Skip to content

Agreeing Success Rates: A Fresh Approach to Accounts Payable / Sales Order Processing Projects

We’ve recently adopted a slightly different strategy to ensure we’re completely aligned with our clients’ objectives for an accounts payable / sales order processing project. As part of this new method, our Business Process Consultants are now establishing the percentage of success that clients are aiming for before initiating the project.

Surprisingly, I’ve noticed that the success rate that clients deem satisfactory is often relatively low. During the pre-sales stage, we generally anticipate a success rate of around 80%. However, post-sale, clients often adjust their goals to around 60%, 50%, or even as low as 30%.

We have clients who have achieved a remarkable 96% straight-through rate, while others haven’t reached such high levels.

The target of 80% efficiency is realistically attainable, based on the following factors:

  1. Combination of Line Item Matching and Header and Footer Matching
    • Each invoice line should correlate with an order line and receipt line.
    • For complex line items, if the invoice value aligns with the order and receipt value, line items can be ‘backfilled.’
  2. Introduction of ‘Tolerance-Based Matching’
    • Variances in quantities and pricing can still be ‘matched.’
  3. Implementation of ‘UOM Conversion Matching’
    • Basic UOM conversion can be applied to match lines purchased in one ‘pack size’ and invoiced in another ‘pack size.’
  4. Accuracy of Master Data
    • Supplier records should be unique and current.
    • Order price books must be regularly updated.
    • No consolidated orders – each invoiced component must be present on an order line.
    • UOM product data should be readily available.
  5. Suppliers Providing Accurate Invoices
  6. Adherence to Business Rules by the Purchasing Team
    • An order number must always be quoted.
    • Carriage costs must always be added.
  7. Acknowledging ‘Design-Based Exceptions’ in Therefore
    • ‘Success’ shouldn’t be exclusively measured based on the number of invoices that require manual attention.
    • If there’s a pricing discrepancy between the order and invoice and an approver manually validates the difference, this should be considered a system success, not a failure.
    • If items haven’t been receipted and a user is asked to verify the delivery status, this should be classified as system success, not a failure.

It’s been intriguing to observe how project goals evolve as we transition between stages within the project lifecycle, particularly from the pre-sales to the post-sales phase.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *