the Federal Reserve reports. Businesses identify a number of barriers to electronic payments adoption, including difficulty convincing suppliers to accept electronic payments, a lack of integration between electronic payments and back-office systems, a lack of information technology resources to deploy electronic payments, and perceived costs. However, a surprising 92 percent of businesses have a high or moderate level of interest in increasing their percentage of electronic payments, the Remittance Coalition finds. Improvements in these areas would deliver greater visibility and control of the procure-to-pay process, while contributing to trading partner relationships, corporate agility, and value to the bottom line. The Solution In order to best address these inefficiencies, a comprehensive solution is end-to-end procure-to-pay automation. This type of solution improves financial visibility using five components: 1. Electronic POs 2. Invoice processing 3. Electronic invoicing 4. Electronic payments 5. ERP integration Here is how each of these components improves financial visibility: 1. Electronic purchase orders (POs): PO requisition systems manage the approval, creation, and electronic submission of POs with built-in best practices and customizable business rules. Automating the PO requisition process allows organizations to generate POs and route them for approval; send approved POs to suppliers for paperless processing; match invoices and POs to validate price, quantity, and items; and track matched invoices against the PO. 7

8 2. Invoice processing: Automated procure-to-pay solutions convert paper invoices into electronic data for automatic processing using two vital processes: automatic three-way matching and automated approval routing. Automatic three-way matching uses algorithms to match each incoming invoice to the relevant PO and receipt of goods. If the invoice matches (within tolerances the organization specifies and manages) the invoice processing solution passes it straight through to the organization s finance system. Automated approval routing electronically moves invoices for review and approval based on assigned delegation of authority rules written with account amounts, duplicates, or account numbers. Invoice processing systems also enable users to instantly retrieve and view invoices and audit trails. 3. Electronic invoicing: More organizations are enabling suppliers to submit invoices electronically, either through a supplier network, invoice virtualization center, or a supplier portal. A supplier network connects supplier finance systems to an invoice network for full, paperless e-invoicing using EDI, XML, or flat files. With an invoice virtualization center, organizations use scanning and data capture to convert invoices into electronic data for automatic matching and fast processing. Supplier portals allow for the electronic submission of invoices 24/7, while providing suppliers with access to invoice and payment status. 4. Electronic payments: For invoices that have been approved for payment to suppliers who can accept Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions or cards, electronic payment solutions can format the payments and automatically notify a buyer s bank. For suppliers who can t accept ACH or card payments, some procure-to-pay solutions providers offer traditional check mailing services, providing a 100 percent solution to payment needs. 5. ERP integration: Automated procure-to-pay solutions can integrate with an organization s ERP without a laborious synchronization process or complex data extraction algorithms. ERP integration allows for synchronization of data between a procure-to-pay platform and an ERP system (including the vendor address book, chart of accounts, receipts, and payment information); eliminates data entry to post invoices; completes data validation before delivery to the ERP; and controls file validation to ensure that complete data is passed to the ERP. The Benefits The five components of a procure-to-pay solution uniquely improve financial visibility and reporting: 1. Electronic POs: Electronic POs enable organizations to improve visibility into purchases, better manage spend, strengthen internal reporting, tracking and control, and reduce invoice processing costs. Since all transactions are handled electronically, delivery of POs, acknowledgement of POs, and changes to POs are immediately verifiable. With purchasers and the AP using the same system, organizations also gain control over purchases, payables, and disbursements. This is a big reason 42 percent of invoices are PO-based, according to an IOFM study. What s more, 33 percent of businesses surveyed by Ardent Partners plan to deploy an electronic procurement solution, and 29 percent of businesses say they plan 8

