The University of South Australia partners with Australian ERP software provider TechnologyOne, to bring its accounts payable and invoicing procedures into the ‘digital world.’
The move is seen as a push towards gaining efficiencies and improving services by using innovative systems that increase financial transparency, simplify reporting, streamline processes, and consolidate information. Previously, paper-based systems ruled the roost at the university and very little automation often resulted in missing documents and a high duplication count.
Manager of financial systems at the university explains that in the state, the university would receive a paper-based invoice from a vendor. It would then be sent through internal mail at the multi-campus university to different people that would be involved in the greater invoicing process.
Eventually, the invoice would be coded, approved and signed off on with a physical signature before it even arrived at accounts payable for processing. The accounts payable for processing. The accounts payable team would then have to manually type all of the invoice information before it could actually be paid. Michael Nettle, manager of financial systems at the University of South Australia, said,
Not only was it paper-based, we had no transparency, no visibility of where those documents were around the university. If a vendor called and asked where their invoice was at, we didn’t actually know.
The university got in touch with Queensland-based TechnologyOne in 2010 to develop a product. Nettle explained,
We became an early adopter with TechnologyOne on this process in regards to the development of the technology that allowed them to workflow the electronic information around to users. It was definitely a partnership because TechnologyOne were relying on us to give them client feedback while we were relying on them to deliver the functionality required. Once we implemented the process of scanning the document individually into TechnologyOne Financials, it greatly increased the visibility for us because once it was scanned into the system, we knew exactly where it was and we workflow that invoice around electronically.
Nettle said the immediate benefits were obvious; with the university transacting at least 60,000 invoices a year, having the invoice coded and approved online has a tremendous impact, and all staff involved had greater transparency across the whole process.
It’s not just the university’s accounts payable and invoicing procedures that are being automated; Nettle has already begun the process to automate the approval and creation of journals and also with purchase orders and documenting goods received.