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."
How the AP department has been automated _ Paper invoices entering the AP department are now scanned into the IMS (Invoice Management Solution) system. Using Automated Data Capture technologies, the header information, such as invoice total, supplier name, etc, is automatically read from the invoice. The integration between IMS and the ERP then enables this data to be populated directly to register the invoice in the financial system, with minimal manual data entry required. If IMS does not recognise the vendor, workflow automatically sends this as a query to the business user, who can then select whether this is a new vendor to be set up in the ERP or is just a one_off vendor. The integration between IMS and the ERP triggers the creation of the appropriate vendor. This ensures that delays are not created with unknown vendors and speeds up the process of adding new vendors to the finance system. Automatic pre matching: Invoices that are associated with a Purchase Order (PO) are now matched in the ERP within a tolerance. Any invoices that fail to successfully match the PO are automatically routed to the procurer using workflow, for resolution using IMS.
Extending the solution _ Now that the solution is fully implemented, they are already looking at the next steps. An obvious move is to capture invoices that originate electronically, either as EDI or that are sent by email. Although the data entry problems may not exist with these invoices, they still need to be approved in the same way as paper invoices so the workflow will be of benefit. IMS also includes a Management Information module with full reporting capabilities which is also being investigated.