Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cambridge Mercantile Group

I spoke with Christopher Morris, Regional Director at Cambridge Mercantile Group at IOFM's Accounts Payable Conference in Las Vegas in October. Cambridge Mercantile Group offers Global Payments services and they promise that they can convert your outgoing paper check payments into electronic payments 75 percent in 90 days.

Christopher, what sets Cambridge Mercantile Group apart from other A/P services? 

Christopher Morris
Our view of the scope of AP Automation is that it’s an end-to-end process with the front-end focused on invoice intake processes and the back-end on payment fulfillment and reconciliation processes.  While we have partnerships with front-end invoice automation companies, Cambridge truly focuses on the back-end; essentially payments automation and the enablement of vendors to receive electronic payments. 

What sets us apart from other AP Automation services is our guarantee to convert 75% percent of an organizations’ paper-based payables to virtual card or ACH payments in 90 days.  Our “Vendorin” portal serves as a supplier network and contains over 10 million active supplier profiles that include the most up-to-date company/contact information, banking details, preferred method of electronic payment and their remittance format and delivery preference.  The network is dynamic in that suppliers actively change their profiles as their business information and banking relationships change.

Is Cambridge Mercantile Group an American company?

Cambridge Mercantile Group is a global company with our world headquarters in Toronto, Canada.  Our US headquarters are on 1359 Broadway, New York, NY as well as 7 regional US office locations.  In all, the company has 20 office locations around the world including the UK and Australia.

How many clients do you have in North America? and Abroad?

Approaching 15,000 clients worldwide 

How long has Cambridge Mercantile Group been in business?

Cambridge has been in business 20 years.

Is there a particular ERP system that works best with your product?

We have clients using most of the major ERP systems (Oracle, SAP, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft) as well as many of the industry specific ERP systems.  They all work well with our product.  We also have many clients using “odd ball” financial systems and even major ERP systems that have been highly customized which sometimes makes it difficult for them to implement payment solutions from banks which are often less flexible than our platform.  Our product is also a very good fit for these situations.

Do you offer outsourcing/offshoring services of any kind?

Our focus is on the conversion of B2B AP checks to electronic payments (card and ACH) and the handling of the subsequent payment and remittance files.  So, the outsourcing we offer is related to the initial outreach and conversion of AP vendors from receiving checks to receiving card and/or ACH payments then the ongoing interaction with vendors to ensure that they keep their electronic payment information up-to-date over time as well as delivering remittance information to each vendor in their preferred format and through their preferred delivery channel.  All of our outsourcing services related to vendor outreach and conversion to electronic payments as well as vendor management and remittance delivery is performed on-shore.

Is access to a "supplier network" part of your services?

Yes, access to the Vendorin Supplier Network is a key component of our service offering.

For more information on Cambridge Mercantile Group, please visit their website: http://www.cambridgefx.com/

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Robert Ruhno
Founder & Social Media Manager
Accounts Payable Professionals Group
I invite you to join our group today! Click Here



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What sets FileBound apart from other A/P services?

One of the biggest question on everyone's lips at the IOFM Accounts Payable Conference in Las Vegas this October was: What's the difference between all these automation companies? I met with 12 companies regarding their automation products and I want to share with you what I discovered.

So in my first article in of the series, I interviewed FileBound and asked, "What sets you apart from other A/P Automation Services?" 

What sets FileBound apart from other A/P services?

* An AP-specific version of FileBound is available and it can be easily adjusted to automate the structure and workflow for your specific AP practices. This allows for rapid implementation with fewer professional services.

* Cloud-based option reduces capital expense, provides the ability to quickly scale your solution to meet your needs and reduces impact on IT (the software can be deployed on premises).

* Data extraction from invoices and other documents is available as a component of FileBound, so there is no need to acquire, configure, train on and access multiple products. This supports straight-through processing from a single interface.

* Sophisticated mobile capabilities, including mobile capture, secure mobile access to documents and workflows (allowing users to not only see documents, but approve invoices, etc.) and the ability to truly leverage the touch capabilities of mobile devices.

* Document management, capture and workflow capabilities that can address multiple needs with Finance and Accounting and across the enterprise, allowing shared costs and maximum return on investment.

* Provides analytics needed to monitor and report on AP activities.

Is FileBound an American company?

FileBound is a very American company. It was founded in Lincoln, NE, where most of the specific FileBound operations remain. Earlier this year, FileBound became a member of the Upland family of enterprise work management solutions. Upland is based in Austin, TX.

How many clients do you have in North America? and Abroad?
More than 3,000 total.

How long has FileBound been in business?
Since 2001

Is there a particular ERP system that works best with your product?
FileBound is designed for easy integration with virtually any ERP system, giving our customers the flexibility they need. However, we do have some packaged integrations products such as Microsoft Dynamics.

Do you offer outsourcing/Offshoring services of any kind?
FileBound does not directly offer outsourcing/offshoring services (other than subscription-based functionality and professional services). However, FileBound’s extensive certified partner channel can offer these services. Many of our partners specialize in AP or specific verticals, and a number operate outsourced service organizations.

Is access to a "supplier network" part of your services?
Yes, FileBound has an extensive network of partners who can provide consultation, implementation, integration, support and other professional services. These solution providers must meet criteria for training and service delivery in order to represent FileBound products.




For more information on FileBound vist: http://www.filebound.com










Robert Ruhno
Founder & Social Media Manager
Accounts Payable Professionals Group

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Join Us!

