Digitization increases the overall speed, accuracy and transparency of invoice processing. With digitized processing, the Accounts Payable department can do more than just pay invoices – it can work strategically with suppliers to capture more discounts, improve supplier relations, and improve cash flow.
In this webinar, learn how to digitize your Accounts Payable processes to lower your invoice processing costs and:
- Centralize and standardize invoice processing globally
- Automate the processing of purchase order (PO) and Non-PO invoices
- Intelligently manage invoice coding, approval and exception handling
- Analyze and report on metrics to measure invoice processing efficiency and effectiveness
- Enable faster supplier communications and payments
- Capture all available supplier discounts and negotiate better supplier terms
Please fill out the form to access the webcast:
SAPinsider, April 2017
Many chief technology officers (CTOs) have already embraced the idea of cloud technology in some aspect of their business. Cloud storage and cloud hosted applications, for example, have long been popular options for organizations. Despite the numerous benefits of cloud solutions, a complete transition can seem risky, and many companies are reluctant to take the leap and implement a cloud-only strategy. This is why many organizations are choosing to adopt the
best of both worlds: a hybrid cloud approach that takes advantage of the benefits of cloud while keeping certain applications on premise.
Today, the question isn’t if hybrid cloud is a smart approach, but rather, what is the smartest way to implement a hybrid cloud strategy? Forward-looking CTOs recognize this shift and must now evaluate their organization’s cloud readiness and the best way to make the transition for their company.
When Adient, the world’s largest global automotive seating supplier, was spun off as a separate company from Johnson Controls (JCI) in 2016, the company needed to ensure it could keep Accounts Payable operating at peak efficiency or jeopardize important vendor relationships.
The company, which receives more than 3 million invoices each year across 230 facilities and 33 countries, wanted to find an invoice processing solution that could be installed as a single instance but used in its various regional shared services centers in North America, Europe and Asia. The solution would have to be able to accommodate the different languages, currencies, and invoice formats used across the company’s global supply chain and:
- Increase the efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness of invoice processing
- Enable consistent reporting against AP performance metrics, globally
- Enforce corporate controls and comply with local financial regulations
The company had less than a year to move to set up the system in its new data center and decided to implement the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable, a solution which had been used successfully by its parent company, JCI, for almost a decade.
Solution: Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable
The centralized solution enabled Adient to standardize processing across the entire company. Key capabilities of the solution include:
- Automated capture of highly unstructured invoice information using Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
- Intelligent validation of invoices against Vendor and PO information in SAP
- Configurable business rules to automatically post or route invoices for tax approval or exception handling based on corporate, regional, and local requirements
- SAP workflows that integrate with other corporate processes in Global Procurement, Finance, and Treasury.
- Centralized, efficient storage of invoice images for global access.
- Real-time analytics and reporting on invoice processing metrics for productivity, cash flow, and status tracking
The Dolphin solution has certified integration with SAP S/4HANA, so the company knew it would work in the new SAP system which was Business Suite on SAP HANA, and that it would be able to work with S/4HANA when the company decided to migrate to that system in the future.
The company was able to complete the transition to the new data center in less than six months and experienced no disruption in business. Key accomplishments include
- 70% accuracy rate for paper-based invoices captured using OCR
- 40% of invoices autoposted based on defined business rules
- Support for more than 10 languages
- Faster processing with automated workflows for approvals and exceptions
- Greater Efficiency with improved collaboration between the AP, Procurement, Finance, and Treasury departments with reports and analytics that provide complete insight into invoice lifecycle and greater insight into working capital
- Reduced risk and greater transparency with standardized processes and centralized image storage for all three service centers: US, Europe, and Asia.
- Compliance with diverse statutory requirements in the US, EMEA, and APAC
The company plans to enhance the solution with robotic process automation and to enable earlier monitoring of paper-based invoice to ensure the fastest possible processing time and capture even more discounts.
Setting goals for the finance team — such as improving efficiency and reducing costs — helps drive process improvements across the organization, but it is important to review these goals regularly to ensure they continue to serve the overall strategy of the business. Evolving best practices and new technologies can make it necessary to revisit outdated processes and shift the focus on value. In his latest article, Brian Shannon discusses five ways that companies can drive meaningful process improvements in their finance departments.
- Improve Speed and Accuracy of Information Capture
- Use Intelligent Automation
- Focus on User-Centered Design
- Move to the Cloud Where it Makes Sense
- Value is More Important that Cost
Read Brian’s article to find out how to organizations can ensure that they are using current best practices and new technology to drive meaningful process improvements that deliver benefits throughout the finance department and beyond.
insiderPROFILES, Volume 8, Issue 1. In today’s fast-paced, digital world, employees are more likely to prefer the convenience of a smartphone app than the rigidity of an on-premise one. This was certainly true at Great-West Financial, a life insurance and retirement services provider that hundreds of thousands of customers rely on. Executives and managers could only access their invoice workflows via a desktop connected to the office’s system, which limited the ability to speed Accounts Payable (AP) processes. Learn how Great-West implemented the company’s first mobile app for invoice approval to bring greater speed, efficiency, and controls to its AP process.
To streamline operations and improve service levels many organizations are considering establishing shared services centers. Near-cash processes, such as Accounts Payable
and Accounts Receivable, are very mature, transactional in nature, and have a vast repository of industry-independent best practices; therefore, these processes are often the first ones that are moved into a shared services environment.
