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Procurement management software cuts costs, improves transparency

Procurement software from cloud-based vendors such as Coupa and Taulia can save money and reduce errors, but executives need to develop a strategy before purchasing these tools.

Procurement is a critical function at any company largely because it can consume a significant part of the annual budget. It's also a major challenge.

Effectively managing outside suppliers and spending by departments while keeping costs under control and maintaining open communications with employees can be difficult. Increasingly, CFOs and business executives are using cloud-based e-procurement software to streamline and automate B2B transactions and create more openness. For example, Coca-Cola Bottling, Agilent Technologies and Hallmark subscribe to Taulia procurement management software aimed at helping suppliers secure quicker payments. And Coupa software is noted for preconfigured capabilities across procurement and expense management.

E-invoicing is often a critical part of e-procurement. While e-procurement vendors such as Taulia and Coupa are seeing explosive growth, there's plenty of room for expanded use of electronic invoicing alongside the more sophisticated features of procurement management software. Despite lower costs, better cash management, fewer errors, risk mitigation and transparency with e-invoicing, only 25% of invoices in the U.S. are electronic, according to a June 2016 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

While small organizations struggle to build business cases, large companies have enough volume to benefit from invoice automation and greater technology resources to support implementation. Meanwhile, the federal government is seeking to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its procure-to-pay processes by mandating e-invoicing for companies that do business with federal agencies, the report said. That could spark more change in the private sector as implementation of e-invoicing to accommodate government suppliers may pave the way for e-invoicing with business suppliers.

This handbook examines the many facets of procurement management software as it becomes more sophisticated through advanced financing and analytics features. Businesses need a buying strategy. Without e-invoicing and e-procurement software, executives may be missing cost-saving opportunities.

Next Steps

Other articles in this handbook:

E-procurement software uses cloud to its fullest abilities
Cloud technology makes e-procurement software more affordable than ever and gives users the ability to make data-driven procurement decisions from distributed locations. 

Procure-to-pay software becoming a sophisticated tool for CFOs
Most companies start out with P2P systems just to automate invoicing and procurement, but the savviest ones know how to tap them as working capital and cash-flow engines. 

Expert tips for implementing procure-to-pay software
P2P software touches many departments, ties in suppliers and has a big impact on financials. You need all the major stakeholders at the planning table.

This was last published in January 2017

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