Coupa Acquires InvoiceSmash to Drive B2B Commerce Transformation

Auto-Digitizing Invoice Innovations Modernize Accounts Payable Processes to Reduce Costs

http://www.coupa.com/newsworthy/press-releases/coupa-acquires-invoice-smash/

SAN MATEO, Calif. – July 6, 2015 – Coupa Software, the world’s leading provider of cloud-based spend management solutions, today announced the acquisition of Australian-based InvoiceSmash, a cloud innovator pushing the technology boundaries of accounts payable and e-invoicing solutions.

With this acquisition, Coupa takes the next step in transforming B2B commerce by further reducing the need for expensive supplier enablement initiatives and strengthening the way the world’s businesses use Coupa Invoicing and the Coupa Open Business Network for their e-invoicing transactions.

In today’s world of B2B commerce, extended global enterprises need modernized solutions to efficiently manage supplier transactions while staying compliant with local government requirements. These businesses also want to transact with one another quickly, without fees, paper or friction, which impact the overall cost of doing business. Coupa’s model of delivering e-invoicing compliant systems as a fully managed service delivers on this promise.

InvoiceSmash’s cloud-based technology has innovative closed-loop learning capabilities that will extend Coupa’s Invoicing solution by instantly converting emailed invoices from suppliers into the digital format required for the buyer’s accounts payable process.

As Coupa brings these innovations to market, supplier enablement efforts and invoice processing costs will dramatically decrease as buyers and suppliers gain instant connectivity and the freedom to interact using their preferred processes via the Coupa Open Business Network. Finance also gets the added benefit of optimizing cash flow management and additional days to apply early payment discount terms to earn a return on payables.

Our acquisition of InvoiceSmash is a huge step forward for the industry. The InvoiceSmash technology will help businesses large and small transact faster and easier than ever before with significantly less manual intervention,” said Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa. “The InvoiceSmash technology will be a hugely value-added extension to our organic suite of capabilities and will drive immediate value, supporting the very essence of Coupa’s Savings-as-a-Service approach."

Innovative Accounts Payable & e-Invoicing Technology
Designed to help enterprises of all sizes digitize and automate the often painful accounts payable and invoicing process, the InvoiceSmash innovations will be embedded into Coupa’s organic cloud-based platform to instantly convert emailed invoice attachments into the field formats required by Accounts Payable.

The solution’s closed-loop learning capabilities can also detect supplier invoice format changes, remember those changes, and create learned templates so the Coupa system grows smarter, for the benefit of all Coupa cloud customers, after a new supplier invoice format appears.

“When we created InvoiceSmash we set out to transform how buyers handled their suppliers’ invoices. Core to our business model was the idea of allowing buyers and suppliers to do e-invoicing without needing system and process changes. By allowing our customers to use their existing invoicing processes we are able to achieve greater e-invoicing adoption rates,” said Mark Burch, founder of InvoiceSmash. “We are excited about the opportunity to join Coupa, maximize our innovations, and share our e-invoicing technology with businesses around the world.”

The Coupa Open Business Network Model
With no fees or friction, the Coupa Open Business Network instantly connects the world’s businesses, providing customers with both the flexibility and freedom they want to transact with their direct and indirect suppliers.

By incorporating InvoiceSmash into the Coupa platform, emailed invoice attachments that currently flow freely through the Coupa Open Business Network will be able to process automatically, resulting in more accurate and timely invoice processing while enhancing compliance with local government rules.

With faster invoice processing times, Finance teams benefit by gaining additional days to support their cash flow management initiatives, and the ability to maximize supplier discounts and earn a return on their payables through the power of Coupa’s dynamic discount support. Customers can also benefit by increasing e-invoicing connectivity with more of their suppliers without the pain and cost of extensive supplier enablement projects or having to use OCR systems to manually scan and digitize invoices.

Coupa expects the additional capabilities from the InvoiceSmash technology to be made available to select customers by the end of 2015. As part of the acquisition, the InvoiceSmash team will also join Coupa to continue developing their forward-thinking approaches to automating accounts payable and e-invoicing. They will be instrumental as Coupa continues pushing the boundaries toward reducing the need for supplier enablement efforts and transforming B2B commerce across the Coupa Open Business Network.

