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Serrala Best of Customer Success 2021


17-01-2022 10 minutes read

In every business, every region and every industry across the globe, finance organizations in 2021 were still managing the business disruptions caused by the covid-19 crisis. During several events over the past year, Serrala had the pleasure of speaking with many of our customers about how they were managing and found that they all had the same objective: achieve greater transparency and control over their cash flows.  

Read the summaries below to discover how each customer worked to accomplish this objective in 2021 or click on the story to get the full details in the original event recording.  

Achieving greater transparency and control was a key objective across all areas of finance.

AP Automation Success Stories 

Jabil’s Straight Through Invoice Processing Success 

When Jabil, a global high-tech manufacturer, first began automating its accounts payable processes, its goal was to lower costs by achieving an extremely high rate of straight-through invoice processing. However, as Roberto Bayon, Sr. Director of Global AP Shared Services, recounted, the AP automation solution from Serrala also enable it be more flexible and agile in response to global supply chain disruptions. The company recently won the “Best Accounts Payable Solution” from TMI for their achievements. 

Jabil quickly redirected vendor invoices from one mailbox to another and use cloud invoice capture to reduce its reliance on paper. It was also able to reduce the number of duplicate invoices it received by automatically generating vendor statements of accounts. According to Bayon, before automating AP “it took up to 2000 hours to do this each month… Now we can send the statement of accounts directly to vendors in an instant.” With the time savings, the team has been able to improve internal workflows. “Now, rather than the AP analyst sending an invoice with an exception to a buyer – it goes directly to the individual for troubleshooting. This also helps improve the process overall, as the buyer understands the downstream issues AP is dealing with when purchase orders and invoices don’t match.”   


Johns Hopkins Fights the Pandemic with the Help of Accounts Payable 

In our discussion with Renee Genco, Director of AP Shared Services at Johns Hopkins, a world leading healthcare research and educational organization, we learned that the accounts payable team has helped contribute to the organization’s fight against the covid-19 pandemic.  

When the global lockdown began, the AP team at Johns Hopkins worked closely with procurement to get new PPE vendors set up so they could process the invoices and payments as quickly as possible. “We had to ensure we were following the correct onboarding and approval process but act in a timely manner. Some of the new vendors required a 50% down payment up front.” With the real-time information available with the Serrala AP Automation solution, the team could easily identify any exceptions and resolve them, so these essential vendors were paid. “The fact that we were automated enabled us to continue to operate and move like a well-oiled machine”.  


Deutsche Bahn’s Mobile Invoice Approval Keeps it Moving  

Deutsche Bahn facilitates the movement of people or goods from one place to another and in a recent update from Marcel Kaiser, Senior Specialist Digital Transformation & Processes Accounting – Deutsche Bahn AG, we learned about the important role AP plays in keeping things moving, particularly when employees are working from home.  

Over 1000 people at Deutsche Bahn are responsible for reviewing and approving invoices. “The cloud approvals gave us the possibility to work on invoices on mobile devices… and approve invoices from all over the world… with our old email process we couldn’t see where [an invoice] was in the process.” The company has been able to improve payment on time by 3% and increase capture of cash discounts by 4%. Kaiser put these numbers in perspective “with 3.2 million invoices this adds up to quite a lot of savings”. 

AR Automation Success Stories 

World-class Cash Application Keeps GE Renewable Energy Humming 

Like many other organizations, improving cash application was a top priority for GE Renewable Energy in 2021. Giuseppe Farago said that the company wanted to reduce processing costs and servicing charges by applying 100% of the bank transactions to a S/L item or booking in the correct B/s account. This way, it could reconcile customer payments automatically so the accounts receivable team could focus on exceptions. 

Using the SAP-embedded cash application solution FS² AutoBank, made a “drastic improvement in the cash accounting process”, says Farago. The company can now apply 90% of its general ledger transactions and 60% of its sub-ledger transactions automatically without human touch, which saves the AR team 1500 hours each month. Rule maintenance is also done by the business users, not IT or external consultants, so it is much easier to create new rules to drive additional improvements in the cash application rates. 


ICL Reduces Credit Risks with Centralized Credit Management Platform 

The unstable market conditions of 2021 created additional risk for many companies. To reduce its credit risks, ICL uses Serrala FS² Credit as its centralized credit management platform within SAP. According to Eti Aharony of ICL, it “solved all our issues regarding credit management. For instance, it improved and streamlined the entire process of collecting customer debt and harmonized the KPI of the customer scoring.” The solution is now used worldwide to simplify communication and improve process efficiency across the entire credit management lifecycle.


