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COUPA ANNOUNCES NEW PRODUCT INNOVATIONS FOR THE BUSINESS SPEND MANAGEMENT COMMUNITY TO SPEND SMARTER TOGETHER

Company continues to set the innovation agenda by harnessing the power of the community, enhancing the user experience, and extending its open platform vision

 

At its annual Inspire’19 conference in London, Coupa Software (NASDAQ: COUP), a leader in Business Spend Management (BSM), announced new product innovations that extend the capabilities of its cloud-based platform for businesses to manage all their spend in one place. Amid global economic uncertainty, Coupa’s latest innovations empower businesses with the visibility, control, and agility to spend smarter together.

 

“Now more than ever, businesses need a comprehensive platform to effectively manage all of their business spend so they can respond swiftly and smartly to any competitive or economic pressure,” said Raja Hammoud, executive vice president of products at Coupa. “The innovations that we announced today – conceived with and by the BSM community – are designed to help businesses learn, share, and collaborate, and get the spend control they need to thrive at all times.”

 

Harnessing ‘Community’ for Smarter Spending 

Since its beginning, Coupa uniquely recognized the power of ‘community’ to help companies uncover new ways to strategically manage their spend. Purpose-built, the Coupa BSM Platform brings together a global community of businesses to collaborate with one another, and to leverage prescriptive insights from more than $1.3 trillion in cumulative business spend.

 

  • Source Together, Coupa’s newest offering, delivers community-powered savings by connecting businesses with similar buying needs so they can source products and services as a group. Source Together, offered through the Coupa BSM Platform, brings companies together to leverage their collective buying power and help deliver greater savings from suppliers for commodities or services across geographies.

 

  • The latest innovation from Coupa Supplier Insights draws upon Coupa’s aggregated and anonymous spend data from a global community of businesses to automatically tag suppliers that meet diversity requirements, such as those that are women-, minority-, or veteran-owned within their Coupa experience. Supplier Insights helps relieve sourcing teams of the arduous task of manually identifying diverse suppliers to more quickly align to their broader corporate social responsibility goals.

 

Enhancing the User Experience in a Comprehensive Platform

The foundation of spending smarter is a comprehensive, user-centric platform that makes it easier for everyone in an organization to manage all aspects of business spend, from source to settle. This means delivering a unified, consumerlike experience across all areas of spend that enables employees to rapidly adopt and obtain value from new capabilities offered on the Coupa BSM Platform, such as advanced contract lifecycle management and payments, without the feeling of learning a new application.

 

  • Within six months of Coupa’s acquisition of contract lifecycle management solution Exari, the company has rapidly unified the technology – now called Coupa Contract Lifecycle Management Advanced – with its BSM platform. With CLM Advanced, businesses have a streamlined yet powerful way to manage the contract lifecycle and operationalize contracts against spend transactions at scale, to turn negotiations into real savings.

 

  • Coupa Pay for Expense Payments is the newest solution from the company’s payments offering. With Coupa Pay for Expense Payments, companies can reimburse employee expenses directly from within the Coupa BSM Platform. Focused on simplifying the fragmented payments space for businesses, Expense Payments creates a one-stop shop for businesses to manage the end-to-end expense process, reducing the complexity of managing multiple and manual systems while making the interface simpler for employees. Expense Payments is currently available in an early access program.

 

Extending its Open Platform Vision

With the breadth of processes and systems involved, ranging from multiple ERPs to risk data, and more, effectively managing spend requires an open platform that can quickly and easily connect to and unify these disparate systems into a streamlined spend management process. Coupa’s open platform makes it simpler, faster, and more agile to connect to an ecosystem of market-leading technology partners to give businesses a single, unified destination to comprehensively manage spend.

 

  • Following the launch of the Coupa App Directory in June, Coupa now allows companies to access third-party applications and data within the context of their BSM processes to empower businesses to make more informed spend decisions. The company’s newest alliances include Amadeus, which provides businesses and its travelers with an end-to-end travel booking experience via its flagship online booking tool, cytric Travel. With cytric Travel data embedded within the Coupa BSM Platform, travelers now have a single place to view and manage all of their business travel – from travel pre-approvals and bookings to expense reimbursements. In addition, EcoVadis provides supplier sustainability ratings, Mastercard Track provides supplier risk data, and BitSight provides supplier cybersecurity ratings.

 

“We are pleased to partner with Coupa to provide companies a simpler way to manage their corporate travel and expenses,” said Vasken Tokatlian, head of partnerships and alliances, corporations, travel channels at Amadeus. “Our joint customers now have a streamlined, consumerlike experience to manage travel and expenses all in one platform, enabling them to maximize the value of every dollar spent. Amadeus is committed to power smarter business travel for corporations and travelers around the world and this partnership with Coupa is a testament to our vision.”

 

To learn more about these new capabilities, please visit https://www.coupa.com/.

 

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2020: THE YEAR THAT CHANGED US ALL

There isn’t an industry that hasn’t felt the impact of 2020. Every sector has had to adapt to deal with the storm we’re calling COVID-19. Companies have had to be agile, preparing its workforce for immense change, all while reassuring its customers and partners that things will continue as usual. Despite the turmoil, however, the pandemic has encouraged change that will futureproof and improve many businesses. In a recent poll by BIAN of 139 professionals from the finance, technology and consultancy sectors, over half (55%) believe that COVID-19 has encouraged its organisation or customers to prioritise digital transformation initiatives.

 

The non-profit organisation that promotes and provides a common framework for the banking industry also found that one in five respondents believe that the pandemic will be the primary driver for change over the next several years.

