Is procurement an adjunct of finance, or is finance an extension of procurement?

Posted on November 11, 2022


I came across the article “How Procurement Has Bridged The Gap With Finance” by SIG’s Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics, Mary Zampino.

As you can imagine, I am an avid reader and learner – yes, I believe in the axiom the more you know, the more you need to know. So, Zampino’s article got my attention when she mentioned Robert Rudzki’s work and pointed out how CFOs don’t seem to get or believe in procurement’s value. You can read the article to see the research behind her assertion.

However, her reference to a recent Ardent Partners paper stood out. Specifically, that “efficient world-class supply management practice should involve multiple internal and external stakeholders” because “a successful source-to-settle workflow must look at the entire ecosystem that connects sourcing and procurement to accounts payable and treasury.”

Mary Zampino

Over my many years in this business, procurement has usually been seen as a transactional arm of finance—little more than a functional appendage. As a result, procurement did not have any strategic relevance outside of getting the best price, so very few purchasing departments were involved in selecting the technology they would have to use to achieve this limited-scope objective. When it came to technology, procurement was an afterthought.

This perception or view has gradually and generally changed with the breakthrough of SaaS solutions – which were a long time coming and the tremendous power of emerging digital technologies – including AI. The question is this: is it changing fast enough at your organization, and if not, why?

Once again, check out Zampino’s article to access some of the outstanding research, including the Ardent Partners’ paper on bridging the procurement-finance gap, as it may help you to start building “strategic” bridges between you and finance and the rest of the organization.


Posted in: Commentary