The CFO / CPO Agenda: Beyond cost reductions, increased efficiency, and data visibility.
As CFOs and CPOs are tasked with greater responsibility over a host of issues, there are four major industry themes that will likely be top-of-mind for them, this year and into the future. Although cost reductions, increases in efficiency, and visibility into valuable data are still incredibly important to the C-suite, as well as to the organization’s bottom line, there are other strategic challenges that need to be addressed.
Strengthening the buyer/supplier relationship
Relationships between buyers and suppliers can make or break a business, so buyers can no longer look at solutions through a narrow, somewhat myopic, lens. They need to consider how supply chain and payables solutions will impact their suppliers and how that will, in turn, impact their own business. Three of the four biggest concerns address this situation:
1. Increased Collaboration – Collaboration has always been important, though not always easy to accomplish. When transactions are made through paper-based and manual processes, an inordinate amount of time may be spent on the phone or via emails checking on discrepancies, exceptions, and payment timing.
Now buyers and suppliers, with platforms provided by third-party solutions, collaborate primarily through digitization. This allows both to instantaneously organize and access account information. The total cost of the buyer-supplier relationship is no longer only about the pricing of goods and services; it’s also about the pricing and processing of the very act of the transaction as well.
2. Building Digital Supply Networks – Collaboration is an important part of building these networks. That is due to the fact that, even though digitizing processes has the power to transform the buyer-supplier relationship, that will only be successful if both parties work together to apply what they learn from the data produced.
A digital supply network accumulates data on crucial elements of the procure-to-pay cycle, like the status of invoices and supplier payments, procurement pricing, payment terms, and discounts. Reams of supporting data and documents validate the transactions, which reinforces the most important value of the buyer-supplier relationship: TRUST! In addition, this digitized network provides connectivity between buyers and suppliers, making it easier to streamline how buyers and suppliers “talk” to one another.
3. Diversifying Software Solutions – It may seem overwhelming when a CFO or other financial professional searches for a payment option that will digitize B2B payments. There are so many options as financial services companies each try to outdo one another in promises to streamline processes for less cost and greater efficiency and accuracy. But one size will not fit all when it comes to electronic payments.
In addition to expecting the trifecta of efficiency, cost reduction, and accuracy, buyers should also be looking for a solution that introduces flexibility into the transaction process – one that will address a full range of needs and challenges that both suppliers and buyers face. To break down the barriers some suppliers may put up to avoid accepting digital payments, financial services players and corporate buyers need to make it as easy as possible for vendors to accept an electronic payment. Plus, it may be necessary to create added incentives for suppliers to make that change.
The fourth concern is about finding and retaining talent with the proper skills for today’s technology.
4. The right workforce for the right time
With full employment, attracting qualified employees can be difficult for mid-size and SMBs. But instead of looking outside, companies should look to upskilling their current workforce through automation. Due to a strong economy, companies required added cash reserves in 2018, forcing many to stay on the sidelines with automating procurement and payment solutions.
We have seen that for companies that have already automated their indirect spend solutions, their finance and procurement teams now play a more strategic role in their company’s revenue efforts. When employees no longer have to do mundane, repetitive tasks, they can focus on helping to solve organizational finance challenges. Since hiring new employees is considerably more expensive and time-consuming than training an existing workforce, companies should definitely look to automation as a way to retain key talent.
Helping CFOs and CPOs — not to mention legal, sales, AP, IT and other enterprise stakeholders — solve a range of diverse and ever-shifting business challenges through technology, expertise and services is what we do. If you’d like to see first-hand how technology can play a leading strategic role in turning challenges into opportunities, contact us for a personalized demonstration of the integrated, modular solutions on the Determine Cloud Platform.