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Zip vs Coupa: Intake-to-Pay Solution Comparison

Here we compare two leaders in the procurement automation space: Zip and Coupa. Ready to get started on your automation journey today?

Supply chain challenges, rising inflation, and global growth can squeeze your company’s margins. Organizations need a robust solution to enhance efficiency, streamline operations, optimize resources, and reduce costs. 

Procure-to-pay platforms have emerged as indispensable tools to revolutionize the entire spectrum of processes, from initial intake to purchase requisitions, supplier management, reconciliation, final payment, and more.

Among the myriad of tools available, Zip and Coupa have emerged as prime contenders, each offering distinct features tailored to meet diverse business needs. 

In this comparative exploration, we look at how these platforms redefine the paradigm of intake-to-pay workflows, as well as the key features, pros and cons, pricing, and other alternatives to streamline your procurement process today.

What is Zip?

Zip (also called ZipHQ) is a SaaS procurement solution that speeds up your procurement cycle and reduces financial headaches. The platform has a strong focus on the source-to-pay process and is a leading intake-to-procure solution. 

The system provides a single dashboard for employees to initiate a vendor or purchase request, which is then routed for approval across multiple departments, like finance, IT, and legal.

The procurement management software seamlessly integrates into P2P and ERP solutions, allowing for greater insight, stronger financial controls, and total visibility throughout the process. A business can quickly scale procurement operations and reduce administrative burden by up to 40%.

Centralize purchase and vendor requests, simplify cross-functional approvals, and unlock visibility for 97% of pre-contract spending. Zip enables you to get involved in business spend early on, mitigating risk and reducing compliance leakage, while greatly enhancing the employee experience.

Zip Pricing

Zip offers custom pricing that starts with a free, 15-minute scheduled demo.

Main Features

ZipHQ helps a business reduce manual labor, eliminate errors, and scale procurement operations. Here are some of the top features the platform offers:

Automated Intake

During the intake process, automated forms guide the requester and loop them in with the proper stakeholders. After approval, the purchase requester will have complete visibility into the open PO amount and number. Zip will ingest and categorize vendors, and then flag any duplicates or overlaps.

Approval chains can also be generated based on request details. This leads to a faster approval process and lower administrative costs.

Vendor Management

The Zip platform streamlines vendor relationships by offering an all-in-one solution that nurtures strategic sourcing and collaboration. Zip enables you to create a single source of truth for all vendor data and facilitates communication between cross-functional teams regarding contracts and risk reviews.

A business can use Zip to automate renewal planning. The system will initiate renewal workflows well ahead of the deadline. This allows stakeholders ample time to make data-driven decisions.

Spend Analytics

Zip allows a business to gain early visibility into spend through an automated intake process. By fully comprehending the complete lifecycle of requests, finance teams can better identify opportunities and diagnose issues.

AP Automation

Zip’s intuitive intake process captures essential data at the request stage, enabling automatic PO creation with ease. The data will flow downstream from request all the way to payment. A business can also scan, capture, and validate invoices with industry-leading accuracy, accelerating the AP cycle by 50%. Automatic PO-matching and best-in-class workflows relieve approval bottlenecks and ensure timely payments.

Key Integrations

Zip’s intake-to-procure solution promotes ease of use when it comes to connecting your existing tech stack. Zip integrates with top tools like SAP Ariba and Coupa. This gives joint customers a complete, end-to-end intake-to-pay workflow with a consumer-style user experience.

Pros of Zip

  • Drive employee adoption: Create a single front door for end users with automated intake and an intuitive experience.
  • Centralize vendor reviews: Give procurement, finance, IT, etc. a single place to collaborate on vendor selection.
  • Single source of truth: Manage all data in one system, with pre-contract visibility into 95% of spend.
  • Influence spend early: Since all requests go through Zip, customers gain early visibility into spend before it’s finalized.
  • Boost efficiency: Teams on Zip have saved over 500 hours per FTE annually.