About Coupa Software
Coupa Software is the leading provider of cloud-based spend management applications. More than 500 customers in over 40 countries, including Sanofi, Salesforce.com, BNP Paribas North America, NEC, Royal Bank of Canada, Swiss Re, and Highmark Health use the Coupa suite of financial applications to support business agility and reduce costs. Coupa provides a suite of true cloud applications for finance, including accounts payable, sourcing, procurement, e-invoicing, and travel and expense management, which allows customers to realize a return on their investment within a few months and savings that continually impact the bottom line. Learn more at www.coupa.com. Read more on the Coupa Blog or follow @Coupa on Twitter

InvoiceSmash has cracked the e-invoicing supplier activation problem

E-invoicing is the concept that invoices should be delivered in electronic format so the recipient doesn’t have to ‘rekey’ data. Data originates from the seller/supplier/vendors accounts receivable system in electronic/digital format, is transmitted to the customer/recipient electronically and is then processed straight through their accounts payable or procure to pay system. The value and cost savings of e-invoicing is indisputable as it removes labour and friction from the processes and lowers the end to end time from days/weeks to seconds/minutes. But if e-invoicing is so valuable why hasn’t it been done yet? Why isn’t it ubiquitous already? The technology to achieve e-invoicing has been around a long time and typical EDI/B2B data interchange technology is old technology. Sure there are very large e-invoicing networks where it is working effectively, but they are far from ubiquitous and there is always a long tail of suppliers who are too small for the networks to reach. 

And the perennial problem with e-invoicing is the process of getting every supplier to make a human, technical, or business process change to start sending invoices electronically. This is the “supplier activation problem”. Large percentages of suppliers are only able make the switch to e-invoicing when they are coerced, mandated, or forced to by their customers, or regulators.

InvoiceSmash has cracked that supplier activation problem. Here are the steps to activating suppliers using InvoiceSmash.

Step 1: ask the supplier to email text PDFs of their invoices.  (If the supplier is already doing that, then skip step 1)

Step 2: send to InvoiceSmash.

The end. That’s it.

The supplier will be activated in a couple of minutes by our software. After that InvoiceSmash will send the e-invoice result to the end AP/ERP/Finance system in an automated way and your supplier activation problem is solved once and for all.

How does ‘Auto-submit for this supplier work’ ?

On the final approval screen for your invoices you might notice a little check box that looks like this…

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It says “Auto-submit for this supplier”.

This is how it works. After you’ve processed a few files for a particular supplier the InvoiceSmash rules system has built up a history of your preferences.

1) The Contact resolves automatically.

2) Any missing due dates resolve automatically.

3) GL Accounts resolve automatically.

4) Items/Inventory resolve automatically.

After you’ve processed a few invoices there is nothing left for you to do except click the ‘Submit to Your Accounting System” button. But why do you even need to click that button?

Well the good news is you don’t.  If you check the Auto-Submit box what this means is “Go ahead InvoiceSmash submit any future invoices from this supplier automatically if you can. I’m comfortable that this is correct every single time”.

But the InvoiceSmash software is careful. The software checks that there isn’t already invoice with that number from that supplier in your accounting system. If we detect a duplicate no automatic submission can happen. Its up to you to decide to submit a duplicate or ignore it.

But if everything checks out ok, and you’ve granted the software permission, it will be automatically submitted on your behalf. Voila! Hands free supplier invoice processing.

It doesn’t get easier than that! Happy smashing!

Users, Subscriptions and Accounting Files

We built InvoiceSmash to be suitable for users who look after multiple accounting files/subscriptions.

This diagram shows the relationship between users, InvoiceSmash subscriptions and accounting files.

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There is always a one to one relationship between an InvoiceSmash subscription and a file/subscription on Xero/Saasu/Myob. When InvoiceSmash connects via API we sync a bunch of data and set up the rules as you use the system. That data and rules can’t be applied to another accounting file/subscription (obviously) therefore we don’t allow subscriptions to “cross the streams”.

