1 2 3 10 Previous Next

Finance & Accounting

147 Posts

E--invoicing initiatives typically focus on how you can eliminate paper and reduce processing costs. But what happens when you extend e-invoicing capabilities to drive compliance to preferred suppliers and negotiated prices?

 

 

Here are a few benefits that you can expect: 

 

 

- Elimination of overpayments

- Driving compliance to approved vendors and products

- Improving accuracy of cash flow and accruals forecasts

- Reducing the time spent tracking invoice inquiries

 

 

Sound too good to be true? Don't take my word for it. Come hear how security company ADT is applying its Six Sigma expertise to transform its Procure-to-Pay operations at Ariba LIVE, May 17-19, in Las Vegas. In the session, AP as Chief Compliance Officer: How E-Invoicing Can Improve Compliance and Close the Loop on Procure-to-Pay Savings, you will hear how ADT is using e-invoicing as a foundation to improve invoice-contract match rates and gain more control over spend.

 

 

This presentation is part of a complete agenda of breakout sessions, keynote addresses, and network opportunities where you can learn how to buy, sell, and manage cash, set in the grandeur of The Cosmopolitan Hotel.

 

 

So join us and learn how you can transform your AP operations and drive better alignment between procurement and AP.

 

 

How effective are you at automating your invoice management process?

 

For GAF, the largest roofing manufacturer in North America, a first attempt at invoice automation drove touchless processing to just 8 percent of all invoices, and pushed problem invoices to procurement for resolution.

 

Today, with Ariba, GAF has enabled an integrated PO and invoice automation solution that enables high rates of touchless invoice processing, freeing procurement to focus on more strategic activities. GAF is also driving more  purchases off catalogs to enforce compliance, maximizing spend with key suppliers to lower costs and, in the next wave, extending the initiative to direct materials spend.


It's a great story that will be told at Ariba LIVE, set for March 17 to 19 in Las Vegas. In this breakout session, you will hear from GAF procure-to-pay experts discuss the business impact from PO and invoice automation, and get ideas on how you can achieve similar results.


This presentation is part of a comprehensive agenda that features keynote presentations, nearly 70 breakout sessions, pre-conference training, and opportunities to network with your peers to gain valuable insight in how you can improve invoice management and transform your procure-to-pay eoperations.

 

So join us at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and learn how you can improve the way you buy, sell, and manage cash in a networked economy--enabling the business of tomorrow... today.

Many organizations are leveraging the Ariba Network for PO invoicing to improve efficiency and enforce compliance. PO-Flip®, an innovation from Ariba that earned the company a registered trademark, is a proven solution embraced by many buyers and suppliers on the Ariba Network to achieve those objectives.

 

Now, more organizations are looking for ways to get the same level of process efficiency and compliance with non-PO invoices, and contract invoicing is serving that need. With Ariba contract invoicing, you can enforce compliance to a contract by enabling invoicing from contracts and automatically matching invoices to contracts. Ariba contract invoicing also provides automated account coding.

 

In recognition of the business impact of this e-invoice innovation, Ariba last week received the "Technology Excellence Award" from PayStream Advisors, a leading independent research and advisory firm that examines trends and strategies on the automation of back-office financial operations such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and and treasury. Henry Ijams, PayStream Advisors founder and managing director, cited the ability of Ariba contract invoicing to prevent contract leakage as a valuable feature that can deliver substantial cost savings.

 

To hear how Ariba customers are getting results today with contract invoicing, you can access the recording of the contract invoicing session at Ariba LIVE 2013.

Working Capital Management and Why Your CFO Cares!

 

Traditional working capital management strategies can strain trading partner relationships. As buyers focus on maintaining or extending Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) and increasing cash returns, suppliers often face extended Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and cash flow pressure. Ariba Working Capital Management solutions provide new and collaborative approaches that serve the needs of both buyers and suppliers. While providing you with the controls you need to optimize cash use and to realize high-yield, risk-free returns on your payables, Ariba Working Capital Management also provides your suppliers with the visibility and control over their receivables to better manage their cash flow. These features help suppliers get early payment at much lower rates than traditional market resources without incurring debt—and provide greater leverage for you to extend payment terms or negotiate reduced prices.

