Part 8 of the Payments and Cash Flow Series.
Just before your project officially kicks off, your focus should be on finalizing the details and getting the team ready. In the third post in this series, we looked at executive sponsorship and project resources. As part of that exercise, you secured an executive champion for the project and began identifying people within your organization who would own specific tasks during implementation. Now is the time to review those items, revise if necessary, and get ready.
At this point, you won’t be scheduling everything on the calendar, since specific meeting schedules will be worked out with your chosen provider. You will, however, begin the process of setting expectations across the organization, so those people who will be called upon to participate have appropriate coverage, and their managers understand that driving a successful project is a priority.
Call to action
- Confirm the team. Earlier, we discussed the need to identify your executive sponsor and program manager. If those details are still in flux, now is the time to finalize them. You also need to define your project leads for procurement, accounts payable (AP), treasury, and IT. They won’t all need constant participation, but they do need to be identified, informed, on board, and ready to engage once the program begins.
- Allocate the time. In the beginning, you should expect the team leads to meet internally at least once per week to review the status of their respective areas and delegate tasks. In the beginning, your AP or IT lead should budget time for data extraction, anticipating a request from your provider’s delivery team. After an initial review, the AP and procurement teams will be called on to review targeted suppliers and discuss recommended payment terms. Depending on the number of suppliers in scope and the working relationship between AP and procurement, this exercise could require multiple work days of effort.
- Finalize the goals. Before working with your provider to detail specific target metrics, take this opportunity to clearly articulate your program goals. If your focus is to improve the health of your supply chain, then your program may not be as aggressive in extending payment terms or pursuing maximum discounts. If your goal is to free up as much working capital as possible, then maximizing extensions while minimizing early payments will guide the strategy.
How we can help
To help you prepare for a project kick-off, we offer a sample project plan that can guide you on project execution and clearly identify who will be involved at different stages. You can request it by sending an email to SAP_improvefirstname.lastname@example.org
You can also get our complimentary e-book, Insider’s Guide to Improving Payments and Cash Flow. You’ll learn how to build a business case for improving payment processing and cash flow management, and determine core requirements for a successful program that will deliver measurable value to your organization.
Learn how organizations are gaining instant financial insights and using them to make better decisions—both now and in the future. Register now for the 2017 Financial Excellence Forum, Oct. 10-11 in New York City.