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Refining invoicing processes with ApprovalPlus
Dunedin City Council (DCC) was the first council on board the ApprovalPlus system, and has been a happy and successful ApprovalPlus customer for several years now.
For DCC, a key JD Edwards user, the first area of improvement was around the processing of supplier invoices.
Keeping one of New Zealand’s largest cities running involves dealing with many suppliers and in turn a large volume of invoices, at times over 3,500 per month.
Processing such a large number of invoices is a very time consuming and labour intensive process. Before implementing Fusion5’s ApprovalPlus solution, DCC’s approval process required invoices to be captured in DCC’s finance system by data entry staff before physically being sent to each department for approval prior to being returned to the finance department for payment and filing.
As Graeme Souter, DCC’s Expenditure Manager explains, “the council was looking at ways to considerably speed up approvals and monthly processing of invoices as well as clear desks of paper invoices that seemed to be ever present”.
Processing a large number of invoices is a very time consuming and labour intensive process. Prior to implementing Fusion5’s ApprovalPlus solution, DCC’s approval process required invoices to be captured in DCC’s finance system by data entry staff before physically being sent to each department for approval prior to being returned to the finance department for payment and filing.
DCC’s impressive results speak for themselves.
The Council’s target of an eight-day turnaround for their invoice approval process prior to implementing ApprovalPlus, (which typically became eight to ten days per month) has been dramatically reduced to just three days per month.
The benefits of ApprovalPlus for DCC are many, including the ability for the finance team to extend their monthly approval cut-off date. This has allowed DCC departments a bigger window for approvals, enabling larger volumes of supplier invoices to be processed each month, ensuring suppliers are paid on time.
DCC’s Accounts Payable users are really enjoying ApprovalPlus. Invoice and processing backlogs are now a thing of the past and all invoices are now scanned and entered on the same day they are received. ApprovalPlus has reduced DCC’s data entry staffing requirement by 1.5 people, allowing these staff to move to alternative roles.
User acceptance has been exceptionally high. At the follow-up user meeting six weeks after go live there were no unexpected issues identified.
Graeme says that he “was delighted and surprised that the reaction from users was so unanimous and positive“.
In each department, those responsible for coding and approving invoices greatly appreciate the new ability to view current and historical invoices online enabling them to answer enquiries immediately. There is no longer a delay as copies of old invoices are requested from Finance, a task that had historically been a real issue. Due to the sheer volume of invoices being processed, no more than 12 months of invoices could be stored on site at any one time. The time and resources that were once required to locate old invoices is no longer a problem and the reduced paper clutter is not missed at all.
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