Another outcome is an increase in efficiency; the AP department can instantly find an invoice without having to waste time chasing the business users. With approximately 70% of the invoices now matching the PO immediately, a considerable amount of invoices only require scanning, after which the process is entirely automated. This efficiency has directly resulted in a reduction in the number of people required in the Accounts Payable department; before the system was installed the team consisted of 13 people and there have been reductions in headcount, as the AP manager substantiates: "The IMS system has increased efficiency in our Accounts Payable department to such an extent that on full implementation we expect to reduce our headcount by 4."
Dealing with this volume in a manual operation was causing several problems. Invoice processing was extremely paper intensive; a considerable amount of time and effort was spent data inputting, chasing paper invoices and filing. It was often difficult to locate invoices and the AP team would waste time contacting the business users to trace invoices. This resulted in a lack of efficiency and a lack of control over the process. There had also been an issue of making a number of duplicate payments.
Non_PO related invoices need to be coded and approved by the original procurer. Previously this was an entirely manual process, with each invoice being posted via the internal mail from AP to the individual who codes the invoice, then returned to AP, then sent out to the procurer of the goods to authorise This process was not only time consuming but fraught with errors and the risk of invoices getting lost. IMS now routes each invoice to be coded and authorised by the correct individual. Some invoices are automatically sent by IMS and others are routed by the AP clerk If the system is not entirely confident of this selection, the AP user will initiate the distribution of the invoice to the procurer for authorisation. If they do not have the correct sign_off limit, IMS determines the appropriate individual to forward it to until final approval is achieved. Once the data has been captured from an invoice, it has been successfully matched to a PO or it has been approved by the business, it is posted automatically to the finance system for payment.