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Implementing a Global Accounts Payable Portal

Introduction

The concept of self-service technology for Shared Service processes has been around for decades, with the greatest penetration for Employee Services applications for the creation, updating, and distribution of employee related information, with other efforts related to call center support, including supporting vendors for basic requests to answer question regarding payment status and payment timing becoming increasingly popular.  As the availability of purchased portal solutions has become more popular, solutions for Accounts Payable have also advanced to include designs that can support global operations with functionality that includes invoice submission capabilities, in addition to accessing basis payment status information. 

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our Accounts Payable (P2P) research area featured a global company with over $10B in annual revenue discussing their approach for establishing a global Accounts Payable portal.  The company implemented a purchased portal solution from Taulia, with a first go-live in early 2017 and with a steady expansion of functionality and regions served over the next 3-years.  The company already had a successful EDI program in place for many of the manufacturing related invoices and used Taulia to reduce the impact of remaining volume of ten thousand paper invoices per week that required manual entry.  The project was successful in eliminating over 60% of these paper invoices. 

While the company had resources to build a custom proprietary portal, a decision was made to purchase a solution for a number of reasons, including a simpler path for changes and upgrades, and the ability to leverage the adoption of a purchased solution with a large installed base instead of requiring suppliers to learn something unique and custom. 

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to provide insights to how Peeriosity member companies were approaching this issue.  The first question asked about the geographic scope of an Accounts Payable portal for member companies who have implemented.  Implementing globally was the approach taken by 30% of companies, with an additional 50% selecting either multi-region, regional, or multi-country implementations.  The balance of 20% have implemented on a single country basis.  Here are the details:

The second polling question asked about the major challenges impacting the expansion of geographic scope for their Accounts Payable portal.  29% indicated issues with standardization of processes, and another 29% said the greatest challenge had to do with vendor willingness to use the portal.  42% indicated the greatest challenge was that expanding scope of the Accounts Payable portal hasn’t been a priority. 

A few of the comments from members include:

  • Currently don’t have a vendor portal. In process of a system upgrade that will have a vendor portal. We will need to strategically roll it out as vendor master data isn’t clean and will need to strategically choose the vendors that can be supported by a portal and will be receptive.
  • We are in the early stages of developing an external facing Portal for our vendors.
  • We have just rolled this with automated invoice process for North America. Plan is for further roll out across regions.
  • A key challenge for us in rolling out our portal to additional markets has been the different legal / tax requirements. it’s not a showstopper but it does involve additional work and sometimes external consultation.
  • We have a global portal that utilizes a different link for each geography.
  • We are working towards a global vendor portal that will include accounts payable.

Closing Summary

For companies looking to implement self-service technologies, rather than developing a solution internally there are likely to be a range of purchased solutions available that can be easily integrated with the company’s existing ERP system.  For Accounts Payable portals, these solutions have a wide range of functionality, with the ability to handle large volumes from anywhere in the world and with the opportunity to implement the functionality globally, even if actual work processes are organized regionally.

Does your company have a global portal for Accounts Payable?  If yes, what are the features and functionality available to your suppliers?  Has the portal helped you to eliminate paper invoices?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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