Decentralizing Your Accounts Payable

By Helen Freese posted 03-08-2013 03:47 PM


I have recently been working with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) on improvements to their Procure-to-Pay process. These improvements include streamlining their procurement process and reducing redundancy.

With the upgrade to PeopleSoft Financials 9.1, we were able to streamline the entry of invoices by utilizing several of the new delivered functionalities.  This included the new approval framework for workflow and the attachment feature for vouchers.

Old Processing Redundancies and Issues

The old procedure for processing non-PO related invoices included was very cumbersome. When the college received an invoice not related to a purchase order, they would create a requisition and attach the invoice. The requisition would go through workflow for approval. Once approved, the buyers would have to source the requisition to a purchase order and email the purchase order, along with the invoice, to Accounts Payable instead of the vendor.  If the buyer accidentally sent the PO to the vendor instead of AP, there was the potential for a duplicate order.

When AP received the PO and invoice via email, AP would create a voucher against the PO and pay the invoice. This required the invoice to be entered a second time into the system, first as a requisition and second as a voucher. Also, there was potential for delays in payment if the vendor’s remit address was not in the system. If the address was not in the system, AP would have to contact the vendor to obtain the vendor’s remit information before payment.

New Processing Efficiencies

With the upgrade to PeopleSoft Financials 9.1 at KCTCS, we were able to implement workflow for the vouchers using the new approval framework. Also, since vouchers now support attachments, invoices could be attached directly to the voucher. This allowed for the decentralization of Accounts Payable for the non-PO related invoices.    

Now instead of the non-PO related invoices being entered as a requisition, the colleges create a voucher and attach the invoice. The voucher is then routed through workflow for electronic approval. This means that the invoice is only entered into the system once. Included in the workflow are the buyers and AP. The buyers verify the invoice meets the purchasing standards established by KCTCS for non-PO related purchases. For AP, they now audit the invoices instead of creating the vouchers. 

Challenges Overcome

The three biggest challenges that we faced with this project were (1) determining the overall configuration requirements, (2) determining who was responsible for what, and (3) determining how to communicate and train the colleges. We started by looking at the existing configuration, including the existing workflow for requisitions. Since AP consisted currently of only one business unit, the first issue was creating an AP business unit for each of the colleges.  This had a major impact on General Ledger and required the involvement of the GL folks to determine how to make this happen. The workflow configuration was the next issue we tackled. We needed to ensure the workflow included all the current approvers along with AP and, in some cases, Purchasing. 

We spent a lot of time working on the configuration requirements and business procedures. All of these things were documented thoroughly. Once the key decisions were made, all of this had to be communicated to the colleges. We started by doing an overview presentation of the process to the business offices for the colleges at their annual meeting at the Systems Office. In addition, emails were sent out well ahead of time informing the users of the upcoming changes and training schedules. This allowed for planning by the colleges in advance of the training. During the upgrade, live meeting was used to deliver training. After the upgrade, there were lots of issues with the training being delivered via live meeting. For this training we decided to do regional training sessions for the colleges. We asked several of the colleges to host these training sessions in their computer labs. We used UPK to create the training documents. All the training documentation was then placed on the web for the users to have access after the go-live.

Working with KCTCS staff on this project – especially Kim Freeman, Director of Accounts Payable – has been a great experience.

Interested in Learning More?

I will be co-presenting a session at Alliance 2013 with Kimberly Freeman (Accounts Payable Director at KCTCS) titled “Decentralizing your Accounts Payable” (Session #31033) on Tuesday, March 19, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


About Helen Freese

CedarCrestone Senior Finaincials Consultant Helen Freese has more than 15 years of PeopleSoft experience and more than 30 years experience in developing enterprise software, with the majority of her career spent in Higher Education. She has extensive experience in the full lifecycle of application development and concrete knowledge of database concepts. Over the past 10 years, Helen has held lead positions implementing PeopleSoft modules in the financial product line for several higher education and commercial clients. She has worked extensively with eProcurement, Purchasing, Accounts Payable, General Ledger, and Commitment Accounting –through the full lifecycle of the implementation. She has worked with both end users and technical teams on various implementations along with providing support after implementation. Most recently, Helen has been bringing her considerable skills to the CedarCrestone projects at Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). She has been working with KCTCS both technically and functionally on the development and support of a custom Budget module, on process improvements for the Procure-to-Pay applications, and on KCTCS’s other PeopleSoft Financial Applications.

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