Lift & Shift or is it time for a Step Change!

/ by
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Is it time to take the cost out of your finance and accounting Business Process Outsource model?

Why do organisations believe that ‘Lift & Shift’ of their business mess to an outsourcer will be easy? Can simply moving the process intact to the outsourcer deliver the magical 30% annual cost saving?

The reality, in most cases, is very different and there are many case studies to prove the point.

Simply transferring your processes, applications and poor practices to the capable hands (we hope) of your low cost BPO partner, will deliver, not surprisingly, the same outcomes you have today.

Your outsourcer takes your current inefficient processes and moves them to a different part of the world to take advantage of low paid workers, who don’t know your business. The data flow from your suppliers and customers is business critical, so why would you entrust this to them?

Primarily they cost less than your experienced staff, but they must learn your systems and business process.

  • To help them you may have taken the time to digitise your paper-based processes, such as scanning the receipt of your supplier invoices or your customer orders.
  • You may have invested in OCR to convert your scanned image into a digitised and searchable document, that is assuming you have scanned the paper correctly in the first place and the OCR hasn’t turned the 6 into an s or a B into an 8??
  • These scanned images may also be archived in your Sharepoint or Dropbox folders and if we have gone the extra mile the documents may be sitting in your workflow application, waiting for coding, approvals, validations and exception management? But remember when you outsource you or they must get the original documents to the new team to process.

Sure, there are many success stories and the BPO industry manages some of the largest and most well-known business in the world, and some forward-thinking outsourcers are embracing innovation as a collaborative approach with their clients, so it isn’t all doom and gloom.

But, and it’s a big but, innovation is key. Imagine having a legacy OCR solution that, at best, is delivering 20% recognition levels, you have little or no control of how suppliers and customers are sending their data to you and you have poor compliance over the data that is actually on the documents e.g. missing mandatory fields, invalid data, duplicates, incorrect part codes or VAT rates etc…

Can you really expect the outsourcer to cope with and deliver the benefits that the 300-page outsourcing contract suggests will be made available?

Most companies that outsource not only have to tinker with their contracts post the transfer phase, but also have to invest in both innovation and process transformation to achieve the benefits of the promised land.

Digital Transformation Before Outsourcing – What a novel thought!

Is your BPO provider committed and contracted to invest in new technologies?

In my view, unless the outsourcer is contracted to deliver innovation and incremental year on year tangible benefits, you must embrace the required transformation before you pull the plug.

This way you control the change agenda, deliver innovative and best of breed technologies to start the journey, before you outsource!

At least now the BPO provider stands a fighting chance of delivering the agreed benefits and making your finance processes world class.

Business process transformation needs to be easy, risk-free and deliver rapid benefits.

Enter CloudTrade, a completely free service for customers and suppliers to send their invoices to you by email.

Your senders benefit from:

  • no cost
  • no IT project to set up the service (they may already be emailing these documents)
  • and common adoption rates of 80-90% are what we experience.

Generally, a supplier produces an invoice, prints it, then scans to an email. You, the poor buyer, must hope the document has been scanned so its legible, so you can key the data into your system from the image. You may have to print the doc ‘again’, scan again and use OCR so you can key the errors by hand, which, is just what the BPO provider does – Crazy to say the least, but it is the reality.

There is however an alternative the smart guys at CloudTrade have developed tools and a methodology to help you encourage your suppliers or indeed your customers to create their documents as digital files and email them, so no scanning or OCR required with CloudTrade, great so no data errors, either!

With these digital data rich files our task is to extract data that is needed to complete the transaction. Sounds complicated and difficult but CloudTrade believe that data acquisition is a ‘logical’ problem and have developed a super-smart piece of tech that sits in the cloud to read your documents without making mistakes. No more reading of an S as a 6, in fact they guarantee to extract the data you need with 100% accuracy – a very rare statement in the data capture industry.

Once the data is captured, its run through their patented rules engine. Using the same rules and logic your staff use to process documents, but automatically and in seconds, irrespective of the size and complexity of the document.

The final step is to validate the content against your business requirements, enrich or transform the data to enable automated upload to your downstream application, such as SAP, Oracle, Sage, Xero, Quickbooks etc. so if the invoice is missing or has incorrect data CloudTrade’s rules deal with it so you don’t have to.

Non-compliant documents having missing information and or invalid data and can be rejected back to the sender or routed for intervention, or alternatively, the data can be derived from your systems, the choice is yours.

BPO vendors call what we do ‘Lights Out Processing’ – compliant and legible data documents received by email are processed with 100% accuracy and posted directly to your processing applications with no touch.

Let’s face it if there are two critical business processes to protect, it must be the receipt of orders and invoices. Get these wrong and all hell breaks loose, it can cost us money or in the worst-case scenario the business!

Does a 100% data accuracy approach sound like it could be of value to your business?

Remember, innovate and transform before you outsource, this way you stand a fighting chance of success, happy days….