 

“The pandemic has highlighted just how vital digital transformation initiatives are to the present and future of business, said Hans Tesselaar, Executive Director of BIAN.

 

“If we look at the financial services sector, for example, we saw just how quickly the use of cash declined. Stats showed that the use of cash halved because of fears over cash potential harbouring the virus. The lack of choice now means the portion of the nation who favour cash will be forced to shop and bank online.

 

“Banks will need to play a vital role in ensuring that the demographic of cash-first users can navigate this digital world. They will also need to ensure that their systems can withstand the additional activity. At such a difficult time, customer experience will be paramount to a bank’s success both now and in the future. The coronavirus has forced a lot of changes to our everyday lives. I expect, when we start to recover from this pandemic, that many of these changes will stick, including our continued use of digital services.”

 

This aligns with the fact that 37% of professionals believe the changing of customer demands will drive the most significant change of the next few years. This is followed by Open Banking (24%), the development and implementation of AI (14%) and the adherence to regulation (5%).

 

When we look at Open Banking, it is clear that the initiative and regulation has already had a tremendous impact on the financial services sector. The poll revealed that 72% of those asked are already benefitting from Open Banking. A further 22% are currently investigating the impact it will have on their business.

 

The success of Open Banking has also contributed to the growing concept of Open Finance. A term described by KPMG as “the extension of Open Banking data-sharing principles to enable third party providers to access customers’ data across a broader range of financial sectors and products, including savings and investments.” The research found that over half (53%) of respondents believe there is a demand for Open Finance in their country, based on the success of open banking.

 

“Open Banking is transforming the financial services sector for both businesses and consumers. A recent publication by Open Banking UK shows that the users of open banking enabled products in the UK have doubled in just over 6 months and stands at 2 million now”, said Arnab Mitra, Programme Manager at BIAN.

 

“It has enabled FinTechs and banks to provide enhanced customer experience, increased access to data and services while providing customers with the opportunity to increase their financial wellness. Open Finance attempts to take Open Banking to the next level, with the possibility of broadening the scope to savings, mortgages, pensions, investments and insurance policies and more”

 

Tesselaar added “to make the most out of the opportunity presented by Open Finance, banks, technology providers, FinTech players, academics and consultants must collaborate to define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardises and simplifies the overall banking architecture. Through greater collaboration, we are able to future proof the industry, weather any storm that comes our way, but we need to control the costs”.

 

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TECHNOLOGY: THE SAVING GRACE OF THE MONTH-END HEADACHE IN FINANCIAL REPORTING

The end of the month is a challenging time for many accountants and financial analysts as they race to close their books and complete their reporting on time. Whether they are using Oracle Cloud or on premise solutions, the final hurdle has its highs and lows. With accounts to reconcile and financial statements to analyse, accountants and financial analysts are left with little time before the crucial deadlines are in front of them. As a result, time needs to be maximised so that they have all the answers at their fingertips when presenting to the business, board members and executives. These are the aspects of the role that financial analysts adore – and manual intervention shouldn’t be the blocking stone of success.

Preparation for month-end reporting involves financial analysts spending long periods of time focused on analysing spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Tiffany Newkirk, Financial Solutions Manager at SplashBI, explains that month-end reporting shouldn’t be as problematic and frustrating as it is. To move forward, financial analysts need to incorporate technology to provide a visual representation of the data so their role becomes as efficient and sustainable as possible.

 

A new beginning

Overtime and stress are two common issues that accountants and financial analysts experience when completing month-end close reporting. As many as one in four financial analysts describe the pressure of financial reporting being overwhelming, resulting in employees leaving the job they love; a situation that no senior management team wants to occur.

According to a recent survey, as many as 73% of accountants and financial analysts are still operating in a manually intensive, spreadsheet-driven system that limits or removes any time for analysis. In the same survey, 84% said they would prefer the financial close process to take up less time, that could in turn be devoted to more strategic financial projects. From a health and wellbeing perspective, the drive to utilise technology will help improve the efficiency and accuracy, especially at this turbulent time, and allow more time to be spent exploring the results and having the answers readily available for senior-level discussions.

 

A long-awaited transition

Companies of all shapes and sizes have long sought ways to streamline their processes so that accountants can spend less time collecting numbers and more time analysing the impact and results with senior stakeholders. Finding the right equilibrium between speed, accuracy and employees’ needs is key, and financial experts need to embrace technology and its visual qualities in order to achieve this. 

While spreadsheets are a useful tool, they can be prone to errors, especially if formulas are entered incorrectly. Management teams want to understand the implications of the data in front of them, and with the aid of financial experts, bring the data to life in a much more visual and empowering way, ready to spot the next business opportunity. Working solely in a spreadsheet rarely allows this to happen.

Instead, technology can help drive smarter decisions, by making the data come to life and presented in a variety of visual formats. By combining the numerous, disparate systems required to achieve a successful month end close, financial analysts and CMOs can view real time data at a click of a button to make informed decisions in the future. 

 

Conclusion

In an increasingly digitised world, real time financial reporting and accurate forecasting are more vital than ever to achieve a sustainable and efficient business model. Given the circumstances faced throughout 2020, effective financial management provides businesses with a competitive advantage and greater insights to drive profitability and efficiency.

Letting go of tired and archaic practices will drive financial roles forward and open the door for a myriad of opportunities when accountants and financial analysts expand their reliance on technology and move away from traditional methods. Moving forward, organisations that don’t incorporate technology into their month end reporting will be left behind, and not reap the rewards. It’s time for the face of financial reporting and analytics to change to become a seamless, stress-free and data-driven process.

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