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Industry roundup: 11 February

Kofax and Coupa partner to automate procure-to-pay processes

Kofax, a supplier of intelligent automation software for digital workflow transformation, has announced it has integrated with Coupa Software to help enterprises deepen operational efficiencies as they digitally transform their spend management processes.

Integrating Kofax ReadSoft Online with Coupa Business Spend Management (BSM) Platform is designed to help organisations automate invoice processing and payment processes. For instance, they can leverage document intelligence and machine learning from Kofax to extract data from invoices spanning multiple formats and languages, and then route extracted data into downstream spend management processes managed by Coupa. This should significantly reduce invoice processing time and overhead. The native integration between Kofax ReadSoft Online and Coupa, certified as a CoupaLink solution, reduces complexity and accelerates adoption.

The procure-to-pay lifecycle has traditionally been laden with manual, paper-based processes for capturing, matching, approving and archiving supplier invoices. Although these processes lend themselves to automation, only 10% of accounts payable leaders describe their departments as being fully automated, according to the two firms. In contrast, highly automated organisations can reduce invoice processing time by as much as 80% compared to peers with little or no automation. Furthermore, strategic investments in automation technology can shift the procure-to-pay team from being a reactive and back-office transactional function into a data-driven and proactive resource providing insights moving the business forward.


C2FO chosen by Experian to support its suppliers

Experian has partnered with C2FO to deliver the Experian Early Payment Programme. This programme, which is currently being rolled out, is designed to support the liquidity needs of Experian suppliers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The C2FO platform enables suppliers to view their outstanding invoices and offer a discount rate to accelerate the payment before due dates. This programme allows suppliers to be in complete control so that they can determine which invoices to discount, and, through the acceleration of liquidity support, suppliers can purchase more inventory or equipment, expand operations and invest in their employees.

C2FO's technology is designed to be synchronised with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software without changing the process or the manner in which suppliers are paid. As soon as a supplier's offer is accepted, the invoice is paid automatically, directly by Experian, without any change to the existing payment process.


Pandemic increases chance of digital currency in Canada

Speaking on a webcast to Canada's Institute for Data Valorisation in Montréal, Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane has spoken about how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of the country's economy. He explained how this adds even greater urgency to the work the Bank of Canada was already doing to explore a central bank digital currency and improve the way we use and move money.

The pandemic has made digital services more important than ever, including ways to pay other than cash. The Bank of Canada has accelerated its work to prepare for the day when Canada might want to launch a 'digital loonie'. Such a currency would be issued only if and when the time is right, and Lane said the following points would be kept in mind:

  • A tipping point may be reached where the acceptance of cash sharply declines.
  • The use of cryptocurrencies created by the private sector is rising, but they are deeply flawed as methods of payment.
  • Only a central bank can guarantee universal access, privacy and complete safety of a digital currency, with public interest as the top priority.

"The Bank will continue to explore the possibilities of a digital currency that would be an electronic version of the bank notes that Canadians trust and rely on," said Lane.

Businesses have responded to the pandemic by investing in new technologies that make it easier to pay online. Even when in-person payment is required, contactless methods are growing. Lane said the Bank of Canada is working with other partners to improve the efficiency of Canada’s core payments systems so that individuals and businesses can exchange funds in real time.

"Over the next year or so, these improvements will start to come online," Lane commented. "This is important for Canadians because it will mean greater speed, convenience, competition and choice in how people pay for goods and services.”

Sending money abroad has always been slow and expensive. Issues with cross-border payments affect businesses that want to pay for supplies and services or receive payment for things they sell, as well as individuals who travel or send money abroad. The Bank of Canada says it is working with other central banks and regulators to make cross-border payments more accessible.

"We will push forward with work to make cross-border payments cheaper, easier and safer for people around the globe,” noted Lane.

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