For any business, the ability to accurately track and control spending directly impacts everything from accounting to regulatory compliance. Anything less paints an incomplete picture. Fortunately, there are a range of features available to automate and add intelligence to purchasing to help create a modern, holistic procurement process for any sized business, says Patrick Connaughton, research director at Gartner.
“Technology allows you to get rid of inefficiencies,” he says. “Highly manual processes mean that only a very small fraction of indirect purchases—those things required for the day-to-day operation of the business—are actually being reviewed and considered strategically. And that’s really started to change.”
Eliminating those inefficiencies gives people an opportunity to engage in more of the higher-level functions where talent can shine. Critical to that process are integrated products that enhance the utility of purchasing solutions and are capable of being tailored and scaled to meet businesses and employees where they are. “They’re built around the user and making the solutions more intuitive and being able to search and find things quickly,” Connaughton says. “Rather than reviewing invoices and making sure orders are within policy, they allow people to focus on the strategy.”
Targeted integrations are also a key component of the user experience, enhancing the utility of purchasing solutions. For Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint, serving the 5.7 million businesses that use the QuickBooks suite of software meant integrating procurement data into the platform. “Many QuickBooks customers are also Amazon Business customers, and what we heard from them was that reconciling purchases on Amazon Business into QuickBooks had to be done manually,” says Blake Adams, director, strategic partnerships, at Intuit, a market leader in small business accounting software. “It was taking them far too much time.”
Now, purchases made through Amazon Business are automatically imported into QuickBooks, including important data around categorization, costs, and fees. It streamlines reconciliation and raises visibility into spending, shifting hours from accounting better spent on growth and innovation. “At Amazon, we work backwards from our customers’ needs and to find ways to make buying from Amazon Business easier,” says David Stout, head of global partnerships at Amazon Business. “One way we help elevate business leaders and empower them to spend more time focusing on strategic drivers for their business, and less time on the process, is through our integrations with critical business management systems. For example, our integration with Intuit QuickBooks Online is a reflection of our commitment to solving some of the challenges that our customers face.”
These types of smart, customer-oriented integrations help Amazon Business provide simpler access to crucial information. With it, the same entrepreneurial spirit that launched the business allows those owners and their teams—people who often wear multiple hats and aren’t supply chain experts—to operate with precision and drive growth.
“Clarity means you can then take action,” Adams says. “Whether it’s lowering costs or whether it’s optimizing operations.”
Intuit is one of a variety of tools easily integrated into the purchasing experience of Amazon Business. Other solutions available through Amazon Business include over 110 e-procurement systems. One of those is Coupa, a global leader in purchasing software. Its business spend management platform is utilized by enterprises to provide visibility into spending. Integrations that tailor and improve the user experience in purchasing break down silos and help limit rogue spending, says Roger Goulart, senior vice president of business development and alliances at Coupa. “No matter the size of the customer, everyone needs to find and purchase items quickly,” he says. “If that process isn’t simple or doesn’t meet the expectations an individual has for purchasing goods, they might purchase through an external vendor and now you have less control and visibility in the procurement process.”
"The Amazon Business and Coupa integration makes procuring goods and services at work similar to how we purchase items in our daily lives. The procurement team can configure this integration to show the options that help meet the strategic goals of the company."
— Roger Goulart, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Alliances, Coupa
Integrating with Amazon Business allows Coupa to improve on the traditional e-commerce “punchout”—the mechanism whereby buyers access a seller’s online catalog—by eliminating the need to navigate multiple sites and consolidating product options into a seamless experience between Coupa and Amazon Business. It means businesses can integrate and scale their purchasing to leverage the benefits of Amazon Business without also making potentially disruptive changes to existing systems and processes.
“The Amazon Business and Coupa integration makes procuring goods and services at work similar to how we purchase items in our daily lives,” Goulart says. “The integrated user experience makes procurement completely fluid. Users have choices on where to purchase from, while still having access to the company-preferred products. The procurement team can configure this integration to show the options that help meet the strategic goals of the company.”
With Amazon Business, efficiency is provided in a variety of ways, from single sign-on capabilities for employees to the ability to connect teams across the enterprise into one account. Additional account authority controls can help provide greater management and visibility into spending, tailoring solutions to needs with even more precision. The ability to accurately track and control spending impacts everything from accounting to regulatory compliance, and helps businesses of any size ensure resources, including capital and manpower alike, are deployed strategically as a tool for growth.
“Advancing business goals through purchasing is possible,” says Alex Gagnon, vice president of Amazon Business Worldwide. “Our customers want to provide employees with an Amazon experience but do so within the process and controls provided through their procurement systems. Integrations allow for this while delivering the cost savings and increased efficiencies that procurement leaders look to drive. Simply put, these integrations make it easier for our customers to achieve their goals.”
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