I had the pleasure recently to watch two customers go live and to spend a day talking about e-Invoicing with another.  After reflecting on those meetings I thought I would post to the Exchange about one theme that we spent much of our time discussing, "Non-PO Invoice Management".


  Today, the reality is that many companies have a relatively large number of non-po invoices coming into their AP department.  These invoices are on the higher end of the scale relative to total invoice cost because of the following reasons:


1. Non-PO by definition is an invoice that was based on shipping goods to a buyer without the supplier having been given a Purchase Order.  Therefore there is no Purchase Order available to use the Ariba Network based Supplier Feature, PO-Flip(TM).  Without an orginal PO many issues can come up that are just simply subtotal accuracy, line item price compliance, and even just Vendor match against the Vendor Master File, etc.


2. Non-PO is by definition not based on pre-spend approval so in most cases a Non-PO Invoice must be workflowed after receipt to the business unit and person that ordered the items or services being invoiced.  This opens a few challenges.  First if the supplier doesn't accurately put reference to the business organization then AP must chase down what part of the business needs to approve the invoice.  Even worse, if the supplier puts down either no "purchaser" or puts down the wrong person's name then the invoice could be stuck in review for weeks finding a home.


3. Non-PO invoices may end up on blocked and hold reports because they have triggered "Exceeds Budget" or "Vendor Mismatch".  This can, after all the work of gathering approval, cause again another exception handling activity that can waste time and delay payment.  When a supplier calls AP asking about the status of an invoice and it is a Non-PO invoice the call typically runs longer than a normal inquiry.


  So, what to do about Non-PO?  Well, if you break down the problem into it's pieces you can actually successfully achieve a reasonable STP %, Straight Through Processing Percentage, for your Non-PO invoices.  Especially if you are the type of company that purchases more on budget than based on Purchase Orders.  What are the key steps to take?  First, don't take Non-PO invoices and try to enter them directly into your ERP.  Second, attempt to implement a policy where the Vendor MUST enter the requestor's email address on the Non-PO Invoice.  This will allow your workflow solution to pick up on the email and route the Invoice directly to the business unit that ordered the services or products.  Set your business policies to immediately reject Non-PO invoices back to a supplier if they have not provided the employee's email address.  If you are based in Europe, especially Germany, you may want to use something other than email address depending on your privacy policy and if your email address shows employee names.  Finally, you should establish a Non-PO approval flow in your worklfow that allows for procurement to get visibility into the vendors, commodity types, etc. that are being purchased Non-PO as a feeder into the typical processes for consolidating vendor master/suppliers, make them aware that this kind of purchase may be a good candidate for Purchase Order Spend, and to give them insight into potential one-time Vendors who may be creating leakage in negotiated pricing for a given commodity.


So, if you find yourself with a reasonable amount of Non-PO Spend, I suggest you consider breaking down the issues you have with Non-PO Invoices and put in solutions and procedures to remove the negative impact and maybe even add Non-PO invoices to your STP based invoices.  Remember the Ariba Network can be configured to require suppliers to provide an employee email on Non-PO Invoices so if you have not turned this on you should consider looking at configuring your Business Rules on the Ariba Network to help you with getting approval of invoices that don't have Purchase Orders.


I would invite you to add comments to the posting to share with the Ariba Exchange other ways that your organization addresses the challenge of Non-PO Invoices.