Your Guide to Coupa

What is Coupa? 

In today’s business landscape, finance and procurement teams face numerous challenges that require efficient solutions to achieve successful procurement operations. In a globalized world, businesses must navigate various legal, cultural, and regulatory differences. Additionally, the rapid advancement of technology requires companies to keep pace with the latest automation and streamlining solutions. To optimize costs and gain control over spending, many organizations turn to business spend management (BSM) platforms like Coupa.

In this article, we’ll explore the key capabilities of Coupa, its use cases, the reasons behind its popularity among businesses, and the best solutions for enhancing procurement processes.

How Does Coupa Work?

The Coupa system offers a comprehensive platform that enables businesses to manage spend analytics in one place, simplifying cost control and ensuring compliance. Organizations utilize Coupa software for a range of functions including procurement, sourcing, contracting, invoicing, and payments. This includes functions like verifying compliance with expense policies and managing expenses on mobile devices, making it easier for employees to report. Coupa also provides a module for e-invoicing, which improves the user experience by allowing companies to receive and handle invoices electronically. It also enables companies to generate purchase orders, oversee expenditures, and handle supplier contracts throughout the whole firm. This includes features like supplier catalogs to negotiate better pricing and purchase order approval workflows to ensure compliance with company policies.

Expense Management: Coupa provides expense management software to streamline the handling of employee expenses and reimbursements, including travel and entertainment. It includes functionalities like adherence checks to expense policies and mobile expense handling, making the reporting procedure easier for staff. Coupa provides an e-invoicing module that improves user interaction by allowing businesses to accept and process invoices digitally. It also provides a payments hub solution that integrates multiple payment methods, optimizing treasury processes for finance groups.

Analytics and Reporting: Coupa offers real-time visibility and robust information management through smart dashboards and reports. These tools enable organizations to track spend by supplier, category, and department, empowering them to make informed decisions, reduce costs, and enhance operational efficiency.

Coupa Features: As a cloud-based BSM platform, provides a wide range of features to help companies effectively manage invoicing, procurement, and expense management processes. 

What are Coupa’s Offerings?

Procurement  (P2P) 

Coupa’s module enables businesses to generate purchase orders, track expenditures, and handle supplier agreements throughout the entire company, including the generation of purchase orders, supplier catalogs (with punchouts), contract administration, and approval processes. These features automate procurement tasks, saving time and effort while improving the management of purchase orders and supplier relationships.


Coupa facilitates electronic invoicing, enabling businesses to receive and process vendor invoices automatically. This includes invoice matching, approvals, scanning, and processing, reducing the time and cost required for invoice processing while enhancing accuracy.

Contract Management

Coupa’s contract management feature enhances supplier management by encompassing onboarding, performance analysis, compliance monitoring, and more. It ensures businesses work with the right suppliers and obtain the best value for their money.

Expense Management

Coupa’s expense management module allows businesses to oversee employee expenses and reimbursements, including entertainment and travel. It includes tools for mobile expense management, automated reimbursement processing, and expense policy compliance checks.

Analytics and Reporting

Coupa provides real-time visibility into spending through advanced analytics and reporting tools. Businesses can track and benchmark spend by supplier, category, department, and other factors. This data enables informed decision-making and identification of cost-saving opportunities.


Coupa’s BSM platform fosters a large community of businesses, employees, suppliers, and partners, providing insights and connections that facilitate supplier collaboration.

Why do businesses choose Coupa?

Efficiency: Coupa automates manual processes related to the above capabilities, reducing the time and effort required. This allows businesses to allocate more time to strategic activities.

Cost Savings: Coupa improves procurement systems, reducing invoice processing times and simplifying expense management, leading to cost savings.

Visibility: Coupa’s advanced analytics tools provide real-time visibility into spend, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Scalability: Coupa’s cloud-based platform is easily scalable to meet the needs of businesses of any size, adapting to organizational requirements over time.

Compliance: Coupa’s tools ensure compliance with spending policies, regulatory requirements, and supplier contracts, minimizing risks and costly penalties.

User-Friendly: Coupa’s platform is known for its user-friendly interface, ensuring quick adoption and improved user satisfaction.

Is Coupa alone enough to streamline procurement processes?

While Coupa offers powerful procurement and spend management capabilities, it may not be sufficient on its own to fully optimize the upstream procurement activity and vendor intake process. 

Coupa may not integrate with certain systems that a business uses, leading to manual data entry and inefficiencies in the procurement process, and its network of vendors may not cover all the specific needs of a business, requiring additional sourcing outside of Coupa’s network.

Additionally, Coupa’s limitations in terms of customization options may make it challenging to tailor the platform to unique requirements and streamline operations.

As a large legacy tool, Coupa’s implementation process can be complex, resulting in delays and additional costs, making it difficult to achieve desired process improvement. Due to additional costs, businesses may have to limit stakeholder access to Coupa, hindering the capture of higher volumes of spend, which reduces the efficacy of the solution. 

In addition, project tracking in Coupa is predominantly manual, and there is no comprehensive view of purchase requisitions across cross-functional teams. Ultimately, this may leave blind spots within your procurement process – the very issue your implementation is meant to fix.

Coupa Loves Focal Point

Luckily, though opportunities with the Coupa solution might occur, Focal Point integrates seamlessly with Coupa to automate the entire intake-to-procure process as well as inter-module connectivity. By creating a single front door for all staff, Focal Point modernizes the user experience of Coupa, featuring an intuitive intake process with conditional questions and involving the appropriate stakeholders when needed. Focal Point and Coupa combined eliminate some end users for training needs, facilitate vendor oversight, automate workflows, and improve renewal management and progress tracking.

Focal Point’s no-code, seamless connection to Coupa ensures automatic generation of purchase requisitions and simplifies updates to approval workflows.

Coupa is an incredibly valuable procurement and spend management platform, but with  Focal Point, procurement organizations can take their team’s transformation beyond point solutions and toward true strategic procurement.