While there are many benefits of moving to a shared services model, there are five key points to consider that will maximize the value of the shared services center to the organization. Download Five Ways to Maximize the Value of Shared Services Centers.
SAPinsider, July/August/September 2016. For companies looking to achieve the next step in their digital vision, the cloud-based smart applications that are available on SAP HANA Cloud Platform provide an ideal solution. These applications can be quickly rolled out to users even before a full business suite migration to SAP HANA, which means they can be strategically used to add new capabilities and address key business pain points in existing SAP environments. Because the applications run on a cloud-based, in-memory platform, users can benefit immediately from the applications’ modern user interface, powerful computing capabilities, and seamless integration with on-premise systems. They are faster and are easier to use, deploy, and maintain than legacy solutions.
Great-West Financial needed a mobile solution to improve the timeliness of its invoice approvals so its users could approve invoices whether they were in the office or out in the field. Yet, the regulated financial services company didn’t want to sacrifice centralized transparency or control.
This webcast demonstrates how in only a few weeks, Great-West Financial was able to deploy the Dolphin Mobile Approval app powered by Innovapptive to:
- Approve and code Non-PO Invoice.
- Accelerate the resolution of blocked or held invoices.
- View invoice images as an attachment.
- Approve other SAP transactions from a single mobile app.
- Activate same app with 40+ additional line of business approvals.
Please fill out the form to access the webcast:
Advanced Approvals Add On for Accounts Payable
Dolphin Advanced Approvals is an add on solution for Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable. The application enables business users to approve or manage exceptions on vendor invoices using the web or a mobile device. Listen to Dolphin CTO Vishal Awasthi explain the benefits of using this application and watch a demo to see how it can:
- Reduce costs
- Improve efficiencies
- Reduce cycle time for processing invoices
Dolphin is an AppDev partner with SAP. We help our customers improve the performance of their business processes by giving them the solution that optimizes and automates them. At the same time, we also help them improve the performance of their SAP systems through data volume management.
The solution that we are going to show here is called the Dolphin’s Advanced Approval for Accounts Payable. It runs on the HANA Cloud Platform. This solution is essentially an extension app for our on premise accounts payable application (PTS-AP). The app allows us to extend the reach of our on-premise solution to the new user base.
In this demo we’re gonna see the example of Dolphin’s advanced invoice approval application that runs on the HANA cloud platform.
Here we’re going to take the example of the invoice that has just been sent by the accounts payable team for approval and the verification of the accounting information.
To take an action the user can actually click on this web approval link which you can see down here. That link essentially points to the HANA cloud platform base UI5 app. When they click on that app link using the single sign-on option, they might be taken to a screen like this here.
I can see the image side-by-side with the invoice information, which is shown here on the left-hand side.
We can see information like the PO number, the invoice number, the date, the amount, the reason code, why the invoice was sent
This application isn’t just limited to the invoice approvals, so it can also be used to resolve the exceptions such as the price mis-match between the PO and the invoice.
I can scroll down and I can see the notes from the accounts payable team in case they have some special notes about this invoice.
I can see where the invoice is going next.
I can see the invoice history as to what has happened to this invoice from the point it came into the accounts payable team.
I can upload any extra attachments.
I can put some notes of my own.
But finally, I can simply approve or reject the invoice using these two options.
When that happens, at that point, I can say accept and now basically the invoice will be approved. This actually will be sending a real time approval to the Dolphin add on solution (PTS-AP) that runs on the ECC which will then allow the accounts payable [team] to post this invoice or if you have the rules configured to auto post the invoice, the invoice will actually post automatically in the finance module in SAP.
We offer deep integration to SAP and at the same time we bring deep domain knowledge in accounts payable.
Our solution really plugs into SAP and now with the HANA cloud extension app we can bring the innovation at a much faster pace in the cloud and also extend the reach of our on-premise application (PTS-AP).
We chose to go with the HANA cloud platform because it really does offer us seamless access to the on premise components of the Dolphin solution. It allows us to give our customer the options for the user authentication and it really makes it very easy for us to manage the deployment and the ongoing maintenance of the solution.
Electric Energy T&D Magazine, May/June 2016
Organizations are continuously adapting to manage the ongoing stream of data, implementing strategic business plans to ensure that the company remains on top of current trends. But data volume management can be an arduous undertaking, specifically in highly regulated industries such as the energy industry.
Without implementing some sort of data volume management strategy, organizations leave themselves vulnerable to risk from retaining data beyond corporate policies or penalties incurred from not responding properly to an audit request. Audit requests from tax authorities and regulatory organizations can be challenging, and data volume management needs to be a priority for finance and IT departments so that the organization can remain compliant with data retention policies and then quickly and simply extract data to respond to these requests. While some organizations implement an archiving strategy to retain data after the fact, an increasing number or organizations are digitizing business processes such as accounts payable and journal entry approvals to ensure that information is being stored properly from the beginning.
Read more by downloading the article.