9 to deploy an electronic sourcing solution. Thirteen percent of senior finance executives surveyed by IOFM in 2014 said their organization plans to deploy a procurement network. 2. Invoice Processing: Forty-one percent of senior finance executives surveyed by IOFM say improved visibility into invoices and AP documents is the top benefit of AP automation. Automated invoice processing provides AP leaders with visibility into invoice volumes and values, process metrics, team productivity, and payment and discount capture metrics. Users can quickly track invoices, access archived invoices and data, and review audit trails. Automation also enables businesses to reduce invoice processing costs. It costs best-in-class organizations an average of $2.20 to process an invoice, while all other companies pay an ADP Controller average 2014 of $19.10 to process an invoice, according to Ardent Partners. Some percent of senior finance executives surveyed by IOFM in 2014 said their organization planned to deploy an image archive for invoices and payables documents by the end of Q19 What do you believe is the primary benefit of AP automation solutions? What do you believe is the primary benefit of AP automation solutions? Answered: 82 Skipped: 20 SurveyMonkey Improved visibility into invoices and AP documents Lower invoice processing costs Lower payments/ settlement costs Improved ability to find or manage paper-based documents Improved cash management according to business needs Mitigation of payment-related fraud Reduced supplier inquiries 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Answer Choices Improved visibility into invoices and AP documents Lower invoice processing costs Lower payments/settlement costs Improved ability to find or manage paper-based documents Improved cash management according to business needs Responses 41.46% % % % % 18 Mitigation of payment-related fraud 2.44% 2 9 Reduced supplier inquiries 0.00% 0 Total 82

10 Q Which of the following capabilities/tools does your organization plan to deploy within the next year (check all that apply)? 5 Ways Senior Finance Executives are Improving Visibility Across the Procure-to-Pay Cycle Which of the following capabilities/tools does your organization plan to deploy Answered: 87 Skipped: 37 within the next year (check all that apply)? Electronic approval and exceptions workflow Image repository for invoice storage/retrieval Electronic invoice network Spend analytics/business intelligence for invoices Procurement network with support for electronic invoices Dynamic discounting programs Supplier portal Evaluated receipt settlement Electronic payments Mobile application for financial management activities Outsourced invoice processing 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Answer Choices 3. Electronic invoicing: Electronic invoicing improves visibility and accessibility to accurate, real-time invoice and payment data. Interactive dashboards empower users to become more self-reliant and agile in their decision-making. Senior finance executives can quickly access AP cash flows, AP process metrics, enterprise spend, and finance and administration KPIs. Treasurers gain insight into financial liabilities to implement cash management strategies and optimize working capital. And electronic invoicing provides suppliers with visibility into invoice and payment status, eliminating the need for phone or inquiries. Additionally, electronic invoicing drives down costs. Electronic invoicing automatically posts matched invoices, eliminating the need for operators to input invoice data into an organization s ERP system. Similarly, electronic invoicing eliminates the risk of manual data entry errors. Best-in-class AP organizations automatically post more than 80 percent of their electronic invoices without human intervention (commonly referred to as straight-through processing), reports Stamford, CT-based Gartner. 21 The / 24 results are quite clear: Companies Electronic approval and exceptions workflows Image repository for invoice archival/retrieval Electronic invoice network Spend analytics/business intelligence for invoices Procurement network with support for electronic invoices Dynamic discounting programs Responses 60.92% % % % % % 3 10

