Discussion Between CFO and CIO: Back Office Automation

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1 Discussion Between CFO and CIO: Back Office Automation Day 1 CFO I have been reading about automation of accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. CIO Interesting, you are stepping into some confusing space. CFO The bottom line is we must cut our non-core back office costs while we decrease our Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and control our Days Payable Outstanding (DPO). We also need better Record to Reporting (R2R) to gain more business intelligence. That being said I don t have the money available to pay for equipment, software and implementation costs. I don t want to decrease my working capital to buy hardware and software for back office systems. When the economy starts to take off we will need more working capital to handle the growth. I also do not have 18 months to complete the implementation to get fully functional to derive the financial benefits. CIO Are you thinking about using a third party provider? That can lead to some significant transition pains: painful staff reductions as well as a year or more of inefficiency and problems that will actually drive your costs up before you start to see real savings! If you do lift and shift labor using an off-shore outsourcer you will only have temporary savings. Labor costs are increasing for those companies. CFO I know where you are going. As you know, we run into similar issues when we buy equipment and software to implement internal systems. Up front and maintenance costs, delays, frustrations, cost overruns and a less then totally successful solution at the end of the project; if the project ever completes at all. CIO I have another problem anyway, even if we had the money to buy equipment and software, I do not have the technical people to assign for implementing additional projects like you re talking about. I am buried just handling the already committed projects and tasks to support our associates that are focused on our company s core competencies.

2 There is a Solution for Doing More With Less API Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) Day 4 CIO I have been thinking about our discussion regarding the need to do more with less in particular around back office transactional processing. I read this paper API published, The Evolution of Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO). It outlined the very dilemma we are discussing. It pointed out the future for Finance and Accounting back office transactional processing with an emphasis on, Technology first, reengineering second. Applying technology first enables many best practices, eliminates transactional processing inefficiencies and reduces the cost of hiring consultants to reengineer transactional processes because many of them will be eliminated or streamlined by the technology. It also points out a lot of the labor, including offshore labor, and issues effecting DSO and DPO will be eliminated by going to automation. CFO Wonderful, now if I could only snap my fingers and have instant automation I would have the solution. Unfortunately there is still the issue of cost and implementation time. CIO Actually, API talked about that as well. In another paper they published, Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO): Leveraging Cloud Computing to Put Focus on the Top Business Strategies and Drive Permanent Cost Reduction, they show how we can almost snap our fingers and be running the system that provides the automation we are seeking. CFO That sounds too good to be true. What is the catch? CIO Well if you think about it, we have been researching cloud computing for quite a while now Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are all examples of cloud computing. API combines and controls these capabilities along with their Finance and Accounting expertise. They provide Business Process as a service (BPaaS) focused on Finance and Accounting. API believes this is the next wave for the F&A back office especially for transactional processing. In addition, by automating the transactional processing of the back office, it enables Finance and Accounting staff to focus on Business Intelligence and Analytics which I know you have been trying to realize for some time. API built this service over the last 10 years by offering document management, accounts payable work flow and bill presentment and payment. And they provide labor for specific F&A tasks if needed by their customers. What I like about their model is that it has been implemented and proven by hundreds of customers. The API solution allows you to use what you need, wraps around our ERP and other systems, and makes them more efficient.