 

Do any of these topics creep into conversations where your CFO or finance teams are involved?

 

  • Driving Systems Improvements
  • Desire to outsource non-competitive operations
  • Extension of Days Payable Outstanding or Reduction of Days Sales Outstanding
  • Fraud
  • Audit and Compliance
  • Corporate Reporting
  • Controls
  • Controlling Employee Expenses

 

One of the biggest challenges in cash flow management is unpredictability. The other is time. When will a large customer settle what they owe? When will Sales bring in a large new account — and how quickly can this account be up and generating revenue? Working capital management can create tension between buyers and suppliers. While you prefer to hold on to your cash, your suppliers would like to get paid sooner to improve their cash flow. You can resolve the tension by routinely taking advantage of suppliers' early-payment discounts. But those opportunities are often lost in a sea of paper invoices, or bypassed when prevailing cash management strategies call for delaying payment to earn interest on cash balances. Meanwhile, the conflicting priorities can put cash-flow pressure on your suppliers.  Your business growth relies on the free-flow of cash. Yet too much working capital can get clogged up in receivables and payables up and down your supply chain. That can create risks you don't want, for you and your trading partners. Of course, there are ways to collaborate with your cash-strapped partners to set it free, like dynamic discounting or receivables financing. But too many companies rely on sluggish, paper based finance management processes, making it impossible to get the visibility and communications you'd both need to make fast, informed decisions and achieve consistent results.

 

For more information on Working Capital Management tools visit our website:  http://www.ariba.com/solutions/manage-cash

How many times have you made a decision based on the wrong information? Having the right information is key in being successful. That’s why having accurate data is critical to everyday function.  For example, data mining,on inaccurate and “DIRTY DATA” can be a waste of time for the data engineer and the data requestor. If the requestor bases their decisions on faulty data, it could hinder their outcome. Data integrity plays a bigger role than most people anticipate. Most of the reasons data get’s dirty is laziness, poor input planning processes and lack of consistency input.

Dirty Data 1.png

Who in your organization cares about the quality of your data?

Dirty Data 2.png

Dirty Data 3.png

Dirty Data 4.png

 

Ariba has been assisting customers through their spend management journey’s for over 15 years.  What we commonly see is that over the years, companies have not had standardization around entry into their Vendor & Service Masters, Material Masters, as well as ERP Data.  Good news is this Ariba provides a Data Management service that is agnostic of your Ariba technology. 

 

Good data in = Good data out!  What affect does good data have?

  

  • Accurate Invoicing
  • Proper Spend Management
  • Cost reduction
  • Audit Compliance
  • Increase Service Levels
  • No Stock-outs
  • Reduced Expedited Orders
  • Reduced Risk of Down Time
  • Contract Compliance
  • Procure with certainty
  • Track Supplier Performance
  • Spend Visibility / Planning
  • Decrease Holding Costs
  • Reduced materials on-hand
  • Improved Cash Flow

 

Dirty Data 5.png

 

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of cleaning up your data, reach out to your Customer Account Manager, Account Executive or email me, bdunn@ariba.com for more information!

 

Tip of the Week:  Do You Have Dirty Data?   Part I

Do you have Dirty Data?

First…what is considered dirty data?

  • Not structured / Free Text
  • Not complete
  • No Use of Nomenclature (Name Conventions)
  • Garbage / fictitious / ambiguous data
  • Many duplications
  • Many data elements Represent “Old /Non Moving” materials

 

How many times have you made a decision based on the wrong information? Having the right information is key in being successful; and, that’s why having accurate data is critical to everyday function. For example data mining, on inaccurate and “DIRTY DATA” can be a waste of time for the data engineer and the data requester. If the requester bases their decisions on faulty data, it could hinder their outcome. Data integrity plays a bigger role than most people anticipate. Most of the reasons data gets dirty is laziness, poor input planning processes, and lack of consistency input.

