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Decentralize out of control purchasing to now controlled centralized purchasing

"Bellwether has eliminated the paper in purchasing and allowed us go from decentralized out of control purchasing to centralized purchasing and invoice processing. This has reduced cost and provided us a clear picture of accruals."

Ben Belflower, Reporting & Analysis Manager, Aramark

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Finally, A Proven Solution for Insurance Procurement

Many companies will swear by procure to pay systems, simply because of the benefits. With insurance companies, there is a high amount of risk involved in every step of the insurance process. Low profit margins means that there is an increasing pressure to cut costs and control the flow of money that occurs when procuring supplies for the insurance company. Often, insurance companies without a procure to pay system complain that money is simply going down the drain and they are constantly fighting to stop the loss flow. It’s no wonder why procure to pay systems are so popular within the insurance industry.

Procure to pay systems give a company absolute control over every step of the purchasing process, and also can help create a better overall view of the company’s spending habits. Everything from supply management to accounts payable procedures are integrated into procure to pay systems. Procure to pay can be centralized, or spread out over several different systems, making it one of the more flexible accounts payable options out on the market. This is very important to both small single office insurance companies and large multinational companies.

The issues with paper-based procure to pay systems arrive when a company grows too large in size for the system to handle efficiently. Little can be done to shorten the time that this process takes. Since authorizations have to happen at every step of a procure to pay system, procurement managers and accountants can both be left feeling hassled at the end of the day. Keeping tabs on prices of supplies and services also can be a time-consuming process that often is a waste of company dollars.

Eventually, every small company needs a new procure to pay system. Installing a new procure to pay system also needs a deep understanding of how the current system works. Working with too many vendors also can cause book keeping to become difficult. Spending problems, mistakes, and minor errors are often left undetected, or simply overlooked. With paperwork, things get even more complicated. Storage is often costly, taxing, and difficult to manage. Considering how much information is stored in an insurance company, it makes sense to avoid “info clutter” at all costs.

Because of the mountains of paperwork associated with accounts payable transactions, many insurance companies are switching to e-procurement systems. These systems conduct business to business transactions using the internet as a way to get in touch. E-procurement systems often come with automated book keeping, access to auctions, and also allow business owners to see transactions in different ways. Sometimes, use of an e-procurement software system can highlight a major spending problem that a company has, and this is especially true for the insurance industry, which is known for having spending problems.

Procure to pay, both in software form and in “real life” form, has its pitfalls. However, procure to pay also has the most perks out of any other accounts payable purchasing procedure. The new wave of e-procurement systems have been proven to cut time, spending, and paperwork. As this new trend in procure to pay systems continues, customers can expect nearly complete automation of accounts payable transactions and realtime purchasing power. Difficult-to-track purchases will become more and more visible as the years increase.

Currently, e-procurement systems are worth purchasing for a variety of reasons. They automatically update prices, automate many of the transactions, and also can allow approval of transactions from a variety of different sources – even on mobile phones! Many insurance companies have already saved a ton of money, time, and effort by switching to procure to pay software systems instead of doing it all via paperwork. The value of purchasing e-procurement systems will continue to increase in the future, and insurance companies are likely going to want to increase their profit margin by getting e-procurement systems as soon as possible. Considering how much value e-procurement already gives a company, it’s best for almost every company to jump on this new trend as soon as possible, and watch its value increase along with the company’s profits.

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March 13, 2012
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BY Bellwether
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