Several weeks ago, while returning from a short hike to the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend, I approached an elderly woman hiking alone. Learning that she was uncomfortable with the rocky terrain, I escorted her out to the breath-taking viewpoint. She was grateful for the opportunity, which she would not have completed without some assistance.
Many of you in accounts payable are on a quest to transform your invoice process, but the journey can be difficult to navigate on your own. With that in mind, I invite you to Ariba LIVE 2013, where you can hear from experienced practitioners who have blazed a trail for you to follow.
One session I will be hosting, Moving Up the Invoice Maturity Curve: Laying the Foundation for Total Invoice Management, will address a topic of great interest to AP and finance professionals: how to effectively automate the receipt and management of all your invoices. On this panel, you will hear from Vicky Pafk, Senior Director, Shared Services, for Waste Management and Ulrik Philipson, Vice President of Global Procure-to-Pay Strategy and Operations, Global Supply Management, American Express. While these presenters are from different companies with different back stories, they share the same passion for implementing an efficient, compliant process for managing invoices.
Waste Management is starting from a largely paper-based, decentralized accounts payable environment, with a large supplier base that will require consolidation. As Waste Management has grown by acquisitions, many of these suppliers are small and serve a local region, requiring too much cost and effort to manage. Compounding the problem are diminishing resources. The Waste Management Shared Services staff is about half the size of a
few years ago. The company must do more with less, making invoice processing efficiency a priority.
American Express has outsourced invoice receipt and data entry, but this premier financial institution is likewise motivated to drive a more efficient and compliant invoice process. The firm is transitioning from an on-premise to an on-demand invoice automation approach and, like Waste Management, combining e-invoicing with a paper invoice conversion service to manage all its invoices.
Another common thread here is the attention to compliance. Both organizations recognize that operating as a silo, with no synergy between the accounts payable and procurement functions, will not optimize the process nor the results. To that extent, leveraging solutions such as Ariba’s PO-Flip® service and electronic catalogs present additional benefits.
If your AP team is spending too much time and effort processing paper invoices, it’s time to shift your focus and automate the process. Think you’re not ready? Then think again. The Invoice Maturity Curve provides ideas on how you can proceed, and will be discussed in some detail at this session.
In addition to this presentation on AP automation strategies, you can view the comprehensive Ariba LIVE agenda that includes keynote addresses, over 65 breakout sessions, special events, and opportunities to network with
other AP and corporate finance professionals.
So save the dates of May 6-8, make plans to joins us at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center on the Potomac (just minutes from Washington, D.C.), and learn about the impact on your corporate finance organization from “Joining the Networked Economy.”
One last thing: Register by March 31 and you’ll save $400 off the standard registration rate.