Towards the end of my journey @ my previous company, we tried solving one of the biggest problem areas for the Finance and the Supply Chain departments – Accounts Payable. 

Some of the biggest challenges that we faced were

  1. Physical Invoices would reach branch locations when the goods are delivered but would take its own time to reach the payables team. 
  2. Auditing PO vs GRN vs Invoice was manual & tracing any discrepancy arising out of the above audit to closure was a pain. 
  3. Downstream accounting activities like allocation of costs, provision and reversal, Prepaid Appropriation was manual and took its own time making closing of books longer. 

All of these increased the risk on the payables side, also damaging the relationships with the partners and creating huge issues for both the Finance and the supply chain teams. Constant challenges in reconciliation, payments etc. did not help the teams to provide strategic inputs to scale fast and succeed. So they either had to rely on consultants from service providers  which was way too costly but still not efficient or their own resources doubled up leading to stress, burnout and ultimately failure of reaching the goals. 

We knew Automation was the only way out here. But the market lacked an application which could do all of this. We settled on RPA but RPA came with its own problems. 

  1. Formats for Invoices would change and skilled resources were needed to give consistent results. 
  2. Continuous improvement was needed to make the automation work unsupervised and at the same time give consistent results. 
  3. Tracking of discrepancies was still a major issue and did not help. And it died a slow death.

@DataTwin, we decided to revisit this use case again when a customer of ours was facing the same problem. Armed with all our experience we dived in to automate Accounts Payable. Here is what we have done. 

  1. Created an engine which can take any document be it an Invoice/Credit note/Debit Note and extract the information from it and create the appropriate accounting document – a Bill/Credit note/Debit Note. 
  2. A document is created when the 3 way Audit of Invoice vs GRN/SRN vs PO is done (automatically) and only when it is favourable. 
  3. At the time of Bill processing, automation of all the downstream activities like Cost Allocation based on certain % or usage, Provisioning of costs, Reversal of Provisions and creating schedules for Prepaid expenses is instantaneously done, so that the Finance team can close the books faster and more accurately. 
  4. Integrated with the Inbox of the User to directly pull the emails which contain the documents ensuring the drastic reduction in time for the documents to reach the AP team. 

Just doing this has created the following Impact

  1. An organisation is able to plan for costs and track plan vs actuals. 
  2. As the financial, cost and management accounting now happens in real-time, book closure is just a generation of MIS. 
  3. Also the analysis and tracking of costs planned and unplanned can be done so much faster and in real-time. 
  4. Also other analysis like profitability analysis etc. can be done anytime to understand where the organisation is and what needs to be done to reach its goals. 
  5. Faster resolution of discrepancies and advanced planning of closure of books enabled. 
  6. Lowering of risk on the Payables end. Knowing exactly what, to whom and when payments need to be made. 
Subscribe for Updates

Similar Blogs

Scroll to Top