 

Data Management Services are focused on increasing the effectiveness of the procurement, inventory, and maintenance management functions across the enterprise through the standardization and enhancement of MRO Material, Vendor and Service Masters Data within the ERP, as well as optimizing inventory information relating to Inventory Management information. Dirty data is a term used by Information technology (IT) professionals when referring to inaccurate information (data) collected from data capture forms. There are several causes of dirty data. In some cases, the information is deliberately distorted. A person may insert misleading or fictional personal information which appears real. Such dirty data may not be picked up by an administrator or a validation routine because it appears legitimate. Duplicate data can be caused by repeat submissions, user error, or incorrect data joining. There can also be formatting issues or typographical errors. A common formatting issue is caused by variations in a user's preference for entering phone numbers.  Gartner research shows that poor-quality customer data leads to significant costs, such as higher customer turnover, excessive expenses from customer contact processes like mail-outs and missed sales opportunities. But companies are now discovering that data quality has a significant impact on their most strategic business initiatives, not only sales and marketing. Other back-office functions like budgeting, manufacturing and distribution are also affected. Compliance and transparency are now at the top of the list of most companies’ data concerns, according to Gartner. 1 http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=501733

 

Next week, check back for Dirty Data Part II – Why you should fix it, who benefits when you do, and how Ariba can help!

Let’s face it: paper invoices wreak havoc in accounts payable.  They take too long to process, often contain errors that increase processing costs and cycle times, and hinder productivity.  Get rid of the paper, and you can solve these problems.

 

That’s where Ariba can help.

 

With Ariba touchless invoice automation, your AP staff spends less time tracking down paper invoices, resolving invoice errors, and responding to supplier inquiries about when they will get paid.  A supplier portal lets suppliers handle all the dirty work: automatically “flipping” purchase orders into invoices and submitting them electronically as a “perfect payable”; correcting invoice errors immediately upon submission, not days or weeks after the fact; seeing real-time status of when they will get paid; and more.

 

With touchless invoice automation, AP productivity soars, with invoices processed per full-time equivalent (FTE) rising from less than 10,000 invoices a year to 40,000 invoices/year or more. That leaves more time for higher value activities such as supporting procurement efforts to enforce supplier compliance to your preferred invoice process, and identifying early payment discount opportunities.

 

To learn more about invoice automation and the results that customers are achieving today, join us for a webinar hosted by IOFM on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2pm EST/11am PST. You will hear how Maxim Healthcare Systems has automated the “buy” and the “pay” sides of procure-to-pay to lower its invoice processing costs, improve compliance, and gain better control over spend.

The revised 2012 Tax Compliance Country Guide version 45 includes updates to 30 country guides.

CountryGuideUpdates.gif

As with previous versions, these chapters were written and signed by KPMG.  We found no need to make any changes to our software based on the content in the updated country guides.

 

It should be noted that Germany, Denmark and Belgium no longer require e-Invoices to be electronically signed or in EDI to have a proof of authenticity and integrity. These countries anticipated the implementation of directive 2010/45/EU which will go into effect in Jan 2013 whereby all countries in the EU should start to allow buyers, suppliers and providers to use a new alternative method to prove authenticity and integrity of e-Invoices: “business controls creating a reliable audit trail between invoice and supply”.  Ariba recognizes the use of business controls, as such the Ariba architecture uses electronic signatures to ensure authenticity of origin and integrity of content since this has been proven to be the highest quality and most reliable approach which will continue to be an approved method to guarantee authenticity and integrity of e-Invoices in Europe

.

Please contact your Ariba representative for the latest version of Ariba's Country Guide.

At the PayStream Advisors "Fast Track to Purchase to Pay Automation" Summit, held Sept. 17-19 in Charlotte, NC, Ariba received the Technology Excellence Award as the Leading P2P Technology in 2012. Judges on the PayStream P2P Advisory Board reviewed submissions and made their recommendations based upon solution features and customer results. Ariba's award was handed out at the day one luncheon by Henry Ijams, founder and managing director of PayStream Advisors.

