Posts Tagged ‘SIM’

The 3 Pillars of Managing your Vendor Master File

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Today, we are releasing a free Lavante White Paper entitled “3 Pillars Maturity Model – Managing your Vendor Master File“ to recap our three-part Webinar series from this summer.  With an emphasis on Supplier Information Management and Vendor Master File excellence, the series hit a nerve and drove nearly a 1000 downloads and views!  Understanding how relevant the topic was for so many people I consolidated the material (along with a few new ideas) into a whitepaper where I could present a clear picture of the 3 Pillars of driving data quality in the vendor master file.

There are no set steps that a company must take to achieve a clean, best-in-class vendor master file.  Rather, obtaining an optimized vendor master file requires an understanding of the elemental pillars needed in order to improve your vendor master file management process.

There are three fundamental pillars for driving Data Quality:

  1. The first is to Sanitize your VMF. Here you will identify and inactivate or merge duplicate records, correct erroneous data, capture missing data, update old data, and begin creating new controls
  2. Once your VMF is clean, you can Stabilize your VMF process wherein you will establish new norms including naming standards, proper segregation of duties, effective change management controls, and rules
  3. Then finally, you are able to Optimize your VMF process to assure regulatory and policy compliance, validation of supplier data at the time of on-boarding and ongoing

No matter where your organization is within the spectrum of the Three Pillars Model, your supplier information can be leveraged in many ways.  Whether you are looking to engage suppliers to maintain updated contact and remittance details, perform outreach to capture certifications or documents, drive comprehensive compliance across your organization, or manage spend and supplier relationships, your supplier data is the cornerstone and common denominator from which to perform any analytics and process improvement.

Download the entire white paper for free here: ”3 Pillars Maturity Model – Managing your Vendor Master File

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“The Cabin” – A Fable about Data Quality and Procure-to-Pay

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Have you heard the old riddle about the cabin in the woods?

It goes like this:  You are alone walking through the woods and you spot a cabin in a clearing up ahead. You are tired, cold and hungry and it is getting dark.   You do not see or hear anyone in the cabin and decide you would be within your rights to show yourself inside and take shelter.  In the fading light you can see:

  1. A stove where you could cook your small ration of food
  2. A fireplace with enough wood to get you through the night
  3. A lamp with enough Kerosene to last until morning.

The problem is that you only have one single match.  So the question becomes – which among all of these things should you light first?

Pause for dramatic effect.

And of course the answer is “the match.”  (Please, no groaning.  I am building to a point, I promise.)  You see, before you can use any of these other devices you need to light the match and then apply that flame to whichever tool you have prioritized as the most critical.  In essence, without the initial spark those other items are never going to operate at their optimal levels.

Perhaps it is a stretch, but I sometimes think about this riddle when I contemplate the Procure-to-Pay cycle.  In many ways, heads of AP and Procurement are like the tired and hungry traveler from this story.  Their P2P environment is like the cabin, but instead of a stove, a fireplace and a lamp – their dwelling is populated by a host of automation initiatives.

Some of the questions that face the different agenda setters in the P2P cabin are: Should you automate payables? Should you put a contract management system in place? Should you implement a spend analytics platform or a supply chain financing portal?  Should to find a sourcing tool? and so on and so forth; the possibilities go on and on and there doesn’t seem to be one definitive answer.

With the rapid escalation of automation options in the last ten years this corner of the enterprise has become a little cloudy in terms of what to do first and how to maximize value from supplier interaction.  In the past several years, many large companies have implemented automation solutions in their P2P environment, and a strong theme has arisen.  There is a lot of value to be generated from all of these technologies, but nothing seems to be completely hitting its potential.

We hear about this theme a lot from larger enterprises that wish they could see more supplier adoption and drive more revenue or savings from their investment.  We especially hear about this from sales reps at the software companies that are selling these solutions.  Think about it… they are the one bearing the brunt; low supplier adoption and reduced transaction volume on their software often means the sales folks are not maximizing their commissions – or the value for their clients.

