Council reaps rewards of automation

Hoople, a shared services company set up by Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust, has moved a step closer towards automating mundane accounting activities for the UK’s public sector by implementing an invoice automation solution.

The new processes, delivered by V1, aim to to deliver efficiencies in accounts payable processes and drive down costs. Hoople customers are set to benefit, with shareholder Herefordshire Council already reaping the rewards of automation.

Herefordshire Council has been using cognitive capture to automate the processing of 75,000 invoices per annum into its financial management system – Unit4’s Business World – and has slashed its manual processes in half.

Robotic Process Automation technologies like V1 Capture, are predicted to grow by 41% year on year to 2020, according to research by Gartner. V1 Capture automates the data capture and processing of the council’s supplier invoices. The documents, of which the majority are in PDF format, are processed by the automation software, extracting and validating data with speed and precision.

Duncan Trumper, Business & Corporate Applications Manager at Hoople, said: “As demand for public services grows and budgets become tighter, it’s critical our industry explores new and efficient ways of working.

“Technology has been our catalyst for change and Herefordshire Council is a great example of how automation can benefit the public sector. V1’s automation software processes the council’s invoices far more effectively and reduces its manned input by 50%. This subsequently reduces processing time and improves efficiency in the finance department.”

The move is part of plans from Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust to use their experience to help other public sector organisations develop innovative approaches to working.

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