Accounts Payable Business Process Enhancement

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  • #17304
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Gavin S.Roy T.Amar G.Tony E.Atif P. + 5 others have already sent a proposal.
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Experience Level: Expert
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We have a Shared Services Centre in Ireland which handles several areas of financial transactions on behalf of our divisional sites. One of the processes that Shared Services handle is the entry and payment of all supplier invoices. In general we operate on a 3 way matching system for payment approval. By this we mean:

(1): The PO exists
(2): The goods have been received against the PO
(3): The value of the invoice matches the value of the goods received.

If the above criteria are met then the invoice can be entered and is automatically approved for payment.

In general we have a purchase order for most items we buy (with the exception of a few things such as utilities). In general invoices received will quote the Purchase order. Invoices not quoting a purchase order are in general sent back to the supplier.

OK, so if everybody does what they are supposed to do then the process in Shared services is simple. The invoice comes in, matches the PO and is quite quickly entered onto the system.

However what is actually happening is that a large number of our Purchase orders are not received (on the system) in as timely a manner as they should be. The result of this is that for a lot of invoices the staff in Shared Services are spending time checking why an invoice will not post and chasing the sites to receive PO's or alter prices on PO's. Problem invoices are scanned and sent from Shared Services to sites etc. ’¦They are also maintaining spreadsheets of invoices that are 'awaiting site action'.

So what I want to do is streamline the process. I have written a program which based upon the entry of 6 pieces of information being put into a file will post an invoice (this program is polling the file for new/resubmitted entries) The 6 pieces of information are (Invoice Number, Invoice Date, Currency, Net Amount and VAT Amount). The polling program will do all the checking of the data entered and populate additional fields in the file (Supplier, Reason why not posted, matched amount, unmatched amount). It will also check all lines received on the PO and see if any permutation of receipts on the PO matches the invoice and post accordingly.

So heres broadly speaking what I want to do (3 phases)

Phase 1:

A front-end application for Shared Services to enter/amend the invoices, review information entered, correspond with the relevant site (ie: notes tracked by user against each invoice), resubmit invoices (just involves resetting flags), mark an invoice as manually posted (posted manually through the ERP system rather than my backend program). Once an invoice has been successfully processed then it can no longer be amended. Basic validation on entry (valid currency, valid date and validate PO against PO table) Uppercase entry of PO and currency. Various searches and filters (invoices processed successfully, invoices awaiting correction, most recently updated by site, approved by site for reprocessing). Validate PO against PO table on ERP system, button to pull up PO detail and receipt detail from ERP system for review.

Screens for sites to review invoices entered (with a focus on those that did not post successfully)... ability for sites to enter notes. Sites should not have the ability to resubmit invoices... review, enter notes, mark as ready for Shared Services to re-submit, button to pull up PO detail and receipt detail from ERP system for review.

Two basic types of user:

A Shared Services User (each user may have access to multiple sites invoices)
A site user (again may have access to multiple sites invoices)

Active Directory security for application access, which sites each user has access to must be controlled. Which functions a user has access to must also be controlled.

Speed of entry and navigation around the system is key for the Shared Services Users. As the Shared Services team are on the same LAN as the ERP system the application front-end can be more application based than web based. However as the sites will be accessing the system across our WAN their screens probably need to be browser based.

Phase 2:

A similar mechanism to the above to handle the invoices that do not have Purchase Orders.

Phase 3:

The ability to scan and store the image against each invoice. Obviously we will provide the location (probably DFS) for file storage, but the software will need to interact with scanners to create the PDF in the right naming format and then put it into the correct location

Phase 3 above may well precede phase 2, but phase 1 will be in situ for a while before further development takes place. Any developer proposing to do the above must be capable of completing all 3 phases.

The ERP database is DB2 sitting on an iSeries (AS400) which you can connect to through ODBC, OLEDB or JT400.JAR. All tables you access bar 1 will have read only access. We have SQL server on site onto which you can sit any other tables required. I suspect .NET may be the way to go.

The objects, source and intellectual property must transfer to us. There may be ongoing development required.

I hope that the above is enough to give an idea of what we are trying to do. Obviously more detail around the specification can (and will need to) be discussed. There may be a requirement to come to site in Ireland and if this is the case then expenses will be paid.

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