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Westpac takes e-procurement to the cloud

Westpac says it has delivered an Australian first in e-procurement, by partnering with Coupa to help businesses more efficiently manage their spending within a comprehensive cloud platform. The partnership is designed to help customers reduce risk, improve compliance, automate manual and inefficient tasks, and deliver cost savings to the business.

Coupa’s Business Spend Management platform has been deployed by over 750 organisations, including MGM Resorts International, Salesforce, and Unilever.

“Corporates have invested heavily in improving the way they receive payments from customers; however, we haven’t seen the same advancements in how payments are made to suppliers," commented Di Challenor, Westpac Institutional Bank’s general manager, Global Transaction Services. "In many cases, the payables process remains inefficient, paper-based, and prone to errors. Our partnership with Coupa is the first major step towards frictionless supplier payments and delivering end-to-end automation across the working capital cycle.” 

Challenor said that by combining the Coupa BSM Platform with Westpac’s eInvoicing, payments and reconciliation solutions, CFOs will have real-time oversight into their organisations’ spending behaviour, allowing them to proactively identify and address small problems before they turn into big issues.

Organisations with large procurement spend or complex supplier relationships will get real-time visibility on budgets, increased purchasing power, and more efficient processes.

“This partnership means we’re in a strong position to help CFOs and finance teams get full visibility and control to drive real value across the business and the bottom line," said Roger Goulart, senior vice president of Business Development and Alliances at Coupa. "This will result in some exciting procurement innovations for our mutual customers."

In addition, with more than $1.2 trillion of cumulative spend under management, Coupa is leveraging the wisdom of the BSM community along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to deliver real-time prescriptive insights and benchmarks to customers. As a result, smarter spend decisions can be made, including the potential to enhance the use of working capital through increased days payable outstanding (DPO), real-time payments, and e-invoicing when the Australian and New Zealand Government’s electronic invoicing standards are adopted.

In February 2019, both the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers announced that their countries intend to adopt the Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) interoperability framework for e-invoicing to increase opportunities for our businesses to integrate with the global trading environment.

According to Challenor, the Coupa platform also offers benefits for small to medium size businesses supplying to large organisations:

“Unlike some other e-procurement platforms, suppliers get access to the Coupa Supplier Portal for free. The digitisation of purchase orders, invoicing and payments can’t come fast enough for many smaller suppliers who have no visibility over when they will get paid and struggle to manage cash flow due to today’s inefficient paper-based processes.” 

Westpac’s moves also anticipate the Government’s increased focus on digitising procurement and adoption of the Australian Supplier Payment Code helping corporates remain at the forefront of compliance and regulatory change.

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