The pillars of procure to pay: Part 1– spend under management

August 15, 2016 Tradeshift Editorial Team

procure-to-pay collaboration and innovation

In this series, we explore Tradeshift’s vision for an agile and powerful P2P solution.

The procure-to-pay landscape has changed drastically in the era of global supply chains and cloud-driven technology. For starters, the majority of successful enterprises have elevated procurement’s role to that of strategic advisor. The dawning recognition that bringing the back office forward is crucial to organizational agility has been covered exhaustively, including here, here, and here.

But it’s time to take the next step. For many what’s lacking is a technological solution designed for procurement’s modern functions and collaborative role. To address this gap, we’ll be highlighting the “pillars of P2P,” the components essential to a global procure-to-pay solution. Without these pillars, improving P2P remains an area of promise, not reality.

In the first installment of the series, we explore the need to bring 100% of spend under management and how Tradeshift addresses this in the product. Later on, we’ll cover global compliance, the adoption barrier, the innovation imperative, and more.

Controlling all your spend means better strategic decision-making and capturing real cost savings.  Getting spend under management means better reporting and ultimately better spend health. This includes spend, both on and off contract. Getting spend under management is crucial for myriad reasons, including enabling more accurate reporting and avoiding lengthy manual reconciliations at the end of the month. For procurement specifically, the closer to 100% of spend under management, the greater the cost visibility. As cost visibility becomes better, procurement is able to not only support compliance initiatives but also negotiate better pricing.

Getting spend under management is a twofold process, requiring the right tools and a central hub for all your purchasing and invoicing. The first step is getting all your suppliers in one system.

A supplier ecosystem


Tradeshift allows you to manage all of your services and goods in one location versus a series of catalogs. Suppliers are able to quickly and effectively onboard. In addition to being free for suppliers, Tradeshift offers compelling incentives to join, including access to a wide network of buyers and a simple user interface. Suppliers can easily manage pricing for goods and services in Tradeshift’s Product Manager, keeping products up-to-date in real time. An additional benefit is Tradeshift’s one to many catalog publishing approach. Suppliers wares are available to anyone on network which offers significantly improved choices for buyers and a larger market for suppliers.

Tradeshift Buy allows users to search through all your supplier’s catalog. It enables employees to easily shop for goods and services, and offers an intelligent search capability that learns as employees shop. All the while remembering what they’ve previously purchased for a personalized shopping experience–making shopping more fluid and easier.


Occasionally, there may be times when employees need to buy things that are not in your existing catalogs or from non-preferred vendors, and they might instead shop on ecommerce sites like Amazon. For these instances, Tradeshift offers virtual cards.

Virtual cards


Virtual cards enable employees to gain pre-approval for non-catalog purchases, and provide them with an encrypted code they can use to purchase against a company card once approval is granted.  Virtual credit cards are already a reality. Tradeshift works with leading global financial partners to bring this capability to the P2P scene.

It’s no secret procurement often struggles to rein in rogue spenders. By incorporating virtual credit cards into procurement software, employees gain the ability to buy from anywhere on the web while simultaneously getting rid of the much-abused departmental credit card.

For example, if a corporate credit card has a $100,000 limit, that could be parceled out by request to cover 100 different $1,000 requests or even smaller denominations. And the card owner sets expiration dates that cover only a period long enough for the items requested to be purchased.

Virtual credit card

Virtual cards capture the long tail of spending up front. With Tradeshift, users request virtual credit cards while they shop. This allows your users to have flexibility but removes the Expense Report and P-Card reconciliation process for both you and your employees.

Getting 100% of spend under management is a pillar of P2P, but it’s one of several. Ultimately, what Tradeshift allows is the management of all aspects of your procure-to-pay process through simplified solutions for catalogs, shopping, purchasing, invoicing and payments. Enable collaboration between buyers, suppliers, and employees to ensure the right goods and services are purchased, answer questions and resolve disputes.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series detailing the ways Tradeshift enables global compliance.



What to read next:

Procurement goes for gold
Procurement pros to morph into “business people”

About the Author

Tradeshift connects buyers, suppliers, and all their processes in one global network. We help you transform the way you work with suppliers today – and adapt to whatever the future brings.

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