Coupa: Adapt, Adapt, Adapt Amid Pandemic

As the Coupa team has shifted to working from home during the pandemic, they have adapted their processes to an operating model tailored toward optimizing remote work. “While our financials remain extremely strong, from a revenue and receivables perspective, we’ve introduced additional steps in evaluating the financial health of our customers and prospects,” says Coupa’s Chief Accounting Officer Tony Tiscornia.

The following is an excerpt from What Did You Change?, contributed by Coupa‘s Chief Accounting Officer Tony Tiscornia.

Like all companies, our finance team at Coupa has had to deal with challenges over the past several quarters with the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve moved to a full work-from-home environment. While our financials remain extremely strong, from a revenue and receivables perspective, we’ve introduced additional steps in evaluating the financial health of our customers and prospects.

On the supplier side, my team has partnered with our CPO Michael Van Keulen and his team to evaluate the financial position of critical suppliers. Fortunately, we haven’t identified any significant risks to date.

Nonetheless, this form of incremental diligence is essential to protecting the best interests of businesses amid COVID.

As a leader, the last few months have been challenging yet rewarding. Shifting to working from home has been a big change. Accounting and finance professionals tend to interact many times a day, sharing information and addressing quick questions. Also, it’s been difficult to lose the in-person interactions that build camaraderie and team morale. Finding new ways to keep a pulse on the organization has required focus and creativity.

After a few weeks of the team working remotely, we realized it wouldn’t work to simply replicate what we were doing in the office by constantly adding more Zoom meetings and phone calls. We’ve had to adapt our approach — taking advantage of the processes and systems we’ve built over the years at Coupa — to an operating model tailored toward optimizing remote work.

We have seen benefits with this approach, and our team is extremely productive.

The Coupa platform — as well as our investments in NetSuite, Zoom, Slack and other integral cloud solutions — has been instrumental. Without having to call or email anyone on the team, I can open up Coupa to see real-time details for in-flight purchase requisitions, invoices and other transactions before clicking to approve or reject.

Risk screening for suppliers is automated, allowing us to prioritize other important areas of focus. We haven’t experienced any significant supplier viability issues, perhaps in part because of the way we’re screening, but if we do need to find a new supplier, the entire process — from risk-vetting to sourcing, contracting, onboarding, purchasing and invoice processing, all the way through to payments — is digital.

A big part of our focus continues to be digitizing in areas where we have gaps. We’re already using Coupa Pay and, more broadly, Coupa Business Spend Management for our core operations. Now, we’re integrating the same for the back-office operations of some recent acquisitions. This automation and digitization creates additional bandwidth for our entire team.

Rather than wasting time on status update meetings, we’re getting things done efficiently and leveraging all the information that digitally resides at our fingertips, regardless of where we are physically located. Thus, we’re able to focus more on strategic initiatives and outcome-oriented problem-solving. We also have more time to address the many other common challenges that all businesses are navigating today.