October 29, 2020

A Better Way to Buy: Why We Partnered with Amazon Business to Manage the Purchasing Process from End-to-End

Teampay is excited to announce our partnership with Amazon Business. Together, our solutions provide an effortless buying experience for employees, with proactive financial controls built in. Click here to learn more about the integration.

The way companies spend money has changed, and ecommerce has a lot to do with it. Nowadays, everything from software, to food, to office equipment can be ordered online at the click of a button. As more and more consumers become accustomed to this type of buying in their personal lives, they are turning to digital marketplaces to shop for work as well.

The line between consumer and employee is becoming increasingly fuzzy. At the same time, an increasing percentage of the workforce is buying things for their jobs. Instead of a handful of executives making purchasing decisions, it’s the whole company—or just over 80%, according to a recent report. And today, those employees often aren’t in the same location or even time zone.

Online shopping sites like Amazon have recognized this trend and launched business-specific entities, such as Amazon Business, to give employees the easy user experience they expect as consumers. Finance and Procurement teams are tasked with layering a more distributed, consumer-driven approach to business buying within their corporate purchasing process.

By enabling proactive controls that allow employees to make purchases on their preferred shopping sites, including Amazon Business, finance teams can empower their workforce to move quickly and compliantly. This allows finance to become a facilitator of purchasing, instead of a roadblock.

Distributed purchasing creates new challenges

In today’s End User Era, a lot more purchasing is taking place by employees at every level. This can mean less control and visibility for finance teams that are still using legacy systems to manage distributed spend.

Traditional Procurement models rely on a few individuals to make purchases for the entire organization, which both pains workers and slows them down. Employees without a license to a procurement system may make purchases independently and submit expense reports after-the-fact. Finance and Procurement often don’t know what’s been spent until these reports and credit card statements come in at the end of the month. They then have to retroactively issue reimbursements for purchases they weren’t aware had been made, some of which may have happened outside of policy.

Centralized purchasing doesn’t work for a distributed employee base. Employees want to leverage their autonomy to buy the things they need without friction and bureaucracy getting in the way. Now, they have the technology to do just that—so you can either empower them with smart, policy-driven access to funds, or let it spiral out of control.

Purchasing goes beyond the payment

The request-to-reconciliation workflow becomes even more complex as the business grows, with steps added in for vendor management, IT assessments, and legal review. In many cases, these checkpoints become separate processes in their own right.

Soon enough, your purchasing process can become confusing for employees to navigate. They may not know when an IT assessment or contract is required, or that they need to purchase from Amazon Business rather than Amazon. It isn’t always clear what exactly needs to be done and in what order, which leads to out-of-bounds spending even by well-intentioned employees.

Having to jump through unknown and ever-changing hoops adds extra manual tasks and slows employees down. In this complex web of policies, it is common for some duplicate work to be done and other crucial steps to fall through the cracks.

Granular control with Amazon Business’ vendor catalog

Developing a preferred vendor catalog allows companies to standardize certain purchases, so Finance and Procurement have additional control over what items are purchased on the company’s dime.

This can be done with procure-to-pay suites, but those require employees to navigate yet another system—and a clunky one at that. Furthermore, because P2P platforms are pay-per-seat, only some employees can view the vendor catalog. This inaccessibility means that many employees might spend out-of-bounds and miss out on discounts, simply by making a purchase individually and expensing it rather than going through a centralized system.

Alternatively, Amazon Business has the capability to build vendor catalogs within their platform. Organizations select their "preferred items," which are indicated when an employee goes too make a purchase.

With Amazon Business, employees can have the easy user experience they’ve come to enjoy and comply with company policy automatically. And the platform is accessible to all employees, so your company can always take advantage of discounts no matter who makes the purchase.

A purchasing process that encompasses the vendor catalog

Managing spend is more than just payments, it's about supporting the full process. Only by unifying the entire workflow can Finance gain the proactive controls and real-time visibility necessary to manage costs.

With Teampay, the Amazon Business vendor catalog is built into the purchasing process. Employees are automatically guided through the workflow, so they always know the next step they need to take. They seamlessly transition from a purchase request to the vendor catalog without having to remember where to log into and when. In addition, Amazon Business Prime customers can provide an even more tailored experience by pre-approving items within their catalog, thereby curbing requests for non-catalog spend.

Teampay’s distributed spend management platform ensures employees buy from preferred Amazon Business vendors and proactively guarantees compliance even if employees are not abreast of ever-changing company policies. The integration reduces manual work, including entering corporate card information, uploading receipts, and reconciling transactions. This means that all employees, both in and out of Finance, are freed to focus on more strategic tasks.

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