„We easily control payment deadlines, verify errors and, above all, we have shifted from manual work at many stages of the invoice workflow.”Finance Director in SMP Poland, Anna Korytko
Aim of implementation: automation of processes and digitisation of paper-based invoice workflows
Solution: workflow system for invoices with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology in foreign language, linked to the register of goods receipt documents and digital IE599 message register. Integration with the financial and accounting system JD Edwards
Sector: manufacturer of automotive parts
SMP Poland is part of the New York-based multinational Standard Motor Products Inc. which is a leading manufacturer, distributor and retailer of automotive replacement parts in the primary and aftermarket.
We have been present in Poland since 2006. In Bialystok, we operate a plant specialising in the design and manufacture of automotive coils, sensors and switches. The manufactured products are applied in cars, trucks, construction and agricultural machinery and heavy equipment. Hence, we export them to, among others: USA, Italy, Germany, UK, China, India and many other countries.
The production activity, is based on the import of components and the ready made goods are exported to contractors. Consequently, a large number of different types of documents are processed and handled within the company. Invoices are a particular challenge, but so are documents related to the sale and purchase of goods, such as proformas, customs notes (including IE599 messages) or claim notes.
Challenge, analysis of the current situation
Handling financial documents meant high time-consumption due to the number, as well as complex approval processes on the management side. Some documents required detailed verification for expected irregularities.
Data processing and process handling used traditional tools based on emails and paper documents. This approach was a challenge operationally, requiring a significant time investment from staff, and entailed costs for the company.
The export activity of a company involves the receipt of specific documents. These include customs messages transmitted as an xml file. The difficulty included processing and linking them to invoices.
It was necessary to introduce automation on working with documents with system capturing approach and do away with manual verification of data on documents.
Accounts Payaple digitization
The invoice workflow process in the V-Desk System allows the document to be ready, enabling ready payment files to be generated for banking systems.
Invoices, customs notes, proformas and claim notes are registered in the system. By means of the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tool, the registration stage of the document speeds up and the document is ready for processing after it has been imported from an email inbox or possibly added manually. The process involves verifying the data and a suitable description of the invoice, taking into account the position and allocation of values to the relevant departments. The invoice then goes through the system for approval, which can often be for selected items. This runs smoothly in the system and the waiting time for payment confirmation is reduced.
The system supports the work by facilitating the checking of the generated payments, which are then forwarded for transfer to the banking systems.
Linking invoices with goods receipt notice – the document register allows the system to link the relevant documents. This makes it easier to search for and verify the matching data on related documents.
Invoice and customs message IE559 matching
Incoming document files about customs message information are automatically downloaded into the V-Desk System. The message sent by e-mail in xml form are the data and information that are linked to the invoice data. In order to verify their accuracy efficiently and effectively, the system processes the data and provides the relevant communicates. In this way, tedious verification of documents is avoided, while at the same time digital storage is secured.
Improvements in document workflow after the system implementation
The difficulties and limitations so far encountered due to the use of outdated or inefficient tools have been eliminated.
The main benefits are:
- efficient registration of documents into the system via import from e-mail
- automatic transfer of payment files to banks
- better control of data accuracy
- efficient and transparent process of invoice description and approval
„We observe benefits throughout our accounting area. By streamlining our work through automation of activities such as invoice registration, compliance checks, data acceptance and analysis.”Finance Director in SMP Poland, Anna Korytko