Empowering the Ecosystem: Kofax, Coupa, and the Future of Financial Functions
Today’s blog post is by guest author, David Sentongo, Product Strategy Leader at Kofax. David is responsible for roadmap direction, product market fit, and commercial success of Kofax’s Finance and Accounts Payable portfolio of solutions for digital transformation. Kofax, a CoupaLink technology partner, enables organizations to digitally transform document-intensive workflows with automation.
Despite the push toward digital-first initiatives, many financial processes are still manual, costly, and time-consuming.
Research shows 55% of the 550 billion invoices sent globally each year arrive in traditional, paper-based formats. Approving these traditional invoices takes too long, according to 40% of companies — which is no surprise, since accounts payable (AP) staff spend 25% of their time dealing with exceptions, errors, and issues within the invoice process. The result? A single invoice costs $11.57 on average to process. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of invoices per month and the costs add up.
Thankfully, there's a better way. By combining Coupa's Business Spend Management (BSM) platform with Kofax's AP Essentials f/k/a ReadSoft Online invoice solution, companies can streamline key AP processes, reduce total error rates, and bring costs down. The integration is complementary to Coupa’s leading Invoice and AP Automation solutions.
But that's just the beginning. As part of the larger Coupa App Marketplace, Kofax and Coupa can help companies establish a firm foundation to build out the future of their financial functions. Here's how.
How to Overcome the 3 Major Challenges in Invoice Processing
Effective invoice processing is essential to ensure suppliers are paid on time and disruptions are kept to a minimum. This is critical, given ongoing global supply chain challenges and rapid changes to public health policies — what is a requirement one day may become a recommendation the next, in turn forcing companies to constantly adapt.
In practice, three key invoicing challenges now exist:
- Time investment — The time required for staff to evaluate and extract data from physical invoices is substantial. Add in potential errors due to duplicate data or improper formatting, and even the best teams may struggle to complete invoice processing on time.
- Operational complexity — Faced with bridging the gap between digital and physical invoices, AP teams battle complexity in their processes even as partners and vendors expect payments ASAP. It's easy for complexity to derail efficiency.
- Staffing concerns — With the Great Resignation well underway, companies need to consider the impact of poor invoice processes on staff. If team members are tasked with tedious, error-prone tasks, they may start looking for other employment options that offer greater value.
Revamping Invoicing with Technologies like OCR and AI
Kofax's cloud-based AP Essentials solution is changing the way companies assess, handle, and process invoices.
Using robust optical character recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence (AI) frameworks, Kofax provides simple, highly accurate extraction of invoice data, which can then be routed directly into the Coupa BSM and procure-to-pay (P2P) platform. Consider the impact of powerful OCR: instead of having staff manually convert paper invoices into digital format and then examine each one for critical data, OCR solutions handle this process automatically. Invoices are analyzed and digitized, and key data is extracted — without the need for manual review.
Leveraging a cloud-based approach, meanwhile, allows companies to minimize their AP infrastructure investment while simultaneously gaining access to Kofax's in-depth analytics tools, which translate invoice data into easy-to-read dashboards that provide insight into the growing impact of process automation.
Obtaining Qualitative and Quantitative Results
Effective invoice processes should deliver both qualitative and quantitative results.
From a qualitative standpoint, Kofax AP Essentials for Coupa reduces the need for staff to take on tasks that are mundane and error-prone, instead freeing up their time to tackle bigger projects that offer substantive line-of-business benefits.
From a quantitative standpoint, the use of cloud-based, OCR-driven invoice solutions has helped companies ramp up their use of automated processes from just 20% to 80% or more. In practice, this translates to a reduction of invoicing lifecycles from 30 days or more down to a matter of hours.
Uniting around the Future of Finance
So what's next for BSM, P2P, and invoice processing? And what does it mean for Coupa customers?
First is the evolution of invoices. While most invoices still use PDF format, there's a shift underway to more broadly applicable XML formats, especially in the United Kingdom and Europe, as regulators begin to mandate e-invoicing as the standard. This shift creates an even greater need for solutions capable of sending, receiving, and processing compliant electronic invoices across a wide range of country formats.
Next is the rapid expansion of end-to-end ecosystems. For Coupa and Kofax, this starts by streamlining the move from procurement to payment by making it possible for invoices to be ingested, extracted, and automatically posted in Coupa.
In practice, this is a recognition that while the Coupa platform excels across P2P and BSM functions, Marketplace partners have expertise in other areas. The result? A collaborative environment that continuously reinforces functionality to empower end-to-end support and drive customer success.
In the future of financial functions, collaboration trumps competition, and robust ecosystems are the cornerstone of end-to-end spend and invoice management.