Paper processes don't stand a chance in the modern construction landscape. With technology advancements driving higher standards across the industry, a competitive edge requires digital transformation. Undergoing this digital transformation, a client came to us to implement a completely paperless accounts payable system to reduce cycle times and streamline processes. The brief was to take their existing accounting system and integrate the procurement and project management platforms to remove the dependence on paper.
Our Business Analysts (BA's) engaged with the business stakeholders and users from various departments. The objective was to understand the existing paper-based accounts payable process and collaboratively design a new digital approach. The system needed to raise and approve purchase orders, process tax invoices, adjustment notes and delivery documents and pay the vendor based on the digital payment support documents. The new process required several system changes and integrations co-designed by the Fabric technical team and the client architecture team. The process allowed us to accurately size and plan the work, forecast the investment and time required to deliver the expected value to the organisation and its partners.
Business stakeholders prioritised the feature set based on value and effort to build and support in the future. Our BA's sliced the features into comprehensible user stories that the business reviewed to ensure we were delivering the right value and requirements. Our engineers frequently collaborated with the client's technical team to showcase the developed features and captured the users' feedback to incorporate into future product development.
Our team of quality assurance engineers established an agile approach that tested and verified functionality during development. The process reduced the cost of the framework as it raised and resolved potential issues early. Our team integrated automated tests with CI pipelines, saving time and cost on manual functional testing and reducing the risk of possible problems caused by upgrading. We are proud to have released this product without any critical or major defects reported by end-users.
The new paperless accounts payable process meant a significant change in the user journeys for project staff, procurement and central accounts payable teams. We assisted the client in preparing the training materials for almost 1,000 users across Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. We conducted user acceptance testing (UAT) with 60 users to validate the digital process and gather feedback to incorporate into the final solution. The research confirmed that the new software supported the users' expected role and responsibilities in the accounts payable process.
The business released the solution after it was thoroughly tested and validated with the key stakeholders and selected users. The solution rollout required a complex data migration and a comprehensive user support system that addressed questions or issues. During this process, we consolidated feedback and prioritised areas for further improvements. These enhancements were iteratively implemented and released after the new paperless accounts payable process was established.
The new features enable processing tax invoices, delivery documents, adjustment notes, and vendor payments to be completely paperless. The team reduced the risk of payment errors by implementing controls that ensured the supporting documents were accurate.
The procurement system integrates seamlessly with systems to eliminate paper-based steps in raising and approving a purchase requisition. Once approved, the accounting system automatically reflects the purchase order and is ready for invoicing, delivery and payment.
The team developed training videos and user guides to help the organisation adopt the new process. Our consultants supported the client's team of coaches in producing the necessary materials, recording the new features' demonstrations, and training the users across multiple projects in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Our team significantly increased the application's automated test coverage, including the integration between the procurement and accounting systems. The tests reduce the ongoing effort required to make future changes to the functionality, give more confidence in refactoring, and reduce the risk of errors that impact business operations or compliance with the tax laws.
In collaboration with the client team, we established robust quality assurance processes and practices that verify new functionality at every stage of the software development process.
The project halved the time required to process a tax invoice, a delivery document or an adjustment note issued by a vendor. The project significantly reduced the time taken for project teams to request and receive materials, services and tools. Workers also avoided potential delays and wait time at construction sites.
The system validates all payment requests to ensure they have sufficient payment support documentation for the central accounts payable team to review, allowing the client to avoid any potential compliance risk or negative impact on business operations.
The reduced turnaround time, elimination of errors and a completely paperless environment has improved the client vendors' satisfaction. They have reported that the invoicing and payments process is more comfortable and predictable.
Employees reported higher satisfaction than previous software delivery projects due to their end-to-end involvement in the new process. They felt engaged throughout the delivery process, making them more prepared for a change that happened after the rollout.
Future enhancements and changes to the system's functionality will require less investment due to the high automation test coverage and a robust quality assurance process introduced to the client software delivery ways of working.
The organisation nominated the project for the best software project of the year.
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