The Best Procure-To-Pay Transformation Guide

June 7, 2022

Procurement is a critical process for businesses of all sizes, whether it's purchasing supplies, rent, or technology. With the number of stakeholders, spend categories, and suppliers involved, there's a high chance of error and fraud, making it crucial to have a precise and efficient system.

Fortunately, with modern technology, businesses can transform their procurement process through procure-to-pay (P2P) automation, improving compliance and efficiency. In this post, we'll explore P2P transformation options and discuss what solution works best for hardware-centric startups.

We'll also highlight the importance of P2P and how it's essential to have an integrated and specialized all-in-one purchasing software that covers the entire supply chain. With software like Control Hub, businesses can increase efficiency, decrease costs, and boost reliability in one step. Best of all, it's easy to implement and startup-friendly.

What is P2P, anyway?

Before we get into this discussion too far, the term procure-to-pay (P2P) refers to the process of sourcing, negotiating, and completing purchases. In other words, it is shorthand for procurement or purchasing at every stage. For most large companies, this process can be very precise and involve several stakeholders, from line managers to the C-suite. However, it’s critical to the business because, without enough services and supplies, you can’t make any money. Traditionally, this is a paper-heavy business process with each purchase order filed away in a cabinet in the procurement department. Then, accounts payable has a different record for payments.

What is a P2P transformation?

Simply put, a P2P transformation is a process whereby you move away from the old-fashioned, outdated paper procurement system. Traditionally, the procure-to-pay (P2P) procedures involve two different departments, and there’s no linkage between them. One stack of papers has purchase requisitions, bids, and purchase orders. The other stack of papers has invoices and receipts. Searching between the stacks is really difficult.

Here's the problem with that process: lack of transparency and reduced efficiency. With old-style systems, it was easy for people to buy things on impulse, buy duplicates, or purchase them from unapproved vendors. We call this phenomenon maverick spend. Worse, there’s a high potential for invoice fraud, a process where people try to convince businesses that a supplier has changed their account or payment information. The result is that the money ends up in the wrong hands, costing your business money.

On the other hand, doing a P2P transformation will improve your purchasing accuracy and collaboration. It helps you implement best practices and automation, from the requisition stage all the way to accounts payable. Best of all, you can more easily keep track of each contract.

Different alternatives to a P2P transformation

For some companies, going completely digital seems like a step too far. After all, there are ways to track each transaction without elaborate systems. In particular, your procurement team may not want to learn a whole bunch of automation techniques, or to spend on a dedicated software suite. Or, upper management might not want to pay for it. Let’s look at some alternate approaches.

Email tracking

Perhaps the oldest form of P2P process tracking is email. In this case, buyers will send an email to purchasing, who will then approve the expense. Then, the order will get placed online, or using a purchase order by fax. Finally, as the bills come in from suppliers, the procurement team will ask accounting to pay.

The trouble here is that it’s relatively difficult to track each transaction. For most of us, emails get tossed into a single inbox. And, although Outlook and many other email clients let us sort emails, collaboration is still difficult. Buyers must work hard to ensure that everyone is on the same page, as necessary. When this fails, payments and other contract information can fall between the cracks.

Unfortunately, email tracking is only marginally better at finding maverick spend or fraud than the old manual method. Increasingly, best practices dictate that you have a paper trail for everything. And, while you definitely should have an email to track, these aren’t much easier to sift through than the original, manual P2P process. 

Use an ERP

Next, some companies choose to implement an enterprise resource planning system, or ERP. An ERP is an automation platform that keeps track of many different business processes, such as purchasing, project management, accounts payable, and even a customer database. In other words, the ERP is designed to be your main automation solution for the whole business. Besides an ERP, businesses would also have secondary software like a word processor, computer design suite, and similar tools by industry. However, most of the backend would live in the ERP.

Perhaps the nicest thing about an ERP is that it’s supposed to keep everything in one place. However, it isn’t the best solution for companies that need to improve their P2P process. That’s because it’s often hard to search an ERP to, for example, find the purchase order history for a certain supplier. For this reason, an ERP has poor trend visibility, and you can still have trouble finding maverick spend.

Unfortunately, many ERPs can’t handle sourcing very well. This means that your employees will need to work harder at this business process. For instance, they’d have to use separate sourcing software to find the best price-and keep at it. That’s because the procurement team won’t be able to see if there are price changes. 

The other problem with an ERP for AP automation is that it doesn’t cover all of your manual tasks. Chances are that your employees will still have to take down details on paper, and then enter them into the ERP later. So, if they forget to enter a purchase order into the ERP, it’ll go missing. Some of these programs can’t issue the document.

Automate individual business processes.

Another way to try and track your procurement process is with piecemeal automation. In this situation, you’ll have an AP automation program or bookkeeping software suite, along with ordering systems and, likely, a requisition system. This lets you monitor everything, and it’s also relatively easy to track each aspect of the purchase cycle. In addition, you’ll get a good paper trail for compliance and audit purposes.

If the team that makes each purchase is less tech savvy, this might be a good thing to try. After all, we’ve been using computer programs that manage only one thing at a time for decades. Many people could learn to issue a purchase order by dedicated software. In addition, you can still implement many best practices with this solution.

Here, the trouble is that you have different items in different places. For instance, the implementation of automated payment software means accounting can track each expense, and document who gets paid for what. In addition, you can easily tell which manager authorized each purchase. But collaboration is also harder with these isolated systems. While you can easily find waste and abuse, a company that needs intensive supply chain management will struggle using this approach. 


