Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: INVOICE SCANNING in ACCOUNTS PAYABLE
Year Submitted 2011
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name Title
Lisa Ross
Sue Williams
Irene St. John
Tony Barnfather
Theresa Mueller
Sue Eaton
Sena Alipui
Josie Gaudet
Shane Royal
Name of Institution University of Calgary
Office Address 2500 University Drive N.W
Calgary, Alberta T2N IN4
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Telephone: 403-220-6576
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Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Jonathan (Jake) Gebert
Office Address 2500 University Drive N.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2N IN4
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Telephone: (403) 220-6435
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In 2007 the University of Calgary began to look at ways to improve transparency, efficiency, quality and control within the Supply Chain Management Portfolio, Committed to a high level of service to students, faculty and staff the Invoice Scanning project was launched.

The Invoice Scanning project began with analysis of current processes and structure within the Accounts Payable Team, Working with Xerox; a pilot group and tools were selected and design began. We chose to build an automated workflow within our ERP system PeopleSoft. Utilizing our ERP system provided us with lower sustainability costs and launched a pilot for workflow as well as scanning of documents. Although the pilot was to begin with Invoices the vision to ensure we had a global document repository was clear.

Kofax was chosen as our scanning software as it provided an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology that would allow us to decrease the data entry significantly by auto-populating common information directly into PeopleSoft. This included such things as Invoice Number, Invoice Date, Invoice Amount, and Purchase Order Number.

Documentum was chosen as our electronic document repository, It allowed for the invoices to be stored outside of the ERP system but maintained both an audit trail and link to PeopleSoft.

The pilot group of Capital Invoices for the University of Calgary allowed us to build the system to accommodate our highest value invoices with the most complex workflow. Once successful with this pilot we would be able to easily scan invoices for other groups on campus.

This innovative project has successfully built a foundation of document scanning at the University of Calgary. With this foundation we can now begin to eliminate storage of hard copies and free up space on campus, A paperless environment in the making.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

The invoice scanning project can be easily applied at other institutions as it uses three different tools (Kofax, Documentum and PeopleSoft), For example, documents can be scanned for filing purpose or can be scanned, filed and the data transferred in the ERP system for viewing purpose. Although there were considerable implementation costs, the ongoing costs are very reasonable. The yearly operating cost is below $40,000 after full implementation and is variable based on the volume of invoices to scan. The second reason the invoice scanning project is transferable is related to the functionalities and workflow configurations in PeopleSoft. Several universities use the PeopleSoft ERP System and can benefit from the positive experience of University of Calgary.

Quality Impact

The business case supporting the invoice scanning project outlined the below quantitative objectives: - Reduction in the Invoice processing delays - Quick resolution of problem invoices - Reduction in the validation and approval lime for quicker payment of vendor - Campus wide accessibility of processed invoices. Although data is not available to substantiate the success of ail of the above objectives, results indicate that problems are being resolved more quickly and payments issued on time. This improves the quality of the relationship with vendors and decreases the volume of customer service inquiries. Another positive impact of the scanning project is improved financial controls. Once the invoices are scanned they get in the approval workflow and won't be paid unless they're reviewed, approved by a PeopleSoft authorized approver. All the documentation is also available and eases the review process.

Productivity Impact

The main productivity gain is an increased invoice processing speed. For example, during the second quarter (July - September) of fiscal year 2010/2011, the manual invoice processing speed was 9 invoices/hour compared to 30 invoices/hour for scanned invoices for the same period. A review of the accounts payable top 10 vendor list ($) shows that scanning was utilized for 60% of the vendors on the list for a value representing 40% ($191 M) of the dollars paid by accounts payable from the first to the third quarter of fiscal year 2010/2011.


The invoice scanning project is a step forward in moving from manual based processes to automated processes. Few universities in North America are using scanning to load invoices in their ERP system. The combination of tools used to realize the invoice scanning project (Kofax, Documentum, etc..) is an innovation in the higher education environment. Scanning invoices is common in the private sector where the volume of same format invoices is high. In the university environment, there's a large variety of vendors (i.e.; small contractors, individuals etc.) Using different types of documentation to request payment, it makes implementing a scanning project a significant challenge. The workflow configurations in PeopleSoft make this project innovative and distinct from previous submissions. Having data captured from a hard copy invoice and matched to a purchase order, have them reviewed and approved online is a major step forward.