NHC Group’s goal: 100% automation of 70,000 incoming invoices
Reliable accounting services based on technology from Semine enable NHC Group to deliver better health and care services to their customers.
Photo: NHC Group
NHC Group comprises the companies Hero, Aberia, Kidsa kindergartens and Norlandia, which provide health and care services on behalf of the public sector. This entails a huge responsibility for managing and using public funds so that they benefit users to the greatest possible extent.
Like other large enterprises, the group had an external accounting firm, but wanted to further streamline their accounting services. The solution was to establish NHC Services in 2016, as an internal accounting firm. Today, NHC Services provides accounting services to all the Norwegian companies in the group, a total of 54 companies.
– Our own internal accounting firm enables us to get very close to all the businesses in the group and offer useful advice to our own companies and users of the services that we provide,” says Elisabeth Dragseth, Head of Shared Services Finance Norway in NHC Services.
When NHC established NHC Services, the owners stipulated that accounting work should be quick and efficient, at the lowest possible cost. Dragseth says that the goal has always been to spend as little time as possible on traditional accounting tasks such as recording and posting invoices and vouchers. Instead, time should be spent on control activities and analysing figures. In order to streamline the accounting service, NHC has taken an innovative approach and adopted new technology.
Supporting NHC Group operations
– The lower the cost of the NHC accounting office, the more public funds will benefit the users of our services,” continues Dragseth.
– Our job is to efficiently support the group’s operations. The accounting processes should help ensure that the head teacher at a kindergarten can spend as little time as possible collecting vouchers and instead dedicate themselves to the children,” says Dragseth.
When NHC Services was established, they manually processed tens of thousands of incoming invoices annually. NHC Services wanted to reduce the time they spent on each invoice and started looking for an accounting system with more efficient invoice handling and a high degree of automation.
– The accountants spent way too much time on manual bookkeeping, which meant less time for controller tasks and analysis. If you want to spend less time on incoming invoices, you need systems that do the job for you, says Dragseth.
She says that NHC Services came into contact with Semine by chance, and took their first steps a year and a half ago, testing the solution for incoming invoices. SEMINE is a system that uses artificial intelligence and is at the forefront when it comes to automating invoice workflows and streamlining accounting processes.
Automates 70,000 invoices a year
– The use of artificial intelligence in accounting systems is the future, but accountants must understand how to use the system correctly and not simply blindly trust the technology. We knew the system wouldn’t be perfect from the get-go. From the outset, we have been active partners and contributed to the development of the solution,” says Dragseth.
She explains that NHC Services used to spend a lot of time on each invoice, most of which was spent adding the department and account, before forwarding the invoice to the relevant person.
– We managed to pre-post the supplier, customer identification number (KID), amount and so on for most of the invoices that were in PEPPOL format, but that was not possible for PDF invoices. Today, SEMINE takes care of this. We also spent time splitting costs between departments, as well as accruing invoices that applied to several periods. These are basically simple, repetitive accounting tasks that a system should manage, not people. And these days SEMINE handles this too,” says Dragseth.
– SEMINE worked so well that, in the spring of 2020, the group decided to let SEMINE handle all the approximately 70,000 incoming invoices that the 54 NHC companies receive each year.
– After four months of operation, we have reduced the amount of time we spend on incoming invoices, and have set up auto-posting for certain suppliers. We are currently working on better labelling of incoming invoices and our goal is to have 95% of all invoices in PEPPOL format. This will further improve the workflow in SEMINE, says Dragseth.
The goal is 100% automation
– The SEMINE workflow works really well, and we’ve almost achieved our goal. The next step is automatic posting of all invoices (auto-posting). The goal is 100 percent automation, but to achieve this, we also need our suppliers onboard. We want all invoices to be sent straight to the workflow. If the invoice is approved, it will be automatically posted, leaving the accountant out of the process.
Semine is also working on a dashboard solution that will allow us to perform multiple analyses. Once the dashboard has been rolled out, it will improve efficiency even more, says Dragseth.
Automation has been positively received by employees in the various NHC companies.
– We now have time to pick up the phone and help the head teacher of a kindergarten so that they can spend more time with the children. That’s just one example of what we have achieved,” says Dragseth.
NHC Services is measured on efficiency, i.e. how quickly the accounting service manages to deliver accurate figures.
– Our goal is to deliver ‘live’ results to the group, and we believe this is entirely possible with a system like SEMINE. Our invoice volume has increased, but we are currently handling this without additional FTEs. This is proof that we have become more efficient,” says Dragseth.
Win-win for the customer and the system
NHC was one of Semine’s first major customers. It’s been a win-win situation for both companies.
“As a new start-up, we were dependent on customer feedback. NHC gave us inspiration and they were willing to give us time and invest in us as a company. NHC wanted to have an innovative collaboration. It has provided both parties with important learning and a solution that now greatly benefits NHC,” says Daniel Karlsen, CCO of Semine.
– We have been working closely with Semine since we implemented the system and are constantly providing input that we know Semine takes into careful consideration. Many of our comments and suggestions have helped Semine develop the system further. After only a few months, SEMINE was working far more efficiently than our old solution. And developments since we started a year and a half ago have been phenomenal,” says Dragseth and continues:
– The fact that we have been a customer for so long makes us feel like we are helping Semine to develop the system. Semine’s support team is open to input and is great to work with. The system is still not quite perfect, but that also makes it exciting. The system evolves from month to month, and we get to contribute to its development.”
–We have always been active partners and contributed to the development of the system.”
She sees that there are still great opportunities inherent in SEMINE and believes the system is on a completely different level than other systems available on the market.
“When you start using new technology, you feel like anything is possible – especially .