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What is Coupa used for?

What is Coupa used for?

Today’s finance and procurement teams face a mountain of challenges that must be addressed to ensure efficiency. Businesses now operate in a globalized world and deal with a wide range of legal, cultural, and regulatory differences.

The rapid advancement of technology means companies must also keep up with the latest solutions to automate processes and streamline operations. One of the most common ways to optimize cost and get a handle on spend is to implement a business spend management solution like Coupa.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top capabilities of Coupa, use cases, why companies choose this platform, and the best solutions to optimize your procurement processes.

Coupa Use Cases

Coupa helps businesses manage spend in one platform, making cost control and compliance easier and more effective. Companies use Coupa software for procurement, sourcing, contracting, expense management, invoicing, and payments. Here are the most common cases:


The Coupa procurement module allows a business to create purchase orders, track spend, and manage supplier contracts across the entire organization. 

The procurement functionality includes supplier catalogs which help a business negotiate better pricing. It also involves purchase order approval workflows, ensuring spend is aligned with company policies.

Expense Management

Coupa provides expense management software that organizations use to easily manage employee expenses and reimbursements, including travel and entertainment. 

This includes features like expense policy compliance checks and mobile expense management, which can simplify the reporting process for employees.

Invoicing and Payments

Coupa offers an e-invoicing module that enhances the user experience by allowing companies to receive and process invoices electronically. This reduces the need for paper-based processes and manual data entry. 

The BSM provider also offers a payments hub solution. Businesses can integrate multiple payments methods, including e-checks, ACH, wire, v-cards, and digital payments. Combining invoicing and payments capabilities in a single solution helps finance groups optimize treasury processes. 

Coupa software inc. is a superb tool for automating invoice matching and approval. Not only does this work to eliminate human error, it also improves invoice processing times.

Analytics and Reporting

Coupa provides a business with real-time visibility and robust information management. The solution includes a smart dashboard and reports that enable an organization to track spend by supplier, category, and department (among other things). 

This critical source-to-pay data helps a business make more informed decisions about spend, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiency.

Coupa Features

Coupa is a business spend management platform that’s based in the cloud and offers a wide range of features to help a company better control invoicing, procurement, and expense management processes. Some of the best features to look out for include:


Coupa’s procurement tools include features for purchase order creation, supplier catalogs (including punchouts), contract management, and approval workflows. This enables a business to automate its procurement tasks, reducing the time and effort required to effectively manage POs and supplier relationships.


Coupa.com features electronic invoicing that allows a business to receive and process vendor invoices automatically. This includes invoice matching and approvals, as well as scanning and processing. This tool allows companies to reduce the time and cost it takes to process invoices, while eliminating errors and improving accuracy.

Contract Management

This feature allows a business to enhance supplier management, including onboarding, performance analysis, compliance monitoring, and more. It ensures a business is working with the right suppliers and getting the best value for their money.

Expense Management

This module allows a business to oversee employee expenses and reimbursements, including entertainment and travel. This includes tools for mobile expense management, automated reimbursement processing, and expense policy compliance checks.

Analytics and Reporting

Coupa provides companies with real-time visibility into spending with advanced analytics and reporting tools. This includes dashboards and reports where a business can track and benchmark spend by supplier, category, department, and more. 

This data helps a company make more informed decisions about expenses and identify areas where cost savings can be achieved.


At the center of Coupa’s business spend management (BSM) platform lies a large and ever-evolving community of businesses, employees, suppliers, and partners. Coupa offers the power of community insights and connections for brands all over the world, making supplier collaboration a lot easier.

Additional Features

Other SaaS features you may find beneficial include:

  • Spend Analysis - Predictive spend insights
  • Strategic Sourcing - Sophisticated global sourcing and decision optimization 
  • Treasury Management - Optimize treasure strategies
  • Inventory Management - Instant notifications with low stock
  • Supply Chain Design - Make smarter supply chain decisions
  • Services and Contingent Labor - Scalable temp staffing and complex services procurement

Overall, the San-Mateo-based Coupa provides companies with a comprehensive finance and procurement platform to reduce costs, gain better visibility into spending, and improve efficiency.

