Cloud Digital Procure-to-Pay for COVID-19 Impact Now and the Future

COVID-19 has disrupted life as we know it. With quarantines and shelter-at-home orders being implemented globally, many organizations are struggling to carry out routine business with employees working from home offices or kitchen tables. Unfortunately, there’s no telling when we’ll be able to return to “business as usual.” For now, we must adapt to our new normal the best we can.

While a lot of functions and jobs align very naturally with remote work, others do not. Even before COVID-19, effective remote work required business applications that can follow employees where they work—whether that be at the office, on the road or at home. Now, we’re seeing operational challenges arise involving organizations that simply aren’t equipped with the right tech to manage finance and procurement functions remotely. Some companies no longer have anyone at the physical office checking the mail, processing paper invoices, executing paper PO’s or making check runs. Any slowdown related to the purchasing and AP functions will ultimately result in a negative impact to the bottom line and cash flow.

We often talk about the benefits of digitizing and automating the procure-to-pay process:

  • Eliminating the labor costs associated with manual management and paper-based processes. Think digital purchase requisitions and approvals, supplier catalogs, vendor invoice management, accounts payable, expense management and more.
  • The ability to track spend, PO, invoice, goods receipt, budget and supplier data in a single platform, positioning you to analyze everything holistically and make smarter financial decisions.
  • Promoting employee adoption, making it easy so they are more apt to purchase within the capabilities of your procurement and financial software, and drive spend to sourced suppliers which leads to fewer rogue purchases, lower costs and a greater spend under management percentage.

But now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re realizing more than ever the importance of having a modern, mobile-first designed purchasing and AP solution that delivers invoices from the vendor in electronic format, allows you to schedule and automate payments digitally, centrally track receipts and expense reports, and submit reports remotely—anytime, anywhere, from any device.

“Technology can help organizations better adapt to the changing situation.”*

Gartner (Gartner subscription required)

In short: with automated purchasing and AP, employees can operate all procurement needs from home or any mobile location and keep the business running. They can find, purchase, manage vendor invoices and pay vendors from anywhere.

Without such capabilities, normal operations for businesses that haven’t been deemed “essential” would simply halt. Businesses find themselves in a time where the top-line is uncertain and in order to succeed, it is important to expand the focus on the bottom-line. When a lack of technology keeps employees from maintaining business operations and limits the ability to control spend against shrinking budgets, the impact of COVID-19 becomes much worse.

And in the long-term, once we come out on the other side of this pandemic—which we will—the remote working trend is only going to increase. Businesses that once operated with traditional office cultures and strayed away from allowing their employees the flexibility of working from home, will likely loosen up their policies after realizing that with the right tools, they can keep their businesses running remotely.

Are you setting up your procurement and finance teams for success during this “Work from Anywhere” reality?

“Leaders must address the changing enterprise needs as the digital workplace evolves and remote working becomes more common.”*

– Gartner –

For more advice on how you can navigate these challenging times, check out our last post: COVID-19: When your top line is uncertain—focus on the bottom line. 

*Gartner, “Overcoming the COVID-19 Crisis Through Pandemic Preparedness”, Roberta Witty, Venecia Liu, 24 February 2020