Cosyn Augments BPCS Accounting with AP Minder
September 1, 2009 Alex Woodie
Cosyn recently rolled out a new collection of software and services called AP Minder that’s designed to streamline the accounts payable process at companies that use BPCS, and soon JD Edwards. AP Minder Lite provides secure off-site archiving for copies of scanned invoices a customer sends to Cosyn, while the full AP Minder product delivers a fully outsourced invoice entry and processing system, all for less than $65,000.
Based in New Zealand, Cosyn has been working in the BPCS arena for more than two decades, and has provided BPCS consulting and development services for some of the regions largest BPCS shops, including Bridgestone/Firestone and UBix Konica Minolta. With AP Minder, Cosyn is again donning its BPCS consulting hat and creating a product it hopes will have wide applicability to a large number of BPCS shops.
The AP Minder process starts when a worker scans an invoice into a PC. Cosyn’s software takes over from there, automatically digitizing the invoice using optical character recognition (OCR) software and then sending it to Cosyn via FTP. The original invoices are then stored on Cosyn’s server, and can be viewed through the BPCS AP module at any time. This is the extent of functionality provided under AP Minder Lite, which supports an unlimited number of users for about $25,000.
Customers that want to take the automation further can step up to the full AP Minder product, which provides more extensive processing of invoices and deeper integration with BPCS.
After scanning and sending the invoices to Cosyn (or, alternatively, avoiding the scanning process altogether by having vendors send faxes to a specific fax number or e-mail address), the AP Minder product then returns to BPCS an electronic file of invoices.
At this point, AP Minder performs three-way matches against the invoice, and if the invoice is determined to be valid, it’s automatically fed into the BPCS AP module for approval. At that time, pertinent invoice values, such as vendor numbers, purchase order numbers, invoice values, and tax amounts, are automatically entered into the customer’s BPCS system.
AP Minder also keeps on top of things, so invoices get approved and payments go out promptly to vendors and suppliers. Invoices that failed the three-way matching will be re-processes at specific intervals, allowing automation at the BPCS shop to continue despite human-based hiccups at vendors upstream. The software will also automatically send reminder e-mails to managers who haven’t approved purchase orders, and send reminders to employees who haven’t receipted their purchases.
And if a worker is too busy or too lazy to heed AP Minder’s warnings and start approving invoices, AP Minder takes things up a notch by–you guessed it–going straight to the employee’s manager. (But really, you ignore a product called the Minder at your own peril. Cosyn could have named it Melissa the Meticulous Middle Manager, but that wouldn’t have the same ring to it.)
Cosyn principle Trevor Middleton describes AP Minder as part software as a service (SaaS) Accounts Payable imaging system, and part outsourced ACP invoice processing service.
“Apart from the improved functionality and professionalism of the AP department, the best part of this solution is the price,” Middleton says via e-mail. “The cost of processing is roughly what they are paying now for manual data entry, but they get unlimited online storage and retrieval of invoice images from an unlimited number of users. And there is no hardware to purchase–all images are securely stored and retrieved on our servers.”
AP Minder currently supports only BPCS ERP systems. In the near future, Middleton hopes to add JD Edwards to the list of supported ERP systems. More information on AP Minder will soon be available at Cosyn’s Web site at www.cosynsoftware.com.