Remaining competitive in an industry under immense pressure calls for increased levels of digitalization and automation. This is why Aker Solutions has the ambition to reengineer its invoicing process and transform it into a touchless end-to-end practice – with 30% efficiency gains in the pipeline.
The oil and gas industry is increasingly turning to digital to deliver more energy options, reduce cost and provide higher customer satisfaction. Aker Solutions ASA, a company accelerating the transition to sustainable energies with its head office based in Oslo, is no exception. It constantly tries to find new ways to optimize processes and minimize costs, while providing the products, systems and services required to unlock energy from sources such as oil, gas and offshore wind.
The vendor invoice process is an area where re-engineered processes and intelligent automation can enable accounts payable to cut costs, create efficiencies and improve compliance. To most companies, processing invoices involves a great amount of time and manual labor for accounts payable (AP) operations. Based on Cognizant’s data, gleaned from over a decade of working with clients, more than 28% of transactions are in general paid late or inaccurately because of data errors, process issues, or both. Much of the work required to resolve these issues is high-volume, repetitive and rules-based.
Touchless, top of the CFO agenda
All this makes AP processes excellent candidates for automation; no wonder touchless processes are on every CFO’s agenda. This goes for Aker Solutions too. With a company strategy that includes a move towards digitalization, it set out to transform the invoicing practice into a straight end-to-end process.
The idea of a touchless invoice program is to process the accounts payables without too many human interventions.
“Transitioning to paperless invoice processing means fewer mistakes,” says Hans Hasselgren, Head of Digital Operations, Cognizant Nordics. “Generally, by eliminating the time-consuming process of receiving an invoice, delivering it to the appropriate party for approval, keying in the data, and filing the hard copy, AP teams find themselves with the time to devote to working on strategic initiatives.”
Complex finance environments
However, it’s a complex environment as finance is not a stand-alone function, but has upstream and cross-stream dependencies. Transforming to touchless practices will need change across all dimensions, an end-to-end process redesign, and strong support across the company. Typically, issues like unprepared suppliers, complicated approval processes and manual workarounds need to be addressed.
“Cognizant and Aker Solutions have worked together to improve our vendor invoice processes,” says Merete Åsenden, Head of Financial Solutions – Operations, Aker Solutions. “This improvement initiative matched our future ambitions, and we were convinced that we should proceed with the transformation project.”
Efficiency gains ahead
By combining processes enabled with automation and intelligent technologies, Cognizant now helps streamline the vendor invoice and payment process.
The outsourcing project started in 2016, while the ambition to transition towards a touchless project plan, with clearly defined responsibilities, has matured over the past 1,5 years. Cognizant’s domain expertise within accounting services and IT experience has been important; Aker’s environment is complex and several systems need to be integrated.
The transformation project moves forward and new ideas are implemented. This is a continuous process, and Aker Solution will hopefully reap the benefits ahead: fewer errors, a speedier approval process and reduced costs for the vendor invoice process.
To learn more, please visit Cognizant’s Digital Finance & Accounting section of the web.