 

This recognition reflects the value that Ariba delivers to organizations looking to streamline their P2P processes for business advantage. The return on investment from Ariba comes from several areas: operational cost savings; improved compliance to contracts, preferred suppliers and negotiated prices; expansion of early payment discounts; and the ability for buyers and suppliers to better manage working capital.

 

To hear Henry Ijams discuss the return on invesment from Ariba, listen to his comments from Ariba Live earlier this year:

 

 

Thanks to Henry Ijams and the PayStream Advisors team and advisory board for this award. And thanks to Ariba customers, and Ariba team members, for their contribution to this recognition.

Are you looking for ways to put your company's cash to work in a liquidity investment that actually yields return in today's environment?  

 

Are you looking to automate your invoice processing, but not convinced of the business case value yet?

 

Are you curious how you can rapidly achieve your AP Automation business case ROI and turn Accounts Payable into a profit center?

 

If any of the above ring true for you, or if you are just interested in hearing how your Treasury and Finance peers are embracing the Networked Economy to drive value for their organizations, then consider this a personal invitation to a free webinar this Thursday, September 20th at 2pm ET | 11am PT.  The webinar, Mining Payables for Profits in an Uncertain Global Economy, will feature Ariba customer ONEOK, inc. sharing their journey from paper to Smart eInvoicing and the Dynamic Discount savings opportunities that opens up.

 

At ONEOK, treasury is playing a key role in driving this transformation. In this free webinar, T.D. Eureste, director of finance and treasury, will explain how cloud computing and electronic invoicing is becoming a foundation technology for “dynamic discounting” that is boosting cash earnings and profits.

 

Join this webinar and learn how to:

  • Achieve double-digit returns on your short-term cash with no risk
  • Expand discount opportunities to new groups of suppliers, and on a prorated, sliding scale up to the invoice due date
  • Drive supplier participation by communicating a clear value proposition: visibility into invoice and payment status for better cash flow forecasting and opportunities to reduce days sales outstanding (DSO)
  • Embrace cloud computing to protect against fraud and support mobile operations

 

Lots of companies like ONEOK are leveraging the benefits of the Networked Economy to increase efficiency & effectiveness, drive savings and impact their bottom lines.  Are you?

Breaking News: Companies are stockpiling cash at record rates! 

 

Ok, so that's not a novel idea.

 

From the persepctive of this close observer of corporate cash, finding a use for idle cash is only growing in importance as companies (esp. Treasurers & CFO's) struggle to find some way to put it to work for their shareholders.  In fact, a few weeks back August the Wall Street Journal noted that Google is turning to car loans to invest their cash, while just last week, yet another article opined on what Chevron would do with more cash on the balance sheet than any other publicly traded energy company.

 

And today, in a thought provoking piece in a Harvard Business Review blog, Andrew Sherman introduced the truly novel idea of companies using their cash as sort of venture capitalists, or "wealthy Uncle Harry or Aunt Sue" to invest in smaller suppliers (presumably in their supply chain), giving those suppliers much needed access to liquidity, while putting their own cash to use for a better return than historically low money market funds or T-bills.  In stating his case for this nontraditional use of corporate cash, Mr. Sherman makes some key points:

 

  • "It is well established that America's largest companies have been stockpiling cash over the past 24 months at alarming rates...But history shows that cash cannot sit idle indefinitely. "
  • "Even as the large companies are hoarding cash, many small and mid-sized enterprises are still facing significant challenges and hurdles gaining access to the credit markets."
  • "These sources of capital [corporate balance sheets] seem untraditional, but the current state of America's credit crunch remains bleak and demands new thinking."
  • "There is a tremendous amount of [uncommitted capital] in the economy, and it represents enormous potential for creating a virtuous cycle of growth, partnership, and co-innovation between companies large and small"

 

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Andrews observations above, but it is his last statement regarding the virtuous cycle opportunity that has me standing up at my desk and applauding! 

