Koppens Developments transformed accounts payable into a highly efficient, automated function by working with Data Capture Experts to deploy Kofax TotalAgility®. Today, the company has cut invoice processing times from hours to minutes, and has gained unprecedented insight into operational costs—helping it keep tight control over projects to bring key construction works in on time and within budget.
Since its establishment in the 1930’s, Koppens Developments has undertaken a host of urban development projects, ranging from the construction of small car parks to multi-million-dollar community developments. Each of these projects is unique, and Koppens must precisely manage many different moving parts to bring work in on time and within budget—making cost and quality control key priorities for the company.
Martin Wojcicki, Project Manager at Koppens Developments, explained: “Having tight control over all our activities is absolutely paramount to our continued success. Our projects can span many months, and involve hundreds of workers and dozens of different suppliers. If we don’t keep a close watch on expenses, it’s all too easy for works to overrun and costs to soar.“
"Business has been growing rapidly; in fact, our operations have doubled in size every year for the last four years. To make sure that we continue to expand in a healthy, viable way, we wanted to find a more effective way to manage our operations—particularly when it came to accounts payable [AP].”
Jarrad Koppen, Business Solutions Manager at Koppens Developments continued: “We currently process up to 14,000 invoices every year, and have a team of three people handling it all. In the past, our staff relied on largely manual methods to manage invoice processing. As we grew, we recognized that such an approach was quickly becoming unsustainable. Turnaround times were slower than we would like—putting us at risk of failing to pay suppliers on time. What’s more, the sheer volume of work made it challenging for us to gain fine-grained insight into costs and payments; insight that we need to ensure that we do not overrun our budget for a given project.
“We wanted a more precise and efficient way to manage invoicing, including the ability to accurately track costs down to a line item level, and match these costs to other data sources, including purchase orders. This would help us to process invoices quickly and accurately, and ensure that we stayed on top of project costs.”
Koppens decided to make the move to a more integrated and efficient way of managing the end-to-end invoicing lifecycle. The company chose Kofax TotalAgility to digitize invoices and automate workflows, and joined forces with Data Capture Experts, a Kofax Platinum Partner, to help drive its AP transformation.
“We considered a number of options and felt that Kofax offered the best fit for our needs,” noted Wojcicki. “We chose to work with Data Capture Experts because not only did they have proven experience with the Kofax software, they understood our requirements and were committed to delivering a solution that met these needs. Working with the team from Data Capture Experts has been a great experience: They’ve given us valuable advice, allowed us to understand what was achievable and helped deliver a solution that can handle the complexities of our business.”
Today, Koppens has transformed invoice processing into a seamless, tightly controlled function from start to finish. The company routes all electronic invoices to a dedicated email inbox; Kofax TotalAgility pulls invoice documents from this inbox to a work queue, where a user first checks each document before submitting it for validation and processing.
At the validation stage, Koppens takes advantage of advanced optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities offered by TotalAgility to automatically capture and verify key information from the electronic invoice. Certain fields, such as the invoice due date, are manually validated by operators. Once an invoice is completely verified, it is exported to the company’s accounting system, ready for payment.
Wojcicki said: “We were pleasantly surprised at the level of accuracy delivered by the OCR engine in TotalAgility. Since we’ve introduced the solution, we have been able to capture all the relevant data from our invoices without fail, even when it comes to very complex documents with multiple lines. TotalAgility gives us 100 percent accuracy when capturing item descriptions, quantities and prices; we couldn’t ask for a better solution.”
Koppens has integrated the Kofax solution with its core accounting system and Microsoft SharePoint document management platform. Thanks to this integration, the company can automatically populate key fields in the invoicing workflow based on specific payment terms for each supplier, such as the payment due date. In addition, Koppens can instantly compare details on invoices against the original purchase order, including item quantity, description and price.“
Now that we can match invoices to their corresponding purchase orders automatically, it is much easier to spot potential discrepancies,” stated Wojcicki. “For instance, if the price of a certain line item on an invoice is much higher than it appears on the original purchase order, the Kofax solution will recognize this and flag it up to the operator, requiring them to contact the project manager to explain the discrepancy before they can proceed with paying the invoice. This helps us to keep a much closer track on costs and to pay our suppliers accurately.”
