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In conversation with CIO Applications magazine, President & Founder of XPROfintech Osama Sabbah and Vice President of Operations Sean Squire, share with us their insights on the market challenges surrounding procure to pay, and how his company helps clients navigate around them.
Osama, what is the central principle of XPROfintech? What are some of the emerging trends that you have been witnessing in the procurement space from your experience?
The central principle of XPROfintech is client partnership. We recognize every client company is unique in everything from size and structure to operating model. Because XPROfintech is organized to deliver the optimal amount of customer value, we are able to consistently meet and exceed customer expectations with respect to deadlines and vendor adoption. Our customers have been asking for this for a long time, and we are proud to be the ones they trust. At XPROfintech we start every client relationship by providing direct access to the most senior members of our firm. Our entire leadership spends time getting to know your firm, what your needs are and how we need to engage with you to make sure you get the most out of our partnership. We have worked hard to be sure our internal processes and norms align with our customers objectives. “When your culture is fueled by delighting your customers, staying within budgets and meeting deadlines become minimum expectations.”
The biggest trend in procure to pay is what we call Digital 2.0. Most companies have been paperless for decades. However, “paperless” and “modern” does not mean the same thing these days. There are two questions you can ask any procurement manager to understand if their operation is paperless or truly modernized.
Are all of your procure to pay systems cloud hosted?
There are a tremendous number of resources being allocated by procurement teams around the world toward converting to cloud-based solutions companies. Cloud-based solutions provide better flexibility around everything from continuity of business due to increased remote work needs to a lower cost profile and smaller infrastructure footprint. XPROfintech was founded on the understanding that cloud-based solutions are the future and has been a pioneer in the space.
What percentage of your payments are digital or through virtual cards?
Just because a firm has paperless billing does not mean it has moved away from manual check processes and clunky ACH or wire transfers for payment remission. We are always surprised by how many companies are not using virtual cards, or not using them effectively. In working with clients, we have found the biggest obstacle to fully digitizing an Accounts Payable operation with virtual cards is vendor adoption. If clients have attempted to adopt virtual cards they have generally partnered with their bank. The problem with bank offered virtual cards is banks are not effective at helping drive vendor adoption. It doesn’t matter if you are capable of making virtual card payments if none of your vendors have agreed to accept them. This is where XPROfintech has become a leader. All of our products tout a 90% to 95% vendor adoption rate, measured by proportion of spend. We take full and guaranteed responsibility for driving vendor adoption of virtual cards which makes all the difference for our clients.
Could you elaborate on the various solutions XPROfintech offers to its client to benefit and strengthen their procure to pay process?
We offer a diversified range of products to our client to reduce human error and enhance operations.
We don’t have customers, we have partners. We focus on value not on price, and we offer long term solutions,” says Osama Sabbah, founder and CEO of XPROfintech
The first product is the XPROportal, which automates the onboarding process for vendors and acts as a management tool for updates and follow-ups within a vendor’s profile. Imagine the steps a procurement manager goes through to onboard every new vendor. They must collect general company details, forms W-9, Certificates of Insurance, and diversity certificates just to name a few. If a vendor provides partial information the procurement manager must conduct follow ups, sometimes multiple times. Once all the onboarding information is finally collected it still must be manually entered into the ERP system. But the challenges don’t stop there. After vendor information makes it into the ERP system the information must somehow be monitored for expiration. XPRO portal automates all these pain points. We start by shadowing our client’s onboarding processes to make a one for one process copy in XPRO. After conversion, new vendors are prompted to complete the XPRO workflow. The vendor is responsible for answering a series of questions and uploading required documents. XPRO automatically follows up with the vendor on any missing or incomplete information. Once the vendor has completed their responsibility the procurement manager is notified to review and approve the vendor application.
The second product is XPROverify, which is designed to provide safety and soundness checks on new and existing vendors. The XPRO verification process vets vendors against over 35 different government agencies and lists checking for everything from OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) and potential sanctions violations to IRS TIN (Internal Revenue Service Tax Payer Identification Number) matching and United States Postal Service address validation and format standardization.
The third part is the recovery audit, XPROrecovery, historically known as ‘post-audit’ recovery. Profit recovery audits are used to detect duplicate and overpayments as well as clean up aging items on vendor accounts. During the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses didn’t have access to the same level of process controls causing increased risk of overpaying vendors. What separates XPRO recovery from the pack is our commitment to long-term client process improvement. At the end of each project, we conduct a deep dive root cause analysis for our clients. We deliver our findings in a detailed report either virtually or on onsite. This enables us to walk our clients through each area of opportunity we identified to build a process improvement strategy.
What are the key differentiators that keep you ahead of your competitors?
The XPROfintech “secret sauce” is a winning recipe with only two ingredients; state-of-the-art technology, and an extremely dedicated and talented team. We founded XPRO after years of working as Accounts Payable, Procurement, and Finance professionals with the goal of building the tools we were missing the field. Because we built XPRO to solve for pain points we experienced first-hand we know exactly how to maximize the value of our tools for our clients. We encourage everyone in our company to contribute to our software development roadmap based on their experience working with and listening to our clients. Nothing can compete with a team of people who come together every day this passionate about making a difference for their clients and who are empowered to literally design and build anything they do not already have to deliver the best possible results. I have always described XPRO in two ways. As a unicorn and as a camel. Unicorns are imaginative, innovative, and agile. Being a unicorn is how we get ahead. Camels are resilient, enduring, and loyal. Being a camel is how we stay ahead.
Could you share a customer success story with our readers?
We provide a customer-centric approach, and that is the reason why we have never lost a single client. We pride ourselves on having an extremely high customer satisfaction rate. For instance, we were working with an international airline. The client was using excel files to track certain credits for a group of vendors. None of the credits which were manually tracked were being recorded back into their ERP system, so they were not making it into their sub-ledger. We successfully brought the untracked balance sheet items back into their accounting information systems. In total we discovered over a million dollars in credits had not been unaccounted for. Based on our findings the client was able to do a comprehensive cleanup and reconciliation, strengthening their controls for the future.
How do you envision the future of XPROfintech both geographically and technologically?
The Fintech space is evolving and witnessing a continuous advancement in technology in recent times. The rise of big data, AI, IoT, blockchain in the Fintech landscape has made companies seek opportunities and adopt these applications in their business models for better return on investment. XPROfintech will continue to have foresight into developing industry needs. Previously, we did not have an independent Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for our clients, but the pandemic has made us realize its importance. We were able to develop that technology and help our partners tackle problems themselves, without relying on a service provider. XPROfintech will continue to evolve with the zeitgeist of the times, keeping our clients’ best interests at the forefront of every decision we make.
We have already gained the confidence in our products from a broad spectrum of market segments. We represent everything from retail and airlines to manufacturing and telecommunications. The way we built our cloud-based ecosystem, we can dynamically scale our solutions to support clients with the largest supply chains or small to midsize companies with budget limitations. Our goal is not to be a service provider to every company on the planet. Our mission is to make best in class procure to pay processes available to a hand-picked group of partner companies who share our passion for excellence.