Streamlining Accounts Payable and Procurement at Reed Global

“Tradogram has raised our game in terms of purchasing. Key managers now have visibility of spend before committing to it. This allows the right questions to be asked of both the supplier and purchasing department.”

Julian D'Oyley
Head of Financial Accounts

Industry: Recruitment
Employees: 3,000+
Location: London, United Kingdom

Reed’s first office was opened back in 1960 in Hounslow, West London. Since then, Reed has expanded to become the UK’s largest employment agency, developing their operations to cover procurement, construction, engineering, education, finance, medical, technology, and many other business sectors that require dedicated recruitment processes. With a database of over 12 million candidates, the organization serves many diverse businesses worldwide.

Julian D’Oyley has been operating as Reed’s ACA qualified head of financial accounts for 5 years – fulfilling the role of finance manager for an additional 2 years prior. Over the combined 7 years of managing and leading finance operations at Reed, Julian observed a distinct opportunity for enhancing the working relationship between the procurement function and accounts payable by initiating a digital process transformation within the organization.

Procurement challenges faced in the original recruitment process:

Julian explains that in Reed’s original procurement process, spend control and visibility were limited due to a lack of structure in their procedure:

“We were primarily using improper procurement practices whereby spend was committed to before being formally approved or procured” he explains, “we needed to find a way to align relevant procurement with appropriate timing”.

As part of the sourcing process for a new procurement solution, Julian focused on functions that would eliminate maverick spending, an approval process to improve control over the purchase to pay workflow, and other financial reporting features that would enhance budget tracking and reporting.

Julian D’Oyley

Julian D’Oyley

Head of Financial Accounts

Objectives of a new procurement system:

Because of the complexities involved in managing recruitment at a variety of different branch locations, flexible configuration options were high on the priority list for Reed’s procurement solution. Being able to establish multiple approval workflows with different settings for each branch was also a mandatory consideration.

After the procurement situation at Reed was shared with Tradogram, a combination of live demo sessions and a free trial of the software were offered to help Julian during his software sourcing and evaluation process. Two of Tradogram’s six solutions were determined to offer suitable features that could cover all of Reed Global’s technical workflow requirements:

Purchase-to-Pay Tools

Including approval routing, requisition and purchase order creation forms, and automated 3-way match documentation for invoices and deliveries

Spend Control Tools

Providing accounting personnel with purchasing statistics and documentation tracked for instant report generation, and integrations with AP systems

Reed is the largest employment agency based in the UK, serving a variety of specialist sectors including finance, healthcare, education, engineering, construction, technology, and many more.

 

The following challenges were identified as objectives for improving Reed Global’s operations, and traceable KPIs were established to determine whether Tradogram was successful as a solution:

  • Eliminate the need to track physical paper trails.
  • Establish a flexible hierarchy of approval workflows.
  • Synchronise the procurement and AP functions across multiple branches to improve reporting options and implement practical cost reduction strategies.

Resulting benefits from implementing Tradogram’s procurement system:

After implementing Tradogram, Julian reported the following “before and after” findings from a mix of statistics provided by the system, as well as observable changes to employee workflows:

  Before Implementing Tradogram After Implementing Tradogram
Purchase Order Processing Method No approval process. POs placed sporadically without unified decision making or requirement confirmations.

Approvals routed based on predefined order criteria, including prices, categories, and locations. POs placed only after requirements confirmed.

Purchase Order Processing Time

Including Creation, Approval, and Forwarding to Supplier

Purchase orders hastily thrown together – high volumes of untraceable maverick spending. Less than 2 Hours (including the completion of a full approval process)
Accounts Payable and Financial Auditing

Manually verifying purchases before manual entry into AP system.

 

Days spent on compiling reports / reconciling invoices.

Automated data transfer to AP system (Oracle) via API integration.

 

Almost no time spent on synchronising purchasing records with accounting.

In the case of Reed, a unique situation occurred in which the purchasing workflow saw an increase in processing time, rather than the decrease that commonly takes place after implementation. This is because an approval process was entirely absent from Reed’s operations prior to the implementation of Tradogram.

While an increase to processing time occurred in the purchasing process, accounts payable saw a drastic decrease in processing time after the integration with Oracle was established. This provided a net reduction in the procure to pay cycle processing time, while increasing the effectiveness of all spending functions throughout the organization.

Closing remarks from Julian:

On average, Reed processes hundreds of purchase orders per month. After reviewing operational objectives, Julian confirmed that stakeholders within the organization are receiving a vastly improved overview of company spending, and their purchasing decisions are reflective of the increased spend visibility.

Additionally, the integration between Tradogram and Reed’s AP system (Oracle) has drastically reduced processing time while also increasing data hygiene by eliminating the possibility of manual data-entry errors.

Julian also had this to share about his experience with Tradogram:

“Tradogram has raised our game in terms of purchasing. Key managers now have visibility of spend before committing to it. This allows the right questions to be asked of both the supplier and purchasing department. Tradogram also allows an audit trail of collaborative thought processes and of the associated documents. Tradogram has proven itself to be a great purchasing solution for our business.”