Coupa and Zip for Intake-to-Procure

Cost savings are at the forefront of modern procurement operations. As companies scale, finance and procurement teams need to balance resources and find the right tools to maintain profitability. 

In order to gain better visibility of stakeholder buying activity, streamline compliance, and effectively control spend, organizations need to adopt a formal procurement process, with the right resources. Coupa and Zip are two solutions that rise to the challenge.

In this article, we’ll examine both Coupa and Zip, including a brief overview, key features, overlap, and how the systems work in a complementary fashion, or as an excellent, standalone solution.


Coupa is a cloud platform that helps a business manage processes across procurement, payments, and the supply chain. 

The procurement management software is designed for ease of use and combines all spend management activities into a central user interface. Coupa boasts a wide range of capabilities that help a company improve visibility, automate procurement processes, and gain better control over expenses.

The Coupa procurement management platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to identify cost-saving opportunities and analyze spend patterns. It offers a global network of suppliers that companies of every size and industry use to connect and manage more vendors. 

Source-to-pay suites streamline e-procurement processes and help a business better manage expenses. The Coupa SaaS offers additional features like:

  • Complete Procure-to-Pay (P2P) system - Streamline purchasing, optimize the procurement lifecycle, and better control spend.
  • Invoicing - Automate invoicing from invoice receipt to payables, with real-time visibility for invoice status and payment.
  • Expense Management - Automate expense reports, approvals, and reimbursements.
  • Reporting and Analytics - Reports for risk management, spend analysis, and identifying areas for cost savings.

Why Companies Choose Coupa

Coupa makes it easier for businesses to shorten cycle times and accomplish tasks quickly. The system boasts higher adoption rates than historical peers, and there are a variety of reasons why people continue to choose this cloud-native platform, such as:

Efficiency and Cost Savings

Coupa enables a business to automate manual processes and reduce the time it takes to manage procurement. This helps an organization free up more time for strategic initiatives. Coupa also works to cut costs across an enterprise by reducing invoice processing times and simplifying expense management.

Compliance and Scalability

Coupa ensures compliance with spending policies, supplier contracts, and regulatory requirements (like ESG), which helps to avoid risks and costly penalties. The cloud-based system can be scaled to meet the needs of most mid-sized or enterprise businesses across a wide range of sectors. 

Visibility and Satisfaction

Advanced analytics help a company gain greater visibility into spend, enabling more informed decision-making and accurate forecasting. Faster adoption also means happier employees who don't have to experience a sharp learning curve.

Coupa has a score of 4.1 out of 5 (176 reviews) on G2.

Coupa has a score of 4.3 out of 5 (81 reviews) on Capterra.

Zip Intake to Procure: Modern Spend Approvals

Zip Intake to Procure offers best-in-class procurement intake management with a seamless user experience. 

The system guides teams to preferred suppliers, while automatically routing approval workflows for every new purchase or vendor. Zip eliminates lengthy onboarding processes and reduces “after-the-fact” purchase requisitions. Employees are in-the-know from the very start.

Zip is an intelligent and intuitive front end to your ERP or P2P systems. The universal source-to-pay tool improves spend management, mitigates risk, and increases employee adoption. It requires zero training for users to initiate or approve requests, and automatically creates PRs and POs exactly when needed. 

The Zip platform also offers enhanced supplier management that helps to avoid redundancy and boost negotiations. Expect additional features like:

  • Zip Dynamic Approvals - Workflow technology to automate approval chains, including parallel-track approvals.
  • Intake-to-Procure - Easily configure the intake process to guide employees in every step and loop in key stakeholders.
  • Compliance management - Codify policies and approvals into the workflow to ensure automatic compliance and data security.
  • Easy to configure - Zip is incredibly flexible and easy to configure without the need to write a single line of code.

Why Companies Choose Zip

When it comes to choosing a modern intake-to-procure solution, there is only one brand that stands out. Zip was recently recognized as a 2022 ProcureTech100 Company for its comprehensive intake-to-procure solution. Here are a few reasons why organizations are turning to Zip faster than ever:

Quick Deployment and Fast Adoption

Using Zip, a company can easily deploy in eight weeks or less through a no-code implementation. The system reduces your administrative burden by up to 40%, enabling procurement teams to focus on more growth, strategy, and value-driven tasks. 

The intake-to-procure system automatically routes purchase requests for significantly faster approval workflows across HR, IT, legal, finance, and more.

When it comes to modern procurement, Zip is an effortless front door for employees. It creates an all-inclusive, positive end-user experience that leads to heightened employee adoption and a greater level of satisfaction.

Increased Operational Efficiency and Visibility

Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small business, Zip provides a single source of truth for decentralized purchasing processes. 

Companies love Zip because the technology sits on top of their existing ERP and P2P systems. It will then function as a single buying channel for software, services, and other forms of indirect spend. 

Zip allows any team member to initiate a vendor request or purchase within minutes, enabling a more collaborative employee experience that improves visibility.

Control Spend and Mitigate Risk

Maintain your company’s financial integrity with a centralized buying process that reduces rogue spend and helps a business address the entire vendor lifecycle. 

