MicroWarehouse Ireland – Using Dynamic invoice processing solutions
Customer: MicroWarehouse Ireland
Sector: Distribution and Product Reseller
Solution: Automated Purchase invoice processing and storage
Product: AdestAP, AdestWeb, AdestWorkflow
MicroWarehouse Ltd is Ireland’s largest independently owned IT distributor with relationships with more than 500 resellers. It sells PC systems, peripherals, software and licensing products from a vendor portfolio including brands such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Epson, Nikon, Sony, Toshiba, Fujifilm and Symantec.
Sean Dunne, Financial Controller, MicroWarehouse Ireland, heads up a team of three responsible for a balance sheet valued in excess of nine million euros. His team processes between 12,000 plus vendor invoices annually. Dunne’s original aim was to deliver a “full blown” electronic data interchange (EDI) solution to transmit invoice data between key vendors and MicroWarehouse.
Andrew Frazer, Managing Director, Adest, which worked with Dunne explains the unusual situation, “Despite trying to get main suppliers onto EDI, it was not happening quickly enough and all invoices received had to be processed manually. The ADESTAP Automated Invoice Processing product was the obvious answer for MicroWarehouse to process all their vendor invoices.” “The invoices emailed to the team would have to be manually printed off before we could process them,” observes Dunne. “Processing invoices was therefore a huge drain on resource, resulting in delays, especially at month end. It was a process that we believed should be automated.”
Adest was challenged to design and implement an AP solution for MicroWarehouse that would enable all its vendors to send their invoices by e-mail as PDFs. Received invoices would then be automatically captured, identified, then matched and approved by the ADESTAP system before being electronically posted to MicroWarehouse’s SQL based Microsoft Dynamics system.
Adest began by integrating COLLECTOR, an add-on to their specialist data capture software. This was used to automatically import the invoices attached to an email. Working in the background, COLLECTOR detects any attachment – including PDF, TIF, PNG and JPEG – immediately transferring it to Adest’s data capture software where the information can be extracted and interpreted.
The benefit for MicroWarehouse is that emailed data is processed automatically by Adest in the same way as paper invoices, allowing the team to handle every type of invoice, applying the same business rules in the same way. Dunne explains how this has changed the working processes, “Invoices arriving by email are now directed to a single dedicated mailbox, the attachments are extracted and those that meet validation are automatically processed for posting.”
As each email is processed, it is removed from the mail server and archived. As a result, a limitless number of incoming invoices can be processed and be ready for approval in a matter of seconds without fear of overloading MircoWarehouse’s systems. “Our invoice processing is now achieved on a daily basis,” says Dunne. This is made possible because ADESTAP integrates with the company’s financial system.
The solution fitted well with the aims of MicroWarehouse to eventually deliver a fully automated system. It automatically extracts and captures information of interest from the incoming invoice; the information is then validated and passed to AdestAP Workflow where they are matched, coded, authorised and approved before being exported to MicroWarehouse’s ERP by the accounts payable staff.
Adest provided MicroWarehouse with a helpful feature of its system. “Because the same product codes were referenced on both the purchase order and the supplier invoice, using line item extraction, the Adest system could match each invoice to the corresponding purchase order information at line item level” says Frazer. “That was very beneficial as AdestAP could be configured to work at both levels, providing matching and approval of each invoice at line item level prior to posting to their Microsoft Dynamics application.”
For Adest, MicroWarehouse was an ideal customer, “Processing in excess of 12,000 invoices per annum into SQL based Microsoft Dynamics is a perfect starting point,” says Frazer. “That all came together to speed up the install, and help MicroWarehouse realise a fast and significant return on investment.” The system install was completed in March 2011, and the results have been apparent to Dunne and his team: “We no longer see bottlenecks, the system is quicker to manage and more accurate. Now the team can be deployed to resolve problems rather than pushing paper.” “Automation represents a better way to operate; exceptions and the occasional OCR issue are dealt with immediately by the team and where necessary passed onto management for approval,” continues Dunne. “We are timelier when dealing with vendor invoices and there are fewer delays, this means we are able to issue financial reports faster. All round, there is a lot less stress.”