Biffa – Invoice Processing

Project Background

Biffa is a leading integrated waste management company with a turnover in excess of £990m.  The business employs 7,900 employees and operates 2,794 frontline vehicles, collecting over 6.6 million tonnes of waste per year. Digitise Invoice with Cleardata

Their AP team processed over 370,000 invoices annually.   Biffa wanted an automated solution to standardise their back office, reduce manual tasks and allow their staff to concentrate on more value added activities, enabling the business to grow in a more efficient manner.

Manual Processes and Issues

  • 370,000 incoming invoices, paper and electronic received annually.
  • Required a high volume of staff to process.
  • Paper invoices were scanned onsite by Biffa’s Accounts Payable staff, with a significant proportion of time spent scanning. Costs were also incurred for scanners, licensing and maintenance costs, with some scanning quality issues.
  • On premise Kofax Solution was used previously. This required a lot of manual effort as many invoices fell outside of the OCR validation.
  • Limited data reporting was available.

The Solution

  • All digital invoices, credit notes and statements are received by Cleardata via a dedicated email inbox. On receipt, documents are downloaded for same day processing.
  • Paper documentation and invoices are diverted to Cleardata’s secure mailroom. On arrival, they’re opened, sorted and scanned to 300dpi.
  • Supplier codes and identification are validated against a feed from Biffa’s supplier and legal entity databases.
  • Invoice number, date, purchase order number, legal entity, supplier name, address fields, currency, net, vat and gross amounts are automatically extracted from the digitised image using Cleardata’s intelligent capture software.
  • Expected fields are validated e.g. supplier name, address, email, company registration number, VAT registration number and purchase order number.
  • Invoice compliance rules are applied, e.g. if no purchase order number is available a no PO, no pay exception is raised, with a valid exception code raised.
  • An automated email is sent back to the supplier rejecting their invoice due to no PO.
  • Captured data is securely stored and utilised for auditing, reporting and query needs.
  • Exceptions can be reported on using the various exception codes, providing valuable information on regular issues by supplier.
  • Digital images and exceptions queue is available via Cleardata’s Cleardox Electronic Document Management Solution for Biffa’s Finance Team to access and action.

Customer Feedback

Cleardata’s automated invoice processing solution has helped Biffa to operate in a more efficient way, reducing time spent on manual activities within both the back office and the operating business. It has also significantly increased process compliance, delivering direct business benefit and enhancing the way we interact with our suppliers

We have found their team to be helpful for each step of the process, giving us lots of innovative ideas to make our invoice processes more efficient. Our processing speeds have increased and exceptions reduced, with suppliers automatically notified for no PO, no pay. We are also able to see reports, showing exceptions and highlighting any frequent issues.