How Go Bus eliminated accounts payable traffic jam

Published on the 13/01/2016 | Written by Fuji Xerox

Go Bus

AT A GLANCE

INDUSTRY

  • Transport

BUSINESS OBJECTIVE

  • Streamline the AP process to support growth and handle a predicted 25 percent increase in volume

SOLUTION

  • Fuji Xerox document capture solution and Xerox DocuShare web-based content management and collaboration platform.

BUSINESS BENEFITS

  • Reduced month-end invoice reconciliation from 10 to 4 working days
  • Minimise manual keying into ERP system
  • Accurate data capture
  • Hands-free and stress-free AP process
  • Automation of invoice queries which are tracked to completion
  • Secure digital archive accessible to all authorised personnel
  • Direct integration to financial system
  • Visibility and traceability of all invoices
  • Business intelligence analytics
  • Business process improvement
  • Fully scalable solution to support predicted growth

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Fuji Xerox
W: www.fujixerox.co.nz
New Zealand
E: cassandra.powell@nzl.fujixerox.com
T: +64 9 356 4200

Faced by a lack of visibility into its Accounts Payable processes, transport service provider Go Bus looked to Fuji Xerox for automation and control…

Like many businesses, the manual processing of Accounts Payable tasks presented no particular problem for Go Bus at the earlier stages of its operations. However, as the business began to scale, the workload became untenable, causing issues and delays to essential business processes. With the introduction of Fuji Xerox document management and web-based content management and collaboration platform DocuShare, those challenges have become a thing of the past.

As one of New Zealand’s fastest growing passenger transport businesses, Go Bus operates over 30 depots from Auckland to Invercargill, offering a full range of bus services, including charter, school, touring, urban services and special needs transport. The company has over 1,850 staff, more than 1,500 passenger fleet vehicles, and has experienced year on year compounding growth of over 20% since commencing operations a decade ago.

This commitment to expansion means that as the Go Bus business and the number of staff continues to expand rapidly, so does the pressure on administrative staff to support the business.

Situation
Just two people were responsible for all Go Bus Accounts Payable (AP) in 2013, processing some 36,000 invoices every year, an average of nearly 100 every day. Details from invoices were hand-keyed into the company’s financial system, while processing invoices without purchase orders (PO) proved most time-consuming of all.

Each invoice was scanned and emailed to the respective branch for approval; then after printing, approving, signing and scanning the document, it would be sent back to Head Office, where the AP team again printed it, filed it, and entered the data into the ERP system.

As with many manual tasks, the AP process lacked visibility, with no reliable way to track outstanding invoices which became lost, were not actioned on time, and required constant follow-ups for approvals.

With this high level of manual input, it became increasingly clear that the AP function was simply not unsustainable, confirms Go Bus CFO Reegan Pearce. “Our planned company growth anticipated an increase in invoice volumes to 50,000 annually. That would take our AP process from busy to unmanageable,” he said. “We needed to increase the size of our AP team, or take the long view and use industry-leading technology to improve our processes.”

Solution
Fuji Xerox New Zealand proposed an automated solution to streamline AP processes to support the company’s growth and enhance productivity, without adding administrative overhead. Its end-to-end AP solution accurately captures and extracts data from incoming hard or soft copy invoices.

An automatic validation process compares invoices against POs, following a set of built-in business rules. If incorrect, an invoice query is routed directly to the appropriate branch administrator, along with a link to the document. The data is automatically uploaded to the Go Bus financial system and enters the business workflow; the system tracks the invoice query through to resolution, so it never falls through the cracks.

The workflow functionality allows Go Bus to enforce rigid rules for each and every invoice in the capture process, increasing efficiencies throughout the automated processes. The system checks that the purchase order exists in Go Bus system, that the invoice is within tolerance of the PO amount, and that the PO is not closed.

Non-PO invoices are received directly into the Fuji Xerox AP solution and electronically routed them to the branch for approval. The branch simply codes the invoice and uses the ‘approve’ button, which sends the invoice image back to the AP team.

Results
Pearce says the web-based DocuShare solution delivers noticeably better service to the whole network of branches and has improved relationships with the nearly 400 Go Bus suppliers. “The checks which are now done automatically could have been conducted manually previously, but that simply added too much additional time to the process. Automation had the immediate benefit of providing better quality data directly into the system,” he notes.

AP staff do not need to remember who got sent what, or chase up branches who had not returned their approved invoice as the system sends reminders automatically after three days.

As well as speeding up the process, DocuShare provides a full audit trail of the electronic approval process attached to each invoice. The AP team can look at a screen showing all outstanding approvals, by branch, invoice and even invoice amount. This data highlights bottlenecks in the approval process, and the AP administrator can recommend improvements.

The new paperless system for invoices without purchase orders has transformed the process, Pearce adds, freeing up substantial AP time to allow handling of the volume growth of invoices being handled. Storing the digitised invoices in DocuShare means they are easy to find, and any authorised user can access them on demand for auditing and other business requirements.

“Go Bus has invested in many technologies over the years. It’s part of an on-going corporate strategy to future-proof the company for growth well into the years ahead,” Pearce notes.

“The Fuji Xerox solution gives us complete confidence that as we add more branches, depots and staff, we’re well equipped to handle the accompanying administrative load,” says Pearce. “With our AP process achieving a straight-through processing rate of over 50 percent, we’re keen and ready to maximise the capabilities of DocuShare across other business processes.”

FURTHER READING


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