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Implementing a Centralized Accounts Payable

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

  1. Mailed invoices are centralized and managed by Octacom through a PO Box service
  2. Emailed invoices are directed to Octacom for receipt, acknowledgement and validation
  3. Invoices are scanned and processed for header data capture, vendor validation and automated ministry unit and GL coding for PAD invoices
  4. Invoices are seamlessly uploaded to Unit 4 (formerly Agresso) to kick off a digital and automated approval process
  5. Octacom provides front end exception management, notifying vendors of invoice rejections and loading certain exception types to Odiss™ for review and action
  6. 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.

ERP Upload

Octacom’s integration with The Salvation Army’s Unit 4 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.

Watch the Video to See How AP Automation Works

The Salvation Army continues to explore “Day 2” enhancements to its AP Automation with Octacom, and has engaged in AR Automation opportunities leveraging Odiss™ as well!

About Octacom

Octacom provides document and data management solutions to clients across North America from mid- and large-sized corporations, governments to non-profits, focusing on financial process automation. Established in 1976, we are a privately held, 100% Canadian owned company.

Working with Octacom allows you to improve customer service, lower your operating costs and realize a positive impact on your bottom line. Eliminating manual processes will help your organization achieve these goals and allow for more focus on your core business priorities.

Learn more about Octacom’s Accounts Payable Automation solutions and how we can help you save money, improving your business processes and operations.


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