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The changes faced by CFOs and CIOs are constant whether they are new regulations, acquisitions, mergers, reorganisations, ERP changes... In this context, having an adaptable Procure-to-Pay process in real time is essential to guarantee operational business continuity, in all circumstances, including during such unpredictable events as the health crisis that is disrupting all interactions and operating methods. How can we have adaptable processes? Here are our recommendations.

Separate the Procure-to-Pay process from ERP systems

Treating the Procure-to-Pay process as an application, running "outside" of the ERP, is generally seen as a strong measure of agility. Let’s take a real example to illustrate it: a company acquisition. This company will not necessarily have the same accounting information system (IS) as the parent organisation. In this context, only an independent Procure-to-Pay (P2P) process will be able to quickly connect to any new environment without needing to be changed. And this is exactly what our client Carambar & Co was able to experience: a simple and quick integration of the new companies acquired (Lutti, Terry’s Chocolate Company) into their core process.

Combining global practices with local flexibility

Whether it is securing payment deadlines, speeding up accounting closings or monitoring performance in real time, organisations need to manage their supplier invoices faster and faster. Responding to this topic is even more complicated when we consider the reality of accounting organisations: indeed, if the alignment (of IS, business rules, procedures) is sometimes possible, complying with many business specificities or exceptions is often necessary. Managing this complexity requires processes that are both “shaping” and adaptable, as the Soufflet Group underlines.

P2P solutions must both be effective in order to guarantee compliance with our procedures, and adaptable to meet the specific needs of some businesses or flows. Nathalie Peyre, Shared Services Center Director, Soufflet Group

Having a P2P solution based on a BPM engine is therefore essential to guarantee a fully adaptable process. A BPM makes it possible to formalise, integrate and rationalise all the operating modes and all the processes of the organisation. Developing these processes, whether for internal reasons or compliance, then becomes very simple and fast; as well as the activation of these processes on all or some sites.

Adapt, Manage: the winning duo

Measuring the effectiveness of your Procure-to-Pay process is crucial. Especially, in the event of changes as we mentioned here. In fact, the adaptability and management are two sides of the same coin: Validating the implementation of a reorganisation - or deciding to adjust it - involves a performance analysis in real time. This through analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) tools embedded in the P2P solution. Data is the basis of transformation. The digitalisation of the P2P process allows to rely on data to optimise, transform and adapt. And most CFOs understood it well: in 2020 in a context of constant adaptation due to the health crisis, 2 out of 3 financial decision-makers made monitoring their number one priority.

67% of CFOs say that the search for agility in financial management was their priority in 2020 Option Finance CFO Digital barometer 2021

As long as a few good practices are followed, the implementation of the digitalisation of the Procure-to-Pay process is a unique opportunity to make your organisation more adaptable and resilient. The adaptability of the P2P solution, outside any ERP, is now an essential feature. It allows organisations to manage their current business complexity (multi-IS, Multi-sites, business exceptions, etc.) and their future developments (integrating new acquisitions, ERP changes, new regulations…).