Automation of invoice & credit notes digitisation
This established Australian owned and operated company sells pet supplies, and prides itself on delivering quality pet care products with good old-fashioned customer service. They operate across Australia and New Zealand via a combination of “bricks and mortar” outlets (stores) combined with a strong focus on internet-based sales as well.
With the company’s rapid growth since its inception in 2002, they found that some of their business systems needed to be updated to support the development pace, while still providing robust solutions to its franchisees. Inbound invoice processing was such a candidate.
The Company also required a central view of its business and financial documentation across over 100 outlets, which effectively are its remote offices.
In 2016, the Company engaged the services of eCloud Business Services to review their existing systems and then provide a solution that would give them the ability to fully automate the processing of the company’s supplier invoices. The project was so successful that they decided to also digitise archive and administrative records using another eCloud service – Files Online.
The existing invoice management system was difficult to navigate and very limited in its ability to deal with electronic documents, including the option to automatically separate any attached PDF documents from an invoice. It would read an invoice and produce a basic output with no visibility of an invoice’s current status.
The Company was looking at creating better efficiencies and transparency in how suppliers invoices were processed. Approval queues were required with several levels of approvals set up.
The management of suppliers’ information – and timely payment of supplier invoices to ensure continuity of supply – was critical to provide transparency on transactions, as well as insights into the goods and services purchased, and trends on spending amongst other needs.
The financial team found the fast access to view supplier invoices – and where those invoices were in the approval process – combined with the ability to see an up-to-the-minute accrual value of all of the invoices that were being processed and that hadn’t yet been uploaded to the financial accounting system, made the management of the company’s finances more transparent and efficient.
eCloud Business Services presented their OASIS Automated Accounts Payable Service. The accounts payable solution eCloud proposed fully automates the accounts payable process. This is achieved by having supplier invoices sent directly to eCloud for processing through eCloud’s automated invoice and statement processing service, OASIS.
The software uses an innovative machine learning engine that matches invoices against purchase orders on a line by line basis and determines any errors that may have occurred at any stage in the process.
Where invoices don’t require a purchase order, the invoice is instead circulated to the relevant authorisers within each Cost Centre.
Exceptions are created in OASIS that the Company’s AP personnel can view and correct (for example if the ABN found for a supplier on an invoice does not match the ABN in the finance system). A perfectly matched record is automatically uploaded into the Accounts Payable module in the financial accounting system, for payment to be made.
By adopting OASIS as their invoice processing solution, this Company has achieved the following:
- OASIS has been widely accepted as a really useful business tool that has been rolled out in the Company’s Finance area
- The Company has saved significant time in the processing and tracking of all invoices
- Even more significantly, they have seen a much lower error rate which flows on to time savings for other areas because no correction is needed once the invoice has passed through the authorisation stages and their associated electronic checks within the OASIS system
- Through the authorisation levels available in the AP system, managers in the business are now accountable for their expenses through the requirement to review and approve everything in their area of responsibility – this can be based on the value of the invoice or which GL account codes certain invoice lines have been allocated to
- Audit controls are much tighter (bank account number checking (for fraud protection), approvals, error checking, etc).
Since the implementation of the OASIS AP service, the Company has added other functionality such as purpose-built Financial Reporting, and is currently looking at a Vendor Portal which allows vendors to see the current status of their invoice in whichever processing stage the invoice has reached, along with other useful “vendor self-help” functions.