Achmea Improves Customer Experience by Accelerating Cash-In  

Achmea, the largest insurance company in the Netherlands uses the cloud-based solution Serrala Alevate RTP to offer their diverse portfolio of B2C customers easy-to-use and intuitive bill payment options. The company’s aim is to enable its customers to pay their insurance premiums with one click, across all its brands and channels, just as they would when they go shopping. 

The benefit of the request to pay solution, according to Randy Soet, Manager Bank-en Betalingsverwerking & Business Support is that it “removes any issues with reconciliation. We get the payment with the correct statement 100% of the time … we started in 2018 with 700K RTP transactions, and that number has more than doubled in the past few years. That’s thanks to payment requests being sent across multiple channels and brands – in onboarding, in short term coverage, and travel insurance”. Achmea wants to keep their customers satisfied with their payment experience, so they don’t switch to other providers. He predicts that going digital will also help the insurer build smarter products for their customers to meet their changing needs. 

Payments and Treasury Success Stories 

REWE Manages Mandates in Minutes

REWE, the largest retailer in Europe manages its cash flows across ~1100 bank accounts and 160 banks for its 450 subsidiaries. Tim Wagler, Associate Bank Account Manager, REWE Group, said that the company wanted to standardize and digitize its bank account mandate process to relieve its managing directors from extensive paperwork.  

The company uses FS² eBAM to create a fully digital and compliant process from account opening to final confirmation from the bank. FS² eBAM enables the company to capture the manager’s digital signature once, at the initialization with each banking partner. They can view the differences between the REWE data and the bank data in a single solution, which makes it much easier to change the bank account mandates. According to Wagler, REWE onboarded 50 new companies in the past few weeks. “Using traditional paper-based process, we would have needed to give management 270 pages to sign. ”Now, it’s possible to complete the process with the click of a button. The company is moving to SAP S/4HANA shortly and will continue to use FS² eBAM and FS² AutoBank, with the goal of “managing all of our bank accounts and account information electronically.”


Hubbell Streamlines and Digitizes Global Payments to Reduce Risk 

According to Jonathon Murphy, Treasurer at Hubbell Incorporated, the company’s rapid growth made it difficult to get a global view of payments. He explained how the company used FS² Payments to create a central payment platform in SAP S/4HANA to unite inbound and outbound payment information across its locations, business units and systems. 

The centralized payment system from Serrala is bank agnostic and provides standardized communication, formatting, and payment processing capabilities. According to Murphy, it is “more streamlined which means less risks, less failures, less headaches, and fewer places to look.  It takes some work away from the team and gets things done behind the scenes.”  The results speak for themselves: the payments process at Hubbell is highly digitized with 80% of payments executed using ACH and only 20% using checks or other payment methods.


Amdocs Takes Global Payments to the Next Level 

Oren Abman, Solution Manager related how Amdocs has standardized payment processing across its four (4) global banks and 70 different host-to-host (H2H) templates. The SAP-embedded solution from Serrala acts as a single global hub for managing payments. The company can automatically route payments for review and approval using a standardized, global process. It has also reduced the cost of payments by bundling and sending multiple payments in one file instead of sending payments separately. If a payment fails, for example if the vendor bank account information was incorrect, the payments team can easily resolve the error without disrupting the other payments in the bundle.  

Abman says that the new features and capabilities available with FS² Payments, such as fraud monitoring, provide them with additional payment flexibility and security. Amdocs is also eager to add SOX-compliance capabilities too, which is on the product roadmap.    


CTDI Europe Scales Cash Visibility Across a Complex Organization  

Like many other treasury departments, Markus Lemke, Director of Corporate Treasury at CTDI, and his team used to manage cash and FX exposures using spreadsheets. However, as the company grew increasingly complex, it became difficult to manually gather information for all 120 bank accounts. “We wanted visibility first,” said Lemke and “it made a lot of sense for us to have all the information and all the cash visibility in SAP directly.”  

CTDI implemented an SAP-embedded TMS which included Serrala FS² Payments, FS² AccountStatement, and FS² CashLiquidity. Now, Lemke can see the company’s daily financial position and bank accounts in one spot. “I always know the amount of liquidity we have.” The solution gives them insight into their position including intra-day and disposition data, as well as information on all the transactions not yet posted from SAP. CTDI can quickly drill down into the accounts and the position data and account balances are automatically updated when a payment run is created. Information on debts and liabilities, such as intercompany loans, are also updated. Lemke appreciates the automated liquidity planning capabilities the solution provides. “We can track every movement by category: customer receipts, payables, interest payments, etc.” Approximately 90-95% of assignments are done automatically based on the rules defined by CTDI. “We have made huge improvements in cash visibility and improved our KPIs significantly, which makes life much easier from a treasury perspective.”  

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