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NCH improves accounts system with Version One system

Antony Savvas

Children's charity NCH has improved its accounts payable (AP) processes with Version One's document imaging technology DbArchive.

By using Version One's solution, which is integrated into NCH's OpenAccounts eFinance system, NCH can electronically store 180,000 documents every year.

This significantly improves AP efficiency and saves money, said NCH.

NCH has about 500 project teams which work with more than 178,000 children, young people and their families across the UK. AP documents include purchase invoices, staff expense forms, mileage claims and petty cash forms.

Paul Addington, finance change programme manager at NCH, said, "Before Version One's technology, obtaining an AP document and resolving an invoice query were both long and tedious processes.

"It could take many days for a simple invoice query to be resolved. These processes were also extremely costly in terms of fax and postage charges as well as staff time, and as a charity, these overheads were totally unacceptable."

NCH has now resolved the issues that used to plague its AP processes. With Version One, each AP document arriving into NCH's head office is affixed with a barcode and imaged using a high-speed i280 Kodak scanner.

With the help of the barcode, the image is then automatically tagged to the appropriate record in the OpenAccounts system. The original paper document is eventually destroyed.

By using the OpenAccounts ledger or by using the web-based browser, users can view all imaged AP documents directly from their PC screen, putting an end to staff searching filing cabinets and warehouses full of archived paperwork.

In addition, the imaging system has transformed the document authorisation process. Instead of posting and faxing documents for authorisation, staff can approve documents directly from their desktop regardless of where they are in the UK.

Addington said, "It's now possible for AP queries to be resolved within seconds, freeing-up staff time."

He said purchase invoice approval times have also been cut, providing greater control over how and when suppliers are paid.

Costs have been reduced by "many thousands of pounds, freeing-up funds that can be used by the charity more effectively," said Addington.

He said the technology would now be rolled out to other parts of the organisation.

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