Similarly, the company can match original delivery notes—which it refers to as delivery dockets—sent with each shipment of goods it receives—with supplier invoices.
Koppen gave an example: “We might order 200 tons of gravel for a roadworks project, and it will arrive across many different truckloads. Each time a truckload arrives, we’ll receive a docket listing the description and quantity of goods delivered, which we enter into our SharePoint system. Once an invoice comes in, we can use Kofax TotalAgility to automatically match the invoice to that delivery docket. This helps us get a very clear idea of what we’re being billed for and what we’ve actually received, which is a crucial part of cost control for projects.”
With the newfound ability to capture invoice data down to the line item level, and match this information with original purchase orders and delivery dockets, Koppens can shape a much more accurate and nuanced picture of project costs.
Koppen added: “Previously, we based most of our costing on purchase order data, which was a useful predictive measure, but did not give us a truly accurate view of costs. Today, we can make use of invoice data in conjunction with delivery docket and purchase order data to understand the true cost of projects. This gives us tremendous confidence that when we make a quote or undertake a project, our costing will be on the mark and we will be turning a profit.”
Today, Koppens can process invoices in a much more rapid and efficient way, helping its AP team stay on top of rising business volumes and ensure that suppliers are paid on time.
Wojcicki noted: “In the past, it would take about an hour to process a complex invoice with multiple line items—and that’s only if the operator had all the relevant information to hand and didn’t get interrupted during the task, which was rarely the case. Today, it takes about three minutes maximum. Kofax TotalAgility has considerably accelerated invoicing cycle times thanks to the high degree of automation it brings to the process, and because it makes it so much quicker and easier to access all the supporting information our team needs to put through an invoice.”
Koppen continued: “Faster invoicing makes it possible to take on more work in AP without increasing headcount, helping us grow the business in a profitable way. And perhaps even more importantly, paying invoices on time helps us maintain good relationships with our suppliers and strengthen our reputation. This is critical to our survival, especially in a small community like Queensland—if we are known as a company that treats its suppliers well and doesn’t have issues with payment, then people are going to be much more willing to work with us.”
In addition, the Kofax solution has enabled Koppens to gain much deeper insight into its AP data, helping the company sharpen cost control to keep projects on budget.
“With Kofax TotalAgility our team can capture much richer detail from invoices, right down to line item level, which is something they simply could not do in the past,” stated Wojcicki. “We use this invoice data in conjunction with information such as purchase orders and actuals to feed our business intelligence engine, which gives us a much more holistic view of project costs. Now that we have this insight, we can make decisions based on real evidence rather than best guesses.”
Sharper insight into costs also helps Koppens to identify and correct potential project issues in a much timelier way, making sure projects stay on track.
Wojcicki explained: “In construction, it’s common for contingencies or unexpected costs to occur. While we do our best to plan for these, in the past, it was difficult to keep track of costs in real time, which meant that sometimes we ran into surprises at the end of the month. Now, thanks to Kofax TotalAgility, we can keep close watch over costs and react quickly to make sure that they do not spiral out of control. For instance, if a team uses far more sub-base for a road project than was allocated in the budget, we can flag up the problem and work to understand why that happened, then take steps to absorb that extra cost.”
Ultimately, better insight into expenses allows Koppens to deliver better value for its clients and run a more competitive business—keeping the company on a path to successful growth.
Koppen concluded that with Kofax TotalAgility, we have gained the insight we need to run our business in a more controlled and efficient way. We can plan our operations more effectively, sharpen our pricing strategies and fine-tune our budgets, helping Koppens win more jobs, and deliver them with high-quality standards and cost-effectively—improving infrastructure across Queensland while keeping our business growing to new heights of success.”