Users however, can access all their InvoiceSmash subscriptions using a single logon/pass. In the diagram, you can see that “Anne” has access to Company A and Company B. “Bob” on the other hand has access to Company B and Company C. The first person who creates the InvoiceSmash subscription is the Administrator of that subscription and they have the ability to invite other users to that subscription. They can also promote invited users to be Administrators of the subscription as well.

In this example Bob and Anne might work for the same accounting firm, but have responsibilities for different clients.

If a user of InvoiceSmash only has a single InvoiceSmash subscription, when they logon they proceed straight to the dashboard. If a user is a member of more than one subscription, when they logon they will be asked which subscription they wish to use for that session.

How to tell if an Invoice is a Text PDF in 5 seconds.

The difference between a scanned PDF and a text PDF can be subtle and hard to tell at first glance. The following steps show you a quick way to distinguish them…

1. Open the PDF in a PDF viewer like Adobe.

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2. Use the mouse to select some text on the page. It will look something like this.

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3. Right click and select copy. Or do Control C.

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4. Open up another document program like notepad, MS Word or Excel and paste the clipboard. If you can see the data, it’s an electronic PDF.

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Note: You don’t really need to do step 3 and 4, if you can select the text, you have your answer.

The 2 types of PDF invoices and why this can make a big difference to your business

There are 2 basic types of PDF invoices that businesses receive from their suppliers.

1. An Text PDF generated directly out of an accounting software system and received electronically (most typically as an email attachment).

2. A scan or fax which originated in an accounting software system but is now an image rather than a text document.

How can you tell the difference?

If you can use a mouse to select/highlight the text in a PDF, it is a Text PDF. How to tell if an Invoice is an Text PDF in 5 seconds.

An text PDF typically won’t have any hand writing on it.

An text PDF won’t be skewed, like when a piece of paper goes through a scanner a little bit crooked.

Printing and scanning typically introduces little blemishes onto the page.

Why would you care about the difference?

When the data is received electronically (i.e. 1 above) it can be automated into an accounting system using a tool like InvoiceSmash with minimal oversight. The one click processing is possible because the data starts out digital, is transmitted digitally and is entered into the accounting system as digital data. For example, lets say you receive regular invoices from a supplier XYC company. The first time you process a XYC company invoice using InvoiceSmash, you set up all the rules for how it should be entered into your accounting software, which GL accounts to use, which inventory etc. Thereafter each time you process an invoice from XYC company the software will automatically resolve it for you and you will presented with a one click submission screen.

OCR sucks

On the other hand, if you are receiving the invoices via 2 above, you have a conversion problem. You have to convert the data from ‘paper’ to digital data. This can be done using OCR technology. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. Basically the computer looks at the picture of the character or word and uses probability to assert that ‘0’ is zero and ‘i’ is a lowercase ‘I’ and not an ‘L’. The problem is that even the best OCR software sometimes gets it wrong (best case is 90% accuracy, but sometimes much worse) which means someone has to maintain oversight and vigilance, and provide data verification and data repair. Hopefully this is the responsibility of specialist bookkeepers and accounts staff, but quite often we see even high level staff having to do their own data entry.

Ok so OCR is bad, but why do you care?

Its simple, accessing the data digitally in Text PDFs, you save yourself most or all of the data entry and data oversight effort (i.e. the conversion problem). Its a simple change. Just ask your suppliers to send the invoices as email attachments and you’re done. 99.99999% of suppliers these days are happy to oblige because its easier and cheaper for them to be paperless as well.

 

The new official InvoiceSmash blog is up

After our V1 launch last week, it is time to launch our official blog.
This blog will be were we talk about

  • What we’re doing with InvoiceSmash
  • How to’s and information about how to get the most out of invoicesmash
  • What’s happening in the accounting/bookkeeping industry.
  • Whats happening in the software startup industry.

 

Mark Burch (Founder)