CIO Review, April 2016
The shift to hybrid cloud solutions is undeniable. According to MarketsandMarkets, the hybrid cloud market is expected to reach $85 billion in 2019, up from $25 billion in 2014. As CIOs look to make organizational changes in an effort to lower costs and reduce IT complexity, many will evaluate the decision to move to a hybrid cloud solution. While cloud storage and cloud hosted applications have long been popular options for many CIOs, many organizations are still reluctant to abandon the safety and security of on-premise systems, installed and controlled on-site rather than remotely, or relinquish control of key business assets. As the future of enterprise IT, a hybrid cloud solution provides CIOs the best of both worlds.
The benefits of a hybrid cloud solution are apparent at any level within the organization, in particular offering significant advantages to finance departments. However, it is important that all potential risks be evaluated before making the leap. . . .
The Facilities and Services Department of the University of Toronto was looking for a solution to enable more efficient invoice capture and routing so it could reduce errors, eliminate paper-based processes, and shorten the payment cycle to vendors. The department, which is responsible for maintaining the downtown campus of the 4th largest university in North America, wanted to gain greater control over the large number of Non-PO invoices the university processed each month and benefit from better pricing/discounts from its wide network of vendors. Due to the unique audit and compliance requirements of this institution, the university also wanted to improve visibility into the entire invoice lifecycle from capture through posting and payment through the use of unique vendor spend reports.
After a detailed search for a solution that could meet the university’s needs, it selected the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), which enabled the university to achieve significant cost savings through the following key capabilities:
- Flexible invoice capture to capture invoices electronically, improve invoice accuracy, and eliminate paper
- Automated approval and exception handling workflows to shorten the payment cycle to vendors
- Real-time invoice information to improve visibility into invoice processing, including Non-PO invoices
- Ability to view invoices by vendor to reduce the time spent on vendor inquiries and report on vendor spend
- Web and email notifications and escalations for approvals and exception handling
- Ability to delegate approval authority to multiple individuals over a selected time period to accommodate employee sabbaticals
- Report on utility consumption, spend trend, and more to improve compliance with the university’s policies and regulations
Since implementing the solution in late 2014, the university has been able to:
- Gain complete transparency into invoices on spend by individual, departments, etc.
- Fast capture and processing improves consistency of payment process, resulting in more discounts and avoidance of penalties
- Capture of utility consumption is a huge gain for the department
- Online processing results in no duplication of effort, freeing employees to do higher-value tasks instead of low-value clerical work
- Sustainable online solution: the university is removing 80K sheets of paper, reducing office and storage space, etc.
Based on the current volume and cost of invoice processing in the department, the department expects to save 250K in the first year.
Fast invoice approvals allow organizations to control cash flow and capture early payment discounts from vendors. To do this, busy users need an application (app) that will let them approve and handle exceptions for Accounts Payable invoices anytime, anywhere using any device. Organizations, however, need an app that does more than that. They need an app that provides users with a simple and consistent user experience from their desktops to their mobile devices. They also need an app that is tightly integrated with sophisticated Accounts Payable processes and workflows, cost effective, and easy to deploy to thousands of users. Dolphin Advanced Approvals is the first cloud-based app that provides such a solution.
Available on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, Dolphin Advanced Approvals is a modern and responsive app that ensures organizations can deploy an innovative app for approving invoices and managing exceptions in days, not months, without breaking the budget or increasing support efforts.
Individuals can use the Dolphin Advanced Approvals app to quickly review, correct, and approve invoices on a mobile device or on their desktop. The app’s simple and modern user interface makes it easy to use, even for those who are unfamiliar with SAP® applications.
Fast Invoice Approvals & More Discounts with a Modern and Responsive App on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform
Want to capture early payment discounts from vendors and have better control over cash flow? Dolphin Advanced Approvals enables companies to quickly and easily approve Accounts Payable invoices and manage exceptions anytime, anywhere using any device. Available on the HANA Cloud Platform, Dolphin Advanced Approvals is a modern and responsive web-based application that is both easy to deploy and use.
In this Webcast:
- Learn how enabling users to approve invoices quickly ensures the organization can capture more vendor discounts and lower invoice processing costs
- Discover how extending SAP applications with invoice approval solutions can improve transparency and control over organizational spending and cash flow
- Leverage the power of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to quickly transform outdated, manual processes with minimal administration and support effort
- Increase user adoption with modern, responsive solutions that provide a consistent user experience on a desktop or mobile device
Please fill out the form to access the webcast:
Dolphin’s approach to Accounts Payable automation and optimization takes significant time and cost out of the Accounts Payable process while providing several options for a truly unique solution that addresses your specific business situation.
SAP Invoice Automation
Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) is an SAP-certified solution with invoice automation. It automates the receipt of invoice documents and data into the SAP application and incorporates easy-to-use dashboards that enable greater visibility into the accounts payable workflow process. PTS-AP is tightly integrated with SAP and utilizes the SAP NetWeaver Business Workflow engine, SAP ArchiveLink technology and third-party content management solutions. This unique architecture enables AP users to stay within the SAP application to record or review transaction records, while non-SAP approvers can still access invoices and perform coding and approvals using email and a Web-based interface. PTS-AP also contains open interfaces to image capture solutions, such as optical character recognition (OCR) and e-Invoicing networks to minimize data capture inefficiency and errors.
SAP Accounts Payable Automation
An optimized SAP/Accounts Payable process using Dolphin PTS-AP delivers sustainable cost savings, cash flow management and risk mitigation. How? The Dolphin dashboard instantly provides real-time information and robust analytics tools to better manage your cash flow. Because all records are up-to-date and Web-accessible, business users can review and analyze a complete process history that is more accurate than ever. Businesses may improve vendor relations by quickly providing immediate answers to vendor inquiries rather than researching and making many calls to confirm. The time savings from automating routine transactions allows your AP staff to focus on dealing with issues, exceptions and the highest business priorities.
The top priority among the many responsibilities of the CFO is managing the organization’s cash flow, costs, and financial risk. To accomplish this, processes must be both flexible and scalable in order to respond to immediate business challenges and opportunities as well as to future scenarios — such as potential acquisitions, divestitures, and expansions into new territories — with minimal disruption to operations. Processes must also be user friendly and closely aligned with the overall business roadmap to ensure buy-in across all departments. Read more
January 2016, Manufacturing Business Technology
Take a step back and consider your organization’s finance department for a moment. Is it a paper-based, manually driven process prone to errors? Does it feature some automation, but still require loads of time on exception handling? Global Process Owners (GPOs) are expected to ensure the company gets paid, and to pay the company’s bills on time. The sophistication with which this is completed varies wildly from organization to organization. However, in prior years, one thing was constant: generating revenue typically was not part of the equation for this group.
At Bourns, Inc., a global manufacturer of electrical components for the automotive, industrial, consumer products, and communication industries, revenue generation become an expectation as recently as 2012. Read more
In this guest article, Brian Shannon Principal Business Process Management Strategist at Dolphin, an SAP solutions provider explores the stages of organizational maturity, and offers 3 crucial considerations for businesses looking to achieve and sustain optimized processes.
The concept of implementing a process maturity model in Accounts Payable can be daunting and confusing:
- What constitutes a process maturity model?
- How can the current state of the organization be evaluated?
- When is the best time to implement an action plan to reach maturity?
These are questions that we’ve heard from Global Process Owners lately, particularly after our session on maturity models at this year’s North American GPO Summit. Read More
This infographic demonstrates how the University of Toronto Facilities and Services Department was able to have savings add up quickly by implementing a centralized and standardized Accounts Payable solution for SAP systems. This award-winning solution has saved the team hundreds of hours and thousands of pages of paper as were able to increase the percentage of electronic invoices and enable online approvals for more than 100 staff located across Canada’s largest university that is like city-within-a-city.
Cooper Industries, a leading worldwide manufacturer of electrical products, tools and hardware had automated its invoice capture and processing with Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable. However, the high volume of invoices the company meant that the cost per invoice was still high as the company needed to to process the mail and capture the hard copy invoice. It became clear that the company needed to look at increasing the percentage of electronic invoices received to further drive down processing costs and meet their operational goals.
Dolphin recommended our e-Invoicing solution to eliminate all paper and manual handling. Invoices wouldn’t need to be validated, scanned, indexed, or distributed. Instead, vendors would be able to transmit the same information directly to the company over the Internet. The vendor invoice data and the image would be imported into SAP, starting the Dolphin Process Tracking system workflows, significantly reducing the time and effort required to process each invoice.
A pilot was implemented first to standardize the process and integrate e-Invoicing with the exiting organizational structures. Involving the Procurement team at this time was essential to encouraging vendors to switch to eInvoicing. The Vendor ‘on-boarding’ proved to be fast and very efficient and the project was brought in on budget.
Since implementing the solution, the company has realized the following results:
- Reduced processing costs by 72%
- Decreased processing time by 8 days
- Offer vendors a variety of input methods, including email or virtual printing
- Processes have become less complex
- Fewer errors and exceptions
- One-day processing earned vendor early pay cash discounts
- Better audit trails
After seeing these results, the company also implemented a successful intra-company e-Invoicing project to simplify invoicing between business units.
Simplify Expense Reporting, Comply with Expense Policies, and Improve Transparency
Submitting expense reports can be time-consuming and frustrating for employees and a challenge for accounting departments. Dolphin’s Travel and Expense Reporting, which is available as an option with the Dolphin Process Tracking System, makes it easier for employees to enter expenses while on the road, using web or mobile clients.
Simplify Expense Reporting
- Capture and attach receipts from a mobile device.
- Auto-populate expense items from corporate credit card statements or enter details manually.
- Ensure expenses comply with corporate categories, properly recover VAT and other input tax.
- Enter line or header notes to facilitate processing.
Enforce Expense Policies & Procedures
- Automatically route expenses to approvers based on SAP hierarchies and approval authority levels.
- Flexibly approve expenses in SAP, by email, on the Web, or using a mobile device.
- Set up substitute approvers or forward to other approvers to ensure quick, consistent processing.
- Automatic reminders and escalation if expenses are not filed or approved in a timely manner.
Improve Transparency & Auditability
- Track expenses in real-time by expense type, user, or date, either online or using configurable reports and dashboards.
- Analyze expense reporting patterns to prevent rogue spending and fraud.
- View supporting documents instantly, from a secure,low cost, SAP-compliant content repository.
- Maintain a comprehensive trail of expense approvals to support audit inquiries.
Hear Gretchen Kincade of GE Water & Process Technologies speak about how the company created a global center of excellence for controlling accounts payable activities across a broad multi-national organization to ensure maximum performance, achieve superior match rates, and capture all available discounts.
