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British Land transforms its finance processes with Proactis

Executive overview

Profile

Sector
Property & Facilities Management

No. of invoices
10,000+ p.a

Assets under management
£13.7 bn

Operates in
United Kingdom

Customer since
2016

Objectives

  • To automate the Purchase-to-Pay and Accounts Payable processes.
  • Full visibility of purchase orders and committed spend.
  • Improved purchasing control, whilst continually aiming to reduce the time taken to process invoices.

How Proactis helped

  • Complete access to finance information.
  • Seamless management of purchase orders and invoices.
  • Provides new levels of accuracy, control and transparency.

Benefits

  • Far better visibility of commitments and invoices through the company.
  • Invoices can be tracked back to initial commitment.
  • Consistent invoice processing across the business.
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Profile

The British Land Company plc is one of the largest property development and investment companies in the United Kingdom. The firm became a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) when they were introduced in the UK in January 2007. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index and a founding member of the European Public Real Estate Association.

A team of over 400 people across the business internally, and another 50 external project managers that manage its development sites, are responsible for purchasing at British Land and look after 22.8 million square feet of floor space and £13.7 billion of assets.

Given the scale of the business, the decision was made to identify ways to modernise its processes – managing system-wide spend using a set of transparent and repeatable business processes to improve controls and gain efficiencies.

Objectives

The company had already started a digital transformation project by adopting the Proactis Source-to-Contract suite to modernise its procurement processes, so a discussion began with members of British Land about automating the Purchase-to-Pay and Accounts Payable processes.

“There were two main challenges that we were looking to address as part of this project,” stated Jonty McNuff, Head of Business Transformation, British Land. “Despite being a FTSE100 organisation, our electronic purchase orders were not managed in a consistent way across the business.” This led to a couple of issues, such as invoices arriving for payment with no way of tracking them back to initial commitment. The process often took quite a bit of time to track down what the spend related to, if it wasn’t clear on the invoice. This was often exacerbated with natural turnover of staff round the business as it meant, in some cases, there was no knowledge of what had been ordered or what had been agreed relating to price and payment terms. “It was also quite difficult to get an accurate picture of what our commitments were at a point in time,” continued Jonty. “We could do this as part of our external reporting processes at the end of each quarter, but this was largely a manual and pretty time-consuming exercise.”

Despite having a great in-house technology team, the company was eager to look into the use of best-in-class, externally developed, spend management solutions.

How Proactis helped

“Proactis already helps us with our Supplier Relationship Management, Sourcing and Contract Management processes so it was very much on our radar, but we still went through a procurement process around functional reviews and workshops with people round the business.” It was identified that Proactis was the appropriate fit.

Proactis Purchase-to-Pay means British Land now has far greater visibility of the purchasing process and can manage its Purchase Order processing more efficiently. “This is largely down to the greater level of functionality and flexibility that’s available in our Proactis solution,” noted Jonty. The company is also utilising Proactis’ invoice scanning and data capture system, Invoice Capture, to streamline the invoicing process, while improving data availability and reporting. Optical character recognition (OCR) also provides new levels of automation, control and transparency.

Benefits

“We’ve always been a pretty good payer of invoices, especially in today’s climate, prioritising the payment of our suppliers on time. But we now have far better visibility of our commitments and invoices coming through the company,” revealed Jonty. “When invoices arrive, we can now track them back to initial commitment to spend. Each invoice is also now visible and the whole process is consistent across the business.”

Thanks to Proactis, British Land has embraced a new world of purchase orders and electronic invoicing through the use of the system. “In just over a year, we’ve processed over 10,000 purchase orders that have been raised and 25,000 invoices that have gone through the system. And we are still capturing the extensive benefits that the system provides.”

The relationship between British Land and Proactis continues to go from strength to strength. “During the implementation project, we identified that we could utilise Proactis’ Expenses module for controlled employee reimbursements,” concluded Jonty. “We are also looking at expanding the use of Proactis P2P into the property management side of the business, and are very much looking forward to continuing and strengthening our relationship with Proactis.”