The Christian Schools Association (Christelijke Scholengemeenschap – CSG) was regularly approached by Purchase to Pay software suppliers, including ProActive. Still not convinced of the software’s advantages, they continuously declined the offers. A few years later, ProActive introduced a new version. This version of the ProActive Software appealed to CSG Liudger.
CSG Liudger is a broad association of Christian schools, with five locations for continued education in Friesland. The financial administrative office is also at one of these locations and it is there that they work on budgets, accounts payable, purchase invoices, and other bookkeeping. Halbe Van Der Wal, the head of Financial Administration, discusses their turning point.
“A few years ago, invoice processing took place by mail. Invoices were received at various locations. The person who ordered signed first for receipt, then the invoice was sent to the budget holder. Sometimes, a review took place in between, so three signatures were necessary. The invoice was then sent to the local director, who ultimately sent it to financial administration. In total, this took five to ten days.”
Although the time it took to process invoices was a thorny issue, CSG Liudger was not convinced of the advantages that would come with the Purchase to Pay software, which they had yet to see. However, it did get them thinking. After carefully considering the costs and benefits, they finally took the plunge and decided to make the purchase.
Kindness and convenience
“Multiple organisations visited to give demonstrations. We selected the two most suitable candidates to move forward with. During the reference visit, we saw how simple ProActive works in practice. We were looking for extremely user-friendly software. If everyone can work with it, then the amount of work that can be done becomes much greater. It was the user-friendly quality of this neatly-designed system and the discussions with the account manager that made us choose ProActive. It is not just about the software itself, but the people that you will be involved with.
The implementation went smoothly. After the training, CSG Liudger starting using ProActive. “Our ProActive users are the local directors, our management, the head of Facility Services, the head of ICT, and, of course, the people who make our orders as well. We quickly adapted to the changeover from paper to digital, though some of our colleagues thought the reminder e-mail was spam.”
Nearly all invoices are received centrally. Half of the invoices go directly to the digital inbox. The handful of invoices that are still received on location are scanned and sent to financial administration. Afterward, they are sent to the financial package, AFAS, for payment. All in all, invoices have a processing time of less than five days…
In addition to daily invoices, CSG Liudger works with special invoices. “The invoices for the energy supplier are distributed over multiple locations. We do this when they are sent to an authorised signatory. We also have invoices that we distribute over several periods, such as invoices for the advisory board. For these, we pay a sum of X per student per schoolyear.
Less FTE on the job
CSG Liudger chose ProActive because they wanted to decrease the time required for processing invoices by digitising the procedure in a practical way. What they had not expected, but what has been a lucrative side effect, is that they now operate at half an FTE less. That has not been the only positive side effect. “I notice that our budget holders are more discerning and look at the invoices differently. They more frequently notice from the coding that an invoice is for another location. This is because invoices arrive more sporadically now and the budget holders no longer have to rummage through a huge stack of paperwork to provide their signature.
ProActive delivers concrete results. Many people are benefitting from making these business operations easier. The status of invoices is constantly clear and I can see why a reviewer declines an invoice. I would never go back to the way it was.”