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How Purchasing Should Work With A/P

PurchTips - Edition # 170

By Charles Dominick, SPSM


Is Your A/P Department a Help or a Hindrance?

When Accounts Payable (A/P) and Purchasing work well together they can improve cash flow, strengthen supplier relationships, and increase savings. Negative synergy between these two departments often leads to problems that increase supply costs and jeopardize deliveries. Use the tips below to improve your relationship with A/P as well as purchasing performance.

Improve Order Accuracy and Invoice Matching - A recent Aberdeen survey of 150 companies found that the average company manually processed over 300,000 invoices per year. This high volume of data entry leads to invoice keying errors which can slow payments to your suppliers. You can help improve order accuracy by making suppliers repeat PO numbers back to your buyers when placing phone orders. Include a clause in your contract requiring suppliers to match invoice line numbers to the line item numbers on your purchase order. Offer your support in enrolling suppliers into electronic invoicing and payment initiatives which promise increased accuracy, decreased A/P labor and improved procure-to-pay cycle times.

Change Payment Terms to Match Company Needs - Changing economic conditions and your company's cash flow situation can demand that you change your standard payment terms with suppliers. Work with A/P and conduct regular analysis to determine optimal payment terms. Use this analysis to revisit decisions such as whether or not to take advantage of early-payment discounts from your suppliers.

Optimize Buying Channels - You can help minimize the number of non-PO transactions processed by A/P by publishing and enforcing preferred buying channels (e.g., eProcurement, ERP system, etc.). Guiding your spend into the proper channel ensures that each expenditure has been given the appropriate review. Plus, the visibility provided can help you reduce your maverick or off-contract buying. Just be sure to keep A/P in the loop if you anticipate significant changes to their workload.

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Spotlight On Professional Development Opportunities

SPSM Certification

Are you tired of not getting enough opportunities, respect, and money out of your purchasing career? Well, guess what? Nothing will change unless you take action towards becoming a world-class purchasing professional.

You see, today's employers refuse to reward employees for yesterday's skills. They demand that purchasing professionals like you use the most modern skills and achieve unprecedented results. They want you to save more money, achieve better operational performance, and reduce risk.

Distinguishing yourself as an achiever in purchasing is key to sustaining a rewarding career, even in these difficult economic times. Earning your SPSM® Certification  by completing the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program is to take if you want to bring the most modern purchasing  practices into your organization and achieve your career potential.  Learn how to earn your SPSM® Certification (and  perhaps get an  iPod) at:

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