Case study

SAP Invoice Management by OpenText (VIM) – implementation of automatic document flow in SAP in your company

SAP Invoice Management by OpenText (VIM) is a tool used to automate the flow of invoices and other documents within the company. This is an ideal tool, especially for large companies, where a big number of financial documents is handled. Integration with the SAP system allows for transparent and comprehensive handling of invoices from the moment they reach the company, through the single- or multi-stage approval process, to their accounting and filing. The aim of introducing VIM is to process documents with the minimal user’s intervention and to ensure that the process itself is as automated as possible.

One of the MDDP Outsourcing teams has participated in the implementation of VIM in the SAP Fiori system in a large company. Together with the implementing contractor and our Client’s employees, we were taking an active part in almost every stage of adapting the system to the company’s needs. The system implementation was divided into several stages:

  1. Presentation of individual solutions by the implementing contractor.
  2. Receiving comments from the Client and MDDP Outsourcing staff members.
  3. Preparing mock cases by MDDP Outsourcing.
  4. System tests combined with training the Key User (from the MDDP Outsourcing).
  5. Recording test results in the SAP Solution Manager (SolMan) app by MDDP Outsourcing.
  6. End User training provided by MDDP Outsourcing staff (with the support of the system’s implementing contractor).
  7. Launching the system on the production system (by the implementing contractor).
  8. MDDP Outsourcing going through all stages of document workflow in VIM (on the production system) and giving a final OK on the correctness of the process.

Each of the described stages required expertise relating to balance sheets and tax issues, and also had to be meticulously checked so as to detect any errors or irregularities which may have appeared during the testing phase. The key to success of the entire process was collecting all types of documents (and processes related to them) which existed in the company, and transferring them to the new system. An extra challenge arose from the differences between the system which was used so far and the newly implemented VIM, as the two differ significantly. The biggest challenge was to adapt VIM and SAP to comply with the Polish tax regulations and to cater for specific transactions which do not occur in other countries. These included e.g. recording advance payment invoices, customs documents and fees related to the use of cars, taking into account Polish VAT and CIT tax regulations.

The complete document workflow consists of the following stages:

  1. Receiving a document at the Company – by e‑mail or on paper (if the latter, the document should be scanned).
  2. Doing an OCR of the document (automatic entry, recognition of paper invoices and filing them appropriately in the system).
  3. Resolving specific cases, should they appear (e.g. amounts not matching the purchase order, missing Tax Identification Number on invoices, etc.).
  4. Approval of documents in accordance with the established approval workflow.
  5. Final verification of documents for the balance sheet and tax purposes.
  6. Posting documents in SAP and archiving them in VIM.

VIM was implemented for two groups of documents: those posted with a previously created order in SAP and delivery confirmation, and for documents posted with no orders. A different document approval workflow was established for each of these groups, and each of them also had different fields which had to be filled in the system. For document types posted with an order, both general ledger accounts and item quantities were selected at the level of entering the order into the SAP system by the purchasing department. It was also very important at the accounting stage to check the correctness of previously entered data. However, for invoices without orders, general ledger accounts and controlling data had to be filled in when posting the invoice.

Two document workflow solutions in the Company were also tested. The first one was an automatic posting of documents without user intervention (when all fields have been completed correctly and the system has shown no exceptions, that is elements which might cause the invoice to be stopped at the posting stage). The second solution assumed stopping all documents at the stage of verification at posting. After analysing all the pros and cons, the Company decided upon an optimal solution. Implementation of VIM was a highly valuable experience for the entire accounting team.  It entailed a great deal of responsibility since the correctness of individual implementation stages informed what the postings would look like in the production version of the system. Key element was compliance with all the requirements, both internal ones within the Company, and in terms of the Acts on balance sheets, VAT, and CIT. But most importantly, we managed to achieve the implementation goal, i.e. improving the document flow and invoice posting, and speeding up the invoice payment process.

Author: Magdalena Włodek, Junior Manager