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One of the Largest U.S. Universities Transforms AP Process through Automation

Imagine receiving 180,000 invoices a year from more than 50,000 vendors. Now imagine manually processing those invoices, one by one, using a paper-based operation. That was exactly the payables processing approach that the University of Florida, one of the largest universities in the nation, was operating under. Besides being a costly accounts payable process, the manual operation led to inaccuracies, loss of visibility into working capital and missed discounts.

Randy Staples, University of Florida’s associate controller, knew something needed to change. The state institution, serving 50,000 students, not only deserved something better, it deserved a best-in-class solution to its accounts payable issues, and Staples was determined to find it.

His search led him to Corcentric, a provider of cloud-based financial process automation solutions. “Corcentric gave us that cloud-based solution, which came across as the one software that would be easiest to use and easiest to learn for the actual end-user.”

Over the course of almost a year, Corcentric guided Staples and his team in implementing the company’s Payables Automation solution that included a vendor portal, e-invoicing, OCR (optical character recognition) scanning technology, and automated workflows.

Shortly after the launch, Staples and his department began to realize benefits. Most notable, Corcentric’s Payables Automation solution reduced errors and exception handling. With more than 3,000 approvers across the University, the cloud-based solution immediately eliminated manual entry errors.

“We have a lot of voided and returned checks because the department didn’t know to check the right remit address,” Staples said. “Corcentric matches that remit address automatically, so exception handling has gone down.”

Going paperless has also freed up important resources. Some of the University’s vendors send up to 3,000 invoices a week, which prior to the automation solution, were handled manually and created a huge burden for the AP department. Now those staff members can turn their focus to more strategic projects and even take advantage of early-payment discounts.

“The AP department is now a cost-efficient center that can focus on high-value payment services,” Staples said.

With the help of Corcentric, the University of Florida’s accounts payable practices have gone from barely passing to the head of the class. What was once a decentralized, complex and time-consuming system, is now a streamlined, easy-to-use, cost-efficient process.

There is much more to this story. You can read the full case study on how the University of Florida transformed its accounts payable process by visiting the Corcentric website

Michelle St. Rose is a business solutions architect at Corcentric.