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Jakoba Helps Microsoft Significantly Expand Its Inbound Electronic Invoicing

Introduction

As one of the world’s leading software vendors, Microsoft conduct business with vendors from almost every country in the world. As result of that expansive business reach, Microsoft receives more than a half million incoming invoices each year. The company has long since developed an in-house World-class solution, MSInvoice, for North American vendors to submit electronic invoices. However, that represented only half of Microsoft’s total inbound invoices, and the rest were submitted via paper copies. This is due in large part to the compliance-related complexities that differ by country with adhering to the rules governing the passing and storing of financial documents. Processing all of these paper invoices was both operationally complex and expensive.

Challenge

Microsoft wanted to expand the geographical reach of its electronic inbound invoicing processes while at the same time staying 100% compliant with all local compliance laws. Microsoft asked Jakoba to help expand its MSInvoice tool so that it could convert much of its paper invoice processing to a more automated solution that accepted electronic invoices.

Approach

The Jakoba team, working in a solution delivery capacity, started by helping to define what success would look like in terms of which countries would be affected, how many invoices were to be converted to electronic format, and what operation savings would result in the solution. Armed with a solid understanding of the goals, Jakoba then worked with Microsoft Accounts Payable, Tax, and IT teams to go about defining various options that could both significantly improve the experience for vendors and enable Microsoft to recognize the automation savings it was looking for. The team looked at various packaged solutions as well as enhancing Microsoft’s existing MSInvoice application. For each solution option, Jakoba outlined the cost/benefit projects as well as the projected impact to vendors, the compliance-related considerations of each, and the complexity to implement.

Once a solution direction was decided upon, Jakoba worked closely with the Microsoft IT team to intricately define the solution, implement all of the changes, and roll out the solution on a world-wise basis.

Solution

Jakoba, working as lead solution delivery on the project, helped build a solution that included:

  • A prioritized list of countries that Microsoft would work toward enabling with electronic invoicing
  • A detailed requirements plan to extend MSInvoice to include electronic invoicing support for the top 20+ invoice volume countries. The process needed to be flexible enough to handle the varied requirements of each geographic area, as well as consistent enough to feasible to support with a single solution.
  • A detailed step-by-step process for implementation for all affected countries
  • Translations of the MSInvoice tool in multiple languages
  • Vendor enrollment processes and roll out plans for vendors in each country
  • Tracking/reporting tools and processes that enabled Microsoft to analyze results and to make additional modifications as necessary
Results

The result of the effort was an unqualified success for Microsoft. As a result of the project Microsoft:

  • Converted hundred of thousands of invoice volume from paper to electronic submission
  • Reduced error rates on invoices as vendors entered their own data electronically, and had it automatically checked for accuracy prior to invoice submission
  • Reduced support overhead significantly that was previously required to process paper invoices or respond to vendor inquires about invoice status.

These results represented a significant win for Microsoft, as well as improving the level of customer service to its vendors. According to Cheryl Lanzinger, the Director of IT Solution Management for Microsoft that oversaw the project, “Having the Jakoba team on this project was critical to its ultimate success. Jakoba’s professionalism, analytical abilities, and capabilities in connecting with all of the internal stakeholders on this effort were an important driver to the positive results we saw from this effort. As a result of this project MSInvoice is now processing electronic invoices from our vendors all over the world, and our operations are significantly streamelined as a result. This was a big win for Microsoft and for our vendors.”

Contact Jakoba today to see how we can help you achieve similar results for your project.

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Phone: 206-706-1600