So what is the problem?  Nobody ever took the time to light the “match.”  And in this case the “match” (or the spark) is the data quality or Supplier Information Management (SIM).    Focus on the data first and then everything will flow from there.  Too often companies will implement a very powerful system like supply chain financing or e-invoicing or spend analytics and they settle for only 20% of suppliers (or transactions) to flow though the software.  This is crazy and more than that is very costly!  Engaging your supplier data first and then letting that perfect data flow into all of your systems is not only better for your overall operations but this will also dramatically increase the savings or the earnings from your P2P automation initiatives by a magnitude!

In reality this logic is nothing new.  The old saying used to be, “before you can automate any process… you need to optimize that process first.”  Like most things that old saying needs an update, “Before you can automate, you need to optimize, and before you optimize, you need to have quality date populating your system.”

Light the “match” first.  Data quality is the spark that ignites everything else in your P2P cycle.


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An Expert Discussion on Supplier Portals!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Wow… just… wow.

You know how when film critics are talking about movies they say, “If you see only one movie all summer… make sure to watch ‘blah blah blah.’”  Well I have to make the same claim for the Supplier Portal webinar from yesterday.  If you sit through only one webinar all year long, you have to download the “What is a Supplier Portal Anyway?” webinar from Josh Morrison and Mary Schaeffer.

Seriously though, you will not regret it.  The link is right here:  Supplier Portal Webinar

OK, I understand that this webinar was co-presented by a Lavantine, Josh Morrison, and many of you may claim I am just hawking my Lavante bias, but seriously this was a master class in how we should be looking at supplier portals.  What works; what doesn’t; what are the pitfalls of the craze; and what is the upside of actually solving this whole “Supplier Portal” riddle.

I was merely an observer of the webinar.  I sat in for the first couple minutes with the intention of leaving to another meeting, but I couldn’t leave because the material was so good.  Josh, who spent the previous 20 years heading up AP/P2P and Strategic Sourcing for a Fortune 50 company (and he’s a member of frickin’ Mensa!),  and Mary Schaeffer, who runs one of the most highly regarded consultancies in the AP market (if you do not know her work click here) really delivered.  The two presenters struck a perfect balance where Josh laid out the ambitional map (i.e., “these are the new levels of value you can get from a portal“) and Mary outlined the cautionary tales of lagging behind.  (i.e., “adopt a portal solution to gear up for risk and to get ready for the regulations – because they are here, and more are coming.”)

Attendance was great.  We pulled in about 300 folks.  Bam!  (Marketing folks, amirite?)  That tells me the topic was on point.  Only seven attendees dropped off before the end.  That tells me the material was firing on all cylinders and kept the crowd engaged.   Probably the most telling stat was the attendee engagement we saw coming through the chat box.  This was without a doubt the most engaged crowd I have ever seen in a webinar.  We had over 30 attendee comments come in during the presentation.  (Apologies if we did not respond to you comments during the presentation – we will soon)  During the webinar debrief we realized we needed to do a follow up webinar on the comments alone.

Not every comment was of the “thank you, can I have a copy of the slides” variety; we actually saw a little emotion coming through the crowd.  For example one attendee wrote the following, “how do you ‘sell’ the portal to the suppliers?  …we get push back that they’re ‘doing our work’ and that they don’t have time or resources to go into multiple customers’ portals, much less keep track of how each portal is different.”  This is an incredible question and brings up some very important points of concern.  In reality, this question alone sparks a whole other webinar or blog or white paper.  In response to this question, I’d offer that the industry has to settle into a larger market-serving portal strategy.  Yes, the whole market can be instrumental in pushing this forward.  Think about the cell phone network analogy.  Do you remember that only 15 years ago cell phone networks were fragmented and you had to pay more to call into another network?  In more extreme cases you couldn’t even call another network.  Eventually the market demanded the solution to be simplified.  The same thing will eventually happen in the portal space as well (and I know just the firm that is doing it!).

Anyway, not to go too far on a tangent…like I was saying before, I am always impressed when webinar attendees feel welcome enough to challenge the material and pose strong questions or claims.  I feel like this webinar was a winner.  This was a balanced look at a topic that is getting a ton or air play right now and we sent in two of the industry’s best experts to discuss it.  Many people sent glowing remarks, but many others are still wrestling with the material and the mere thought of portals, portals, portals!

I invite every one of you to download and listen (for free) for yourself.  Send any questions and start a dialogue.  This is a fun topic and we are all just getting started!


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What I’ve Learned: The True Impact of Supplier Information in P2P

Friday, September 25th, 2015

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information. – Benjamin Disraeli

Over the course of the past 15+ years, I have focused my career efforts towards ensuring organizations leverage the best possible information as they manage their procurement, accounts payable, supply chain, and compliance functions. (before that I was amiss – dealing with boring, less-impactful, solutions)

The journey has provided me with considerable experience within spend analytics, source-to-settle, performance and risk, diverse and small business reporting, and (my favorite) Supplier Information Management (SIM). In fact, before the three-letter acronym was borne, I was giving sermons on the criticality of supplier information, and the strategic advantages of leveraging this data better.

Many Supply and Demand Chain Executive’s annual “Pro to Know” awards later, I have had the honor of working closely with over one-half of the Fortune500, and a significant portion of those within the Global500 not already represented in the Fortune500.

So, as it relates to supplier information, what do I most often hear from the market?

To start, ALL seem to recognize that:

  1. Downstream efforts, whether PO processing, invoice processing, contract management, accounts payables, or other, are heavily dependent on the quality of supplier data;
  2. Efficiencies, or inefficiencies, are established at the beginning of the information gathering process; and,
  3. Everything from what information is collected, to the governance over the data and processes, has to account for a complex set of variables (e.g., geographic location, commodity type, supplier type, business unit, function, etc.), yet maintain global corporate standards.

Seemingly very complex, as this matrix seems to change from one company to another. And, most solutions already fall short by now in not being able to adapt to the required organizational and governance models.

But what I hear most often is… How can we replicate the same “master data management” model (collect once, use many) on a bigger scale? If you have verified a TIN, or Company Registration Number, or other, why not push that to all clients of that supplier? Yet, where my needs differ, such as a bank account change triggers a specific internal audit, let me tailor the system to my needs.

Makes sense. A many-to-many network to create incredible efficiencies, yet a powerful Supplier Information Management platform that fits the needs (client-specific data, client-specific processes, client-defined data stewards, environment-specific integrations, and so forth) of each organization.

Until Lavante, this hadn’t existed. Yes, supplier networks existed; however, there has always been a trade-off. Ariba has a well-known network, but it’s purpose is simply to enable payments – and, as I’ve been told, the Supplier Information Management module overlooks many of the dynamics required as mentioned above. Yet, over 3 million suppliers are already actively engaged in the Lavante Connect supplier network – AND the platform is completely configurable to the most demanding and complex environment.

Hence, I joined Lavante’s team. Not to sound sales-y, as that’s not my intention: what we’ve all imagined in enabling supplier information across organizations, across business units, across functions, across relationship owners, and across downstream systems (e.g., ERP, eInvoicing, PO systems, etc.) is here.

In my prior experience, there’d have to be a tradeoff, as in the Ariba example above. The permutations of variables (both in supplier data collected, and in workflows triggered) within an organization is already complex for a software. But to add a layer above it, network-enabled data, and the governance of how and what data flows into an organization, versus what is kept out?

By solving this puzzle, systematically, the buzz is high. In fact, just this last week in New Orleans, PayStream Advisors awarded Lavante with their 2015 Innovation award for Supplier Information Management.

When the rubber hits the road, the ROI has to be there. There is little question that ensuring clean and accurate supplier data, at the beginning of the process (from requisition, onboarding, etc.) pays huge returns in efficiency, and capturing value of downstream processes, such as: invoicing and early payment discounts, compliance initiatives, fraud avoidance, etc.

Most are aware of this, but many delay due to expensive and lengthy implementations. I’ve seen 2+ year implementations, at a 5x implementation to software cost. That is a big commitment – and another reason why I made the move to Lavante. Here it is more common to have implementation costs at ½ to 1x implementation to software – and go live in short months.

Is all of this possible?

Yes, this is all possible. In fact, we were just put to the test. A very large $150b multinational had requirements to tailor our platform to handle several of their supplier-related compliance areas (specifically: Conflict Minerals Reporting, Disaster Recovery, RoHS/REACH, and C-TPAT) and enable them to test the supplier engagement, the data collected, the processes, and the reports IN THREE DAYS TIME to meet their deadline. The prior company had many months; however, Lavante successfully delivered the platform in time and the feedback was, “Even we didn’t think it was possible. You hit a home run!”

Of course this isn’t the norm, but, regardless, implementations shouldn’t be a barrier to your success. Straight out of the box, Lavante’s platform is already 100% configured for: supplier requisition; FACTA compliance; small and diverse business; validations (e.g., OFAC, SWIFT, USPS, etc.); Conflict Mineral Reporting; and many, many more areas. Clients can leverage what is there, yet tailor as necessary.

A true supplier network, and the ability to cost-effectively deliver Supplier Information Management… As I started this post by mentioning that I’ve “focused my career efforts towards ensuring organizations leverage the best possible information as they manage their procurement, accounts payable, supply chain, and compliance functions”, I continue on that path today and am excited to be a part of this huge leap forward within Supplier Information Management. 

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PayStream Recognizes Lavante with “Excellence Award” for Supplier Information Management!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

A huge thank you to Henry Ijams and the entire staff of PayStream Advisors for hosting such a fantastic P2P Summit last week at the InterContinental Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter!

For those that do not know, PayStream Advisors is one of the premier providers (in the P2P space) of trusted research, in-depth consulting, and unparalleled educational content.  Lavante was honored at their show last week to receive our second Innovation Award in four years!  The pool of contenders spans the entire P2P ecosystem and winning this award is both a wonderful accomplishment and an incredible honor that we do not take lightly.  A quick glance at some of the past winners will tell you all you need to know about the prestige of the Paystream awards.

To set ourselves apart from the pack we have followed a couple very simple mottos…  “Never Stop Innovating” and “Listen to Customers!”   We take these two tenants very seriously and we are committed to working tirelessly for our clients.  In return, we have great client relationships that give us as much or more than we give them – and that is how we can consistently win these accolades.

Looking back over the last few Lavante press releases I see a pattern of very strong and strategic quarterly product releases… and if you read those new stories closely you’ll see that our clients are often quoted as saying they have “partnered” with Lavante to address their specific problems and to create strong solutions.  George Linville of PayStream Advisors saw some of that in his evaluation of the SIM market and had this to add, “The Lavante Connect platform and SIM application modules stand out in the field with a configurable and modular design that allows clients to rapidly deploy a robust, scalable and integrated solution.”

For years we have admired the consistent and meaningful work that PayStream does to help propel the Purchase-to-Pay space.  We believe strongly in our vision to enable P2P professionals to manage their suppliers to the highest possible standard and we are honored that PayStream has once again recognized our efforts.

While onsite in New Orleans we were also delighted to spend very quality time with some existing and future clients.  In addition to the Awards Luncheon – the best part of the summit for me was getting to co-host an educational session with my colleague and friend Tammie Norman, Director of Transactional Accounting at ICF International.  In truth I only introduced Tammie – she is more than capable of making her own presentations.   This particular session provided expert perspective from Tammie on her experiences working with the Lavante Connect platform and the Lavante SIM solution while she was the Director of Accounts Payable at Discovery Communications.  The presentation was a tour de force and several attendees came up to me afterward to comment that after seeing Tammie’s presentation they were not surprised that Lavante won the Excellence Award.

It’s moments like this that help to add a little perspective.  Last week was wonderful.  I got a chance to spend some quality time with a few of my remote co-workers and that is always nice; we were able to take a couple brilliant clients out in a beautiful city; we were recognized for our industry-leading technology by a premier Analyst firm and we were supported in full view by a very happy and satisfied customer.

It’s weeks like this that make it all worthwhile and I would like to just take a minute to be thankful and to enjoy how sweet work can be when you do it correctly and when you treat people right.

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Preventing Vendor Fraud

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

There is no getting around the risk of Fraud.  The threat is pervasive in the American workplace where – as my colleague Josh Morrison pointed out in a blog last month – the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that fraud costs organizations about 7% of annual revenues.  That’s nearly a Trillion Dollars!  One of the most obvious points of entry for these wrong-doers is through the vendor master file.

Every single day – companies outside of your organization are posing as law-abiding entities and providing a host of trumped up documents and data to “sell” you on their status as legitimate organizations.   Letting these companies behind the curtain is not remedied with a simple “Oops, sorry, can you please show yourself out?”   Allowing these organizations in can really cost you in a variety of ways.  Some of the major areas where your company is at risk are as follows:

  • Damage to your company’s reputation
  • Non-compliance with external regulations
  • Threat of heavy penalties and fees
  • Operational risks
  • Perceived or actual reduction in your company’s credit worthiness
  • Fraud risk at the transactional level
  • And much more… 

As you can see the risk of working with corrupt or untrustworthy vendors and suppliers comes in many forms and the repercussions can be steep.  We issued a White Paper earlier this year reporting that through calendar year 2014 The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had levied fines of over $2.5 Billion against over 50 U.S. companies across all industries… and nobody is immune.  In March of this year, PayPal (as in Ebay) was forced to fork over $7.7 Million to settle charges by the U.S. Treasury Department for having committed 486 infractions with companies appearing on OFAC’s blacklist.  They put up a plausible defense stating that a screening mechanism failed and that they did not willingly intend to engage in commerce with sanctioned organizations.  Such realities are acknowledged by the bodies that monitor these various watch lists, but this is never an absolute defense.  PayPal paid, pal!  So…  ask yourself – “What would happen to me if my innocent actions cost my company $7Million?”

How do you prevent vendor risk and or fraud?

It is paramount that, prior to setting up a supplier, some party or department within your company’s P2P landscape must take lead on screening suppliers to make sure that they pass all the necessary gates relating to their financial well-being; their reputation as a provider and any other risk they may pose as a partner.  This vetting process will inform and protect many departments such as: tax, legal, treasury, finance procurement, sourcing, risk, and others that will be tied to (read: dependent upon) information associated with your suppliers.

Whatever process you choose and whatever system you use – you must make sure the process is compliant with external regulations, repeatable and scalable.  And to address the first thought that just popped into your mind – “No, your ERP will not do this for you.  Not even close.  You’re dreaming.”

Where do you start in the screening process?

The basics of supplier screening include:

  • Screen all suppliers against various government watch lists
  • Perform a credit check on the supplier
  • Solicit and collect a W-9 for domestic suppliers
  • Perform TIN check against the IRS website
  • Solicit and collect a W-8 for foreign suppliers
  • Review supplier’s Business Continuity Plan
  • Review suppliers Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Collect and validate diversity and small business statuses – validate where possible
  • Check the suppliers physical addresses against USPS or international address directories
  • Collect and validate attributes of the supplier’s banking information

Going beyond the norm:

  • Search the supplier online for key personnel, news stories, involvement in litigation or analyst reports
  • Collect and validate the supplier’s insurance certificates
  • Perform a review of the supplier’s financial information
  • Verify supplier’s key officers and employees
  • Perform reference checks with the supplier’s key customers
  • Look up corporate registry records relating to the supplier
  • Have personnel complete a site visit at the supplier’s physical address
  • Review Supplier’s SLA’s, MSA’s and escalation policies

Additional Data that may be useful:

  • Founding data
  • Company history and mission
  • Understand the company’s business structure
  • Review the number of supplier employees
  • Review case studies and client data
  • Look into supplier’s social responsibility track record

Of course the list is daunting and in some cases a little implausible to carry out across all new suppliers, but mounting this type of defense against supplier fraud and or risk is what it is going to take to keep your company out of harm’s way.



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Exploring Fraud in the P2P Environment

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

All Companies Suffer from Fraud

Companies of all sizes across all industries are at risk of fraud from internal and external sources.  One asset in particular that suffers significantly from the risk of fraud is the master vendor file.  For most companies, the population of vendors and suppliers is so massive, complex, and multi-faceted that the ability to prevent the presence of fraud is nearly impossible.

The precise cost of fraud throughout the United States is impossible to measure. However, many experts believe the cost of fraud has climbed well into the high multibillion-dollar range. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates the cost of fraud in U.S. organizations at 7 percent of annual revenues, or $994 billion.  Think about the impact on your company – by these estimates, for every $1 Billion in annual revenue, your company is losing $70,000,000 per year.   The unfortunate reality is that the information populating your supplier database is one of the most vulnerable and potentially least controlled assets that your organization has.  This decisive set of data is at the hub of many critical departments (Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Strategic Sourcing, Tax, Legal, GRC, Finance and more) that are meticulously governed by various complicated external regulations.  Suffering from fraud within your supplier population will cost your company significantly in terms of reputation damage, negative press, lost time, missed opportunities, and much more.  And as we explored above – fraud can be  costing your company millions of dollars every year.

Lavante Fraud Protection

Lavante has built in a series of controls in their suite of Supplier Information Management (SIM) solutions that can identify, manage, and prevent the incidence of fraud throughout a company’s supplier records.  To do this, Lavante leverages enhanced controls and configurable workflows surrounding your vendor master setup and maintenance process.  By defining rules and governance controls at the master level, Lavante is able to minimize avoidable risk across all downstream transactions and business decisions.  With Lavante, companies have a pre-emptive and proactive defense against risk and fraud in many forms.

Lavante can support all functions and areas throughout the P2P process including Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Strategic Sourcing, Tax, Legal, GRC, Finance and more.   Customers can capture and manage information specific to their needs to monitor risk factors such as business inception date, annual revenues, employee base, disaster recovery, business continuity, ethics policies, diversity, insurance coverage and levels, and more.

Where does Lavante Fraud Help?

1) Core Data Analysis

Lavante begins every SIM deployment with an in-depth vendor file cleanse and rationalization which will immediately enrich existing supplier information for better data visibility and increased supplier intelligence.  The service will also provide decision analytics to support inactivation of old accounts to mitigate erroneous payments to incorrect or non-existent accounts.

The system software will then identify potentially duplicate or related suppliers which will significantly aid in the prevention of duplicate, erroneous and fraudulent payments.  In addition, Lavante will search suppliers against employee records and other databases to identify incidences of potential fraud.  The identification of related parties will also reveal potential parent-child, associate, affiliate, subsidiary, shared/co-ownership relationships; identify potential areas for conflict or leverage.

As suppliers continue to use the Lavante system to onboard and/or update data, the same automated reviews will continue to run against the new data to continually ensure against outside entities inputting fraudulent data.

How can this help me?

Core data is the most basic element of the supplier record and among the simplest to access for fraudsters.  You do not need to look very hard to find examples of this.  Let’s take employees for example:  The U.S Chamber of Commerce estimates that theft by employees costs American companies $20  - $40 billion per year.   Their report also states that an employee is 15 times more likely than a nonemployee to steal from an employer. Unfortunately, 75% of employee-related crimes go unnoticed.

Lavante SIM offers very simple but powerful tools to monitor employee fraud and prevent this type of otherwise unseen loss.

2) Certification Management

Lavante’s certification management allows clients to determine key certification AND key certification attributes, such as certification numbers, document numbers, materials classifications, company/employees size and much more.  Where possible, this vital information is matched against third party databases to ensure that suppliers have categorized themselves correctly and that that has successfully completed all necessary information to complete their certifications.

The intelligent certificate management and communication engine enables advanced notification of documents reaching expiration allowing customers to stay ahead of expiring documents. This can be done for any document or certification including, but not limited to certificates of insurance, diversity, small business, ISO, contracts, W9/W8 forms, or any customer-specific requirement.

How can this help me?

Fortunately, there are many different regulating bodies that are interested in identifying and stamping out fraud.  In the pursuit of these goals, multiple regulating bodies have created a number of certifications that will help ensure the standing of a supplier as a well-intending entity.  Lavante’s Certification Management gives enterprises the near unlimited ability to vet their suppliers against the data resident in these third party databases to ensure that you are only working with approved and accredited companies.

3) Validations You Can Trust

Lavante’s portfolio of supplier self-service and 3rd party validation points help protect our customers against all forms of identifiable fraud and risk.  Below are just a few areas where Lavante validation services will help protect clients:

  • Validating TIN will reduce the risk of fraudulent payees, IRS B-notices, and potential IRS penalties
  • Validating TIN enables the ability to check against OFAC and similar lists
  • Capturing W9/W8 forms to adhere to the IRS documentation and expiration requirements (note: Lavante SIM meets the IRS definition of e-signature)
  • Validate USPS address to mitigate against erroneous and fraudulent vendor accounts
  • Validate banking information, both account and routing information; through validating the ABA and that the account exists within this ABA, we can determine with high certainty the validity of the account

How can this help me?

Lavante offers a wide range of validation services against a near unlimited set of data and documentation.  These services perform as both validations and/or screenings against databases.

Validations are important to assess the validity of data; in the most extreme cases – fraudulent entities can attempt to issue blatantly false data such as providing a false bank account that will re-direct funds to the wrong parties.  With the ongoing vigilance of Lavante validation services on Lavante SIM, companies can rest assured that the companies they do with are not attempting to send incorrect data

Screening is vital to ensure that companies are not doing business with any entities that have appeared on government watch lists.  In a very relevant example; companies across the U.S. are constantly asked to ensure that they are engaging in any commerce with firms that appear on the OFAC list.  Failure to perform this screen can result in heavy fines and even jail time for executives of the transgressing companies.  In the last few years alone the U.S. treasure has levied billions of dollars in fines to companies across all industries. Lavante Validation services can set validations and screens in place and schedule them to run at key intervals to ensure your protection against many different forms of fraud and risk.

To learn more about the Lavante Solution request a demo visit the Lavante SIM web page call James Davies at: 408.841.5189

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Your company is at risk for severe fines and penalties

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces economic sanction programs primarily against countries and groups of individuals, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers. These sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals. The U.S. government has become increasingly proactive in the last couple years identifying and penalizing U.S. companies that are engaging in commerce (willingly or otherwise) with any blocked companies, groups or entities. The fines for violations can be substantial; criminal penalties for violations can include fines ranging up to $20 million and imprisonment of up to 30 years. 

Who is at risk?

The very simple truth is that every corporation is at risk of working with service providers that have been sanctioned by OFAC. In the last two years alone, over 50 U.S. companies have been found in violation of OFAC regulations and have, as a result, been penalized and fined severely. In total, over $2.5bn in fines has been collected from the transgressing U.S. companies. Although the incidences of cases tilts towards the banking sector, these violations cross all industry segments and have affected companies in many verticals, including manufacturing, technology, transportation, energy, and many others. The incidence of cases is not a “once per year” effort either, but rather, case activity is significant throughout the entire year. In 2014, the average fine per company (with outliers removed) was $11 million.  

Is your company at risk? As a matter of doing business, your corporation must buy goods and services from third party sources; the process of vetting your entire population of third party providers is a daunting task to say the least. Even if you are unaware that you are doing business with a company on the OFAC list, and even if you would stop doing business with a sanctioned supplier immediately upon learning their status, you are still at risk. This risk is significant and includes the threat of fines, reputation damage and even jail time. As evidenced in many of the cases from our survey

How can you protect yourself?

Protecting yourself can make all the difference! The majority of companies fined since 2012 had little or no OFAC controls in place, and they directly suffered as a result. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to eliminate your company’s risk, and to avoid doing business with disreputable, government sanctioned organizations. Lavante offers a simple on-demand solution that continually monitors your vendor file against the OFAC watch list. All potential matches from your supplier population are delivered to your specified parties directly through a configurable work-flow queue to help guide your end users through proper identification, disposition, and reporting.

Lavante’s OFAC monitoring capabilities can be sold as a stand-alone module within the larger Lavante SIM application – or it can be deployed as part of a complete suite of monitoring and compliance tools. Our suite of OFAC compliance products to market over 8 years ago, Lavante has helped hundreds of clients review millions of suppliers and thousands of potential matches. With the tools and support Lavante provides, our clients have never suffered a single inquiry from the U.S. Treasury pertaining to OFAC or any other watch list. Contact Lavante today and discover how you can achieve the same peace of mind.

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Supplier statement audit can provide important insights before your next sourcing decision

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

With the increasing pressures on the profit margins, the efficiency of the procure-to-pay (P2P) processes has been under intense scrutiny within an enterprise.  Typically, Procurement and Finance organizations manage various aspects of P2P processes.  Thus, for a successful execution of the entire P2P process, each organization needs to understand the actions and motivations of the other.  This P2P mindset threads procurement and payment activities into one continuous lifecycle.

With this in mind it is a worthwhile to consider the details of the entire cross-functional process.  At the front end, one will encounter any number of sourcing and procurement activities where highly trained professionals are chartered to identify the best possible suppliers to buy the best possible products or services at the best possible cost of ownership.  At the far end of the P2P lifecycle, one will encounter Accounts Payable (AP) department whose goal, as told to me by one industry expert, is very simple, “To pay the right entity, the right amount, at the right time.”  This is a simplification of course, but generally, all professionals in the space are pursuing some combination of these stated objectives.

Typically these departments are measured, evaluated and guided through an exhaustive suite of metrics.  A number of sophisticated software applications and service providers stand ready to review, in fine detail, how efficiently resources are being spent across commodities, geographies, business units and supplier types.

Having been a practitioner in this space, I can tell you that even though the concept is simple, AP departments face a number of external factors that constantly challenge their ability to achieve transactional perfection.  As a result, the last decade has seen the emergence of “supplier statement audit” which routinely reviews the transactional (read: payment) history of the enterprise to determine the efficiency of the supplier payment processes.  For too long such supplier statement recovery auditing has been confined to the AP suite as a tool for improving the efficiency of Accounts Payable.  With increased focus on the broader P2P process, supplier statement recovery audit results should be more frequently evaluated by the procurement professionals in the context of the larger supplier management process.

There are many benefits to combining supplier statement audit results into the associated procurement metrics, such as supplier scorecards or spend analytics.  Procurement departments have as much or more to gain by evaluating the results of the recovery effort as do AP departments.  Here are just a few ways procurement can gain from incorporating a review of statement audit results:

      • Statement audits can reveal profit leakage, which procurement needs to understand in order to assess larger budgeting or savings opportunities that may exist.
      • Analysis of recovery claims can reveal valuable  insights that will better inform future procurement activities, such as  overlooking the related nature of separate suppliers and missing out on pricing  discounts.
      • Procurement can identify suppliers that routinely  commit transactional errors and incorporate those suppliers’ lack of accuracy in  the supplier scorecard for a more holistic supplier evaluation.

As a best practice, build in a process to review supplier statement audit results before your next supplier strategy review.  It will provide important insights for managing suppliers.

I would welcome your thoughts on this topic.

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Lavante Inc. Taps Alan Park as SVP Sales

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Former Executive from Trimble, Openwave and PINC Solutions brings SaaS enterprise expertise

to the leader in cloud-based supplier management and recovery audit solutions

SAN JOSE, CA – November 19, 2013 – Lavante, the leading provider of cloud-based supplier information management (SIM) and audit recovery software for Fortune 1000 companies, announced today that Alan Park has joined as SVP of Sales. With more than 25 years of sales management experience in growing enterprise solutions and services businesses, Park will lead the build out and management of the global field, inside sales, account management and channel sales teams.

“Alan is a seasoned enterprise SaaS sales executive who has worked successfully to expand the customer base and revenues within a number of startups and larger companies selling to the enterprise,” said Sam Klepper, CEO and President of Lavante. “We are excited to have someone of Alan’s caliber share our vision of the future and join the team.”

Mr. Park’s experiences include EVP Sales & Marketing at PINC Solutions, SVP Global Sales at Openwave, and VP & GM at Trimble Navigation in addition to Sybase and IBM.  He is well-versed at winning Fortune 1000 clients, developing strategic partner alliances and expanding internationally.

“Lavante is delivering significant value in the enterprise by automating an area of supplier management that has been done mostly by manual means to date,” said Park. “There is a major market opportunity to help corporations reduce risk and enhance productivity with supplier qualification and compliance – and Lavante has an easy to use, quickly deployable solution that does exactly that.”

Mr. Park has a B.S. in Finance from Oregon State University and served as a US Navy nuclear engineering officer.

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