Tabcorp gains efficiencies from streamlining accounts payable

Friday, 14 January, 2011

As Australia’s premier gaming, wagering, hospitality and entertainment group, Tabcorp manages over a dozen leading brands, including Sydney’s Star City Casino, Jupiter’s Queensland Casinos, TAB, Tabaret, Keno, Sportsbet and Sky Channel/Sky Radio.

After launching a major business initiative to streamline its group operations and centralise HR and Finance shared services, Tabcorp chose to outsource part of its accounts payable function to Fuji Xerox Australia’s Global Services division in 2008. Tabcorp has since been able to automate several workflow processes and introduce greater transparency within the accounts payable process.

Today, of the quarter of a million invoices the company receives per annum, 50% are automatically verified for payment, resulting in greater efficiencies and increased supplier satisfaction.

Prior to establishing a centralised shared services model, Tabcorp had seven accounts payable departments operating across multiple locations, resulting in inconsistencies in policies and procedures. In addition, the accounts payable team had to manually process the 250,000 supplier invoices the company receives annually by email, fax and post. Tabcorp sought to introduce greater efficiencies across its account payable function while reducing the cost and complexity of the operation, and ensuring on-time supplier payments.

Matthew Keegan, General Manager of Procurement at Tabcorp, explained that the company wanted a solution that would provide it with greater control and visibility of the accounts payable process every step of the way.

“The accounts payable team did not have the tools to deal with the sheer volume of invoices we received,” said Keegan. “We needed a solution that gave us greater transparency and accountability of the accounts payable process and would ultimately make the whole process more efficient.”

When faced with the decision to outsource part of its accounts payable function or purchase software to continue managing this process in house, Tabcorp turned to Fuji Xerox Global Services for help.

As Tabcorp’s chosen outsourcing provider, Fuji Xerox Global Services worked closely with the company to deliver an accounts payable solution that would meet its business objectives and introduce greater process efficiencies. The first step was to implement best-of-breed software solutions to digitise supplier invoices and automate the workflow process as much as possible. Once key data and images within supplier invoices are captured electronically, the information is automatically cross-referenced against the company’s Oracle ERP finance system.

As Tabcorp operates in a highly government regulated industry, it was crucial that data security and compliance were maintained. Fuji Xerox Global Services established a purpose-built invoice-processing centre at Tabcorp’s headquarters in Melbourne, with a dedicated team handling the high volume of supplier invoices.

According to Keegan, outsourcing this part of the accounts payable process has enabled the company to take full advantage of the expertise and competencies of an experienced services provider. “We chose Fuji Xerox Global Services as our preferred outsourcing partner because the team is very experienced and demonstrated the ability to customise and deliver market-leading tools that aligned with our objectives,” said Keegan.

Tabcorp has found that having an outsourced partner on site has been extremely beneficial as Fuji Xerox Global Services is better able to understand Tabcorp’s business and workflow. Sue Davis, Accounts Payable Manager at Tabcorp, engages with the on-site Fuji Xerox Global Services team on a daily basis. “Any issues or problems are resolved much more quickly as the team is right here; and because of their day-to-day insight, they can quickly figure out what’s gone wrong and how to solve the problem,” said Davis. “It allows my team to really tap into the experience of the consultants we work with.”

In shifting this manual process to an online model, Tabcorp has achieved greater transparency of the entire accounts payable workflow as invoices can be tracked at every stage, from data entry through to payment.

All invoices are now stored electronically, making it easier to retrieve documents to check for discrepancies.

“In an ideal world, we’ll have what I call ‘touchless AP’ which would see all of our processes automated and payments being made without the accounts team ever having to get involved,” concluded Keegan.

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