So why has so little effort has gone into automating how buyers and suppliers communicate? While purchase-to-pay automation has been front and center at most organizations for the past decade, most of what’s been accomplished has focused on organizations’ internal processes. Companies have historically looked at policies and procedures to eliminate redundancy and unneeded manual steps. Based on policies, they have implemented procurement systems to increase purchase order spend and grow workflow solutions to address approvals and matching. The Business Payments Coalition aims to develop the buyer/seller relationship beyond the internal level and outwards toward an interoperable model.

Who is the Business Payments Coalition (BPC)?

The Business Payments Coalition (BPC) is made up of over 600 professional representatives from both small and large businesses, all with different industry backgrounds. They come from a variety of fields such as finance, software, payment processors, service providers, standards developers, and others.

The BPC is focused on increasing the use of electronic communications between buyers and suppliers in procurement, invoicing, and payment processes to grow the value of these relationships. At Basware, we recognize the importance of nurturing these relationships and the pain points that can occur as a result of improper communication. Today, these important communication areas are managed by many disparate solutions and technologies, creating islands of automation within the supply chain. The BPC is working to connect these islands to introduce standards and successful interoperability.

The BPC Agenda and Accomplishments

e-Invoicing

The BPC has embarked on a journey to allow any supplier to send an e-invoice to any buyer, regardless of what providers they use. This all-inclusive goal is nothing new to the world of procurement. In fact, the BPC is mirroring the interoperability models of the EU and Australia and working to bring a similar solution to the US marketplace. We understand the important role interoperability plays in streamlining and simplifying the purchase-to-pay process. Luckily, the BPC’s interoperability project is well underway, and they’ve already checked off some big steps on their list including:

The BPC’s e-invoicing workgroup met in September to finish the first part of the GAP analysis and is now preparing their findings for industry review. From there, the BPC will begin building a technical and Symantec model, as well as a governance process with a target of 2020 for a proof of concept. The BPC believes that giving every US seller the ability to send an e-invoice to any US buyer would drastically reduce errors, processing time, and IT involvement in the invoicing process overall, providing a clear track to more streamlined processing.

Remittance

The BPC convened at a workgroup to investigate the remittance process and uncover ways to help standardize these methods, especially for the SMB market. The workgroup has released a set of Simple Remittance Requirements. These requirements lay out what suppliers need to be able to automate the remittance process and correctly apply payments. Automating payments will not only reduce the burden placed on SMB suppliers, but it will reduce the volume of service calls placed to accounts payable departments, further helping to streamline a buyer’s purchase-to-pay process.

Join the Team

As a volunteer organization, the BPC is always looking for new members to bring new ideas and perspectives to the group. By registering for the Business Payments Coalition, you will be kept up to date on the progress made on various topics, and can participate in quarterly calls to address new topics of interest. You can also join one of the following committees to further share your knowledge:

  • E-invoicing
  • B2B Remittance project
  • ISO® 20022 Capabilities
  • ISO® 20022 Education