Savills plc is a global real estate services provider listed on the London Stock Exchange. Savills has an international network of more than 200 offices and associates throughout America, UK, continental Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, offering a broad range of specialist advisory, management and transactional services to clients all over the world.
Savills wanted to automate the processing of paper invoices as this was proving to be slow and expensive.
Sharp increase in invoice numbers accommodated without having to deploy additional human resources or systems. Improved efficiency of accounts payable department.
The solution comprised the following main elements:
• Outsourced services
• Using DCS leading capture technology
• FileStore EDM – a centralised inbox and invoice storage area
• FileStore BPM – automated distribution and routing of invoices to property managers for approvals.
DCS was commissioned to implement a solution that would automate the process of receipt, capture, classification and raising of invoices.
Data Capture Solutions helped us protect our valuable investment in time and intellect. Without their archive services these assets would have been exposed to undue business risk.
Savills receives about 160,000 invoices per annum from suppliers who service their properties spread across the UK. Savills wanted to automate the processing of paper invoices as this was proving to be slow and expensive. Their process at the time was to receive all invoices centrally to the Accounts Payable (AP) team office and then forward them via post to the respective property managers for approval. Approved invoices then needed to be sent back to AP team to pay. This process was time consuming and the resources required to manually sort, transport, chase up and process invoices formed a major proportion of Savills Finance team operational costs.
Savills were looking for alternatives to improve this process using automated P2P technology which would eliminate the risk of losing documents and reduce the per invoice processing costs.
After further discussions with Savills Finance team to understand the existing process, Data Capture Solutions (DCS) presented a prototype of the proposed invoice management solution. Following the prototype presentation DCS was commissioned to implement the solution that would automate the process of receipt, capture, classification and routing of invoices resulting in faster invoice processing and reduced manual effort. The solution comprised the following main elements:
DCS receives all invoices via a PO Box on behalf of Savills. Invoices are scanned on receipt and using leading capture technology from Kofax information including supplier, invoice number and the total amount is extracted. This information is then used to drive subsequent approval or exception handling workflows.
FileStore EDM forms a centralised inbox and invoice storage area for Savills purchase ledger team to access documents from anywhere, anytime. They can now sort, classify and distribute invoices without having to physically manage paper.
DCS not only helped Savills convert all their invoices to electronic format but also automated distribution and routing of invoices to property managers for approvals. DCS configured complex matching and approval rules within FileStore BPMs workflow module to ensure that the invoices are directed to the appropriate approvers based on their amount and/or property type.
The workflow also enables straight through processing where all approved invoices are directly updated in the accounting system for payment and also manages exceptions where invoices of higher amounts or invoices that cannot be matched to purchase orders are routed to different people to gain approval.
FileStore integrates with Savills accounting system (MRI) and the details of all approved invoices are posted and updated in MRI without any manual intervention ensuring that all payments are cleared on time. DCS has not only helped Savills achieve their initial goal of eliminating paper invoices but also automated the complete “purchase to payment” process. The solution has produced the required payback within the first year of implementation and Savills is now looking to centralise and automate invoice management across their other European offices.
Delivery and results
• Savills has been able to absorb growing number of invoices (increased from 90,000 to 160,000 per annum) without having to deploy additional human resources or systems.
• Significant improvement in the efficiency of accounts payable department as they are able to process almost double the invoices in the same time.
• Provides complete visibility of purchase to pay cycle.
• Less time spent in addressing supplier queries chasing invoices.
• Better auditable reports available to support on-going management decision making.
• The invoice management solution has become a differentiator for Savills as their operations are now far more efficient than their competitors. The system has been demonstrated as a key part of many client presentations.
“Our new invoicing system has considerably reduced our number of inefficient internal processes and we now have much better visibility and management over the entire process. The new solution was seamlessly introduced into the department and we haven’t needed to increase our staff numbers in this area even though our business has grown considerably over the last 12 months,” claimed Gareth Searle, Financial Systems Manager, Savills.