11 that receive less than 10 percent of their invoices electronically (including e-invoice, EDI/ XML and web-form entry) pay an average of $18.07 to process an invoice. Conversely, companies that receive more than 60 percent of their invoices electronically pay just $6.08 to process an invoice. Receiving more invoices electronically also reduces the need for data entry or manual validation. No wonder 43 percent of businesses surveyed by Loudhouse for its Creating Payment Energy report said they have placed more focus on electronic invoicing. In fact, 13 percent of senior finance executives surveyed by IOFM in 2014 said their organization planned to deploy an electronic invoice network by the end of 2015, and 13 percent of finance executives said their organization planned to deploy a supplier portal. More than one-third of organizations (37.2 percent) surveyed by IOFM in the same report already are migrating suppliers to electronic invoicing. Electronic Invoice Impact on Cost Average Cost per Invoice $20 $18 $16 $14 $12 $10 $8 $6 $4 $18.07 $10.55 $8.30 $6.08 <10% 10-30% 30-60% >60% 4. Electronic payments: Electronic payments provide immediate recording of liabilities, better visibility into cash management, and improved visibility into AP team performance. Using a portal, suppliers can see the status of payments, 24/7. Slowly, but surely, electronic payments are winning the battle against paper checks. Fifty-three percent of payments are now made electronically, Ardent Partners reports. A stout 82.1 percent of organizations surveyed by IOFM in 2014 generate or receive electronic payments via ACH. What s more, 59 percent of organizations make purchases via cards, and 39.7 percent use EDI. Importantly, 81 percent of businesses surveyed by Ardent Partners have increased their volume of ACH payments since 2011, while 50 percent of businesses have increased their use of commercial card payments during the same time. Nearly 40 percent of senior finance executives surveyed by IOFM said their organization planned to deploy electronic payments in One reason for the tremendous growth of electronic payments: 91 percent of suppliers are more inclined to accept ACH payments compared to 2011, according to research from Ardent Partners. 11

12 5. ERP integration: Integrating an automated procure-to-pay solution with an organization s ERP system enables financial visibility across business units. Users can easily evaluate and compare financial information for companies, regions, or business units; track budget consumption; forecast and budget based on actual spend; and access compliance metrics. Together, these capabilities provide senior finance executives with fast access to invoice and payment data to better understand enterprise spend and enforce compliance with negotiated contracts. Canon Procure-to-pay Controller automation Survey also provides finance leaders with use easy-to-read dashboards to access SurveyMonkey enterprise spend and trends, category spend and volume, supplier performance metrics, procurement metrics, contract terms and contract compliance metrics, and metrics supporting vendor selection. This is Q Which of the following a big reason why 16 percent of senior finance executives surveyed by IOFM say their organization plans to capabilities/tools does your organization implement spend analytics and business intelligence by the end of plan to deploy within the next year (check all that apply)? Which of the following capabilities/tools does your organization plan to deploy within the next Answered: year (check 87 all Skipped: that apply)? 37 Electronic approval and exceptions workflow Image repository for invoice storage/retrieval Electronic invoice network Spend analytics/business intelligence for invoices Procurement network with support for electronic invoices Dynamic discounting programs Supplier portal Evaluated receipt settlement Electronic payments Mobile application for financial management activities Outsourced invoice processing 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Answer Choices Responses Electronic approval and exceptions electronic workflows 60.92% 53 or mechanical, without prior written permission of the Institute of Finance & Management. 12 Image repository for invoice archival/retrieval 44.83% 39

13 Automation also tightens audit trails for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and audits, and facilitates communication across procurement, AP, and treasury to optimize financial decisions and business strategies. Suppliers also benefit from improved visibility into the procure-to-pay process. And automation has a big impact on procurement costs. Between 2009 and 2013, best-in-class companies have leveraged automation to reduce their purchasing costs from an average of $10.04 per order to $4.80 per order, The Hackett Group found. During the same time period, the purchasing costs of average companies rose from $16.71 per order to $18 per order, according to the report. The Bottom Line Senior finance executives require greater than ever access to financial information. But manual, paper-driven procurement, invoicing, and payment processes leave finance executives wanting. The answer is to leverage end-to-end procure-to-pay solutions. 1. Electronic POs 2. Invoice processing 3. Electronic invoicing 4. Electronic payments 5. ERP integration An end-to-end procure-to-pay solution enables senior finance executives to more accurately forecast cash flows, make fluid operational and cash management decisions, more easily analyze spend patterns, track key metrics, and strengthen enterprise reporting and regulatory compliance. Procure-to-pay automation also provides a competitive advantage. Best-in-class organizations, which have higher levels of automation, have more than four times the level of visibility into overall organizational cash flow on a day-to-day basis compared to their peers, Aberdeen Group reports. Implementing an end-to-end procure-to-pay solution with these key components is a crucial strategy for organizational success in today s competitive arena. 13

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