Cons of Zip

  • Lack of proxying: Online reviews have mentioned users cannot proxy as another user to reassign approvals more conveniently.
  • Limited reporting capabilities: Many users have expressed the desire for more robust reporting and custom analytics tools.
  • Limited AP automation and payments: Core focus is on intake-to-procure, with procure-to-pay features still developing
  • Challenging navigation: Some users have mentioned a confusing interface, making it challenging to easily navigate features.

What is Coupa?

The Coupa software suite is an intake-to-pay management solution that includes modules for procurement, finance, and supply chain. The platform’s main value proposition is the ability to manage transactions across intake, procurement, and payments, in a single, cloud-controlled dashboard.

Coupa provides smart solutions for procurement and finance challenges that improve cost control and profitability. The procurement software has P2P features designed with the user in mind, making it easy for employees to adopt and adapt to the process.

The Coupa solution services mostly upper mid-market and large enterprise customers looking to solve a specific procurement problem. The AI-driven platform helps a business eliminate risk, optimize cash, and increase profitability, delivering real value to fuel everyday business growth.

Coupa Pricing

Coupa pricing features bundled packages based on your company size and the number of users. Customers typically sign a 3-year contract, and fees are paid upfront annually with Coupa billing. Implementation fees are also comparable to the annual subscription costs, which can be expensive for a smaller business or startup.

Main Features

Coupa is designed to help gain better control over finances, streamline procurement, and consolidate transactions. Here are some of the top features the platform offers:

Purchase Requisitions and Orders

Coupa’s procurement management software guides employees across the entire buying process, surfacing preferred services and products to alert staff to discounted pricing and other advantageous terms. Coupa Open Buy helps eliminate rogue spending and increase savings by providing a centralized space for employees to compare items across all suppliers for both punchout and hosted catalogs.

Supplier Management

A business can maximize supplier relationships and mitigate third-party risk with Coupa’s supplier management tools. Accelerate supplier onboarding and continuously monitor partner health with AI-powered insights. Suppliers can have more choices and lower fees with Coupa, using automated email and paper invoice capture. They also have access to a comprehensive portal and cXML.

Coupa’s Open Business Network (OBN) simplifies supplier collaboration and connects customers and suppliers without any setup or connection fee. This helps to stay compliant with all government mandates and regulations.

Cloud Invoicing

Coupa offers an invoice management system for the modern enterprise. Rescue AP with efficient, accurate, and timely e-invoicing that helps you achieve both domestic and international compliance.

AI-Powered Insights

AI-powered insights help a business benchmark performance and get suggestions on how to move to the next level. Coupa’s Business Spend Management (BSM) software platform integrates with ERP systems and third-party software apps to gain greater insight that feeds into robust reporting capabilities. Track the progress of KPIs across BSM, set goals, and improve over time. Coupa offers flexible reporting configurations that accelerate time to value.

Unified Platform

Get rid of maverick spend by uniting departments around a streamlined, procure-to-pay process in a single, unified platform. Use pre-built workflows and set automatic spending controls to ensure compliance and gain visibility over every transaction.

Pros of Coupa

  • Precise spend management: Full visibility into spend across all categories (like tail spend) to drive sourcing events.
  • Monitor for compliance: Ensure continuity of supply, protect revenue, and monitor compliance and ESG risks.
  • Realize negotiated benefits: Integrate your sourcing with contracting, purchasing, invoicing, and risk to realize value.
  • Reinvest savings: On a single BSM platform, get the tools and insights needed to redeploy savings toward strategic initiatives.
  • Increase operational efficiency: Coupa’s source-to-pay solutions digitize manual processes to cut out low-value work.

Cons of Coupa

  • High costs: Coupa is broken into modules that can add up quickly to meet all of your business needs.
  • Customer support: The helpline is chat only, and finding a live person can be difficult.
  • Complexity: For some users, the features and functionalities of Coupa are more robust than what they need.

Ready to rise to the next level of procurement maturity? 

Streamline your AP, accelerate global payouts, simplify procurement processes, and optimize employee expenses. Ready to learn more?

Zip vs. Coupa

When it comes to comparing the two systems, sometimes a visual works best. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of each platform and how they stack up against the rest.

