February 9, 2017
Procure-to-Pay in the Cloud to Eliminate Inefficiency
Posted by Steve Chapman
Finding the right technology solutions to fit your business needs is a difficult undertaking in today’s environment of endless options. A key consideration for updating to the latest in cloud technology is eliminating inefficiencies and unnecessary manual processing. Coupa is one such cloud technology that makes the accounts payable (AP) process truly paperless. The procure-to-pay solution earned itself the nickname “Savings-as-a-Service” due to the immediate pay-back of hard dollar and efficiency savings users have come to appreciate.
So, what is it and how does it work?
Coupa facilitates and controls the procure-to-pay process in your organization. It allows you to speed up processes and reduce spending. The basic procure-to-pay process in Coupa is:
- Create requisition.
- Approve requisition.
- Create and deliver purchase order.
- Receive purchase order.
- Create invoice.
Purchase requisitions are created within the Coupa user interface through various methods, including:
- Select from a catalog supplied by your organization or your supplier(s)
- Free-form entry
- Hierarchy of items and/or services
- Punch-out to supplier sites
- Customized web form
- Order list of commonly ordered item/service groups
- Use iRequest functionality to pull off product information from any web shopping cart
Below is the dashboard typical users see when they log in to Coupa. From here users can create requisitions, edit requisitions, revise requisitions, and review requisitions:
Requisitions can be automatically routed for approval using either a management hierarchy, custom approval rules (Approval Chains) or a combination of both. This allows you to set up approval routing to meet your needs from simple to more complex.
This is how a management hierarchy is set up by user:
This graphical display of the management hierarchy is automatically created by Coupa based on the management hierarchy you’ve set up:
Once a requisition has been approved, a purchase order will be created by Coupa. The purchase order can be automatically emailed to a supplier. Or if you desire, the PO can require user input for delivery.
Suppliers can be set up to require 2-way match or 3-way match for invoice processing. A 3-way match would require:
- Approved PO
- Recorded receipt of goods or services
- Valid supplier invoice
- Receiving goods and services can be performed by individual users or a central receiving function.
Invoices can be entered into Coupa in various ways. The suppliers can send invoices via the Coupa Supplier Network, email, cXML, or merely “flip” the PO they received from your organization, turning it into an invoice.
If you want, you can also define an invoice approval process in Coupa as well. Once a supplier invoice is OK-to-pay, it is typically exported to your ERP/accounting system for payment. Integrating your ERP and Coupa systems can be an ideal way to ensure data is flowing between your solutions for real-time insights.
Check out this quick video showing the complete process described here.
Steve has over 15 years of experience in business systems consulting, and 20 years of experience in management accounting and finance with small and mid-sized businesses in the construction, distribution, service, and technology industries.