3 API fills the gaps in our end-to-end processes and will take us to the last mile in realizing our strategic vision. And with their platform, there are no hardware or software costs. It s a pay as you go transactional pricing model completely variable and not fixed. In the end, the API model allows us to do more with less. CFO I like that approach! Both of us have invested a lot of our limited resources, including time and money, to implement our current infrastructure and systems. Rather than replace everything, API s approach is to let us build and improve on our existing infrastructure and we are only paying for the value added service on a transactional pricing model. This is a very attractive approach for our company, management, employees, and of course our Board and Shareholders. Why aren t other software providers, service providers and outsourcers supplying this type of solution? CIO I like the approach too since it will only involve a few days of work by me and my staff. The API BPaaS solution isn t being promoted by the companies you suggest because they simply do not have an offering. Software companies want to sell software. Service providers or outsourcers want to sell us labor including high-priced consultants. We can do a very inexpensive pilot with API to prove out their model and observe the effect on our business. Other than some minimal set up fees, everything from API is on a transaction priced basis. API s Total Back Office Automation by the Transaction and having it YOUR WAY Day 9 CFO I read the API papers you referred me to. They were very helpful in getting a better understanding of the evolution of F&A outsourcing and the difference between pure play labor arbitrage pushed by the outsourcing companies versus the API BPaaS approach. What is really nice with the API model is that I can keep my in-house valued F&A staff resources if we desire and still get the benefits of cost reduction from the API BPaaS offering through automation. I also read another paper they published, The Need for Speed: Transforming People and Paper Based Order-to-Cash Process to Electrons. It really brought home the issues associated with increased DSO with the USPS talking about cutting half their delivery centers and also going to a 5 day mail delivery. We have the option to have API transition our print and mail billing to electronic billing over time as the adoption by our customer base grows. The roadmap in the white paper was very helpful.

4 CIO I will have to read that white paper. API also has a full end-to-end Procure-to-Pay or P2P offering if we need or want it. CFO Very interesting, think about this, if we implement their Order-to-Cash or O2C offering and also their P2P offering, we have the opportunity to decrease our DSO while we control our DPO to extend payment to the maximum dictated by our vendor terms. That means a significant increase in working capital for our company. I can also re-deploy my staff resources to more strategic requirements involving business intelligence and better analytics. I need a win to tell our Board ASAP and this may just be what the doctor ordered. CIO The API BPaaS solution is a real win-win situation for us. As you know, it also really helps my organization better support your organization and we get automation in a couple of months without a large capital equipment outlay, which will be outside of your budget cycle, and of course, there is no need for a long implementation and transition. When you combine this with permanent cost reduction, better financial analytics with business intelligence, and increased working capital, the API value proposition is very compelling to our organization. About the Author Gary Halleen Gary Halleen has 30 years of experience in information, technology and back office automation - beginning with his service in the U.S. Navy that provided training in advanced electronics. Additionally, 10 years with the 3M Company, where he was responsible for numerous new product launches. Throughout the 1970s, he was actively involved with various new information management products under 3M's "Office of the Future" initiative. He founded Com Squared Systems, Inc. in 1980, one of the first companies to develop software for storing computer data and images on optical disk. This technology was sold to customers to automate back office processes. As a result of the significant market potential, Com Squared was acquired in Looking for a new challenge, Halleen subsequently founded API Outsourcing, Inc. in Since then, API has grown to become a leading outsourcing provider of information processes through a combination of technology and labor arbitrage for document management, billing and accounts payable for Middle Market and Fortune 1000 firms. Halleen received a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska.

5 About API API is a leading onshore, Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) provider focused on Finance and Accounting processes such as Procure-to-Pay (P2P) and Order-to-Cash (O2C). Headquartered in St. Paul, MN, API transforms manual and paper dependent processes through its automation platform minimizing the labor and paper intensive work associated with Finance & Accounting back-office processing and enabling customers to focus on their core business. API solutions provide the ultimate value proposition around permanent cost reduction on a pay by the transaction basis. API is unique in offering its customers an end-to-end P2P or O2C solution or any component of the solution by supporting existing ERP implementations and making them more efficient by filling the gaps in your existing processes. API s BPasS offering requires no additional investments in hardware or software and can be implemented in a matter of weeks. API solutions: Procure to Pay (P2P) Automa on Pla orm Order to Cash (O2C) Accounts Payable Imaging, Archival, Doc. Management Accounts Receivable Electronic Invoicing Business Rule Driven Workflow Electronic Bill Presentment P.O. and Non P.O. Payment Processing Print/Mail Benefits of API automated solutions: Improved Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) Controlled Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) Reduced processing costs Increased business intelligence Improved customer and vendor rela onships Streamlines G/L close process API currently manages over one billion images and processes hundreds of millions of transactions annually. API s Automation Platform, along with its document management capabilities and flexible interfaces, are the technological centerpieces to our solutions providing 24x365, web-based accessibility for our customers and their end-users. For more information, please call or visit

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