Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Accounts Payable Automation Enables Real-Time Status Along Every Step of Procure-to-Pay Process

The Challenge

fred-hutchinson-logoFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (aka Fred Hutch)’s accounts payable department was having trouble processing the volume of invoices with their current staff. At the same time, they had a desire to improve the experience of their end users and increase self-service for invoice retrieval and document storage.

Their road to automation began with several key events within the accounts payable department. With a change in reporting hierarchy and the creation of a Procure-to-Pay team, the department was able to gain the interest of upper management.

In June of 2010, Fred Hutch partnered with a company focused on spend management to automate requisitions and purchase orders, and they added electronic invoicing for large volume vendors who had the technology to work within the requirements of the system in December 2011.

Despite the addition of electronic invoices, Fred Hutch felt there was still room for significant improvement.

“We still saw a need for better processes within the AP department, including creating better tracking of invoices for financial reporting, decreasing errors in processing and reducing days sales outstanding (DSO) with vendors,” said Brenda K., accounts payable manager at Fred Hutch. “It was time to automate the remaining 75% of our paper invoices.”

The Solution

After a formal RFP process to determine the correct vendor, Fred Hutch chose KeyMark, an award-winning document management solution provider, to implement a document management solution within its accounts payable department.

KeyMark’s solution utilizes AnyDoc’s AnyApp, a Hyland Software solution, to capture both paper and electronic invoices, extract data from the invoices and identify questionable data.

Following the data capture process, invoices are imported into OnBase, Hyland Software’s enterprise content management software. Through OnBase, Fred Hutch does a two-way match of purchase order invoices. The invoice data extracted from AnyDoc is compared with the purchase order in OnBase, then the receiving document is matched in PeopleSoft, the Center’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Fred Hutch also uses an ERP Vendor Master to identify each vendor by address or phone number, pull payment terms for later use in workflow and make address comparisons for remit-to changes. Invoices are then routed for approval or exception handling, and after an invoice has been approved, OnBase automatically uploads the invoice into PeopleSoft.

The Results

Once KeyMark delivered an OnBase electronic workflow system and data extraction solution, Fred Hutch’s accounts payable department has seen significant improvements in its process.

Before automating, AP staff specialized in their own invoices or internal documents, whereas now, each AP specialist is cross-trained and can work any invoice or manual process. Though each specialist has specific daily tasks, any one of them can step into another role, opening mail, scanning, processing and researching invoices in OnBase, processing wires and checks, and auditing and recording the P-Card charges.

Fred Hutch has also automated many of the processes that were previously done manually. Data that was once keyed into the ERP is now uploaded instantaneously.

“OnBase enables us to know when an invoice has arrived, when it was routed for approval, when it came back – or if it hasn’t, who is holding it. The speed and efficiency we have gained through OnBase allows us to run reports in PeopleSoft showing us the invoices that were processed the day before and see the documents related to that data. A key benefit has been the real-time visibility at all stages of the process,” said Brenda K.

About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

One of the world’s leading comprehensive cancer research institutes, Fred Hutch was established in 1975 by Dr. Bill Hutchinson to honor his brother, Fred Hutchinson who died of lung cancer in 1964 at age 45.

Home to three Nobel laureates, Fred Hutch has five scientific divisions and more than 2,700 faculty and staff members who are working to eliminate cancer, HIV and other related diseases. The non-profit research institute pioneered bone marrow transplantation to treat leukemia, and in 1982, Fred Hutch established the Cancer Prevention Program, oldest and largest such program in the nation.

Located in Seattle, WA, Fred Hutch also houses the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.