Aberdeen City Council expects to save £100,000 a year by using the cloud to overhaul its invoicing system.
The Scottish authority will begin using Advanced Business Solutions’ Cloud Invoicing tool from October to process 75,000 invoices every year from 147 service suppliers.
The automated accounting tool will replace the paper-based invoice system, cutting down on admin costs as well as postage and packaging expenses to achieve the saving.
The council also predicts it will speed up the procedure as the authority tries to remain compliant with the Government’s late payment legislation.
Aberdeen City Council’s finance convener, councillor Willie Young, said: "We will be one of the first councils in the UK to be fully automated in terms of accounts payable. This will help not only to save the council money, but also to free up staff time.
"It reflects how forward-thinking we are in the use of computer systems and new technology to speed up the payment process and save public money."
The cloud service will integrate with Aberdeen council’s current eFinancials accounting system, also supplied by Advanced.
This means suppliers can send PDF invoices to a designated email address, from which the cloud service will extract the digital invoices.
The tool then converts the PDFs into a format readable by eFinancials, which then validates the invoice before processing payment.
The authority’s financial services manager, Garry Stevens, said: "We anticipate that Advanced Cloud Invoicing will considerably reduce the cost to process a matched invoice through the cloud solution.
"Removing the manual administration from our AP function will also enable us to free-up staff time to focus on value-added activities and eliminate human errors and payment inaccuracies."
He added that it will help the council meet the Government’s updated late payments legislation, where payments must be made within 30 days of invoicing, and avoid embarrassment after it became a legal requirement in June for councils to publish their payment performance.
"We are fully prepared for new legislative changes. Advanced’s solution will notify us on receipt of a supplier invoice, automatically transfer it into eFinancials and schedule for payment in the space of five minutes where it matches, by fully automating our AP processes," he said.
"This process has supported positive discussions with our suppliers, helping us to consider discounts from them as we can ensure prompt payment of invoices. This will enable us to further invest in improving the Accounts Payable function."
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