By integrating the Dolphin Accounts Payable solution with Ariba, GE Water has been able to gain better cost control over the procure-to-pay process with:
- Increased visibility and global metrics enables centralized oversight of an off shored Accounts Payable process
- An optimized the entire Buy-to-Pay process to meet and surpass corporate document retention and compliance standards
- Coordinated large multi-national project with a change leadership strategy to put the right pieces in place for success
Honeywell International, a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, was looking to improve its AP efficiency with a solution that could be used across its six global business groups. Everyone, everywhere should be able to use the same process and the same solution, so the company could more accurately track and report on invoice status. The global and diversified nature of the business required a solution that was also flexible enough to allow the company to extend its common core process to accommodate local business needs and regulations where necessary.
The company initially rolled out Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable in 2006, at the same time the company was rolling out its global SAP system. At this time, the company used the Dolphin solution to provide a centralized view of scanned invoices received from across the company. Gradually, over time the company expanded the functionality of the solution in phases to include capabilities such as:
- Increased electronic invoice capture, including OCR (paper, fax, or email) and EDI (large vendors or inter-company transactions)
- Automated the processing and coding of non-PO vendor invoices (i.e., Utilities, Rent)
- Configurable business rules to increase ability to auto-post invoices
- Tight integration with SAP OM to support billing documentation requirements
- Flexible document search and batch output to support internal and external inquiries and local document storage requirements
Separate phases and functionality were rolled out in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
Now that the company is using one common process and one common solution for Accounts Payable, it has achieved many benefits including:
- 40% auto-posting of invoices
- Real-time view of invoices across all six business units
- Ability to increase volume without increasing headcount
- Fewer keystrokes required for invoice entry and validation
- Faster processing of Non-PO invoices, such as utility invoices
- Ability to support international documentation requirements quickly and easily
- Compliant with EU payment directive and other regulations
- Multiple shared service centers running on the same IT infrastructure
The largest county in Florida wanted to centralize and automate the processing of more than 7,000 invoices a month. The county had implemented SAP ERP more than a decade before and used the software for many of its financial processes; however, the AP department still relied on a paper-based invoicing process. Vendors mailed invoices to the county’s various offices and departments, and these invoices were then routed for manual approval. For an organization that manages massive projects like constructing roads and buildings, accurate financial planning is crucial. Also, Florida Statute requires the Collier County Clerk of Courts to audit these documents to ensure legality of payment, which can increase the timeline for processing invoices.
“We had manual processes in place for receiving and processing invoices,” says Jane McDonald, Senior Project Manager for Collier County Clerk of Courts. “Workers used email and interoffice mail and didn’t always send the invoices to the AP department right away. We didn’t have visibility into an invoice’s status until it was approved and entered into SAP ERP at the very end of the process. Because our projects sometimes continue for months, workers often had to search through file cabinets (files are kept on site for two years) or warehouse archives to locate older invoices.”
The Clerk of Courts management information system (MIS) and AP organizations knew it was time to research new technology that would leverage the SAP workflow. A cross-functional team was assembled and began to evaluate how much work would be required to build and maintain a custom solution from scratch. At the same time, they also considered third-party vendors that might be able to provide an appropriate solution. Key capabilities the county identified include:
- Ability to integrate the chosen technology with the organization’s current SAP environment
- Digital storage of invoices
- Easy extraction of information for auditors
The county’s vendor selection team chose Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), which went live in August 2012. The project involved instituting a new accounts payable workflow aimed at centralizing the AP process countywide. Key feature are:
- Automated invoice capture, with scan and capture
- Powerful InfoCenter to facilitate invoice processing and troubleshooting by the AP staff
- Automated workflows to route invoices to the appropriate department that, in turn, can route it for additional approval(s).
- Improved exception handling for If an invoice is rejected during that process, it can be easily returned to the vendor with a rejection code along, with any backup documentation to explain why it could not be paid.
“All of these steps in the invoice approval process have a predefined status within the system’s workflow,” explains Frank Bodino, Senior Systems Analyst at Collier County Clerk of Courts. “In this new process, all of the steps are visible. We know where each invoice is at all times, we know who looked at it, what notes they put down, and when it was approved. If the invoice was rejected, we know why.”
After the invoice is approved, the goods receipt is matched, and the AP audit is performed, then the invoice can be posted to SAP ERP. “All the information we need to post the invoice is there, so there’s no dual-keying or duplication of data,” McDonald says. “We just hit the button, and the invoice information posts.”
Improving the AP business process required changes across the entire organization. For example, since invoices now come into the AP department as the first step of the new process, the various departments within county government had to adapt to a new workflow where AP clerks scan the invoices.
While the new workflow for invoice processing is much more streamlined and intuitive, it did require training users on the new system and getting their buy-in on the updated processes. “Just like with any training, some people caught on very quickly and others struggled with the new processes,” says McDonald. “The project team created training documents to help explain the process in a way users could understand.”
According to McDonald, the new solution has delivered all of the benefits advertised and more.
- Easy access to and cost effective storage of invoice documents
- Simplified approvals process
- Ability to track how many invoices are processed in a given period is helping the organization measure its own performance.
- Improved visibility both internally and externally.
“Now, we can provide our external auditors with invoice information, purchase order (PO) information, and backup documentation more easily than we could with the paper-based system,” says McDonald. “In the past, we had to go back to the paper files and dig out the invoice which was time consuming. A significant time and cost savings benefit was our ability to search by check number or the clearing document and instantaneously receive the information associated with the invoice.”