Finally, companies that think they don’t have the money for a digital transformation will sometimes outsource their purchasing. This is understandable, because outsourcing firms have a lot of people who can ensure each purchase goes off without a hitch. In addition, it lets a company’s employees concentrate on other things, like making the coolest tech. 

However, outsourcing isn’t the best P2P transformation approach. One reason for this is that your managers won’t receive much empowerment: they will be dependent on the outside company. If something goes wrong, like a supplier shutdown or shipping delay, it’s much harder to adjust quickly. In addition, the outsourcing firm will typically just send an itemized invoice for services, without much accountability for which departments are responsible for each aspect of spend.

As you can see, there are several ways that companies can start moving their purchasing processes into the computer age, and away from manual paperwork. However, so far none of the options we’ve discussed cover everything, and they don’t provide a good solution for hardware-heavy startups or other companies with a lot of purchasing. In addition, some of them have implementation problems that can make life harder.

A full P2P transformation, like Control Hub, is your best solution

Here’s the thing. Increasingly, the best way to empowerment and efficiency for your procurement team is to use an integrated, specialized all-in-one purchasing software. These solutions include high visibility for new vendors, track changing prices, and help you implement a strategic sourcing philosophy.

Why is this so great? Ultimately, your company’s digital transformation demands that you can source products, issue a purchase order, and pay suppliers from one suite. In addition, because of the complexity of supply chains, it’s important that your procurement solution is as smart as your products.

Best of all, our software is a complete procure to pay solution. In addition, you can also track inventory. This helps your team to know when it’s time to make another order so the goods will arrive on time. Finally, the whole process happens in one place, so that your auditors and management team can quickly determine who is buying what. Game over for maverick spend and fraud.


Procurement is a crucial process for any business, involving the sourcing, negotiating, and completion of purchases. However, with so many stakeholders, spend categories, and suppliers involved, the chance of errors and fraud is high. To combat this, businesses can implement procure-to-pay (P2P) transformation, a process that streamlines procurement efforts and improves efficiency and compliance.

This post explores different P2P transformation options and discusses what solution works best for hardware-centric startups. The article emphasizes the importance of having an integrated and specialized all-in-one purchasing software that covers the entire supply chain, such as Control Hub. Such software can help businesses increase efficiency, decrease costs, and boost reliability, all while being startup-friendly and easy to implement.

The post also discusses the limitations of traditional procurement processes, which can be paper-heavy and lack transparency, leading to inefficiencies and increased risk of fraud. With P2P automation, however, businesses can ensure better collaboration, increased accuracy, and better tracking of contracts.

The article notes that while some companies may opt for email tracking or individual automation of business processes, these approaches have limitations in terms of collaboration and visibility. Similarly, while enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can provide automation for various business processes, they often lack the level of visibility and ease-of-use required for effective P2P transformation.

Finally, the post highlights the benefits of a comprehensive P2P solution like Control Hub, which provides end-to-end procurement automation, and allows businesses to track inventory, implement strategic sourcing, and improve collaboration, while eliminating maverick spend and invoice fraud.

In conclusion, businesses of all sizes can benefit from P2P transformation, but hardware-centric startups in particular can see significant improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and compliance by implementing a specialized all-in-one purchasing software. The key is to choose a solution that fits the specific needs of the business and can handle the complexity of its supply chain, while being easy to implement and startup-friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is Procure-to-Pay (P2P) transformation?

P2P transformation is like upgrading your procurement process to superhero status! It's all about streamlining purchasing, sourcing, and negotiating to get the goods and services your business needs. With P2P, you'll bid farewell to lost invoices and inefficiency, and say hello to transparency and increased collaboration. It's the key to running your business like a well-oiled machine!

Why is P2P transformation so important for businesses?

P2P transformation is crucial for businesses because it empowers them to operate efficiently and effectively. It simplifies the entire procurement process, making it easier to track vendors, prices, and purchases. With P2P, you'll have a genius assistant on your side, implementing strategic sourcing like a pro and ensuring your team can source, order, and pay suppliers all in one place. It's the ultimate recipe for success!

What are the alternatives to P2P transformation?

While P2P transformation is a game-changer, there are alternative approaches. Some companies use the classic email tracking method, but it can be chaotic and hard to manage. ERP systems are versatile but may lack specialized procurement features. Piecemeal automation with individual software can help track things better but may create collaboration headaches. Outsourcing procurement is an option, but it may sacrifice control and flexibility. For a truly tailored and efficient solution, Control Hub is the superhero choice!

What makes Control Hub the ultimate superhero of P2P transformation?

Control Hub is like the genius assistant you've always dreamed of! It's an integrated, all-in-one purchasing software that's tailor-made for your business. With Control Hub, you can track vendors, monitor prices, and implement strategic sourcing with ease. Your team can source, order, and pay suppliers from one suite, eliminating the juggling act! Plus, you'll gain insights into inventory, simplify audits, and say goodbye to maverick spend and fraud. It's the P2P superhero you've been waiting for!

Is P2P transformation costly and complicated to implement?

Fear not, fellow business wizards! P2P transformation with Control Hub is a smooth and rewarding process. While there may be some initial investment, the long-term benefits far outweigh the costs. Plus, the efficiency gains and empowered decision-making will have your business thriving like never before. Embrace the digital age and unleash the power of P2P transformation with Control Hub – it's worth every penny!

How can I get started with P2P transformation using Control Hub?

Getting started with Control Hub is as easy as waving a wand! Reach out to the team and explore how Control Hub can be tailored to fit your business needs. With their support, you'll implement the solution seamlessly, and soon, you'll be enjoying the efficiency, transparency, and empowerment that comes with P2P transformation. Join the superhero league of savvy businesses and make your procurement process a force to be reckoned with!

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