Asahi in Australia
Asahi is the largest brewer in Japan with a head office in Tokyo, 147 subsidiaries globally and 95 manufacturing plants. Asahi Australia came to Micro Image for a solution to help them streamline what was previously a time-consuming invoice processing procedure.
Asahi was finding there was a lack of data around the status of individual invoices. Staff were spending a large amount of time manually locating, indexing and validating data, while duplicate invoices were being reviewed multiple times.
The challenge was in finding a solution that provided a single source of truth and transparency for tracking how an invoice entered into the Asahi AP systems to enable downstream accountability and KPI management.
Micro Image were already capturing the inbound invoices and suggested implementing an automated process to validate and deal with exceptions, allowing only invoices that met the business rules to go through for payment processing.
As Asahi’s Finance Team Lead explained “We knew there had to be a better way. We weren’t taking advantage of the OCR or the process efficiencies that could be provided.”
Micro Image tailored a solution for Asahi that completely automated the validation and indexing process of its Accounts Payable documents. For a business of Asahi’s size, such a transformation was massive. It required input from and buy-in from stakeholders across the business – IT, Procurement and Accounts Payable in particular – not to mention the thousands of different vendors across three different business units.
A custom solution was specified to Asahi’s specific needs and requirements, including:
- Templated invoice indexing, validation and QA – providing duplicate removal, exception management, vendor email alert for rejected invoices
- Digital and physical mailroom management
- Invoice scanning and processing
- Daily and weekly reporting
- Cloud-hosted document management
Micro Image then worked closely with Asahi’s finance team to roll out the solution over two distinct stages.
- Funnelling 180,000 invoices (print and electronic) received across three business units each year into a single channel managed by Micro Image.
- Automating 20+ validation requirements including Purchase Order (PO), Bank Account and ABN.
This stage saw all validated data collected from the compliant invoices automatically uploaded into the system without the need for manual review by a staff member. Any document that isn’t compliant becomes automatically flagged for manual processing.
Custom reporting and analytics tools were deployed to provide management with real-time insights. Valuable transparency is built into the accounts payable process with daily automated reporting of invoice status and a dashboard overview of workflow and team progress, including parked invoice management.
Security features are also integrated into the automated process, including banking metadata cross-matching and duplicate invoice flagging, reducing the risk of fraudulent invoicing.
An Outstanding Result
Stage 1 alone saw a huge improvement in productivity, literally freeing up the time of one staff member. If an invoice isn’t validated, an email is sent to the vendor letting them know that it is non-compliant and needs to be resupplied – without manual intervention. The Asahi finance team enjoyed the dependability of an automated system that delivered the benefits of immediate digital processing with relevant notifications.
“It’s a true win/win for our Accounts Payable team and our vendors. The time saved in manual processing is enormous. We now have full visibility, accountability and control over the process – invoices don’t go missing anymore. These improvements don’t just benefit us, they’ve also been very beneficial for our vendors. There’s less escalations, better communication and less payment delays.” Asahi Finance Manager