Successful Order-to-Cash (O2C) operations depend on a smooth relationship with your buyer’s Procure-to-Pay (P2P) process. In our latest webinar, in partnership with The Hackett Group, we discussed the ways that supplier and buyer portals can be both challenging and beneficial to this relationship, and which key considerations you should take into account when looking at implementing portals.
90% of companies have customers that require them to submit invoices through a portal”
The O2C process on your side is mirrored on your buyer’s side with their own P2P process. Both two sides of the same coin – following the journey of an item or service from requisition through approvals, logistics, invoicing and payment – the efficiency of each side depends upon the efficiency of the other. For buyer organizations looking to simplify and expedite their own P2P process, they can introduce supplier portals, providing them with a way to centralize and standardize incoming documents and reduce their own admin overhead. The benefit to you, the supplier, is ostensibly improved digital transparency – but if you’re dealing with a great number of buyers, each with their own portal system, the process can become complex and unwieldy. As The Hackett Group found, over 90% of companies have customers that require them to submit invoices through a portal*, meaning portals are a crucial new step in this process that are here to stay.
You could find your own O2C process held up if you’re trying to figure out how to interact and ‘self-serve’ with multiple portals, each with their own set of rigid buyer requirements and rules. If you’re finding, like one of the companies The Hackett Group works with, that you’re having to load invoices and documents to 50+ separate portals, it may be time for you to rethink your own internal O2C processes.
It can look from the outset like daunting work: you have so many customers, and so little time. Not to mention ever-changing environments on the buyer side through merger and acquisition activity or business process changes. But there are enormous successes to be realized through adoption of a buyer portal system, with so many different activities that can be carried out through a buyer portal – such as uploading invoices for payment, receiving customer orders, communicating shipment sates, resolving customer disputes and receiving payment**. Adopting a buyer portal can lead to increased efficiency and productivity, improved visibility due to all documents and data being held in one place, greater accommodation of your buyers’ requirements, and a reduction in admin time on both sides. You could even consider setting up your own internal, centralized team to handle all portal transactions, keep everything running smoothly, and deal with change management.
It’s no secret that there’s a correlation between setting up a smooth, digitized O2C process through use of portals, and stronger KPIs: companies that are more digitally mature tend to have lower processing costs and are able to collect cash from invoices faster, reducing DSO.
With portals in place, both on your side and your buyers’ side, you can shift to a customer-centric and digitally-enabled workflow that leads to improved efficiency for all and fully optimized working capital. To find out how Sidetrade can support you on your journey to adopting portals, you can view the webinar on-demand here, or contact us today.
*source: Customer Billing Quick Poll, The Hackett Group, 2017
**source: Customer-to-Cash Intelligent Process Automation Quick Poll, The Hackett Group, 2018