The improved metrics have also pinpointed any delays in the AP process. For example, the new process showed that many invoices are rejected because vendors don’t provide PO numbers on their invoices. Without the PO number, AP clerks were forced to try and find out which department and what purchase generated the invoice. By requesting that vendors provide the PO number on their invoices, the AP process has been streamlined even further.
According to Bodino, the county has become more efficient thanks to the new solution. “We have been able to fix and change processes that, while they worked, were cumbersome at best,” he says.
Dolphin’s SAP-certified solutions for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Sales and Distribution, and Finance and Administration ensure that you get the innovative capabilities you need. Dolphin solutions let your business adapt quickly to new requirements and continue to benefit from running the world’s leading enterprise applications – SAP.
Pacific Drilling, an international offshore drilling company that provides ultra-deep water drilling services to the oil and natural gas industry, wanted to have an automated, more controlled accounts payable process that would work with the company’s SAP HANA systems.
The existing accounts payable (AP) process was completely manual necessitating many emails, phone calls and the collection of manual signatures. The global oil and gas company required 24 hour access to information and the company’s manual reporting methods could not keep up with its rapidly growing needs. The company needed a solution to improve the accuracy, productivity and timeliness of its invoice processing. The solution also had to be very scalable. Due to extremely rapid growth, the company wanted to be able to support the increased global invoice volume without adding more AP headcount.
The company began the project focusing on the US business operations. The Houston head office was processing 4200 invoices per month of which 44% were non PO and 57% were PO based. They chose Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable for several reasons:
- Flexible capture of invoices
- User intuitive interface required little training
- Small system footprint that leveraged their SAP investment
- Easy to configure for changing business rules
- Simplified approvals
- Automated workflow
Additionally the supplier portal greatly helped to reduce the amount of emails and phone calls that the AP department had to manage.
The company implemented the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable solution with e-Invoicing, which significantly reduced the amount of time the AP department spent on manual entry of invoices and answering supplier queries. The accuracy of invoice processing increased and the company was able to:
- Post 20% of their invoices automatically; this number continues to increase as they refine their process
- Use flexible work centers to meet their business requirement for multiple individuals to share responsibility
- Set up Multiple Approver levels in the automated workflow
- Easily search for invoices with holds or exceptions allows for faster processing
- Roll out the system to remote locations with little user training because of the intuitiveness of the system
- Use existing staff able to handle the increased workload
Tennant Company, a world-leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor environmental cleaning solutions and specialty floor coatings, wanted to standardize its global accounts payable processes to provide the company with greater control and transparency into invoice processing in its three shared services centers in Minneapolis, Uden, and Shanghai.
The company, which processes up to 30,000 invoices each month, wanted a solution that would enable it to:
- Increase the efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness of invoice processing
- Enable consistent reporting on invoice status, productivity and cash flow, globally
- Enforce corporate controls and comply with local regulations
The solution had to be configurable and flexible enough to accommodate the statutory, regulatory, and cultural issues faced in different countries. To reduce complexity and minimize change management, Tennant wanted a single, centralized solution that could support the shared services centers with minimal impact on critical business and IT resources and would be easy to upgrade and extend in the future.
Tennant chose the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) solution, so it could leverage its existing investment in SAP applications. After reviewing the way Tennant processed invoices in all three shared services centers, Dolphin delivered a solution that included:
- Automated capture of highly unstructured invoice information using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
- Intelligent validation of invoices against Vendor and PO information.
- Configurable business rules to determine how to route invoices for tax approval or exception handling.
- SAP workflows to automate invoice processing and integrate with Procurement, Finance, and Treasury department processes.
Centralized storage of invoice images for global access
- Real-time analytics and reporting on invoice processing metrics for productivity, cash flow, and status tracking.
Tennant-specific business rules were developed to improve the accuracy of tax determination and to manage European consignment transactions.
The solution was rolled out using a phased approach and achieved a high return on investment, paying for itself in less than one year. Key results include:
- 100% of invoices are captured using OCR, 60% of invoices are submitted electronically for direct OCR capture.
- Greater transparency into invoice status, productivity, and working capital across all services centers.
- Improved compliance with diverse fiscal and legal requirements in the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
- Easier support for services centers. Tennant was able to roll out the final phase of the solution to the Shanghai services center without consulting assistance.
The company plans to increase automation by moving from OCR to eInvoicing, and adding support for other invoice capture methods such as EDI and ERS.
Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the mid-Atlantic region wanted to centralize its accounts payable processing to increase efficiencies and lower processing costs. The company had grown gradually through acquisition, and as a result, was receiving, reviewing, approving and processing invoices at more than 20 locations in four states and five jurisdictions. The accounts payable processes were disjointed and very manual, which increased the company’s cost of paying invoices and made it difficult to stay in compliance with the highly regulated industry’s stringent data retention requirements.
As part of PHI’s Invoice Improvement Project (IIP), the company implemented Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) solution with the Supplier Portal by Taulia, for the following key capabilities:
- Advanced imaging and digitization of invoices
- SAP-enabled workflow solutions to automatically post or route invoices based on the company’s multi-tiered corporate approval policy
- Centralized, efficient storage of invoice images for easy access
- Self-service portal access for self-service invoicing and online inquiries
- Real-time analytics and reporting on invoice processing metrics for productivity, cash flow, and status tracking.
