How to map out and review your existing procure to pay processes
- Posted by: David Watters
- Category: Best Practices
We believe in sharing our expertise to help businesses of all sizes automate and optimise their finance and procurement operations to drive measurable value. We know that by following the right steps organisations can go from $0 to at least $250K a year in savings utilising a procure to pay solution. In the second part of our new series, we’ll be stepping you through how you should map out and review your existing processes, how we see businesses traditionally approaching this, why this causes more problems than it solves and how businesses should be approaching this to get it right.
Understanding your existing processes
Processes do not exist in isolation, if you don’t understand all aspects of the full value chain – what is working and not working – you won’t achieve any true optimisation, automation, cost savings or risk profile reduction.
We see businesses typically sticking with a limited scope when trying to understand their existing processes. In the example we used in part 1, where you’ve paid a fraudulent invoice because the bank account details were changed on the invoice, you end up investing time focussed on only doing basic process mapping for checking bank details on your invoices.
Is process mapping alone sufficient? Is the tactical scope sufficient? No – we see this typically leads to organisations realising the following (albeit too late):
- The actual cause of the problem is not being addressed; you end up with a band-aid solution that only half fixes the problem identified.
- The real levers that will drive return on your investment and drive internal/external user adoption are not understood and therefore not fully leveraged. This leads to new processes and/or systems not reaching what their business case promised and an ultimately poor user experience internally and externally.
How is process review typically done in businesses?
Tactical scope is mapped out with the output being basic process maps which have limited detail on process exceptions that cause the problems
What result does this usually drive for the business?
Source of the problem is not addressed and a detailed understanding of what will drive value and user adoption/change is not fully understood or realised.
So, what should businesses be doing differently?
How should process mapping be approached in businesses?
Conduct in-depth interviews with key stakeholders to understand how your processes are working and what requirements your stakeholders have
What result will this drive for your business?
An understanding of key pain points, key levers to drive adoption, areas that will drive a financial return on investment, quick win and long-term development areas
Start by mapping out your processes but use the opportunity to go deeper across the whole value chain, follow the process to its logical start and end points not just the . Interview key stakeholders and end users in the process to understand what is working well, what is not working well and what exceptions cause the biggest problems in terms of time and manual work. From these interviews you should be able to gather key insights to questions such as:
- What are the key pain points in the process?
- What automation and process efficiencies will delight users?
- What user experience is needed to drive greater user adoption?
- What will drive return on investment? Where are the opportunities to reduce your cost of processing invoices, buying goods or negotiate greater cost savings across your supplier base?
- What would be the quick wins within your processes what will need to be a longer-term development?
- What cultural and team factors might impact your ability to change processes effectively?
- What different technology platforms that are in use in the process at the moment.