“We process approximately 120,000 purchase invoices every year. We used to have around 500 people processing invoices, and the process took up a lot of time. This partnership has given us new operating models that allow us, for example, to input the details of purchase invoices received from suppliers and builders into our systems automatically. Everything from placing orders to making payments has been automated as far as possible. This brings us significant savings every year”, explains Valtteri Palin, SRV’s SVP, Financial Administration.
Cooperation with Enfo began towards the end of 2015, and the first step was to identify, in as much detail as possible, every process that related to procurement and invoice handling.
“Enfo helped us to produce detailed calculations of the direct and indirect costs associated with our invoice handling process. We worked out the amount of manual labor and identified bottlenecks in the process that increased the workload of our invoice processing personnel and slowed down the invoice handling and payment process”, Palin adds.
Accounts payable outsourced to Enfo
Since the beginning of the partnership, SRV’s entire accounts payable function, including its four employees, has been outsourced to Enfo. For the time being, the invoice handling process is based on SRV’s existing Basware system. A new process based on Enfo’s Palette purchase invoice handling system will be adopted during the spring of 2016.
“An upgrade of this scale involves much more than just buying new software. The change affects almost all our employees either directly or indirectly, not least the professionals who now have a completely new employer. We wanted a partner who has solid expertise in both outsourcing and the automation of financial administration processes. Thanks to Enfo’s know-how, everything has run more smoothly than we expected”, Palin says.
Success stems from details
Even in large-scale projects, success often comes down to details.
“For an automation process to be successful, every little detail related to the process needs to be identified at the planning stage and a new operating model built from this basis. This ensures that the process is efficient from the beginning and makes staff less likely to resist the changes, as the benefits can be explained to each personnel group separately”, says Marjo Kouhia from Enfo’s Financial Process Services sales.
Standardized models and close cooperation have made the transition easy.
“We have been positively surprised by how effortless everything has been. Enfo’s staff are professionals through and through. We and Enfo have the same goal: highly sophisticated and continuously evolving financial administration processes”, Palin concludes.
Valtteri Palin’s three top tips for outsourcing financial administration
- Outsourcing the accounts payable function in connection with automating all aspects of invoice handling is a much bigger process than a simple IT system upgrade. Diligent planning, understanding and explaining the benefits to different personnel groups, and transparent communications are critical for success.
- Companies need to gain an in-depth understanding of all elements of their own services before outsourcing them. Outsourcing should not compromise quality but enhance it. All responsibilities and interfaces need to be planned and understood in detail. The division of responsibilities between the partner and the client also needs to be clearly defined.
- During contract negotiations, it is also worth paying attention to the partner’s ability and willingness to continue developing financial administration processes further in the future.
“We wanted a partner who has solid expertise in both outsourcing and the automation of financial administration processes. Enfo’s staff are professionals through and through."
Products and services:
IT service outsourcing, purchase-to-payment service, Palette purchase invoice handling system
Benefits of outsourcing and automation:
- Automated invoice handling frees key personnel’s time for more meaningful tasks.
- All purchase invoices can be processed using the same system.
- Invoice handling and payments are managed by professionals who know the invoice processing system inside out, which ensures that all functions of the system are used maximally.
- Financial administration processes can be continuously improved together.
The partnership in a nutshell
- November 2015: Enfo takes over SRV’s accounts payable function, including its four employees
- Winter/spring 2016: Gradual transition from SRV’s Basware IT system to Enfo’s Palette invoice handling system and automated building site invoice processing
- Fall 2016: Automation of administrative invoicing and repeat invoicing
- Possible upgrading of SRV’s bookkeeping system by adopting a system developed by Enfo