Utility Provider Saves Half a Million Each Year with Accounts Payable Solution

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A large regional electric and gas distribution utility with nearly 700,000 customers was going through an acquisition, reorganization and a bankruptcy in a little more than a year. The company  chose to use these changes as an opportunity to address the challenges around invoice processing. The utility’s Accounts Payable (AP) department received and paid approximately 75,000 invoices, representing $850 million in annual payments annually. The company started by reorganizing  and centralizing the AP department. The reorganization allowed the company to reduce staff but it did not deliver any productivity improvements. Furthermore, the drastic changes at the company resulted in a significant disruption of AP processes. Invoices weren’t being approved on time. Duplicate payments were issued. Invoices were lost. And while productivity was down, overtime was up—AP staff was under pressure to reduce overtime and still get the job done. There were invoice control issues and SOX remediation became a stated priority. Even after adding employees back, the invoice processing issues remained. The company attempted to upgrade their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) capabilities to include electronic approvals, but the process was too slow. Management needed a quicker fix. The company decided to move to a centralized processing model that would increase productivity, lower costs, and allow the regulated provider to meet Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements for accounts payable documentation. Solution Dolphin recommended a number of improvements that would allow the company to take control of the Accounts Payable process. Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), provided the company with a turnkey solution for managing documents and automating the AP process with our enhanced SAP workflow. Key capabilities of the solution include:

  • Invoice scanning and capture
  • SAP workflows to automate approvals and exception handling
  • Efficient document storage in the company’s existing FileNet repository
  • Robust reporting capabilities for real-time information on invoice status
With real-time invoice information, the company was able to resolve vendor inquiries in minutes rather than days. The company was able to control cash flow and make informed decisions about what invoices needed to be paid and by when. Results The company has realized ongoing cost savings from the productivity and efficiency gains. The solution also ensures that the company is able to mitigate risk and comply with policies. The solution was implemented in four months, from initial project planning through go-live. To date, the results have been…
  • Reduced invoice process cycle time
  • Freed 6-8 employees in operating areas allowing them to be deployed to areas of greatest need within the accounting department
  • Decreased overtime 80%
  • Eliminated duplicate payments
  • Gained the ability to have real-time access to information to predict cash requirements
  • Met SOX and other compliance mandates
  • Improved vendor relations
  • Realized goal of annually saving half a million dollars in operating costs
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Utility Provider Saves Half a Million Each Year with Accounts Payable Solution

A large regional electric and gas distribution utility with nearly 700,000 customers was going through an acquisition, reorganization and a bankruptcy in a little more than a year. The company  chose to use these changes as an opportunity to address the challenges around invoice processing.

The utility’s Accounts Payable (AP) department received and paid approximately 75,000 invoices, representing $850 million in annual payments annually. The company started by reorganizing  and centralizing the AP department. The reorganization allowed the company to reduce staff but it did not deliver any productivity improvements. Furthermore, the drastic changes at the company resulted in a significant disruption of AP processes. Invoices weren’t being approved on time. Duplicate payments were issued. Invoices were lost. And while productivity was down, overtime was up—AP staff was under pressure to reduce overtime and still get the job done. There were invoice control issues and SOX remediation became a stated priority.

Even after adding employees back, the invoice processing issues remained. The company attempted to upgrade their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) capabilities to include electronic approvals, but the process was too slow. Management needed a quicker fix.

The company decided to move to a centralized processing model that would increase productivity, lower costs, and allow the regulated provider to meet Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements for accounts payable documentation.

Solution
Dolphin recommended a number of improvements that would allow the company to take control of the Accounts Payable process. Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), provided the company with a turnkey solution for managing documents and automating the AP process with our enhanced SAP workflow. Key capabilities of the solution include:

  • Invoice scanning and capture
  • SAP workflows to automate approvals and exception handling
  • Efficient document storage in the company’s existing FileNet repository
  • Robust reporting capabilities for real-time information on invoice status

With real-time invoice information, the company was able to resolve vendor inquiries in minutes rather than days. The company was able to control cash flow and make informed decisions about what invoices needed to be paid and by when.

Results
The company has realized ongoing cost savings from the productivity and efficiency gains. The solution also ensures that the company is able to mitigate risk and comply with policies. The solution was implemented in four months, from initial project planning through go-live. To date, the results have been…

  • Reduced invoice process cycle time
  • Freed 6-8 employees in operating areas allowing them to be deployed to areas of greatest need within the accounting department
  • Decreased overtime 80%
  • Eliminated duplicate payments
  • Gained the ability to have real-time access to information to predict cash requirements
  • Met SOX and other compliance mandates
  • Improved vendor relations
  • Realized goal of annually saving half a million dollars in operating costs

Download_PDF