Ariba Enhances Smart Invoicing Capabilities
New release of Ariba platform debuts next-generation intelligent e-invoicing capabilities to improve efficiency, optimize cash flow, ensure global compliance and improve finance collaboration
SUNNYVALE, Calif., December 6, 2011 – With the fate of the global economy still uncertain, companies have made managing cash and working capital job number one. And Ariba, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA) is arming them with the tools they need to do it with the latest release of its collaborative commerce platform. Designed to enhance the company’s smart invoicing capabilities, new features within the release enable organizations to further streamline global invoice processing, support complex compliance requirements, and improve business commerce collaboration.
“Accounts Payable (AP) teams spend inordinate amounts of time and effort processing paper invoices. To address this problem, many companies have implemented solutions to digitize them. But with one in five invoices still containing an overcharge or other error, it’s clear that digitization only leads to bad invoices being delivered faster,” said James Tucker, Director of Marketing, Invoice and Payment Solutions, Ariba. “With the enhancements to the Ariba® Invoice Management™ suite of solutions, companies around the world can execute a smart invoicing process that provides full visibility and control, improves compliance, and automates reconciliation, eliminating errors and rework so that only accurate invoices reach AP“.”
Streamlined Invoice Processing
Delivered on-demand via the Ariba Network, Ariba’s Invoice Management™ solution features smart invoicing capabilities, where e-invoices undergo an automated validation process upon supplier submission. This smart validation eliminates errors and rework so only accurate and approved invoices reach AP. Validated invoices are then posted directly to ERP systems for on-time payment and discount capture.
“A unique strength of on-demand and cloud solutions is the integration and validation at the business process level, of pulling together many disparate elements of a process -- but with the proper governance along the way,” said Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst, Interarbor Solutions. “Managed automation across all the elements of the process makes invoicing work far better. And it leads to even further benefits up and down the supply chain and procurement lifecycles.”
By putting a smart invoicing process in place, companies can:
- Reduce operating costs by 70 percent or more
- Enable 98 percent touchless invoice processing
- Minimize risk of overpayments and fraud
With the new features baked into the latest release of Ariba Invoice Management, companies can take things a step further and:
- Accelerate processing of valid PO and non-PO invoices
- Perform automated, detailed PO-line level matching on any invoice, including scanned invoices
- Simplify management of rejected invoices and dispute resolution
"Implementing an electronic invoicing process has allowed OfficeMax and its customers to reduce purchase order and invoice processing errors,” said Patrick Ogborn, Vice President, eCommerce, OfficeMax, an early adopter of Ariba’s solutions. “And this has enabled tighter integration and collaboration with our customers on the Ariba Network."
Expanded Global Coverage
World class organizations are embracing e-invoicing to streamline their payable operations, lower operating costs, improve compliance and optimize working capital. As more organizations seek to expand e-invoicing initiatives globally, the ability to meet complex tax and compliance requirements that vary by country is critical. With its recent acquisition of b-process, France’s largest electronic invoice network and one of the largest e-invoicing networks in Europe, and the latest release of the Ariba collaborative commerce platform, Ariba enables organizations to more effectively execute a global e-invoicing strategy that supports indirect tax methods such as VAT, withholding taxes, e-archiving, and related country-specific e-invoicing requirements.
b-process delivers a flexible set of solutions for e-Invoicing that are used by large buyer customers across industries, including: Carrefour, EADS, Eurocopter, Gefco, IATA, Marmara, Saint-Gobain and Vinci Energie. The solutions accept invoices in any type of structured format files, including positional, EDI, XML and PDF, allowing buyers and suppliers to quickly and easily connect to the b-process commerce network and begin processing invoices immediately, regardless of the AP, ERP, or other back office systems they are using.
Combined with the Ariba® Invoice Management™ suite of solutions, the offerings enable companies to implement a touchless global invoicing process that reduces operating costs by up to 70 percent, supports complex compliance requirements, and improves business commerce collaboration.
And with the expanded set of country-based business rules and templates and new tools delivered as part of the latest enhancements to Ariba’s solutions, companies can:
- Configure up to 40 business rules at the country level and apply them to e-invoice templates, which include default e-invoice configuration by country
- Capture withholding tax support critical in certain countries for specific suppliers
- Prevent header-level taxes and discounts when lines on an invoice are subject to different tax rates
- Automatically select titles for invoices and credit memos that follow country-specific guidelines
Ariba is consistently recognized for its understanding of the requirements for doing business in Europe and unique tools to address them, including its VAT compliance capabilities. Ariba Invoice Management has twice been ranked “Best Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment Solution” by Global Finance Magazine.
In today’s volatile economy, two things are crucial to the success of any organization: collaboration and flexibility. This is particularly true when it comes to managing cash.
With the latest release of the Ariba collaborative commerce platform, buyers and sellers can improve their ability to gain visibility into the timing and status of payments and thereby improve their cash flows.
They can also enable dynamic discounting programs to more effectively manage these cash flows and mitigate financial risk. Leveraging Ariba Invoice Management in conjunction with Ariba Discount Professional™, for instance, buyers and sellers can fully automate the process of offering, negotiating, and agreeing on early payment terms. Buyers can accelerate payments for approved invoices to key suppliers in return for discounts, earning an immediate return on their cash. And sellers can gain increased visibility into future cash flows, certainty in payment timing and the ability to use cash sooner to fund daily business needs.
“Faced with market volatility and economic uncertainty, many companies are parking their cash to hedge against financial risk,” said Drew Hofler, Senior Manager, Working Capital Management Solutions, Ariba. “But with interest rates at historic lows, an increasing number are beginning to view their supply chains as a more viable opportunity for investment. Leveraging Ariba Discount Professional, buyers can achieve a greater return on their cash that is effectively risk-free because they are investing in their own suppliers. And suppliers can access a better and faster source of cash for their receivables.”
To date, companies using Ariba Discount Management have been able to:
- Increase early payment discount capture from 35 percent to greater than 90 percent
- Expand supplier discount participation to greater than 20 percent
- Achieve average discounts of 1.95%
- Capture over $2 million in early payment discount savings for every $1 billion in targeted spend
But there’s a benefit to suppliers who offer discounts as well. “The cost of capital today is high for startups. Even with strong revenue growth, when you haven’t been in business for a long period of time, you often won’t have a balance sheet or P&L that you can lever to get competitive rates from traditional sources,” said John Evarts, COO and CFO of Mediafly, a Chicago-based company that delivers a cloud-based platform and applications for content management and distribution on mobile devices to Fortune 500 companies. “With Ariba’s dynamic discounting solution, we have gained quicker access to the capital we need to hire developers and get to the next set of features in our products which accelerates revenue and ultimately generates cash.”
Mediafly CEO Carson Conant further mentioned, “We actually ask prospective customers if they are on Ariba network because their answer has ramifications to how they can fuel our growth.”
Ariba’s collaborative commerce platform is available and in use today. To learn more about how your organization can leverage it to buy, sell and manage cash, more efficiently and effectively visit: www.ariba.com
To learn more about Ariba’s Invoice Management and Dynamic Discounting solutions and the results they can deliver, visit: http://www.ariba.com/solutions/manage-cash.cfm