Hampson Custom Software has 18 years combined experience designing and implementing custom software solutions.

We would like to share some of our experiences solving problems for different people in different industries.

Case Study #3: Accounts Payable

Our client's Account's Payable department handled all accounts payable for 8 different plants throughout Canada and the USA. They had a SAP solution to handle the purchase orders and cutting cheques, but their incoming invoice management was all manual.

Our analysis of their manual process and their requirements documents lead us to design and implement a 3-part solution.

For the employees in the Accounts Payable department itself, we built a custom desktop application to encapsulate the invoice capture and approval process. This application contained the bulk of the workflow and document marshalling. As documents passed through different stages of data entry and validation, they were automatically shunted to the next appropriate step depending on conditions and parameters unique to each document. This decision-making process originated as manual and verbal instructions which were rendered down to concise flowcharts for development

At different stages in the workflow, emails were automatically sent to external employees who had authority to approve payment on invoices. They would log into part 2 of the solution; the web-based document perusal and approval system. Leveraging Microsoft's Active Directory pass-through authentication for this system eliminated the need for any sort of extra administrative tools. Once authenticated, approvers could visually inspect the scanned invoice, and confirm the metadata attached to it. They could then approve or reject the invoice, or open communications with the accounts payable staff to make changes, correct errors, and request updated information. Since invoices were treated as public information, this web application also provided other employees with open access to invoices and their status

Part 3 of this solution was a collection of web-based reporting tools, both public and private. Accrual reports were available to keep each plant's accounting up-to-date, and outstanding issues reports kept them abreast of invoices which required special attention. Internally, there were volume reports used for charge backs and billing, and real-time document flow efficiency reporting allowed for up-to-the-minute reorganization of staffing according to needs.

Many features were added post-implementation, like new reports and additional branches on the workflow tree, as the system's full potential was realized. The efficiencies brought in by the system allowed the Accounts Payable department to take on work from three additional plants without adding to staff. Combined with the $600 million worth of invoices processed in the first year, the system was considered a great success.

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