In 2021 Argon & Co surveyed a group of 200 procurement and finance professionals within the UK, France, Germany and the US on a range of topics within procurement, from the pandemic and Brexit to technology and sustainability.
Whether procurement departments report into finance or not, the two functions are often inextricably linked. In its simplest form, they are both doing their best at managing spend within a company. Procurement by working with suppliers in an effective way, finance through assigning and tracking budgets; procurement through managing POs, finance through managing invoices. Anecdotally, there is sometimes a perception that despite that closeness of purpose, finance and procurement don’t always see eye-to-eye. Is this anecdote out of touch or does it reflect reality?
Procurement and finance departments agree that the most valuable impact procurement can have on the business is through an increase in productivity. However, the two departments are unaligned in theirs views of to achieve more value from procurement activity with finance respondents favouring reorganisation and access to the management team and procurement respondents advocating for increased autonomy and involvement for the procurement team.
Procurement and finance teams generally don’t see eye-to-eye on what the top priority for the procurement function should be. Finance respondents argue in favour of increasing the capability of the procurement team, while procurement professionals look towards upskilling wider business users as their key objective.
The growing divergence on some of these views shows that although there may be a common understanding in the value of procurement, the two functions can’t see eye-to-eye in what’s needed to deliver that value.