It's a difficult, expensive decision that so many critical systems are dependent upon. Below are some questions you’ll want to consider as you are comparing solution providers.
Concur added their Accounts Payable capabilities, called “Concur Invoice”, fairly recently. Their original sweet spot was Expense Reporting, and they certainly do a terrific job of that although we have heard of some resistance to their requirement that clients allow them to float the money for reimbursement and credit card payments. Certainly if your expense accounts total in the millions, or even the high thousands, having that money in someone else’s account for 10 days or more is a significant factor.
When it comes to AP Automation, there are few long-term case studies to reference for Concur and their benefit claims don’t set them apart dramatically from other solutions. But there are some questions you’ll need to answer before making a decision about choosing Concur for your AP Automation.
Concur offers “predefined reports, dashboards and key metrics” and they’re also happy to have you configure the system to suit your workflow. But do you really want to take on customizing a system or revamping your workflow and retraining your staff before their solution functions the way you want it to?
The DataServ migration team has years of experience gathering the information we need to customize our solution to work for you, and our comprehensive implementation services are all performed at a fixed fee so you won’t have any surprises. Because we know your team already has a full workload and any change is challenge enough without you being responsible for implementing those changes as well.
In a perfect world every invoice would have a matching purchase order, would conform to a predefined, electronic format, and would be submitted through the appropriate channels. But very few (if any) of us work in a perfect world.
The reality is that most companies have a combination of Direct and Indirect Spending. They need to work with small vendors who might not be set up to submit via an electronic portal and with large vendors who might offer the best terms and pricing but aren’t flexible about their process for invoicing. That’s why AP Processing solutions like Concur that depend on your vendors to adopt their process in order to be paid usually leave 25 percent or more of your invoices to be processed manually.
DataServ’s solution is set up to master the variables and simplify the complexities. Whether the invoice is electronic or jotted on a Post It Note, whether there is a related purchase order or it is for the emergency supplies your team couldn’t get through their last project without – Direct Spend or Indirect Spend in any format imaginable, just have your invoices routed directly to us and we do the rest. We automate the capture of the data and pushing it around in the workflow, the approvals get faster and easier and coding gets more accurate. You have all of the reporting necessary for transparency into your spend management and regulatory compliance, without redesigning your AP Department. And the only change you’ve asked your vendors to make is the address where they send their invoices.
You have already made a lot of difficult and expensive decisions. You have an existing IT environment, you have one or more ERPs already in place, you have staff and vendors who have their own systems and processes. How much of that do you really want to have to change?
DataServ is what we like to call “system agnostic.” We can and have integrated our modular Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Expense Reporting solutions into nearly every environment and with nearly every ERP you can name. Whereas Concur was purchased by SAP so if working with an SAP solution is important to you they can deliver on that.
Ultimately, at DataServ we believe that migrating from your current Accounts Payable system can be far more simple, and require far less investment of time, money, and frustration, if you’re working with a company that supports the way you work rather than dictating your environment, technology, and process to match the way their system is designed to work.
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With so many critical systems dependent on this decision, no professional takes choosing a new AP Automation Solution lightly. Here are the questions you’ll need to consider as you weigh out the key elements required for the smooth migration and long range success of the solution you choose.
One of the primary tenants at DataServ is that it should not matter if the invoice is in electronic format or written on a paper napkin, presented for payment with a Purchase Order or without a Purchase Order, it should be processed quickly and accurately without causing you a headache.
In order to achieve the “spend management” and “touchless processing” that Coupa touts you will be required to convert your invoices to their approved format. For most companies, getting to even a high level of compliance requires an overhaul of their AP Department and can still leave 25 percent or more of their invoices to be handled manually.
Albert Einstein was quoted as having said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” We’re not saying we’re geniuses, but we do believe that AP is complex enough without us making it even more so. In fact, DataServ was built to simplify your workflow, while increasing transparency, efficiency, and spend management. Plus, our migration services are inclusive and offered at a fixed fee, so there are no surprises to your budget of time or financial resources.
Coupa’s approach is certainly thorough; it has to be in order to bring your AP Department into compliance with their workflow. They will dissect your data, list out your vendors, and give you a plan for making your systems fit their model. And you can pay them to implement a portion of that plan. But why make something more complex than it needs to be?
Wouldn’t life be grand (or at least this decision a little easier) if all of your vendors were happy to interface with your choice of technology? You could just send them a checklist for invoicing you in the future and they’d happily comply, right?
Coupa believes that your vendors “will appreciate not having to learn difficult software or pay supplier fees to do business with you” and they offer an incentive program aimed at increasing vendor adoption. But no matter how you approach it, getting your vendors to change their process is basically a sales job that your people will have to tackle. And depending on the number of contacts they’ll have to make and the time they’ll have to spend with each vendor to explain, persuade, and convert them, that can add up to a big investment on your part. At DataServ we’ve taken the stance that your vendors will appreciate it even more if they only have to change one thing -- the billing address. We automate the capture of the data and pushing it around in the workflow, the approvals get faster and easier and coding gets more accurate. And the only change you’ve asked your vendors to make is the address where they send their invoices. That simple, even for Indirect Spends.
Of course, when there is a Purchase Order created our AutoVouch™ 3-way matching process makes your work even simpler. The invoice is matched to the Purchase Order and mapped directly into your ERP for payment in a truly touchless process.
Coupa is proud of their 100 percent cloud-based platform. And their website says that they are fully aware that the success of a cloud-based platform depends on 100 percent adoption. What you won’t hear them saying is that achieving that goal requires an investment that goes far beyond just the direct cost of the solution. We know that any change comes at a cost to you and your staff, we mitigate that cost through a simple migration process, which we manage for you for a fixed fee, and minimal change to your existing processes and technology.
If you are looking for a single solution for multiple invoice types, you work with a wide range of vendors with both Indirect and Direct Spending, and you need to integrate with one or more ERPs, but you don’t need to restructure your entire AP process, Coupa is probably not the solution you’re looking for.