Controlling Accounts Payable operations across multiple locations is a real challenge for many companies. The challenges escalate when the company is in a growth phase. With more locations, more vendors to pay and more customers to invoice and collect from, companies often operate in a decentralized model, managing receipts and payments from each location. This means duplicated functions and nearly duplicated effort and cost.
This was the scenario for The Salvation Army, which has over 500 ministry units and/or retail locations across Canada including The Salvation Army’s Canadian Thrift Stores in Canada.
Decentralized Accounts Payable
On a daily basis, The Salvation Army receives over 900 invoices or approximately 18,500 every month. 30% of these invoices arrive in the mail as paper invoices while 70% arrive as email attachments.
Invoice processing at The Salvation Army was decentralized with invoices being sent to over 500 different physical locations. These invoices would be approved locally or forwarded to one of four finance offices in Canada for payment. Archived invoices were imaged in one location and paper filed in the other three. This approach was time consuming, costly and difficult to control.
Centralized Accounts Payable
After a comprehensive tender, evaluation and selection process, Octacom was recognized as being “the right fit” for The Salvation Army, providing a full front end AP automation service for their invoices, including exception management.
Invoice Receipt and Processing
Mailed invoices are centralized and managed by Octacom through a PO Box service
Emailed invoices are directed to Octacom for receipt, acknowledgement and validation
Invoices are scanned and processed for header data capture, vendor validation and automated ministry unit and GL coding for PAD invoices
Invoices are seamlessly uploaded to Business World to kick off a digital and automated approval process
Octacom provides front end exception management, notifying vendors of invoice rejections and loading certain exception types to Odiss™ for review and action
Octacom provides reporting on invoice processing and exceptions
Exception Portal Management
Odiss™ Document Management Software for Exception Management enables a centralized Salvation Army AP team to review exception invoices, edit, annotate and route for appropriate action internally or to vendors. These invoices can be annotated, deleted, returned to the vendor or simply approved through the portal.
Octacom’s integration with The Salvation Army’s Business World Platform allows for automated upload of processed and validated invoices, for The Salvation Army to then run various workflow approvals prior to payment.
The Salvation Army achieved their goal of creating a centralized AP process and has been able to greatly reduce the hours and efforts that were required in their paper-based environment and are benefiting from the associated savings.
Octacom is a SOC 2, Type II Audited enterprise software and services company focused on document and data automation solutions, including automated data capture. Founded in 1976, Octacom specializes in accounts payable automation and automated invoice processing, among other digital / automated business process outsourcing services.
If your organization is looking to learn more about our solutions and services, please contact us and we would be glad to help.