Direct insurer Admiral is automating its purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes by integrating document management technology with its Sage Enterprise accounting system.

The project will enable Admiral to move from manual-based P2P processes to a fully-automated P2P cycle. As well as improving efficiency, this will cut costs, provide the finance department with greater control and free-up both storage space and data entry clerks’ time.

The company, whose brands include Admiral, Diamond, Bell, elephant.co.uk, Gladiator and Confused.com, is using Version One’s document management technology on the project, enabling all purchase invoices to be scanned and stored in an electronic archive for automatic processing.

The system enables the data on the invoices to be intelligently read and verified against the Sage system. The invoices will then be automatically sent for approval and coding within the accounts department and then to the relevant department managers, who will be able to view the imaged invoices via a weblink.

After authorisation, the final link in the chain sees the purchase invoices paid by BACS-IP and the accompanying remittances delivered either by electronic mail or automated fax.

The process will be very different to Admiral’s current P2P processes, which involve the manual data entry of invoice information and passing invoices around the organisation for signatory approval. Once an invoice is approved, a cheque is raised and this, together with the remittance advice, is printed out and posted. All paid invoices are stored away in on-site filing cabinets and after six months are shipped to an off-site archive facility.

Coralie Poumel, Admiral’s financial controller, said the exisitng arrangement sere “labour-intensive, inefficient, costly and prone to both data entry errors and lost invoices during the approval process.”

After gaining approval from HM Customs and Excise, Admiral will image and then destroy all invoices, eventually enabling it to close its costly offsite document storage facility.

Poumel added: “We’ll improve purchase-to-pay efficiency ten-fold and maintain far greater control over the invoice approval process, enabling faster payment processing. We’ll also save over £3,000 each year by eliminating cheque payments.”