Ad van der Poel, senior vice president, financing services at Basware, explains how data aids collaboration, transparency and financial agility.
Global Finance: What are the benefits of collaboration and data-driven analytics for business finance, and how might they impact supply chain finance in 2017?
Van der Poel: Visibility across purchase-to-pay [P2P] has become a priority for all businesses, to improve their working capital. We see that, in 2017, many businesses are breaking down departmental silos between treasury, procurement, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Traditionally, procurement and accounts payable have focused on areas such as payment performance and supplier metrics, but businesses that have included treasurers to take the lead in working capital optimization initiatives have witnessed higher profit and loss [P&L] and a greater balance sheet impact.
Key to collaboration with the supply chain partners is the use of commerce networks to effortlessly roll out new services, focusing on working capital optimization, that benefit both parties. This collaboration within the organization and with the supply chain partners strengthens the supplier relationships and enables innovative payment strategies. By following this road map, companies can achieve true financial agility to improve competitiveness and bottom-line performance.
GF: How big a driver is transparency in the acceleration of analytics, and what opportunities does it create?
Van der Poel: The need for transparency is pushing finance and procurement professionals to automate across the entire P2P process, dissolve the boundaries between departments and gain access to critical information about suppliers, purchases, spending and cash flow. In parallel to the expanded focus on internal efficiencies, organizations will increasingly turn to business network ecosystems to transparently connect with trading partners across the globe. As this transparency covers the entire financial supply chain, it allows companies to make or take payments as cash flow needs dictate, strengthening and aligning commercial relationships between the buyers and sellers.
GF: Despite increased regulatory and reporting restrictions, how do you ensure that your corporate clients enjoy the same sort of online experience that consumers enjoy?
Van der Poel: Everything Basware designs is based on the user experience. First, we gain a clear understanding of the users’ needs, wants, expectations and abilities. We always ask one simple question: Why is this necessary? With that answered, we build a useful, usable and valuable product for the end user. Whether it is about onboarding a new supplier for dynamic discount or new payment method, or converting a purchase order to an invoice, a highly responsive design works wherever you are.