 

That's the Networked Economy in action!  This idea that the different parties in the supply chain can collaborate over shared needs (e.g. idle cash meets cash flow need) to produce a win for all involved is particularly relevant when those parties participate in a shared business network.  And this type of Collaborating to Win is desperately needed to meet this challenge of what to do with idle cash and how to meet cash flow needs of suppliers.

 

While a much shorter term use of cash than Mr. Andrews advocates, Dynamic Discounting is another novel approach for using idle cash that targets the issues he highlights.  One such company doing this today is ONEOK, a large energy company that is connecting with their suppliers via the Ariba Network to collaborate over invoice processing and cash flow, to the benefit of all parties.

 

In fact, ONEOK will be presenting with me on a Treasury & Risk educational webinar on september 20th where T.D. Eureste, director of finance and treasury at ONEOK, will explain how cloud computing and electronic invoicing is becoming a foundation technology for Dynamic Discounting that is achieving great returns on their cash and driving bottom line value. Register here for this webinar to hear about how they are using this novel approach to put idle cash to work in their supply chain.

 

There is no doubt, as Mr. Sherman points out, companies are stockpiling cash and are looking for ways to earn more with it in the short term, while many suppliers are looking for sources of cash flow in a difficult credit environment.  And as Mr. Sherman makes clear, new thinking and novel approaches are needed to meet these objectives.

In a recent Purchase Order Practice Survey, conducted by The Accounts Payable Network, the word "best" would not describe the practices followed by many organizations.

Here's a sample of the findings:

  • 53 percent of respondents indicated some level of non-compliance.
  • If a buyer ignored policy and placed an order without a PO, 44 percent stated that they would pay the invoice without the PO, while nearly 60 percent would require the buyer to create a PO after-the-fact.
  • Average percent of invoices put on hold or blocked was 21, with 30 percent blocked or on hold for the lower quartile. That compares to 5 percent blocked or on hold for the upper quartile.
  • The most common exceptions involve the invoice price not matching the PO price.
  • 44 percent of organizations take 7 days or longer to resolve invoice exceptions.

There's quite a gap in the hold-blocked invoice rate differential between leaders and laggards: 25 percent more problem invoices for the lower quartile performers compared to the upper quartile. For every 100,000 invoices processed, the laggards deal with 30,000 problem invoices, the leaders only 5,000. If it takes $20 on average to resolve a hold or blocked invoice, the laggards spend an additional $600,000 to process these invoices vs. $100,000 for the leaders. At $30 per problem invoice, the numbers jump to $900,000 vs $150,000 respectively. And for the  organization processing 500,000 invoices annually? Multiply those estimates by 5.

 

These costs don't consider whether the purchase was from a preferred supplier, at a negotiated price. Hackett Group studies show that the savings leakage from non-compliance--or buying from a non-preferred supplier off the contracted rate--is over $9 million per billion dollars of spend for the average company. Then there are the lost savings from the inability to capture early payment discounts.

 

If you are having a difficult time building a business case for automating your invoice or procure-to-pay operations, run the numbers. You really can't afford not to.

Good article in today's WSJ regarding Chevron "Hoarding the money it makes from oil and gas operations" for some future need.  Speculation is that they are either hedging against a spike in costs or planning to buy up some smaller rival as their cash levels have risen 60% over the last year. 

 

While Chevron is today's headline name (for good reason as they have more cash on the balance sheet than any publicly traded company, per the WSJ article), the dynamics are of course nothing new over the past few years: Companies hoarding cash at unprecedented levels against some future contingency or investment.  And while some investments are being made and/or plans are becoming more concrete than a year or two ago, companies like Chevron are still holding this cash "for the future".

 

The question I have is what are they planning to do with that cash in the meantime?  "Invest" it (and I use that word loosely) in money market funds?  CD's?  Interest bearing bank deposits?  While these options certainly meet the criteria for liquidity investments of Security & Liquidity, earning next to nothing they fall woefully short of the third treasury management pillar of Yield.

