Technology is a great pivot. Companies employ different technologies to adapt and change directions, accelerating their progress. Such is the service that Pivot Payables Inc. also offers its customers. Pivot helps its clients automate their financial systems, improve critical business processes, and delivers applications that increase the value of customer investments.
Co-founded by John Toman, he functions as the company’s Chief Product Officer today. John has been driving Pivot Payables’ product strategy and creating foundational SAP programs that are the company’s stronghold in the market presently.
Insights Success reached out to John to talk about the goals and philosophy of Pivot Payables, the competitive services that the company offers, how they are adapting to a changing market, and what’s next.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
What was the initial idea behind the inception of Pivot Payables?
It was late 2013 when Pivot Payables was inspired by the perfect storm of experience, relationships, and opportunity. Pivot Payables was about to be the third startup founded by John Toman, its Chief Product Officer, and Cher Pearsall, CEO. Their decades of experience centered around expense and invoice management were heavily influenced by workflow engineering and process automation. Cher had been the Senior Director of Product Management at SAP Concur, shepherding their transition from on-premise software to cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS). John was at SAP Concur, writing the APIs for and launching the SAP Concur Platform, an ecosystem designed for partners to create value-add services to the SAP Concur Travel, Expense, and Invoice services.
That’s when it happened. At the Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks game on December 22, 2013. John pitched the idea of Pivot Payables to Cher.
What are the primary objectives and philosophy of Pivot Payables?
Pivot focuses on automating financial operations processes, particularly applications that increase the value of customer investments in business processes and systems related to spending and payment management for expense and invoice automation. Philosophically, Pivot has deep roots in automating workflow processes and building powerful tools that enable finance professionals to do their work more effectively.
How do your objectives relate specifically to SAP?
Prior to his role writing the SAP Concur Platform APIs, John was also directly involved in the delivery of several other SAP Concur offerings, including Concur Invoice, the Concur configuration tools, and Concur Expense Pay.
Without a doubt, John is the superstar here. He envisioned how Pivot could integrate with the SAP Concur Platform to deliver unique, valuable functionality to SAP Concur customers who use Concur Expense and Invoice services. John invented Pivot’s integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), PivotNexus, which serves as a foundational element for delivering Pivot’s financial operations applications and creates a platform-to-platform data integration toolset between Pivot and SAP Concur. He has created and led the development efforts to successfully launch two products into the market, PivotPrime and PivotNexus for ERP/accounting system integration, and is currently leading the early adoption of our third application, PivotEQ.
What are your top-notch offerings that have a strong foothold in the Software Development industry?
PivotPrime is primarily used as an accounts receivable application by SAP Concur customers where they use data collected in the SAP Concur services to bill their customers for reimbursements.
Here’s how using PivotPrime for client billing works: Concur Expense and Concur Invoice often include cost tracking elements such as customer, project, job, property, or similar information that have specific expenses or purchases assigned to or allocated among these elements. Once expense reports and invoices are approved, PivotPrime extracts the data from the SAP Concur services, then organizes it per the SAP Concur customer’s needs to present statements with associated receipt and invoice images. The SAP Concur customer includes a hyperlink to the PivotPrime statement in the invoice that is sent to their customer. It’s so easy that SAP Concur customers can create dozens of client billing statements in a few minutes. PivotPrime ensures all expenses that should be billed are included, saves hours and hours of manual cut-and-paste work to create backup documentation, and improves cash flow by speeding up the reimbursement process.
There are so many ways to use PivotPrime beyond client billing. Here are a couple of common examples:
Grant Spending – Granting agencies require detailed reporting on precisely how grant funds are spent. PivotPrime creates statements that comply with agency requirements, such as by allocated fund, and by expense type, for both allowable and disallowed spending. It takes minutes to create the statements to support quarterly and yearly audits, and these historical numbers inform bidding on future projects and grant requests.
