The Canon Story of AP Automation in Shared Services

June 2, 2016

“How One Global Company Leverages AP Automation to Save Cost and Gain Control"

By Anna Raczkowski, Senior Analyst, Technical Marketing, Canon Information & Imaging Solutions

Recently Canon was participating in COLLABORATE, a major event for users of Oracle business applications. The session we presented - “How One Global Company Leverages AP Automation to Save Cost and Gain Control” drew a lot of attention to the story of Canon’s initiative to expand the company’s Shared Services operations, to support Finance and Accounting processes for multiple subsidiaries and locations of Canon U.S.A. The COLLABORATE attendees, especially those in the corporate Finance and Accounting functions, were particularly interested in how AP Automation, a crucial element of the Canon initiative, has enabled the company to not only tackle the AP invoice processing challenges, but to also control procurement and project planning. Here is the summarized story.

As Canon U.S.A. was expanding its Shared Services operations and adopting a single ERP system, the company wanted to also use a simple AP solution that would automate invoice processing and shift the work from back-end AP workflows to front-end planning and requisitioning. The goal was to give the Shared Services team more control over project-based planning and enable real-time approvals of project expenses with visibility into each project’s budget. The Finance team turned to Canon’s subsidiary – Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, to design and implement the Procure-to-Pay automation solution. The results were quite impressive. Project approvals that previously required 11 days to process are now approved within 5 days, and the time from requisition to invoice, which used to take 8 days, has been reduced to only 5 days. With automation an average full time AP employee, who was able to process about 10,000 invoices per year, is now capable of processing nearly 27,700 invoices per year, which for a large organization like Canon means a huge boost in efficiency.

To find out more, you can read the detailed case study on the CIIS website. I also recommend watching a short video interview with the Canon Finance team who has spearheaded the “Plan, Procure, Pay” project - available on the CIIS YouTube channel.