In the aftermath of a merger or acquisition, every newly combined team is looking to hit the ground running and show the world how dynamic a force they have become. Though not as exciting as the new branding and product or service offering, it is important that teams devote time and energy to consolidating the back office as doing so can bring cost savings, more buying power and opportunities to negotiate better deals.
Integrating the back office
Thinking about how the day-to-day operations of the two companies can be brought together and streamlined is of first importance. A first step once the transition is in progress is to ensure payment processes and invoicing are digital – in this day and age when trying to convey an image of a modern, digital agency, no accounts payable department should be dealing with paper invoices.
And yet many media companies do still receive invoices as paper documents or PDF scans of a hard copy or email attachments. Their networks of suppliers and freelancers often issue invoices by post and email and there is so much scope for error, duplication and invoices getting lost.
In contrast, going digital is more efficient and accurate and can reduce the costs of handling invoices by more than 50 per cent, a vital saving when margins are tight, and every new business win is such a hard-won battle.
Adopting e-invoicing also improves internal controls, reducing the potential for fraud and mistakes, and enhancing invoice audit capabilities. It is suitable for a modern company in a digital world and an M&A provides a suitable opportunity for bringing about change and onboarding existing and new suppliers.
Getting to know suppliers
Most mergers or acquisitions will involve a period of reviewing and consolidating suppliers that results in the creation of a list of preferred suppliers. Having said this, it might not be a particularly short list! The marketing industry as a whole is becoming increasingly fragmented and agencies often have to outsource elements of work to different specialists in order to win new business, stay competitive and offer the best service to its customers. They do not usually have all the skills in-house that are required for integrated, digital campaigns and many are working with external suppliers, week in, week out.
For this reason, encouraging suppliers to sign up to an electronic network is vital if marketing agencies want to get on top of the situation and avoid drowning in a mountain of paperwork.
A merger or acquisition provides a chance for teams to reflect on their processes and make sure their back office isn’t holding them back. Automating the payment process enables marketing professionals to scale business operations more easily and improve the productivity and efficiency of their accounts departments. With electronic invoicing, you can be certain that the back office is pulling its weight and working as cost effectively as possible.