Total Cost Assessment – Being able to view both the billable and non-billable cost elements associated with a given project is a valued assessment tool. How are current costs tracking against the actual bid? Customers use statements from previous projects to create on-target proposals that improve the success and profitability of new business opportunities.
PivotNexus is an iPaaS that provides bidirectional integration between SAP Concur Expense and Invoice and the customer’s ERP or accounting systems – supporting more than 30 ERPs.
For example, let’s say a customer is using SAP Business ByDesign as their accounting system and Concur Invoice for invoice automation. Here’s how the data flow works: The customer issues purchase orders from SAP Business ByDesign and also uses it to receive goods, resulting in purchase order receipts. The sellers send their invoices directly into Concur Invoice. The customer uses Concur Invoice to enable their corporate buyers to review, match, and approve purchase invoices – ensuring the correct goods were received, in the correct amount, and at the agreed-upon price as the criteria for approving the seller invoice. PivotNexus facilitates the workflow by migrating the data for vendors, purchase orders, and purchase order receipts from SAP Business ByDesign to Concur Invoice. Then, the corporate buyers use Concur Invoice to match the PO and the PO receipt to the seller’s invoice, validate the information is correct, and approve the seller’s invoice. Once the invoices are approved, PivotNexus extracts data from Concur Invoice and migrates it to SAP Business ByDesign as accounts payable transactions ready for bill payment. The customer then issues payment of the invoices inside SAP Business ByDesign.
PivotEQ – currently being used by a small number of early adopter customers – assists corporate card administrators with the reconciliation of corporate card statements and the resulting accounting entries required for each accounting period. Full rollout is expected during 2023.
What are the roadblocks that Pivot Payables faces in the ever-changing landscape of the business world?
John will tell you that the hardest part is prioritizing where to apply our resources next. For example, there is a long list of PivotNexus connectors that we want to build. Market demand is strong for integration with SAP Concur services across dozens of ERP/accounting systems. We meet this challenge by working with our SAP Concur partners to determine what are the top opportunities at any given time.
How is your company adapting to market orientation?
As far as the work-from-home and labour issues complicating the market generally, Pivot is in a strong position. We have been a virtual company since our first day in business, with team members currently located in more than six states across the country. We’re proud that our reputation precedes us in our markets, and because of this, we have had little difficulty recruiting for open positions.
What is your stance on implementing innovative technologies?
John’s favorite thing to do is take a really complex financial operations workflow problem and invent a new way to solve it that’s easy to implement, takes hours or days of mundane work down to minutes, and improves the day for our customers! Let’s innovate!
What is the next chapter for Pivot Payables?
In the near term, delivering PivotEQ and additional PivotNexus ERP connectors to the market are the key priorities. John has outlined another product as the next step forward for our overall product strategy.
Pivot Payables’ business is growing, so we will likely enlarge our service delivery and support teams to maintain the high quality of our customer experience.
Provide a few customer/client testimonials that rightly exhibit your company’s expertise in the market.
“PivotPrime recoups 100% of project expenses and saves a significant amount of time for our customers. One global consulting firm identified $1.35M in missed reimbursable project expenses – bottom line lost profits – then adopted PivotPrime to eliminate missed expenses moving forward. An organization in the medical research field creates statements for all of their clinical trials in minutes – a process that took days and sometimes weeks to complete a single cycle.”
“PivotNexus automates the manual process of posting transactions to a target accounting application. One management company reported a 95% time improvement by eliminating manual steps and automating the import to their accounting system.”
“PivotEQ performs the urgent and demanding work required to reconcile corporate credit card statements. Each statement period, the corporate card administrator needs to record the proper accounting for every card transaction, reconcile the cardholders’ transactions to the statement, and pay the total company balance by the statement due date, then update their ERP to reflect the accurate accounting of the transactions and payments. In our product research, many customers identified the current manual processing as a “My Hair Is On Fire!” pain point.”