Is It Just My CFO’s Imagination, Or Can Invoices Process Themselves?

Chris Rauen

In your mind, is the ability to pay an invoice without having someone grab, sort, route, validate, match, code, fix, and approve what is submitted on paper nothing but pure magic?

Then it’s time to turn your AP staff into magicians.

It’s happening all around you, as a new generation of financial supply chain applications connect trading partners over a business network. Electronic invoices are processed instantly without anyone even noticing. Yes, in today’s digital economy, invoices can process themselves.

This is part of the transformation driven by digital technologies, as explained in Digital Finance: Transforming Finance for the Digital Economy. And you can consider the business network as the onramp.

In my conversations with finance and procurement professionals, I’ve heard many comments about the new business value from collaborating over business networks. Here are some excerpts:

  • “There is now little time spent managing invoice exceptions, as business rules in the network automate invoice validation.”
  • “The procure-to-pay platform is the view into procurement, where authorized users can access everything from strategic spend to individual transactions.”
  • “A supplier lowers pricing when transacting over the business network due to the elimination of PO-invoice match errors. The customer frees up two hours each day of a buyer’s time, across 15 plant locations, achieving a three-year operational improvement goal in less than five months.”
  • “The ability to flip a PO into an invoice provides a level of accuracy that didn’t exist before.”
  • “We’ve eliminated price discrepancies by location, and have approval to buy before the money is spent.”
  • “It makes external audits a breeze.”
  • “Commodity codes are mapped to the general ledger and accruals occur upon goods receipt, not invoice receipt.”
  • “Self-service discount management helps suppliers to accelerate their cash flow and buyers to increase their returns on cash.”

Don’t let manual processes and piles of paper ruin your work day. Inject magic in your business processes and help your finance organization thrive in the digital economy.

There’s much to know about the transformation of finance in a digital economy, and a good place to learn from the experts is at SAPPHIRE NOW, May 17-19 in Orlando, FL. At the Ariba Collaborative Finance demo station, for example, you can learn about a strategy for linking invoice automation, working capital, discounts, and payments on a single, unified platform.


Chris Rauen

About Chris Rauen

In his role at SAP Ariba, Chris Rauen educates procurement, finance, and shared services professionals on the business value of accounts payable automation, procure-to-pay transformation, and collaboration via business networks. Chris has addressed these topics at finance and shared services conferences, in articles for trade and business publications, and in blogs for online communities. Chris has more than 15 years of experience in e-payables, and holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.