How we transformed Accenture’s client invoicing process from days into minutes
September 16, 2019
When I first started with Accenture way back when, I never imagined we would be issuing more than half a million client invoices a year. But we are. Along with a volume that keeps growing, the time to get an invoice out was taking too long and the process for our executives and billing team had become cumbersome. On average the process took three days.
We knew we needed to change the situation. And we did. Our Finance organization reached out to our internal IT organization to work on a solution. The goal was to enable Accenture business executives to be able to create simpler invoices for themselves.
Starting with a clean slate
Solution-wise, we started with a clean slate and worked from a modern technology foundation—one that is cloud based, platform driven, and digitally oriented. Being platform driven allows our internal IT organization to develop new business solutions in different ways. In this case, we took advantage of the capabilities of ServiceNow™, which let us create complete connected experiences for a business activity, such as invoicing, by automating workflow and business processes across our other platforms.
Transforming invoice production
The project team redesigned the invoicing process using knowledge gained from our internal IT’s experience with the ServiceNow platform and Finance’s skills and experience. The team developed a digital, self-service, online request form that retrieves live contract data directly from Accenture’s SAP S/4HANA® enterprise system and applies all necessary validation to ensure a billing document is complete and compliant with Accenture policies.
The outcome is a digital automated billing production solution using ServiceNow’s enterprise-grade workflow functionality that supports billing production requests and fulfillment in a single, cohesive flow across Accenture platforms. ServiceNow interacts with Accenture’s enterprise system to post and produce the final document. The invoice production request and retrieval process is simple, fast, and accurate.
Going from days to minutes
Accenture executives today can rapidly prepare and deliver client invoices independently by taking advantage of smart functionalities and automation. Finance and non-Finance people can now produce invoices and credit notes in a matter of minutes rather than days.
Our solution successfully streamlines activities, radically reduces the production time involved in client invoicing, enhances Accenture’s cash flow, and is measurably reducing the number of people needed to handle ever-increasing invoice volumes and redeploying them to higher-value activities.
We haven’t stopped there, though. We continue to evolve our solution. We are, for example, incorporating local country requirements and adding a “mass invoice” upload solution to support large client accounts that need to create high volumes of invoice documents in a single transaction.
The automated billing solution is the first application of ServiceNow within Accenture supporting a business-critical financial process. Like many of today’s technology undertakings, one achievement opens the door to many more possibilities. Already, our Finance and internal IT team are working on other similar opportunities.
Take a read of our before and after state of our invoice process and see what possibilities our solution may spark for your organization.