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Best Card Solution


Boudry, Switzerland

Anna Bianchi, Associate Manager, T&E

Physical card is obsolete with this solution

Company profile

Celgene is a leading pharmaceuticals company that operates in more than 34 countries worldwide.

The challenge

Supplier payments was an area that was ripe for innovation –

Celgene’s suppliers were increasingly requesting early or upfront

payments. In order to meet these requests, Celgene was required to

process payments immediately, thereby directly impacting its working

capital position. The team at Celgene laid down the

following objectives:

Working capital optimisation:

while early payment to suppliers

was a business need, Celgene wanted a solution that would

preserve or improve its working capital position. Early payments

and working capital optimisation may seem like a dichotomy – but

the team challenged themselves to achieve both these

objectives simultaneously.

Simple enrolment and management:

the team at Celgene

wanted to ensure that the early payment programme remained

simple for suppliers to enrol without any complex legal

documentation or technical integration. Similarly, it must also be

simple for Celgene to manage.

Frictionless experience:

the payment processes at Celgene had

been refined over many years. There was no room to introduce

any inefficiency in the payment process. Therefore, it was

essential that the new payment programme should be frictionless

– from order-to-reconciliation – to allow for efficient and early

payment to suppliers.


it was paramount that the new payment programme should

not increase costs for Celgene. Therefore, the early payment

programme should not be expensive to build or run.

The solution

An overview of how the solution works:

1. Suppliers send electronic invoices through the Basware Network

which becomes available to Celgene in real-time.

2. Celgene applies business rules to approve/reject invoices and

allocate them to appropriate expense lines within Basware.

3. For every approved invoice, Basware sends a request to Citi to

create a virtual card via an API.

4. Citi validates the request and creates a virtual card for that Invoice

in real-time. This virtual card is a single-use card account with

highly specific controls. Virtual Card details are sent back to

Basware via an API message, again in real-time.

5. The card is automatically charged on behalf of suppliers in

real-time, providing instantaneous confirmation. Suppliers

receive funds directly in their bank accounts within two to three

days without any further action from their side, along with rich

remittance data.

6. A fully reconciled transaction file is generated and sent to

Celgene’s ERP system to post accounting entries.

7. Celgene makes a single monthly payment to Citi to clear

card outstanding.

Best practice and innovation

Use of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Payments no longer confined to ERP – this solution breaks that

convention by plugging the payment channel into an e-invoicing

platform. Fundamentally, this can have a profound impact for the

entire industry as people start realising the benefit of initiating the

payment where it creates best value and not necessarily through

their ERP systems.

Security and simplicity.

Key benefits

To Celgene:

DPO improved.

Working capital enhanced.

Zero-cost solution.

Process efficiencies.


Security and control.

To Celgene’s suppliers:

DSO improved.

Compliance cost benefits.

No POS terminals needed.

Rich remittance data provided.

Real-time visibility.

David Reidy, Basware, Anna Bianchi, Celgene and Ritesh Jain, Citi

treasurytoday Adam Smith Awards © August 2017 | 13