Centaur Media Plc standardises on C Cube Solutions’ for employee expense claims

26th September 2010

C Cube Solutions, a specialist document management and workflow provider, says it has completed a project with Centaur Media Plc, a specialist B2B publishing group, to install its online eForms technology to automate the whole process of employee expense claim management.

Building on an electronic document management system (EDMS) deployed in 2002 to manage purchase invoices, the new system means that Accounts Payable staff are saving 10 days a month to process 250 credit card and cash expense claims – time which is being far better used to run the business.   According to Centaur, the system delivers 100% correct nominal code costing, improves reporting and has improved organisational effectiveness by making a laborious clerical task quick and easy for staff so they can focus on their core job roles.  

Centaur Media employs 650 staff in four office locations.  Operating a paper-based expense claims system was inefficient, slow and costly as paperwork had to be couriered between buildings or sent in the internal post which often resulted in delays or lost forms which would then need to be resubmitted. 

With a paper system, staff would receive their monthly credit card statements and have to manually enter all items and attached receipts – a laborious process for some who had 60 to 70 purchases to input per month.  

Alan Dixie, Centaur Media’s head of accountancy services, explains, “We make a direct debit payment to our credit card supplier and things could get quite pressurised before a payment deadline to get expenses back, and items allocated to the right nominal codes.”  

The business wanted to resolve these issues by introducing an online claims solution to save time and make processing quicker.  Initially, Centaur Media reviewed various online expense solutions on the market but rapidly realised they were expensive and would require extensive modification to make fit in its environment. Jacques Bruyns, Centaur Media’s financial system reporting accountant, says, ”We decided it would be better if we just built the system ourselves and once we did this, C Cube Solutions was the obvious choice.” 

This was based on its experience using C Cube Solutions’ EDMS solution to index and then automate the approval of over 1,000 supplier invoices received each month - a system implemented in early 2002. Alan Dixie says, “Our invoice approval process is complex because any given invoice may require approval by various users spread across several departments in different physical locations.  The system has worked well and means we scan, index and workflow invoices for approval and sign off by publishers and ad managers which are then uploaded into our accounting system.” 

The invoice system has meant that Centaur Media knows precisely where invoices are in the approval cycle with suppliers paid far more efficiently – the ‘knock on’ effect being better relationships established with them. Ultimately cash flow has been improved as AP staff can see when direct debit payments will be taken by suppliers – a facility which was previously difficult to do in its accounts package.    

C Cube Solutions advised Centaur to utilise its eForms technology for the expense system which sits on top of the existing EDMS solution already in place.  The same web-based portal is then used for access.  In other words, both expense and invoice systems utilise the same underlying technology and the bespoke built portal front end. 

The expense system sits on two HP Proliant servers [one web and one application] running Windows Server 2003 which both share a SCSI-based HP Storageworks RAID storage platform.  Staff use Windows-based Dell or HP desktop PCs or Apple’s G5 Power Macs to access the system.  The three offices are connected via a fully resilient WAN provided by Centaur’s voice and data network provider.