How a Biotechnology Company Built a Scalable Foundation for Growth With Coupa and NetSuite

A biotechnology company focused on redefining the cancer treatment landscape needed to improve its internal processes and financial controls environment. The company’s most advanced product candidate was recently poised to hit the clinic after getting clearance from the FDA.

Upon going public, the company needed to update its processes. In previous audits, they had received notices of material weaknesses, where one or more internal controls were ineffective in preventing financial irregularities or improving efficiencies.

The company sought a solution to centralize data and automate manual processes while reducing the need for additional team members and keeping costs in check. This was especially important given how lean life sciences organizations tend to run.

They also needed a solution that could integrate with NetSuite. The company implemented the solutions directly after going public to ensure they had the required time with the new software to deliver a great audit and financial report the following year.

They also wanted to set the landscape for growth in the future. For a biotech company, growth can happen quickly, making the ability to scale critical.

The Solution for Life Sciences Companies: Coupa + NetSuite

The Sikich team recommended Coupa for business spend management. They would integrate it with NetSuite, which the Sikich team had helped the company implement.

Coupa gives companies greater visibility into their company’s spend, helping them make smarter business decisions, improve compliance and controls, and increase profitability.

The pairing of NetSuite and Coupa addresses two big concerns for life science companies.

Lack of internal resources

The solutions help companies with fewer internal resources to understand their data better and achieve their goals without needing to grow their back-office teams.

Reducing burn rate

Life science companies must reduce spending and drive cost avoidance for a healthy cash flow. As a bonus, Coupa leverages a network of providers through which companies can gain discounts.

The Outcome

The company eliminated fragmented, manual processes and increased workflow efficiencies and accuracy. In particular, they benefited from the following Coupa solutions:

Payments and Treasury

Coupa Pay allows the company to view all their spend, payments, and cash flow in one location. Users can automatically reconcile payments in a central location, providing visibility into payment status while reducing supplier onboarding, payment processing, and payment infrastructure maintenance efforts. They could also optimize cash flow by maximizing savings and Days Payable Outstanding with bank rebates, and gain greater transparency into financial data across subsidiaries, accounts and spend.

Procurement and AP

The company used InvoiceSmash with full invoice data extraction, directly from email or PDFs, to centralize and standardize invoices and reduce errors. In addition to the time efficiencies, they could access the required invoices more easily during audits. “This was absolutely critical to our ability to keep up with accounts payable without having an AP clerk,” Woodbury said.

The company also runs on a “No PO, no payment policy” that requires all vendor partners to access their portal to enter POs and invoices.

Expense Management

Coupa’s Expense Management module provides a centralized place for touchless expense reports, compliance, reporting and insights, trip pre-approvals, travel integrations, and reimbursements.

Coupa drove greater efficiencies and visibility, and lowered costs in the organization, which resulted in:

  • Better cash management
  • Greater productivity
  • Better forecasting confidence
  • Greater compliance and control
  • Ability to scale for growth
  • Streamlined audit preparations
  • Improved speed and accuracy of financial reporting

Driving User Adoption with Coupa

To get the most from NetSuite and Coupa, the company needed buy-in from the team and C-suite. The senior controller led the implementation and knew there is always a “natural resistance to change”; he prioritized ensuring each team had their needs heard and sharing how the new solutions would address those needs.

He spent a lot of time with different groups, particularly in R&D, to make sure that he understood their needs specific to new software, but also what they were used to seeing in the current software and what would make or break the change.

To get the CFO to buy in, he presented how the solutions would improve both business operations and financial controls. And the upfront purchase of Coupa could be justified by the ongoing cost savings it would provide long into the future, ensuring ROI.

Contact Sikich today to learn how NetSuite and Coupa can help your life sciences lay a stronger foundation for the future.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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