Our client, a government department encompassing multiple industries, needed an AP Automation solution that allowed users to accurately rectify errors or mismatches within their ERP. Their current system provided a similar function, but also allowed Finance users to override system controls and create process issues for the Operational teams. We were engaged to provide a functional and technical specification for the new import and error handling process, ensuring both Finance and Operations received accurate data.
The ultimate aim was to provide the businesses with an AP Automation process using only a document scanning solution and their ERP.
- We commenced the project by mapping the current AP invoice process, including the email document scanning solution. This mapping highlighted where many of the process issues were, both in terms of handling of the document scanning errors as well as within the ERP.
- We then completed an analysis of the existing customised programs around the process, documenting the logic and weak points.
- After the issues in the current processes and programs had been clarified, we sat down with a developer and white-boarded the basic flow of the proposed future error handling. As we did this, it became easy to visualise where the additional checkpoints were needed as well as the adjustments to the program logic in order to correctly deal with each exception. From this, we could develop an ordered sequence for each of the checks to occur, allowing for blocks where a prior release of the information had caused issues with the operational processes.
- The final step involved working with key Finance staff to understand their process issues with specific error handling, as well as discussing features that would help speed up their error analysis process. As part of this discussion, we ensured that Operations requirements were included. The Operations requirements had been documented in prior process reviews.
- With all the analysis and discussions complete within a few days, we commenced creation of the functional and technical solution. Several options were considered and discussed with both the developers and the business, prior to finalising the documentation.
- The approved documentation was then handed over to the Internal IT Team for the business as they took responsibility for managing the development and deployment.
- Our entire process took seven man days to complete, but provided long-term time savings for both Finance and Operational staff.
- A new ERP dashboard was provided as part of the process, allowing visual recognition of “red light” issues, as well as drill-back functions into the ERP detail to allow better access to information. Defined error codes were also included on-screen, providing staff with an indication of how to resolve the issue. The information provided on this dashboard has significantly reduced the the time taken to resolve errors, for both Finance and Operations staff.
- Controls were put into the Dashboard, ensuring that “disallowed” processes were not used to correct the Finance errors and generate Operational data errors.
- Better visibility and handling of errors has meant that supplier invoices with scanning or upload errors that were previously lost or forgotten are now visible and easily resolved.
- Ultimately, the primary goal was achieved – the business had a robust end-to-end AP Automation process using both their Document Scanning solution and their ERP. No middleware software was needed to manage scanning errors or workflow.
If you’d like to learn more or talk to us, click here for our contact details.