Our Construction-based client chose to to implement the SAP Concur Invoice system and integrate it to their Enterprise Management software. The integration required a two-way feed, sending Supplier Account details and Purchase Orders from their ERP to Concur Invoice, and approved invoice data from Concur Invoice back into their ERP. They were aware that most AP Automation software is designed to deal with standard distribution processes and not the varied nature of Construction projects, as well as Subcontractor and Equipment purchases. We were engaged to build the integration for them, as well as to assist with process change within the business and within the ERP.
- The integration required both ingoing (into Concur) and outgoing (from Concur to ERP) data feeds.
- Our client was already using Concur Expense, which shares some records with Concur Invoice. Any data sent from the ERP to Concur Expense could be used by Concur Invoice. This included employee data, financial account codes and project information. Additional data for supplier accounts and purchase orders were required.
- The business used multiple purchase order “styles” within their ERP, each recording required data in a slightly different way. These varying styles of purchase orders all needed to be sent to Concur Invoice. To add to the complexity, Concur Invoice could only accept the predefined purchase order flat-file format and each of the different purchase order styles still needed to display meaningfully in the Concur Invoice review screens. This required some process change within the ERP, as well as manipulation of the raw data when creating the Concur-proscribed file formats. We assisted with determining the required process changes and implementing them, as well as programming within the ERP to manipulate the raw data and then generate and send the files to Concur Invoice.
- Invoice data coming from Concur Invoice into the ERP had similar complexities. While the standard Concur export of invoices required normalisation of the data, the import into the ERP needed the invoice to match back to the associated purchase order, obeying processing rules within the ERP. This required the creation of two staging areas within the ERP. The first was to accept and record the raw Concur invoice data, without validation. The second, created a modified version of the data, running initial process rules over the data and reformatting it based on the processing needs of the linked purchase order. We mapped the file data from Concur back to the different process requirements within the ERP and then created the data structures and programs required to massage the data.
- It became clear that once the invoices were accepted into the ERP, further manual intervention needed to occur. This primarily arose from the common practice within the business where purchasing officers did not goods receipt their own orders. Instead, Accounts Payable performed this function prior to entering the Supplier Invoice into the ledger. The business balked at the additional work for site staff and decided, instead, to continue the use of Accounts Payable to perform the receipting function. We reviewed the software and Concur processes, finding a way to adjust both processes to provide a more streamlined solution.
- This led to a fundamental shift in the way the business performed their purchasing, where they moved away from receipt-style purchase orders where possible. We also built a minor customisation within the ERP to streamline the receipting process, where it could not be avoided.
- Prior to implementation of Concur Invoice and the integration to the ERP, the Accounts Payable team were often working longer hours in order to keep up with the processing requirements of the volume of invoices. This no longer occurs and the team work normal office hours.
- Post go live, some adjustments had to be made to the integration in order to allow for process requirements the business had not previously been aware of. We made these changes to the integration and also retrospectively adjusted the data.
- Once the Accounts Payable team were comfortable with the new process, the ERP functions they needed to complete were reduced to error management and final approval and bulk posting of the invoices.
- The integration has been stable and has needed no further adjustment.
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