Sunshine Coast Council advances with AP Automation

Sunshine Coast Regional Council has improved business operations with the Xcellerate IT document capture solution by automating the process of over 150,000 supplier invoices per year with the integration of Technology One Financials workflow. 

With an annual budget of $A650 million, the Sunshine Coast Council Sunshine Coast Regional Council receives 13,000 supplier invoices per month that manually need to be entered and filed by accounts payable (AP)  personnel in the Council ERP application, TechnologyOne Financials.

The Council was dealing with the time-consuming and inefficient process of scanning invoices using a multifunctional device. This device was unable to scan all documents due to the stringent and un-customisable input functions: Any document or invoice that was too small or not of a standard A4 size was unable to be digitally recorded. This along with the poor document image quality was also a key issue for concern.

Another major obstacle for the Council was due to the fact that not all invoices were being scanned. This made for painstaking searches through original paper invoices and documents until the necessary copy was found. In addition, those documents and invoices that were scanned were only visible from the AP ledger which caused a lot of inefficiency with the flow of information throughout the Council.

“The Council required a solution to streamline its accounts payable department and create a more efficient way to collect and record invoices and documents that would create easier and more effective business practices”confirms, Mark Taylor, Financial Accounting Manager.

The Sunshine Coast Council selected Xcellerate IT to implement and deploy an automated invoice processing solution based on the Kofax Capture platform. A key component of the solution included the Kofax Transformation Module (KTM), which enables the Council to automatically extract key information from supplier invoices to be readily uploaded to TechnologyOne Financials. Accordingly, this enabled the automatic matching and posting of invoices through the use of table look-ups and the automatic validation of fields (such as ABN, PO #, Supplier #).

The Xcellerate IT solution is able to use advanced recognition rules to properly identify all the necessary information from each invoice and integrate with TechnologyOne Financials to automatically initiate a workflow process. This allows invoices to be work flowed to the relevant officers and approved for payment sooner without allowing them to become outstanding. 

“This was not possible prior to the implementation of the Xcellerate IT solution” adds Mark Taylor “We have been able to build processes that were once a manual task into an automated process thereby saving up to 40hrs of staff-time reviewing and processing invoices. System initiated checks have replaced some manual checks therefore making these checks more reliable and efficient”.

The solution furthermore includes the Xcellerate IT Email Xtractor module for the capture and processing of electronic invoices received by email. This module monitors a dedicated mailbox and automatically imports attached invoices for direct processing. This module enables an invoice to be received, processed, and posted to the finance system without any human intervention.

The accounts payable department has gained easier and faster access to information during external audits as invoice details with the associated invoice image can be viewed in a fast and efficient manner.

Document visibility and accessibility from all relevant officers has reduced follow up calls and queries from internal staff to the AP staff. This solution has also reduced external queries thanks to more efficient payment turnarounds and fast invoice look-ups. 

“Staff time savings and increased job satisfaction are significant…” said Mr. Taylor. Efficiencies have increased due to the reduction in time spent sorting mail, scanning documents and printing. Now the Council’s liaison officers are able to prioritise their work easily in workflow."