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Intelligent solutions powering the digital transformation of finance

The business case for e-procurement

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Turn finance into a profit centre

For too long, the finance has been a central cost centre. Change this forever with our guide to digital finance.

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Talkin’ about a financial revolution

eProcurement offers the kind of innovation that will drive industry forward and into the next generation of commerce by 2020 according to Deloitte.[1]

But despite the widespread adoption of digital technologies, the case for implementation is still struggling to compel senior finance professionals to invest, making an innovative finance future appear a long way off. So often lamented for its role as a cost centre, failing to invest and embrace the technologies needed to transform the finance function into one of profit could be holding businesses back.

It’s no secret that the finance department is a prime target for digital transformation leveraging the power of automation technologies that eliminate many of the manual processes still performed by the function. Accounts payable and accounts receivable encompass many of the most critical processes for any business and errors or latent AP/AR management can lead to unhealthy cash flows, unpredictable sales figures or exception reconciliation. All of this can build to an opaque and unpredictable series of financial processes.

For modern procurement functions to thrive, evolution needs to be swift and effective. A strategic, automated approach to e-invoicing is one of the most productive initiatives an organisation can undertake on their digital transformation journey. Yes, today’s fundamentals will maintain their importance tomorrow but the modern purchasing function will need them to do more, and do it smarter.

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The future face of finance

But despite the maturity of e-procurement and automated finance solutions today and real-world impact these solutions can have on the bottom line of a business, the case for digitised, automated procurement and its opportunities still isn’t being put to business leaders in a convincing way.

To ensure future financial success, more advanced procurement journeys are likely to include a range of technologies to help tackle strategic areas like value engineering, demand management, inventory, commodity management, integrated demand/ supply planning, risk management, quality/service level management and new product introduction.

Communicating the automation opportunity

Improved cashflow, staff efficiencies and the reduction of admin all sound great but need to be quantified if the CFO (an increasingly tech-orientated position) is going to sit up and take note, let alone invest. To do this, companies need to start focusing on how to streamline the accounts payable department to obtain further cost efficiencies and to improve visibility into financial performance. Eliminating the mountains of paper invoices and replacing them with electronic invoices is clearly a first logical step to achieve these benefits.

As companies automate more processes in the order-to-cash cycle, the business benefits through lower costs, improved data quality and faster business cycles. For the finance function, this means a departure from its cost-centre reputation and the opportunity to start adding genuine business value as it leverages electronic data to obtain the real-time visibility into their supply, purchase and payment chains.

More than two fifths (41 per cent) of finance back-office processes could be automated in the next five years[1] but only if finance professionals are able to build a robust and compelling business case paving way for procurement transformation. Only if a clear demonstration of how unifying these processes under a single intelligent platform introduces significant efficiency gains, improved cost and spend management alongside a reduction in risk.

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