The solution was rolled out across all three of PHI’s utility companies, Delmarva Power & Light, Atlantic City Electric, and Pepco, in a comprehensive process-driven initiative unlike any other accounts payable project in the utility industry.
The company was able to achieve over $3 million in savings for 2014 – an incredible return on investment. Mary Gabriel, Manager of Accounts Payable and Sarbanes-Oxley stated “Enhanced controls, increased transparency and shortened cycle times are a direct result of the process-centric innovation the solution provides”. Key results include:
- Reduce the average invoice processing time from 30 days to less than 10
- Automated the processing of low-dollar, high-volume invoices
- Improved reporting and compliance with regulatory requirements
- Reduced document storage fees by 39% for savings of more than $100,000 each year
- Increase transparency with their suppliers and strengthening their relationships
- Captured nearly $2 million in discounts in by offering early payments to their suppliers through the intuitive supplier platform
In June 2015, the company received the Supply Chain Excellence award from Southeastern Electric Exchange for its innovative Accounts Payable project.
Unwire your organization with the Dolphin Mobile Approvals App and enable busy managers to approve critical or time-sensitive SAP procure-to-pay transactions anytime, anywhere, on any mobile device.Organizations can reduce invoice approval time, increase productivity, and optimize cash flow by pushing procure-to-pay information directly to managers’ smartphones or tablets, so they can quickly:
- Approve and code Non-PO Invoices
- Accelerate the resolution of blocked or held PO-based invoices
- View invoice images as an attachment
- Approve other P2P transactions from the same app: shopping carts, purchase requisitions, purchase orders, service entry sheets, and expense reports
This SAP procure-to-pay mobile approvals app is fully integrated with Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable solution (PTS-AP), which is SAP-certified from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 to NetWeaver 7.40 on HANA. The App leverages these certifications as well as PTS-AP’s existing certifications on SAP NetWeaver Gateway.
Presenters are Jim Ferguson, Director of Accounts Payable and Tax, IMS Health, and Dolphin’s Brian Shannon talk about how IMS Health improves global accounts payable processing:
- Best practices of an accounts payable process, including capture, processing and analytical elements
- Straight-through processing success
- Effective project and change management techniques
- Evaporation of language issues
- Remote processing
- Viewing the status of invoices throughout the entire transaction lifecycle
The Dolphin Mobile Approvals App, capable of supporting SAP approvals on your mobile device. The App, powered by Innovapptive and the SAP NetWeaver Gateway, allows busy users to approve critical or time-sensitive procure-to-pay transactions, whether they are in meetings or out in the field.
In this webinar, Dolphin and Innovapptive discuss how mobile can unwire your enterprise, so you can accelerate approvals and improve exception handling for more efficient procure to pay processes, improved controls, and increased cash flow.
Email, manual signatures, and a hard copy filing system were the standard tools used to manage the accounts payable workflow needs of the company that operates the most contemporary and technologically advanced drillship fleet in the world.
In this ASUG webcast, John Mazza of Pacific Drilling and Brian Shannon of Dolphin demonstrate how moving to a more efficient, standardized global process helped Pacific Drilling’s AP department meet its business objectives so it could scale to accommodate rapid international growth and deliver real cost savings through improved use of cash.
Learn how Pacific Drilling optimized its Accounts Payable processes by:
- Digitizing invoices and content
- Introducing intelligent coding and routing of transactions
- Speeding up approvals and exception processing
- Enabling advanced AP analytics
For Bourns, a global manufacturer of electronic components, the goal was to go beyond ‘paperless’ in Accounts Payable to achieve touchless processing in its SAP environment.
In this ASUG Webcast, Marie Bourns of Bourns, Inc. shares the details of their journey to find a solution that met their CFO’s mandates of eliminating paper and manual ‘touches’. She discusses how they automate the exception process and benefits from real time visibility enabling the ability to handle discrepancies as well as employee expense processing.
Marie describes their course from roadmap to realization documenting the value gained in addition to lessons learned. In particular attendees will learn about Bourns’ unique approaches to reach “touch-less processing” using Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable which delivers options such as auto post within tolerances.
The next step for Bourns is rolling out the automation solution to its 15 global entities across Central and South America, Europe and Asia quickly and effortlessly.
The University of Toronto, one of the top-ranked research universities in the world, is used to being at the head of the class. So, when the Facilities and Services department was looking for a solution to optimize its accounts payable processes and increase savings and efficiencies, it wanted a “smart” solution that could meet the University’s unique requirements.
In this webcast, Ron Swail, Assistant Vice-President, Facilities & Services and Darrel Fernandopulle, Director, Financial Services – Facilities & Services from the University of Toronto and Brian Shannon of Dolphin will discuss how the department was able to implement an SAP-centric solution that could automate and standardize its manual accounts payable processes and also support the University’s unique business processes and diverse vendor community.
