Becoming a Top Performer:
Why Companies Are Still
Investing in Core Financial
by James Fisher, SAP
James Fisher;( james.fisher@
Now that businesses have emerged from the worst
of the economic downturn, they are once again
spending on IT and business process improvements — especially in areas where there is a
demonstrable ROI and where planned implementation times are not too long. A briefing paper
from benchmarking and advisory group APQC
suggests that many large organizations will likely
invest in their financial management processes,
since weaknesses in areas like payables, receivables, and budgeting are no longer acceptable.;
Through its research, APQC discovered some
key differences between top and bottom performers across various criteria, such as the proportion
of manual journal entries and the general accounting cost per journal entry line item. Sometimes,
the difference between top and bottom performers is significant (see Figure 1 on page 44),
indicating that many organizations need to focus
on low-hanging fruit, like improving the time
needed to complete monthly consolidated financial statements, before moving to bigger projects.
How can companies master that low-hanging
fruit and move into the top performer category?
SAP offers the tools to support this initiative —
we certainly have not been sitting still when it
comes to innovating the core SAP ERP Financials
capabilities that are the bedrock of many organizations’ transaction processing and financial
reporting. Let’s explore four areas in which this
innovation has been particularly powerful.
1. Invoice-to-Pay and E-Invoicing
It is not uncommon for large businesses to charge
their suppliers a penalty fee for submitting paper
invoices instead of electronic ones. Such a disincentive usually sets suppliers on the road to
electronic invoicing, or e-invoicing, an area in
which SAP has driven innovation by collaborating
with Crossgate and Open Text.
For example, the automation of the accounts
payable process through e-invoicing is fully supported by the SAP Information Interchange
application by Crossgate, which connects suppliers
and customers with out-of-the-box connectivity,
regardless of data standards. This allows users to
electronically exchange invoices and other documents directly from their SAP applications. The
SAP Document Access and SAP Archiving applications by OpenText also enable scanning and
imaging of paper documents and store the images,
which are accessible through downstream image
processing, with the posted transaction.
2. Financial Risk Management
The activities of analysts, the global demand for
commodities, and US regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act force companies to develop new
commodity risk control and mitigation strategies
and improve related financial reporting processes.
After co-innovation with a European customer
with global mining and metals trading interests,
SAP Treasury and Risk Management now provides specific functionality to help companies
mitigate commodity price and availability volatility and meet relevant government regulations.
Jul n Aug n Sep 2011 | sapinsider.wispubs.com | © 2011 Wellesley Information Services.
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