Accounts Payable Professionals is now over 26 thousand members strong! The group is free to join and is available on:

* Groupsite - http://ap.groupsite.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 AP Conference in Las Vegas

If you are planning on attending the AP conference in Las Vegas, you need to know that there are less than 90 seats still available.

http://www.iofm.com/event/apconf-fall13


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Commerce Bank's A/P Automation

This Tuesday was the workshop with Commerce Bank, titled "the 7 steps to go paperless". The
location was the second floor meeting room at the Nasdaq in New York City Times Square. In attendance that day were several people from a supermarket chain, non-profit organization, and a finance company.

Commerce Bank calls their product, ControlPay. I found their product to be a nice choice, that would fit most companies. There are different combinations of their modules that can be implemented to fit the needs of your company.

These are the three Module for Commerce Bank's ControlPay:  
Invoice Presentment - Converts all invoice data to a queryable electronic format accessible through a single online system. EIPP accepts the following invoice formats: paper, email, vendor portal, EDI and flat file. 
Approval Workflow - Automates the enforcement of business rules, eliminates error-prone manual process and maximizes employee resources by utilizing:
 > Automatic invoice approval when business rules are met
 > Fewer paper touch points > Preset GL coding capabilities
Improves visibility for both buyers and suppliers throughout the invoice life-cycle with:
Approval anytime, anywhere via web-based access
 > Expedited discrepancy resolution > Electronic access to line item detail > End-to-end electronic audit trail 
Payment - The Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment system consolidates a single electronic payment to Commerce Bank, simplifying reconciliation. EIPP provides a variety of vendor payment options such as card, check, ACH and wire. 
Source: http://www.commercebank.com/commercial/eipp/  
The feature that stood out for me was their credit card payment program.

The Credit card payment program gives you an alternative to paying by check, ACH, or wire. Commerce Bank takes charge of contacting your vendors to have them join the credit card payment program. So in exchange for a quicker payment via credit card, the vendor will assume a 2% fee. Commerce Bank then splits this 2 percent with your company, giving you a 1% virtual discount on any invoices from that vendor. Another neat feature of Commerce Bank program is that if your vendor are already subscribe to Commerce Bank's program at other companies they will automatically be signed up to accept credit card payments at your company.

Interesting facts and statistics that were mentioned at the workshop:
* Its not considered a capital project, you can mark it as an expense.
* The average AP clerk processes 150 invoices per day.
* Implementing this paperless program will take between 90 and 120 days.
* Start-up cost is between 10 and 15 thousand dollars.
* typically about 30 percent of vendors sign up for the credit card payment program.
* 95 percent paperless this is a good target you can get close to fully paperless but never 100 percent.







Robert Ruhno
Founder & Social Media Manager
Accounts Payable Professionals Group

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The 7 Steps to Go Paperless workshop

I will be attending the The 7 Steps to Go Paperless workshop on June 25th at the NASDAQ Marketsite in NYC. This is going to be a hands-on demonstration of  Commerce Bank's Electronic invoice products. I looking forward to test driving this system! Here's a link to their site: http://www.commercebank.com/eipp

You can expect plenty of pictures and a summary of what I find out about their product (all will be on my blog post, soon after the event).

If you can think of any good questions I should ask them, please add a comment. I will get the answer for you!

Cheers,
Robert

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Accounts Payable Conference & Expo

I really learned a lot of good information at the IOFM’s Accounts Payable Conference & Expo in Washington, DC this past April. My plan is to write a few blog posts here sharing some of this info. Of course the most talked about subject was automation.

I was able to speak to all of the automation vendors about what sets them apart from their competitors, and what the similarities were. While this variety can make it difficult to choose, it does give your company the chance to find an automation solution that fits their needs. Other topics included A/P Best Practices, vendor discount management, and alternate payment methods (besides check and EFT).

The idea of paying your vendors via credit card, was brand new to me. But this is an idea that I will be investigating deeply. I hope to write more about what i find out.

IOFM is having another Accounts Payable Conference & Expo in October. This one will be taking place in Las Vegas. I have already decided to attend this one too. Right now, I'm just looking for a good deal on plane tickets. If you are thinking of going to this conference in Las Vegas this year, send me a message! I would love to hear from you.

Robert Ruhno
Accounts Payable Professional Group

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thank you

Accounts Payable Professionals is now over 16 thousand members strong! Thank you to all the members for making this group as great as it is.

If you work in the accounts payable field or are looking to change into AP, consider joining us! The group is free to join and is available on:

* LinkedIn
* ap.groupsite.com
And you can follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APProfessionals

Monday, January 21, 2013

What steps are you taking to advance your career in 2013?

We live in a time of automated technology, outsourcing, and companies looking to increase efficiencies. It has become more and more dangerous to keep your head down on the job. Being a hard worker is an admirable quality, but in this climate you have to do more. I know that in order to advance your A/P career, you must “work harder on yourself”.

This year I will be:
•)) Reading more books.
•)) Watching more webinars.
•)) Attending the A/P conference in Washington, D.C. on April 10th – 12th.

In 2007, I attended an all-day training seminar in NYC and passed the APM certification exam. I remember leaving this event and feeling like I just gained A/P superpowers. I cannot think of another way to attain knowledge, contacts, and resources in one day. Also, speaking only from my own personal experience: After getting the APM certification, my annual salary increased by 22% and about 30% within five years.

“Accounts Payable Professional Group members” has been extended a $100 discount. Just make sure to use the code: “APP” when you register. If interested, visit: http://www.iofm.com/event/apconf-spring13

If you do use this code and attend the conference, make sure to find me! I really want to meet you. In fact, if you do, I will make sure to write you a LinkedIn recommendation. I feel comfortable doing this because I know that only those of you who are really serious about A/P would attend this event.

What activities will you do this year to advance your career? Please post your ideas!