Don Keskey, Senior Manager of Global Shared Accounting, Tennant Co. addresses the four things the company has done in the past three and a half years to move away from business challenges, and moved towards:
- Putting preventative controls and processes in place to avoid costly and inefficient audits down the road
- Freeing up administrators’ time from low value work and enabling accountants to work on higher level accounting
- Operating a standard global process that everyone now follows
- Being able to ‘flex’ resources by moving high volume work to low cost, high resourced delivery centers, instead of recruiting locally to manage peaks in demand
When Vishay Intertechnology transformed its manual invoice process into a fully optimized and centralized process, it wanted to ensure that the Accounts Payable staff and affected business users were ready for the changes to come.
Learn how the company implemented a program to teach Vishay’s “old dogs” some “new tricks” so it could maximize the benefits from its AP process improvements and:
- Gain greater insight and control of invoice processing across six different locations
- Scale business easily to accommodate new vendors and global business units
- Increase the auto-posting rate and reduce the overall cost per invoice
Learn how with a well-planned roll out and a good sense of humor the Vishay Intertechnology team managed to achieve essential process improvements that resulted in lower processing costs, faster invoice processing times, and better controls, so the company could support its continuing growth and strategic objectives.
Electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing) by Dolphin is so efficient, you’ll save 50% or more on each invoice. Faster processing, lower transaction costs and greater visibility into your accounts payable process translates to significant savings and optimization throughout the AP process.
We’ve made paperless invoice processing fast, easy and affordable to implement for SAP Accounts Payable – even for your smallest vendors. It eliminates all paper and manual handling, from validating and scanning to indexing and distributing. Unlike traditional EDI, Dolphin’s e-Invoicing requires no costly IT maintenance or change in your vendors’ billing systems. It’s so easy that your vendors will thank you.
SAP is the best-in-class ERP system. That’s why you chose it. That’s why your organization made a significant investment of time and resources to implement it as your system of record. Despite this, many organizations look to implement solutions that use other workflow engines when they want to improve their business processes.
Dolphin takes an SAP-centric approach to business process optimization. Our solutions incorporate pre-built workflows that are based on line of business (i.e., Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Management and Human Resources) and SAP system best practices. By leveraging the power of the SAP Business Workflow engine, we can provide our customers with solutions that are fast, flexible and cost-effective.
We’ve compiled the Top 10 reasons we’ve heard from SAP customers why using the SAP Business Workflow engine is not only a sensible solution, it is the BEST solution for organizations running SAP systems.
Dolphin’s imaging and business workflow solutions improve an organization’s return on investment in SAP by transforming manual, document-centric processes into fully automated and integrated business processes tailored to the organization’s specific business needs.
Our solutions expertly integrate SAP standard technology with leading SAP add on solutions from Dolphin and other software providers, to provide customers with automated and streamlined processes that improve efficiency, reduce errors, and improve transparency.
An efficient Accounts Payable (AP) process minimizes the clerical work associated with invoice capture and entry. Accounts Payable service levels and costs are also impacted by supplier inquiries regarding invoice receipt, expected payment date, changes to account information, and more. Adding a SAP accounts payable vendor portal can significantly reduce the time your AP staff spends responding to vendor inquiries and the self-service aspect enables suppliers to review invoice and payment status 24/7.
Dolphin’s Vendor Portal powered by Taulia is a powerful web application that addresses these issues and more. Tightly integrated with SAP, your accounts payable application, the vendor portal provides your suppliers with the means and visibility to submit invoices, have a real-time view of the process, search and retrieve purchase orders, learn the payment date, and even trigger or negotiate early payment for discounts. You’ll see immediate benefits in heightened efficiency to help save time and reduce costs that help improve cash flow.
Dynamic Discounting allows buyers and sellers of commercial goods and services to change the payment terms for an individual invoice or group of invoices to accelerate payment based on a sliding discount scale. The process is specifically designed to allow buyers and sellers to manage early payment discount offers easily and seamlessly.
Dolphin handles dynamic discounting through a secure, hosted vendor portal that provides suppliers on-demand access to invoice status details. Details can be set according to company business rules and parameters, and AP departments can take advantage of the ability to create an invoice referencing the exact line items of a Purchase Order, increasing hands-free invoice posting. Increasing hands-free posting percentage reduces the number of vendor calls to the AP department, so that staff can engage in more productive activities.
- Reduce spend and earns more early payment discounts
- Grant suppliers a say in payment timing
- Discount amounts calculated dynamically based on the number of days remaining until the due date
- Discounts can be taken dynamically as needs of buyer or seller dictate; they do not need to be negotiated in advance
- Easy to use; no user training
- Pay suppliers ahead of time – win/win for you and your supplier
The solution benefits suppliers as well, by offering them the flexibility of discounting some or all of their receivables. This eliminates the need to engage high-cost financing options like factoring or asset-based lending to obtain cash liquidity. And, dynamic discounting mitigates the uncertainty surrounding the timing and amount of payments, improving cash flow forecasting.
Accounts Payable, with its manual, paper-based operations, has much to gain from automation. The process is time-consuming, repetitive and error prone. More urgently, the people responsible for the process have no visibility into it and cannot be assured of getting timely, accurate information on demand. Yet, too many organizations have not realized the full value of process automation initiatives or not undertaken them at all.
This white paper details inefficiencies and obstacles in Accounts Payable focused around invoice capture and processing. Highlighting solutions available to automate and optimize the “invoice-to-pay” portion of the process, we discuss options that bring us closer toward a true paper-free environment. Financial & Process Excellence is only possible when paper is truly eliminated.
Please fill out the form to access the White Paper.