procurement buy button

Automating the procurement process

Oct. 4, 2018
Automating the back office operations not only eliminates paper and manual processes, but it also brings structure to the process and the people involved in your business.

Most fleets know everything about their equipment, drivers, customers, routing, and shop operation. At a granular level, they know exactly what is going on in those areas and they use data analytics to help them improve their operation.

However, when it comes to their accounts payable, they likely do not have the same knowledge base. A lack of insight to the best way to operate AP also means a lack of visibility into cash flow. Proper analysis of spend can highlight opportunities for saving money and generating more working capital.

The “back office” operations typically are inundated with paper. Automating the back office operations not only eliminates paper and manual processes, but it also brings structure to the process and the people involved in your business. 

Automating enables visibility into invoice approvals, as well as into bottlenecks in the invoice process. When errors are apparent through electronic means, they can be corrected in minutes instead of days. This should help reduce days payment outstanding, meaning invoices get paid faster.

Automating the back office means the documents required to successfully process accounts payable are centralized and easily accessible. The retention of invoices and documents will no longer be a task of any one employee but will be a part of the automated process. Your staff can then concentrate on true analysis and the performance of your vendors and suppliers. The information they uncover will help you get the best pricing and services from your vendors.

A truly automated procurement system can identify “maverick” spend—purchases that are outside of your established procurement guidelines. Those purchases usually are for items that are not core to your business operation, like office supplies, furniture, cleaning supplies, etc. Bringing those purchases into a completely automated procurement system will help keep budgets on track and ensure that purchases are made through authorized vendors.

An automated back office process leads to confidence that all purchases are meeting requirements in areas that affect not only cost, but also inventory and vendor selection.

Automated procurement assures an organization that contracted costs as granular as per item are always met even when price or quantities are in question. Users having responsibility for approving purchases will gain valuable time and insight into expenses. This means they will be able to spot trends and formulate quick responses to variances within budget lines.

Organized data that results from automation empowers decision makers, providing them with the data they need regarding their business’ upcoming profitability and expenses.

Automation is somewhat of a crystal ball, giving any C-suite executive a view into the future, as well as insight into current operations. Imagine asking Alexis how much money you will spend this month and getting an accurate answer! Automation can bring you that.

About the Author

Matt Clark | Chief Operating Officer

Matt Clark is the Chief Operating Officer for Corcentric, a procurement and finance company that helps companies reduce expenses and improve working capital by optimizing how they purchase, pay, and get paid. He is responsible for setting and steering Corcentric’s strategic vision, which has experienced record growth since its founding. Matt has been with the company since 2004.

Matt is an adviser and guest lecturer for the University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, and is an active member of Vistage Chief Executive Group, which provides peer-to-peer mentoring for DC area business leaders. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.

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