Geac, a global enterprise software company for business performance management, announced that Ernst & Young, one of the world's biggest professional services organisations with U.S.$12 billion revenue and 110,000 people, is now seeing the benefits of Geac's Extensity time and expense management software.
After going live in the U.K. with the Geac software, all Ernst & Young's 7,500 U.K. employees (which include 5,000 billable staff who generate U.S.$1 billion revenue) now have access to a system which links to their financial system, Peoplesoft Human Resources software and a Business Objects management information system. Already Ernst & Young is benefiting from greater control over expense management; improved cash flow and increased profitability.
Alastair Munro, projects director at Ernst & Young, said: “We can slice information in many useful ways. For example, we can see who are the most frequent travellers, whether people are using our preferred suppliers and use that information to negotiate better discounts in future with those suppliers. The replacement of manual processes has enabled us to record more information; analyse and use it more effectively; enhance our service to staff and customers, and most notably, improve our cash flow by speeding up our invoicing processes.”
A key driver in the selection of the Geac solution was the ability to replace manual processes for time and expense recording. Billable staff – such as auditors and tax specialists – can now record every six minutes of their billable time and enter all expenses in an easy to use on-line system that proactively manages the company's time and expense policies. As a direct result, Ernst & Young can recover more time and charge-back all costs spent servicing each client thereby increasing profitability. Because business rules are enforced at the point of entry, the system provides far greater control over the accuracy of information recorded in time sheets, and invoices are now issued throughout the month instead of waiting for an end of month run, which has already improved cash flow. Ernst & Young's clients are also benefiting as narrative can now be added to invoices so that they have full visibility over what they are being billed for every month.
The solution also provides tighter, automated and streamlined expense management, which allows managers to have clear visibility and transparency over all expenses(*). These can be verified quickly by managers using the state of the art workflow and rules-based engines within Extensity. Overall this means Ernst & Young now has greater control over expense management whilst staff enjoy faster reimbursement. Further, the provision of better business information based on the expenses and timesheets systems, has contributed to a more effective organisation.
Enhanced business performance management from a human resources perspective has been another major benefit to date. Now that 98% of all timesheets are being submitted by a Friday evening deadline, it is possible for weekly assessments on individuals' utilisation against target to be available every Monday morning. This can also be used for the staff appraisal process. Staff can now use the Geac system to conduct an up-to-date accurate assessment of their utilisation and projects completed over a specified length of time. This is far more effective and accurate than having to go through a multitude of hard copy timesheets prior to review meetings with their managers.
The Geac system particularly suits flexible workers who can now accumulate extra time spent into an online bank and then decide later to take this off in lieu or receive overtime payments.
Munro explains: “The enhanced self-service system for recording time and expense, accessing benefits and holiday allocation has significantly reduced administration for Ernst & Young's HR and Finance departments. As a result, 15 administration staff have already been re-deployed to other functions within the organisation.”
According to AMR Research the expense management market is expected to grow to a pnds stlg 1.8bn market by 2006 (from $700m in 2002).