Comparison Table

Intake ProcessIntake workflows adapt questions and selections based on how requesters answer, providing policy guidance in context along the way.Simplify purchase requisition and order processes, tracking in real-time to get pre-approved spend flowing through the procurement system.Predefined custom intake forms, employees can easily submit purchase and supplier related requests.
ProcurementComparable capabilities that focus on intake-to-procure, but downstream procure-to-pay capabilities are new.PRs, open buy, services procurement, budgets, spend guard, mobile expenses app, PO management, and more.Integrated procurement and payables solution. Streamline purchases with user-friendly requisitions, improve spend controls & compliance, and reduce payables processing time
Purchase OrdersCaptures essential data at the request stage, automating PO creation with powerful configurations and line item details.Track and manage purchase orders in real-time, guide users to on-contract goods or services with flexible configuration rules to achieve compliance.Automatically generate POs once a purchase request is approved, with no need for manual entry. 
Approval WorkflowsLoop in stakeholders, sequenced and parallel-tracked approvals, visibility to track purchase and vendor approval pipeline,adjustable approval workflows.Accelerate approvals with mobile and email features, check status of PRs and approve anywhere in the world.Rule-based approvals routing that eliminates bottlenecks and inaccuracies. Integrates with 30+ ticketing systems.
ContractsCentralized communication on contract approvals through a single source.Coupa CLM provides control and efficiency across the entire contract lifecycle.Contract interface to add and search contracts, and set automated notifications for renewals and renegotiations.
Supplier ManagementSelf-service registration for supplier intake and approval, but no contingent workforce capabilities (contractors, freelancers)Self-service supplier portal (no custom) connects purchasing orgs with suppliers, providing tools to get paid faster. Catalogs, smart sourcing, and Verified badge. Custom registration forms, self-service portal collecting financial, contact, and contractual data with choice of payment method, currency, etc. 
InvoicingOCR data capture, Invoice inbox and email sync, vendor portal invoice uploads, two-way PO matching, dynamic approval routing.Invoice Smash OCR solution is limited in what it can read. e-invoicing via XML, PO flip, or manual entry by suppliers in portal, 2-way or 3-way invoice matching, but weaker solution for emailed invoices. OCR and advanced data extraction, change logic applied to future invoices, custom fields, expense accounts auto-filled based on predictive smart logic, 2 and 3-way PO matching, pre-defined approval rules, and batch invoicing..
Corporate CardsVirtual cards as vendor payment method. No physical cards.Coupa Pay offers virtual cards to optimize working capital and extend DSO. 3rd party card integrationsPhysical and virtual cards; manage and reconcile spend, receive cash-back, integrate with global payables platform bringing financial controls into card spend with automatic reconciliation.
Analytics and ReportingSpend analytics and insights to analyze cycle times, consolidate transaction data, and track realized savings.Coupa Spend Analysis leverages AI to benchmark performance and get suggestions on the next step.Next-level spend analytics enhanced by powerful filter and search functionality.
Expense ManagementNoneImport itinerary and expense data by forwarding confirmations to capture spend from popular vendors with T&E receipts fully parsed, itemized, and added to the system.Automated expense policies, global reimbursements, reconciliation of transactions, reimbursements captured, categorized, and processed. Integrates with Tipalti card.
Global PaymentsPay in 140+ countries and 40+ currencies. ACH, international ACH, wire, and check payment methods. Partnered with Airwallex for payments. Coupa Pay optional add-on. Domestic and international bank transfers, digital checks (US only) via payment partners Transfermate, Interpay, etc. Payments across 196 countries and 120 currencies with 50 different payment methods.Regulated MSB with MTLs across US. E-Money license in UK with FCA. Blue-chip bank partners Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo (plus Visa & PayPal). 
Taxes and ComplianceTax form collection is part of vendor intake but there is no KPMG-approved digital tax form capture and validation or global tax coverage.Automatically validates country-specific requirements, streamline tax audits, supports over 50+ countries invoicing laws and requirements. No tax form collection.KPMG-approved tax capability for IRSCollect and validate IRS and VAT tax IDsMaintain W-9, W-8BEN, VAT Details. 1099 and 1042-S prep reports. eFiling integrations
IntegrationsAmazon Punchouts, Slack, Jira, ServiceNow, Asana, Zendesk, NetSuite, Sage Intacct, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Xero, Oracle ERP, SAP ERP, and Workday.Communicates with 150+ APIs with no custom coding required, middleware partners WebMethods, SnapLogic, and Mandant reduce upfront configuration work.NetSuite, Jira, Asana, ServiceNow, Zendesk, Slack, Xero, Sage Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP B1, Acumatica and more.

