Oct 7, 2016 Chris Doxey
Want a way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies? Here’s are three simple steps you can take to improve your P2P process today.
Streamlining your supplier master file
Kind of like spring cleaning—but for your master vendor file. Unlike spring cleaning, however, MVF cleanup should occur more frequently than once a year. Doing so reduces fraud, prevents duplicate payments, and even reduces costs.
Here’s how to make MVF cleanup easy—in two steps:
Identify and remove or archive
Compare your MVF to your payments file. Identify vendors that haven’t been paid in the past 6, 9, and 12 months. Decide on a range to keep active and export the remaining, unused vendors into a separate file.
Is that ‘ACME Supply Co’ or ‘A.C.M.E. Supply Co’? You may not see a difference but a computer does. Once you’ve scrubbed an MVF from unused entries, proceed to duplicated entries. Identifying dupes may be more time consuming given the example above—the nuances of these type of duplications requires attention to detail.
Moving forward, compare unique information, such as address or tax ID, before adding new vendors the the MVF. That’ll prevent duplication from reoccurring.
Building a Supplier Management Process
AP should partner with procurement to better handle the supplier management process or lifecycle. In doing so, AP and procurement teams can gather and share valuable information, foster better supplier relationships, which in turn creates a tightly integrated P2P system.
Recall that the supplier management lifecycle is broken down into six steps: qualification, sourcing, onboarding, doing business, managing performance, and probation/exit.
Ultimately, AP and procurements can interface with two of these six steps—onboarding and probation/exit.
Once procurement has identified a supplier to do business with, the process of collecting payment information should be performed only once.
Siloed data is the primary reason why suppliers submit payment information multiple times. This lack of information sharing creates a perception of incompetence to the supplier.
Ideally, procurement (after all, they were the last department to interface with the supplier) will collect supplier payment information and hand this off to AP, and ultimately into the MVF. An integrated ERP system makes this process seamless.
Much like the onboarding process would trigger an addition to the MVF, an exit condition from the supplier lifecycle should trigger an automatic line-item removal from the MVF.
Again, an integrated ERP system will allow this process to work seamlessly.
Putting it all together (through automation)
Ultimately, the path to P2P automation is about finding systematic ways to complete tasks. The exercise of cleaning AP’s MVF and integrating supplier lifecycle data between AP and procurement is the first step to automation. After all, following these practices will make an organization's journey to automation much less daunting.