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Four Seasons Health Care reduces the cost of invoice processing by 41%

Executive overview

Profile

Vertical sector
Health and Social Care

No. of care homes / hospitals
500+

No. of employee
30,000+

No. of purchase invoices
310,000+ per year

Operates in
United Kingdom

Customer since
2007

Objectives

  • Process purchase invoices centrally with the highest levels of efficiency and accuracy.
  • Improve invoice process control and transparency across the organisation.

How Proactis helped

  • Provided an automated solution so that invoices are scanned with "intelligent” data capture and dedicated query desk handling for paper, PDF and XML invoices.
  • Reduced manually intensive and error-prone aspects of invoice processing.
  • Seamless integration with Unit4 Financials.

Benefits to Four Seasons Health Care

  • Efficiency levels increased by 65% with a 41% reduction in processing costs.
  • High levels of process efficiency that have exceeded what was originally projected.
  • Purchase invoices can now be viewed at the click of a button from within Unit4 Financials.
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 Solutions

Profile

Four Seasons Health Care (FSHC) is the UK’s leading independent health and social care provider. The company operates around 450 care homes and 60 hospitals and specialist care centres, and currently employs over 30,000 staff, caring for over 20,000 residents.

FSHC was in a situation where individual business units received purchase invoices. Approximately 310,000 purchase invoices per year then had to be coded, approved and sent to a central Accounts Payable (AP) function. In addition to the staff members at the individual business units, the central AP team needed as many as 17 employees to deal with invoice processing. This was a huge drain on resources.

Objectives

Having conducted continuous reviews of process efficiency across the entire organisation, it was clear that improvements were needed. Accounts Payable was identified as a key area where benefits could be realised through a single, focused approach. Centralising the function while introducing process automation could result in real cost savings and efficiency improvements, while driving out errors, and would also free up people’s times at the individual care homes – enabling them to focus on providing the highest levels of care.

Working with Proactis helped identify a set of key objectives; purchase invoices were to be processed centrally with the highest levels of efficiency and accuracy; the introduction of key performance indicators, and implementing a platform that would allow for the continuous improvement and evolution of the whole invoicing process.

How Proactis helped

FSHC wanted to ensure that the new central function could handle existing and potential invoice volumes, without adding significant headcount. Proactis looked at areas such as the time spent manually entering purchase invoices into the existing Unit4 finance system, the associated inefficiencies with invoice exceptions and working with paper. Through the introduction of document scanning and the import of PDF invoices, purchase invoices could be scanned with the invoice information “intelligently” extracted and automatically validated.

Proactis introduced powerful, template-free invoice data capture technologies, including advanced “learning” capability, allowing FSHC to enter values not automatically extracted. These “learning” capabilities mean the solution remembers the location of the missed value to drive continuous data improvement.

A dedicated, web-based query resolution process was also deployed so that FSHC can rapidly resolve any invoice non-conformance issues such as missing or incorrect supplier information. This gives a clear picture of the reasons and sources of any invoice exceptions. Not only can exceptions be easily resolved, but FSHC can now engage suppliers and have them resolve queries themselves to drive out exceptions at source.

Benefits to Four Seasons Health Care

The rapid improvements in efficiency have seen FSHC achieve tangible benefits from the automation of the AP process. The ratio of invoices processed per clerk, per annum has seen a 65% increase. The costs to process the invoices has reduced by 41%, resulting in very high levels of process efficiency that have exceeded what was originally projected and the objectives that were initially set. All aspects of invoice processing have been substantially improved, while removing manually intensive and error-prone processes.

At the same time, working with electronic images has ensured greater control and increased transparency. The purchase invoices can now be viewed at the click of a button from within the Unit4 finance system, as well as securely through the document repository. Proactis was also able to advise on how to get the most from the existing Unit4 finance solution due to the many years of integration experience and close partnership with Unit4.