Why Businesses Choose Coupa

There are multiple reasons why companies choose Coupa. Here are just a few:

  • Efficiency — Automate manual processes and reduce the time and effort it takes to manage procurement. This helps a business free up time for more strategic activities.
  • Cost Savings — Cut costs by improving procurement systems, reducing invoice processing times, and simplifying expense management.
  • Visibility — Advanced analytics tools to gain greater real-time visibility into spend, allowing for more informed decisions and identifying opportunities for cost savings.
  • Scalability — Cloud-based platform that can be easily scaled to meet the requirements of any sized business, evolving with your organizational needs over time.
  • Compliance — Tools to ensure compliance with spending policies, regulatory requirements (like ESG), and supplier contracts, which help to avoid risk and costly penalties.

Companies choose Coupa because the platform is user-friendly, ensuring fast adoption and happier employees.

Why Coupa May Not Be Enough to Streamline Procurement Intake

While Coupa is a powerful business spend management platform that offers many tools for procurement processes, it may not be enough on its own to fully optimize the upstream procurement and vendor intake process. Here’s why:


Although Coupa offers a list of integrations, it may be possible that they do not integrate with an ERP, CLM, GRC or other system your business uses and needs. This can lead to extra manual data entry and inefficiencies, adding more time and effort to the procurement process.

It also makes it more difficult to achieve end-to-end process automation. So, in this case, Coupa would not work for a business.

Supplier Network

Coupa offers a vast array of vendors at your disposal, but it’s possible they may not have the exact supplier you need. It’s possible the network is not large enough to meet all of your exact business needs. 

This means a company must further source suppliers outside of Coupa’s network, adding more complexity to the procurement process.

Limited Customization

Although Coupa is highly configurable, it may not offer enough customization options to end users or admins without requiring an implementation partner. This limits your ability to tailor that platform to unique requirements and makes it more difficult to streamline operations, as well as adds costs to your deployment.

Complex Implementation

Coupa’s implementation process can get complex, leading to delays and additional costs. Typical P2P implementation timelines last a year or more. This makes it challenging for a company to achieve its desired process improvements.

Limited Access

Finance and procurement teams often have to limit stakeholder access to Coupa to avoid errors, licensing, and additional training. This creates issues when trying to capture higher volumes of spend, as Coupa’s user-based licensing costs increase as more requesters are added to the system.  

Manual Tracking

Tracking is mostly manual, and there’s no way to get a birds-eye-view of purchase requisitions across cross-functional teams. More than 75% of the procurement team’s time is spent on administrative tasks and manually tracking requests.

Slow Impact

There is very little flexibility to iterate on procurement and finance processes without heavy involvement from IT and change management. This makes it difficult for procurement to make an impact quickly.

Overall, Coupa is an incredibly useful procurement and spend management platform. However, you may need additional tools and features to fully automate the procurement process to achieve the desired level of efficiency you seek. Zip is a great solution to bridge the gap!

Zip and Coupa

Zip easily integrates with Coupa to ensure a business can automate the entire intake-to-procure process. The solution modernizes the user experience for Coupa by creating a single front door for all staff, with an intuitive, modern intake. 

The Zip intake process will ask important conditional questions and loop in the correct, cross-functional stakeholders when necessary. For example, a new software vendor will automatically trigger an IT security review in the system.

When a business uses Zip and Coupa combined, there is zero training for end users. They can oversee vendors and automate workflows to better manage renewals and track the progress. 

Zip boasts deep integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams that employees love. A business can drop request cycle time by 35% or more. This is done by:

  • Automating manual processes
  • Elevating procurement’s internal brand
  • Tracking cross-functional teams’ cycle times

A company can streamline its approval process by designing highly intuitive, parallel workflows across every business sector, from IT to legal, risk, and security. 

Zip has a no-code, configuration-based connection to Coupa. This means PRs are automatically generated, without the need to re-key data directly into Coupa, and changes to approval workflows are as simple as drag-and-drop updates. 

For cost control, many organizations use Zip to rationalize unneeded Coupa licenses. Infrequent or one-time requesters can initiate purchase requests through Zip, leaving finance and procurement team to work in Coupa while ensuring adoption of procurement processes with line of business users. 

Reviews online also give Zip 5 stars for customer support and a user-friendly interface.


Globalization has created a more disjointed procurement process, leading to elevated risk and rogue spending. There’s a lot of pressure on procurement teams to find the best technology that saves the most money and time. In some cases, this consists of a tech stack or combination of applications that get the job done best.

Although Coupa is an incredible procurement solution for business spend management, you may need more help to realize the full benefits. Zip fills that gap, as well as offers more ways to collaborate, automate, and elevate the entire procurement process. 

Have more questions on how Zip functions as Coupa’s top integration? Request a free demo.

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