Tipalti as an Alternative

One of the top alternatives to both Zip and Coupa is the Tipalti solution. The platform automates the entire procure-to-pay process and eliminates up to 80% of your AP workload. The holistic system offers an unparalleled level of global compliance, procurement automation, invoice management, supplier onboarding, PO-matching, multi-entity cloud architecture, and enterprise-grade financial controls.

Tipalti is a regulated money services business (MSB) and has its US money transmitter license (MTL) in every state that requires it. Tipalti is also authorized by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Institution. Customers gain significant advantages by using the global payment system over non-regulated providers. Tipalti partners with blue-chip banks like JP Morgan, Citi, and Wells Fargo and has redundancy between built-ins for fast and reliable global payment remittance.

Tipalti is honored to be on the Spend Matters 50 Providers to Know list for the fourth consecutive year. The company is recognized for being an industry leader that consistently pioneers innovative procurement technologies and services.

When comparing Tipalti vs Coupa or Tipalti vs Zip, here are some key differences:


Zip and Coupa do not offer built-in tax features, validation, or regulatory compliance controls. In comparison, Tipalti has tax features that meet IRS requirements (as prescribed by KPMG). The supplier onboarding workflow includes W-9/W-8 tax form data collection and validation, and then generates 1099/1042-S tax prep files with auto-calculated withholdings for EOY reporting. The system also collects and validates local/VAT tax IDs for non-US countries.

Sanctions Screening

Coupa and Zip do not offer any proactive OFAC or sanctions screening. This can put a business at risk of paying a bad entity on a government blacklist, potentially resulting in frozen accounts. Tipalti goes the extra mile and actively screens all payees before every transaction has been processed, which helps with regulatory compliance.

Supplier Management

Although all systems offer some form of automated supplier onboarding, Tipalti offers an extensive, branded supplier portal that’s available 24/7. Vendors can update their contact and banking data in one spot with 26,000+ global payment validation rules to verify data in real time. The white-label service allows suppliers to perform a variety of tasks like:

  • Choose payment method
  • Select currency
  • Set payment thresholds
  • View histories
  • Receive branded notifications

Most supplier portals have limited payment options compared to Tipalti.


Although Zip and Coupa boast impressive integration capabilities, nothing compares to what Tipalti offers. The system has strong API integrations with QuickBooks, NetSuite, Sage Intacct, Xero, and Microsoft Dynamics. Tipalti offers seamless ERP integrations with all other ERPs via pre-built connectors, using a drag-and-drop interface, with no code required.

Global Transactions

When it comes to global payments, Tipalti streamlines the entire process. Unlike Zip and Coupa, Tipalti’s global payment systems allow a business to send money to 196 countries, in 120 currencies, using 50 different payment methods. The system also gives a company advanced payment configuration options like fee-splitting and setting thresholds.

Summing It Up

In a sea of different choices for procurement software, the choice between Zip and Coupa hinges on the unique needs and priorities of every business. Zip’s proficiency in intake-to-procure stands in contrast to Coupa’s comprehensive spend management capabilities. As you navigate the intricacies of these tools, understanding the nuances of these systems is important to making the right decision.

Ultimately, it requires careful consideration of specific requirements, user experience, scalability, and the alignment of these solutions with the overarching goals of the business. There is also an obvious alternative. 

Tipalti is a comprehensive accounts payable and procure-to-pay automation solution that covers all the bases. From intake to purchase requests, contracting, supplier management, invoicing, payments, reconciliation, global tax compliance, and more. Embracing the Tipalti solution is not just a sound investment, it’s a contribution to the future resilience and success of your business. Get started with Tipalti today!

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