Automate renewals, increase spend visibility, and oversee the entire procurement process, all within one system. A business can also automate vendor risk assessments, establish security controls, and support SOX-compliant purchasing processes.

Zip has a score of 4.8 out of 5 (37 reviews) on G2.

Zip has a score of 4.8 out of 5 (21 reviews) on Capterra.

The Overlap Between Coupa and Zip

Zip is designed for high-growth companies and can be used by every type of business, from startups to Fortune 500s. Coupa is more relevant to upper mid-market and enterprise businesses that have the resources required to implement a legacy procure-to-pay solution.

However, as with all procurement management systems available, there is some overlap you can expect for both Zip and Coupa. Shared features include:

  • Compliance and secured data
  • Spend management
  • PO management
  • AP automation
  • Supplier onboarding 

Why do Enterprises Integrate Zip with Coupa?

Although Coupa is a well-known automation platform for procurement management, Zip offers an end-to-end intake-to-procure solution that can fill in the gaps in stakeholder adoption often faced in Coupa deployments. Here are a few reasons why Coupa users would choose a Zip integration:

Adoption-Friendly Licensing

Zip licenses its solution in a way that encourages anyone in an organization to have access. There is also zero training required. Many companies use Zip to rationalize unneeded Coupa licenses. Enterprise-wide adoption through Coupa’s user-based licensing approach can be cost-prohibitive.

One-time or infrequent users can initiate purchase requests via Zip, allowing procurement teams to still work in Coupa, while ensuring the adoption of procurement processes. Zip provides unique features that help a business maximize adoption and reduce TCO.

No-Code Configuration

Zip offers a no-code, configuration-based connection to Coupa. Configuration is very easy in Zip and doesn’t require any deep database or UI expertise. Purchase requests are automatically generated, without the need to manually re-key data into Coupa. Additionally, changes to approval workflows can be as simple as a drag-and-drop update.

Zip offers customization capabilities that accelerate time to value and saves on the cost of professional services procurement fees (which can be an estimated spend of $25k every 3-6 months). Although Coupa provides capabilities to customize forms and workflows, it requires users to edit more fundamental UI elements, which typically necessitates a developer or other IT professional.

Automated Approvals and Workflows

Zip will automate complex approval chains and ecosystems, including parallel-track approvals, while Coupa provides basic, sequential approvals. 

Approval handoffs are another instance in which Zip can fill in the gaps for Coupa. Zip’s approval workflow has integrations that “hand off” an approval step to an additional program, and then return the final approval back to Zip. This allows stakeholders to work in their “home” systems (for example, IT in ITSM, Risk in GRC, or Legal in CLM).

Although Coupa has some integrations that support bidirectional push and pull of data, it does not have the capabilities to start a workflow within the system, hand off mid-flow to another program, and finish the workflow within Coupa.

Zip also codifies your entire policy, with all approvals coded into the workflow, ensuring automatic compliance with all policies (both internal and external). Due to Coupa’s workflow limitations, many organizations using Coupa still require approvals to happen via email. This means employees must follow lengthy documentation to handle approval scenarios not coded into Coupa.

How Fast-Growing Business use Zip Intake-to-Procure to Augment Traditional BSM

Traditional business spend management (BSM) is a slow and outdated strategy that often creates more bottlenecks, than anything else. In BSM, a workflow may require 7 or more manual approvals before a purchase order is even issued. This is a lengthy process that’s prone to error. Most employees need to make purchases quickly, without the red tape. Otherwise, it becomes harder to do their jobs and slows productivity.

Business spend management solutions may not be suitable for smaller companies or startups either. It can be a highly complex solution that requires a variety of moving parts and parties to keep running. 

There are many outdated concepts and strategies within BSM that will not help you compete. The more hands an approval process requires, the less visibility there is, with confusion surrounding the workflow. Subsequently, teams can miss important opportunities and deadlines.

Zip can help a fast-growing business replace traditional BSM in many ways. The intuitive platform is all an employee needs to initiate a purchase or vendor request in minutes. 

The seamless experience smoothly guides requesters to preferred vendors, while automatically routing the approval workflow in the background. Companies are able to gain clearer visibility across all purchasing activities, while increasing operational efficiency, controlling spend, and mitigating risk.

One company that affirms the benefits of Zip is Instabase. Founded in 2015, the brand has grown exponentially and almost too quickly for comfort. Their payments are mostly for larger annual contracts with software vendors and projects. This means, multi-dollar investments that deeply required some form of automation.

Before seeking a solution, procurement of Instabase was slow and congested. Their small teams spent way too much time tracking payment requests and answering inquiries. 

Then, in stepped Zip. The system automated Instabase’s entire spending, from request to payment. They were able to streamline spend approvals, POs, and invoice processing, all from one, central location. This resulted in instabase saving more than 20 hours a week on labor, and increasing overall efficiency across their entire team.

Zip Intake-to-Procure can help your business manage the entire I2P process, gain control over spend, increase visibility, mitigate risk, and much more. Want a free demo? Click here to speak with an expert today.

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