NUS is stepping up efforts towards a zero paper environment in its bid to simplify payment processes and reduce hard copies.
To reach this goal, the Organisational Excellence (OE) Accounts Payable (AP) initiative has been exploring the digitisation of payments across the whole University since August last year. Heading the AP team of seven are Initiative Owner (IO) Chng Lay Khim, Finance Lead at NUS School of Computing, and Co-IO Lian Kay Lee, Assistant Manager, Office of Finance (OFN).
Currently there are two payment streams on different platforms: Request for Payment (RFP) to external parties, staff and students; and invoicing from vendors. Both systems demand tedious manual checking and administration, generating extensive paper trails.
For electronic-RFP, the OE AP team is looking at an end-to-end online workflow – from the requester to pay-out. After numerous rounds of meetings with stakeholders to define the needs, the full system and process requirements have been finalised, said Lay Khim.
NUS Information Technology (IT) is in the process of developing the system. “Along the way, we might have to constantly refine as there may be new information, processes and pain points,” added Kay Lee.
Invoicing is more complex due to its interdependency with other operations such as procurement.
The introduction of an e-invoicing system – which allows direct input by vendors on an online platform to bill NUS in a fully integrated end-to-end procure-to-pay workflow – will accept electronic invoices, explained Lay Khim. Besides slashing the voluminous paperwork, the human touch points will also be reduced, translating to less onerous tasks.
Another proposed improvement is to provide clarity for users with a checklist of documents required and guidelines. This move will eliminate levels of verification at faculty and central processing, greatly enhancing the users’ experience without compromising control. This process will be rolled out on 1 March 2019.
With the roll-out of a checklist, the whole accounts payable process will be more streamlined.
Leading the OE AP initiative has enabled Lay Khim to understand the issues faced from OFN’s perspective which faculties may not be privy to. Likewise, Kay Lee and colleagues from OFN can now see the concerns of the faculty staff involved.
“By taking part in the OE initiative, a more holistic solution taking into consideration the users’ view as well as the policy makers’ perspective can be achieved,” shared Lay Khim.
Organisational Excellence is a strategic initiative undertaken by the University to develop best practices for an efficient and world-class administration to better support NUS’ Vision and Mission. It aims to bring about improved work processes and policies as well as create opportunities for talent development and growth.
The OE Accounts Payable team ( anticlockwise from top left): Kay Lee; Jessie Tan Jia Xin, Assistant Manager, OFN; Charlene Tan Siang Siang, Manager, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; Nursyidah Bte Mansor, Procurement Business Partner, Faculty of Science; Olivia Tiong Kai Ching, Finance Lead, School of Design and Environment); Lay Khim (Team member Lim Ai Yan, Associate Director, OFN is not in the photo)