HC21 Group
August 2020

How we helped bring automation to Europe's No.1 Independent Medical Device Distributor's Finance Operations

Implementing RPA combined with AI in Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable processes we significantly increased throughput and reduced processing times.


Robotic Process Automation


Microsoft Power Platform, Open Source RPA

The Challenge

HC21 Group experienced significant growth following a number of acquisitions in recent years to become Europe's largest independent medical device distributor. This growth led to a significant increase  in the workload of the finance operations team, particularly in the areas of Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable payments processing. The existing processes, while adequate, would not scale efficiently to accommodate further expansion and growth. The Group Finance Controller wanted a solution that could allow the existing finance operation to scale as transaction volume grew.

The Solution

The first step was to automate the repetitive tasks associated with Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable processing. A workflow solution was introduced to automatically ingest invoices and remittances from incoming emails and route invoices for approval automatically. AI is used to extract key data from the invoices and remittances.

The next step was to build an application that would perform the 3-way matching process for Accounts Payable (at line item level from SAP). For Accounts Receivables it meant matching the bank statements with remittances and invoices. Using the Microsoft PowerApps low code platform meant the application was built in weeks rather than months. The finance operations team could now see the status of all AP invoices and Remittances in one central location and more importantly focus on handling exceptions in the matching processes in an efficient manner.

The final part of the solution was the deployment of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots to post matched Accounts Payable Invoices and matched Incoming Payments on SAP automatically. The deployment of an open source RPA solution by Apridata enabled a cost effective way of entering transactions on SAP through the user interface autonomously without the need for complex IT integration with SAP

The Results

Within just weeks of the project starting, a volume of Accounts Payable invoices were being processed autonomously without any manual intervention. One of the key advantages of the solution is as time passes, the volume processed autonomously increases as the finance operations team see patterns and learn as to why invoices aren't matching purchase orders. As root causes are addressed, additional invoices are processed autonomously, meaning the return on investment continues to increase over time.

Within months of deployment, HC21 Group are processing over 60% of Accounts Receivable incoming payments with the RPA Bot, eliminating the tedious process of matching bank entries with remittances and invoices on SAP with remittances.

The solution has enabled HC21 Group's finance operation to automate tedious repetitive tasks whilst assisting the team with valuable insights. This allows the finance operations team to focus on complex activities that are more valuable to the organisation even as the volume of transactions grow.

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