 

I don't know what Chevron plans to do with their cash, but I do know what others have done to put that cash to work in their supply chain and who, through the use of eInvoicing and Dynamic Discounting, have turned their AP operations into profit centers.  In fact, one notable energy sector company who has done exactly that, ONEOK, will be presenting with me on a Treasury & Risk educational webinar on september 20th entitled: Mining Payables for Profit in an Uncertain Global Economy.

 

At ONEOK, treasury is playing a key role in driving this transformation. In this free webinar, T.D. Eureste, director of finance and treasury, will explain how cloud computing and electronic invoicing is becoming a foundation technology for “dynamic discounting” that is boosting cash earnings and profits.

If you attend this webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Achieve double-digit returns on your short-term cash with no risk
  • Expand discount opportunities to new groups of suppliers, and on a prorated, sliding scale up to the invoice due date
  • Drive supplier participation by communicating a clear value proposition: visibility into invoice and payment status for better cash flow forecasting and opportunities to reduce days sales outstanding (DSO)
  • Embrace cloud computing to protect against fraud and support mobile operations

 

Keeping cash on the balance sheet right now is probably a very good idea, given the uncertainties in the market right now.  But letting it sit idle in traditional short term liquidity vehicles is not, and it misses a great opportunity to both improve your yield on cash and provide much needed liquidity to your suppliers. 

If the Wall Street Journal is going to steal my stuff, I should at least get them to agree to credit me with one of their famous stipple ink dot portraits!  That was my first thought when I read this headline today: Corporate Cash Chasing Low Risk Yield.  My second thought was that it's difficult to take credit for a topic that has been, and continues to be front of mind to corporate treasurers, even if I did host a webinar entitled The Hunt for Safe, Short Term Cash Yield over a month ago.  Ah well, the stipple portrait will have to wait.

 

What is not waiting apparently, is the pressure on companies find a relatively low risk way to put some of their mountains of cash to work earning something in the way of yield...anything! 

 

Witness Google who, according the WSJ "has found a new place to park some of its $40 billion cash hoard: bonds backed by car loans"  Apparently Google and other companies are beginning to look toward asset backed securities (ABS) with maturities as long as 2 years (including those backed by auto loans) as investment vehicles (pun intended) for some of their cash in an effort to earn a annual yield of 0.5% - 2.5%.  As the article further puts it:

"Google's foray into auto lending is the latest sign that ultralow rates on the longtime standby of corporate treasurers, highly liquid Treasury securities, are pushing cash-rich U.S. companies to find new places to put their money....The auto portion of an ABS index compiled by Barclays has returned 2.34% this year on deals with an average maturity of just over two years. That compares with 0.30% for comparable Treasurys this year...Some recent asset-backed securities have been priced to yield as little as 0.5%, but even that is enough of a premium to two-year Treasurys yielding 0.2% for company treasurers as they weigh acquisitions and other longer-term options for deploying cash"

 

Hmmm....so let's see, according to this news flash companies that have a lot of cash are tired of earning next to nothing and are seeking investments that maintain their liquidity, generate better yield than US treasuries (or money markets, etc.) all at very low risk (I seem to recall reading something about that here, here, here, here, and here (not to mention other places)).  And as a result of these goals, companies are turning toward highly rated ABS investments earning **yawn** 2% APR or so.

 

While ABS investments such as those mentioned in the WSJ articles above are certainly a solid part of a short term investment portfolio, might I suggest that companies consider doing what many Ariba customers are doing and invest some of their cash in another shorter-term (<60 days) investment with higher yields (anywhere from 5% to 24%+ APR), that entails no risk whatsoever (zero, zilch, nada)?  Many Ariba customers are doing just that with dynamic discounting and are finding that upwards of 20% of their suppliers are taking advantage of the early payment opportunity, yielding an average return of 24% APR and earning them millions of dollars of savings each year.

 

Google and others are rightly looking for better return on their cash, and are turning to non-traditional investment vehicles to find it.  With dynamic discounting they need look no further than their suppliers to find a safe, short term investment that yields significant returns, both in terms of savings and in terms of strengthening their supply chain through the increased liquidity provided to their suppliers.

 

If you want to learn more about how Dynamic Discounting with Ariba's Discount Pro(tm) can offer a safe investment alternative for some of your cash, check out this information here.

 

Or watch the streaming video of our webinar - The Hunt for Safe, Short-Term Cash Yield: The strategic value of AP & Dynamic Discounting in creating high yield, low risk investment opportunities.


 


With the 2012 Summer Games in full swing, businesses are playing a game of their own – trying to figure out what the U.S. Federal Reserve will do to stimulate the flagging economy. While the central bank stopped short of acting to spur the recovery in it's statement yesterday, it has indicated that it will do so if labor market conditions and overall growth continue to lag.

 

Fed Guessing has become an Olympic sport of sorts. And while opinions vary widely on what action the institution will ultimately take, according to the Fed's own statement yesterday, it’s nearly certain that short-term interest rates will continue to remain near zero for at least another 2 years!

 

"In particular, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014"

 

While Fed actions over the next few months (or whenever it decides to act) could spur growth in the economy, the basic realities of hard to come by credit/liquidity for many suppliers, and low value of liquidity for those buyers that have cash on hand are unlikely to change anytime soon even with that.  And as suppliers ramp up production to meet Buyer growth needs, those suppliers will have need of access to liquidity even more…and your growth plans as a buyer could  be at risk if they can’t get it.. 

 

There is a solution that can benefit both parties, however. And there’s no need to wait for the Fed to put it action. It’s called dynamic discounting. And it lets companies with cash maximize their returns by investing in their suppliers who can use the capital to keep pace with their demands and help to fuel growth.

 

Here’s how it works: In return for a discount, buyers can accelerate payments for approved invoices to key suppliers. They earn an immediate – and better  return on their cash than they would by simply parking it in traditional, low-yield liquidity vehicles. Their trading partners, in turn, can use the cash to fund their daily business needs and ensure they can meet the buyers’ ongoing demands

 

And suppliers win as well. As the gap between low-quality and high-quality borrowers grows, more suppliers are finding it tough to access the capital they need to sustain – much less grow – their operations, as one supplier on the Ariba Network(TM) can attest.

 

“The cost of capital today is high for startups. Even with strong revenue growth, when you haven’t been in business for a long period of time, you often won’t have a balance sheet or P&L that can be levered to get competitive rates from traditional financing sources,” said John Evarts, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Mediafly, a Chicago-based company that delivers a cloud-based platform and applications for content management and distribution on mobile devices to Fortune 500 companies.

 

Mediafly has been able to work around this through dynamic discounting. “For a few basis points, we can get quicker access to the capital we need to hire developers and get to the next set of features in our products, which accelerates revenue and ultimately generates cash,” Evarts said

 

Getting buyers to agree to pay early and sellers to offer a discount might seem like an impossible task. But business networks and the technologies underlying them actually make it quite simple. Delivered in the cloud, such solutions provide buyers and sellers with all of the tools necessary to fully automate the process of offering, negotiating, and agreeing on early payment terms. Buyers can capture discounts at any point between invoice approval and the net due date and automatically present offers to lock them in. Suppliers can automatically accept offers or control the acceleration of payment on an ad-hoc basis according to their needs.

 

During tight times, the tendency for most organizations is to shore up costs and adopt a myopic approach to conducting business. But doing so will only lead to missed opportunities. Collaboration is key to navigating through a market slowdown.  And business networks make it easier than ever to do.

 

Buyers and suppliers who tap into them and leverage tools like dynamic discounting to work more closely together and share the economic burden of the times can ensure their mutual health and help to spark the growth that the global economy so desperately needs.

Filter Blog

By author: By date:
By tag: