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How a Self-Service Portal Solves Vendor Onboarding Challenges

Have you ever received an invoice from a vendor you’ve never heard of?  Of course you have! You check the master file, but it’s not there. And it’s due in 30 days. Just kidding—it’s due by the end of the week. Last week.

If you’re lucky, the buyer’s name is noted on the invoice. Or maybe the buyer is the one that forwarded the invoice to you. Employee buyers mean well, but their focus is on getting what they need for the job they have to do. It’s not on the details required to pay the vendor. But then they do want the vendor paid! 

That there are a number of tasks involved in onboarding of a new vendor eludes them, even though you explained everything in a Zoom meeting last month. They don’t have time to think about payment reporting, compliance issues, bank verification or even the need for a correct address. If they need authorization to purchase, that’s as far as it goes for some. Others may go a bit further. And a few conscientious ones try to get everything that’s needed from a vendor, but their own work deadlines interrupt their seeing vendor onboarding tasks through.

In an organization of any size, there are a lot of people authorized to make purchases. For those purchases not on a p-card, it means a lot of new vendors are engaged by people without a full appreciation of vendor information management.

Control, efficiency and timeliness are lacking in many of the purchases made throughout an organization. Employees do not understand the importance of correct, complete vendor onboarding. 

That makes it hard to get the vendor information you require. As noted, you often don’t know about a new vendor until the vendor’s invoice arrives. That slows down payment. That makes it hard for you to provide the kind of vendor service that ensures good vendor relations. And in these challenging times, you need good vendor relations.

There are other challenges. Compliance requirements. Cyber threats. Email has become a favorite tool of fraud perpetrators.

In the critical but “out of the way” task of vendor onboarding and information management, you face:

  • Delayed receipt of urgent, critical vendor information
  • Inordinate effort involved to obtain vendor onboarding information
  • The impracticability of adequate training for the many people involved
  • Manual verifications of TINs, addresses, sanction lists and other data
  • Exposure of sensitive information transmitted by unsecure email
  • Deficient watchlist verification

Those Are the Problems 

The solution is a simplified, secure, easy-to-use set of online procedures connected to a well-designed online vendor self-service portal.

When dealing with dispersed purchasing across the organization, it is difficult to get what you need to approve a vendor and complete the master file record so that payment can be made timely and correctly without duplication, and with tax reporting following on seamlessly.

Distributing a well-thought-out set of instructions to the various buyers across the organization is insufficient. They may or may not appreciate the importance of the items on your new vendor form. But the larger point is their focus is on their primary job responsibilities, not yours. Sending out and then chasing down vendor forms is not part of their job description. To gain their cooperation in obtaining necessary vendor information, you have to make it really simple for them.

An online vendor self-service portal does that. Specifically, you give them one URL (link) with one set of instructions. Their instruction is simple: provide the link to the vendor, and tell it, “In order to get paid, please go to this link and complete the new vendor form.” This reduces their responsibility to a single action item. And it transfers the responsibility for provision of the requisite information to the party that has the incentive to provide it—the vendor. It relieves the buyers of having to get the information from the vendor and to send that information to you.

A tailored online portal guides the vendor to provide exactly the information your organization needs to do business with them. It accommodates checks and approvals before uploading the information to the vendor master file automatically, with no manual keying. It does all this in a closed, secure environment, not through vulnerable email.

Such an application increases control and provides visibility, trackability, security, compliance and efficiency across your wide-ranging operations.

You will benefit from a well-thought-out, accessible application to reduce risk, ensure tax and regulatory compliance, provide data accuracy and track all activity. It must do this securely, protecting sensitive data. A vendor portal will save you time, digitizing your vendor onboarding process to provide efficiency and control.

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