The company is a leading healthcare service provider, spread across many counties and states in the United States. It operates more than 10 hospitals and 20+ healthcare clinics, with a staff of more than 30K. The organization boasts of being one of the best healthcare service providers in USA with nationally and globally reputed medical professionals in all the specialties.
Staff at the Accounts Payable section of finance department was responsible for managing and processing invoices, about 50K per month. Unfortunately, recent merger with another healthcare provider meant a drastic increase in number of invoices to be processed. Furthermore, the team was instructed to ingest huge volume of transactions with minimal hiring and operating costs. This made the process highly labor intensive and prone to possible errors and biases, combined with other issues as mentioned below
- Extremely slow invoice processing time, especially to process pending invoices.
- High possibility of discrepancies and exceptions in processed invoices.
- High employee attrition rate and turnover, having a detrimental effect on productivity and quality.
- Extremely poor vendor management system, with no transparency in outstanding liabilities.
All the above–mentioned challenges and many more prompted the company to opt for a trustable service provider who would effortlessly analyze entire AP operations, discover areas of automations, and design a scalable automation model. For obvious reasons, with its proven credibility to provide exceptional and best IT consultancy services for 15 years, AQL was unanimously chosen as the company’s automation partner.
The automation experts and business analysts at AQL initially monitored the entire invoice processing system and gave a practical and estimated percentage of 70 to 80% invoice automation. Our analysts also quickly identified that most of the invoices had a related PO, which made the process even more cumbersome with a complicated matching process. Our team of developers optimized all these insights to design and implement a streamlined Accounts Payable process which utilized Robotic Process Automation using Power Automates AI model development technology.
The automated steps include:
- Documents are received and scanned from various sources integrated to Power Automate AI Builder.
- AI model for entity extraction was built to convert unstructured data into structured data (e.g.: tabular format.
- Another AI model for form processing was built to extract header information and line by line data.
- Power automate flow was designed to index each document and save in document management system integrated to Power Automate.
- Another flow was designed to cross verify vendor information in invoice with that of the master vendor database and sent for manual review in case of unidentified vendors.
- RPA bot in the Power Automate Desktop platform receives invoice details like header information and line by line data from document management system.
- The bot searches for associated purchase order in the system and matches line by line data like item number, number of items, price, etc. with that in the vendor invoice.
- Any kind of discrepancies between PO and invoice are identified, adjusted, and sent for approval or denial.
- Processed invoice data along with outcome of the invoice is saved in a processing log and sent via email to AP staff for manual review and adjustment.
A successful implementation of an automated accounts payable process meant a transparent audit trial of tasks involved, easily accessible electronic system of documents, reduction in operation costs and many more with few listed below:
- 80% invoice processing was automated, equivalent to emitting more than 2500 manual hours per month.
- Invoice backlog processing were reduced from 5 days to less than 3 hours, implying reduction in pending invoices.
- Data accuracy and control was improved with complete removal of manual intervention from associated tasks.
- Employees are now free from time-consuming tedious tasks and are more effective, diligent, and efficient in their work.
- Scalability and huge turnover became less challenging as new employees were not burdened with processing invoices and rather would focus time on value-adding tasks.
After the success of the above-mentioned instance, AQL has also identified other processes for automation and has now implemented 10 more bots – 4 in billing, 3 in order processing, and 3 in accounts management.
“AQL has definitely been the most trusted partner throughout our intelligent automation journey, its support and functioning aligning with our goal to make our business operationally efficient and customer friendly.”
Director, Finance Department