Home News & Insights Case study: Social service provider unlocks the benefits of automation

Case study: Social service provider unlocks the benefits of automation

Anglican Care Waiapu is the social service arm of the Anglican Diocese of Waiapu. It is a major provider of aged care, as well as child and family services, throughout the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and the East Cape. Waiapu’s central administration centre, based in Napier, oversees six resthome facilities, 10 retirement villages and 400 employees.

Waiapu’s general manager of corporate services, Brent Chamberlain, oversees the group’s financial operations for the wider group. He says the catalyst for engaging Sharp was to streamline Waiapu’s accounts payable function and enhance visibility of spending details across the various sites.

“ ...when it came to updating the asset schedule I had to request a scanned copy of the invoice. That meant I was forever asking sites for copies of invoices.”

“Previously, through our centralised server, I could see what each rest home or facility was putting through the finance system but I couldn’t see the individual invoice details. So when it came to updating the asset schedule, or for repairs and maintenance, I had to request a scanned copy of the invoice. That meant I was forever asking sites for copies of invoices.”

Brent had already experienced the benefits of business automation tools like PlusOne in his previous role with a large Australasian company. A number of proposals were put forward to Anglican Care Waiapu but the PlusOne solution recommended by Sharp was selected as the best fit, for both cost and functionality.

What is PlusOne?

PlusOne combines cloud-based software with a quality assurance team, automating the accounts payable function to slash invoicing costs and error rates, boost visibility of finances, and minimise the risk of fraud. Designed for companies that process more than 1,000 accounts payable invoices each month, it is particularly suited to organisations, like Anglican Care Waiapu, that have a network of offices or sites. As a cloud-based system, PlusOne can be easily integrated with existing accounts payable or ERP systems.

Multiple efficiencies

Most of Waiapu’s suppliers now email their invoices, in a prescribed pdf format, directly to the PlusOne platform. “Although we still receive the odd handwritten invoices from some of our smaller suppliers, 90 per cent of our invoices now go directly to PlusOne,” explains Brent. As each invoice arrives, the system automatically processes the key metadata including date, amount charged, and the supplier’s GST number. The invoices become electronic records in an aggregated database, which is uploaded every night.

“ PlusOne saves our finance teams a lot of time, because they no longer need to key in the data manually.”

“It will pick the data up without requiring any human intervention from my team. All our staff need to do is decide where it should be coded to, whether it’s maintenance or utilities and so on.”

Improved reporting & visibility

Sharp with PlusOne creates an export file, including all invoices and the accompanying coding, that gets imported into Waiapu’s existing accounting system. The information is in a posted state, ready for payment. “As well as pulling across the data from each invoice, it also provides a hyperlink that I can click on to view a copy of the scanned invoice – which is great,” says Brent.

This is also useful at audit time, since the paperwork is immediately visible on the system. Brent’s team no longer has to chase down invoices from the individual sites. Brent says another benefit of PlusOne is that it has tightened up compliance around payment authority levels.

All invoices are routed automatically to the correct approver, according to Waiapu’s pre-set business rules. “Although we’ve never had any problems, it has helped us tighten up and enforce our policies. With the solution’s payment authority module, you assign those authority levels and you physically cannot make the payment without it.”

Proven value

PlusOne, provided by Sharp, was initially implemented across Waiapu’s aged care business, which had the greatest need for improved visibility. But now the solution’s value has been proven, there are plans to roll it out across Child and Family Services as well.

Brent Chamberlain says the visibility and processing of invoices have both greatly improved with PlusOne. “For an organisation that processes a lot of invoices, or has branches over a diverse geographical area like we do, it certainly enhances your finance function.”

To find out more about Sharp and PlusOne’s AP Automation Solution - and how it will help your organisation – book a demo or contact the Sharp Business Solutions team on:

0800 501 201

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Ashley Harder is the Brand and Communications Manager at Sharp New Zealand. She spent several years in Central London marketing commercial property before moving to New Zealand and into the exciting world of technology. Her passion is affecting strategic change for businesses through collaboration and smart tech. Ash lives in Auckland with her husband and four cats, who she likes very very much