FOUR KPIs of World Class Purchase to Pay Organisations To Benchmark Against
By Susie West
In our lives we have our own KPIs – though we might not call them that, admittedly. They may
total to 8 significant ones, each reflecting a certain section of our life – our health, our money, our
home etc. They may involve a salary slip, a bank account or the bathroom scales… Most of us
instinctively know, because of these deeply embedded KPIs, when we have to parachute in the
troops to rescue a certain area.
When running a P2P organisation which is high in volume, packed with multiple systems, multiple
processes, scores of people, and tens of thousands of invoices, collecting information which quickly tells
you what the state of your operation is, is absolutely vital. We have to say “Cheerio!” to instinct, and
“Hello” to hard data, so that everyone knows where the change needs to happen and why.
In this article – the third in a three part series, we will look at a) what the chief KPIs are that help a
Purchase to Pay Owner know instantly where their organisations strengths and weaknesses are and b)
what percentage world class P2P organisations are hitting in these areas.
KPI Number One: Productivity Per FTE
Let’s start first with productivity per FTE, which means numbers of purchase invoices processed per FTE
per annum. This can be very telling of the state of your P2P. If you have high PO compliancy, and high
automation/electronic invoicing, then the number of invoices processed per FTE per annum will be high.
Maybe even World Class. According to Hackett the figure for World Class P2P organisations is 35,147
invoices per FTE per annum. So this is a very useful KPI, indicating the actual effectiveness of your
process. But it gives no indication of cost. So you could have a productivity number of 60,000, but
because you spent millions on whizz bang technology, it’s not surprising. So this KPI really needs to be
read in conjunction with Cost Per Invoice.
KPI Number Two: Cost Per Purchase Invoice
If indeed your productivity is high you would hope that your cost per invoice is low. However, cost per
invoice should not really be read in isolation. We all know you can process an invoice in India for
relatively little, but where’s the good in that if all the invoices are a) paper and b) failing to match. So, this
KPI goes towards filling in the picture, rather than telling the whole story. According to Hackett the cost
per invoice for a World class organisation is $1.28. A Non World Class organisation comes in at $3.89.
When we look at what is included in this calculation, we typically take all invoices from 3rd party vendors
over 1 year (paper, electronic, OCR, EDI, self bill), and divide the total by the costs incurred from receipt
of invoice within the company, and payment.
KPI Number Three: First Time Match Rate
More and more we are all striving to drive our FTM into the mid 90s. The lower our FTM, the lower our
productivity, the higher our cost per invoices, and the lower our invoices paid on time. So you could say
out of the 4 KPIs presented here today, this one is the chief KPI. If indeed you are mainly electronic in
your processing, then a very sophisticated P2P organisation would use the % of Touchless invoices as a
chief KPI (ie electronic AND straight through). Looking at the Hackett figures, World Class organisations
come in at a very impressive 94%, whilst Non World Class are looking at an FTM of 70%. What we mean
by FTM is an invoice passing first time without waiting, parking or exception handling.
KPI Number Four: Payment On Time
This dovetails in very neatly with First Time Match. If your FTM is high, chances are your PoT is high too.
Payment on Time does not of course mean paying suppliers early, but to the terms that were agreed by
Procurement. Ideally you have a minimum number of terms across a region. One chemicals company I
know reduced their number of terms across Europe to three and automatically increased their cash
ownership by €7 million. Hackett’s research reveals that World Class organisations are hitting 95% PoT,
where as Non World Class are coming in 72%.
About the Author
Susie West is Founder and CEO at sharedserviceslink.com. She set the company up in 2007 as she
believed professionals in finance shared services and purchase to pay did not have the opportunity to be
made privy to a bank of ‘make-a-difference’, case study driven information. Having been in the shared
services market since 1998 in a consulting and sales capacity, and worked with hundreds of finance
SSOs in EMEA and North America on making their processes more efficient, Susie felt very justified in
setting up sharedserviceslink.com. It now serves as an excellent information platform for companies to
find out what few things other companies are doing in finance shared services which make a significant
difference. This information is shared via boutique, interactive, energetic conferences (where speakers
are recruited based on their authority and experience), free monthly webinars, reports and masterclasses.
The aim of the company is to absolutely help its customers perform better in their SSOs.