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Improved Customer Experience at Consultinghouse Through Fully Validated Invoice Data

Mattia Rüfenacht | 6. Apr 2020
Mattia's world revolves around encounters with people, innovative ideas, tech, food & drinks, music, nature, and consciousness. At Parashift, he is doing business development.

Consultinghouse has specialized in supporting international companies to successfully enter the German market. The services offered cover a large part of the entire business lifecycle. This means, from the market entry strategy to the establishment of the business and operational support for further growth in Germany.

 

A modern market place for traditional consulting services

Classical services such as ongoing or payroll accounting are digitized by Consultinghouse in order to make them available in in the form of apps via its own marketplace - the "Service Store". The services offered can be subscribed to with a mouse click and can also be cancelled without friction which is very similar to what we know from the Apple AppStore or Google Play Store in the end customer area.


 

 

Accounting newly defined

Since traditional accounting is human capital intensive and therefore allows little room for scaling when growth potential is high, Consultinghouse has analyzed the entire process for optimization possibilities. One of the bottlenecks is a labour-intensive sub-process that does not directly add value: the extraction of data from invoices. This realization resulted in the following questions for the management team:

  • Is manual extraction of data still appropriate today?
  • What does the end customer actually expect?

If one takes a closer look at the latter question, a change in perspective may arise and eventually you ask yourself the question: What would I expect from my trustee; in the age of Uber, Netflix and Co.?

 

A vision of real-time accounting

The thesis of Consultinghouse is clear: A new branch office wants to concentrate mainly on business development and new customer relationships. How the bookkeeping is ultimately done is usually not important. However, the managing director of a growing company has a strong interest in keeping an eye on his cash flow and this is best done in real time. So what does it take to do this? 

An essential component is to achieve a high degree of automation in the critical sub-processes. This is where Parashift comes into play. Thanks to the integration of the platform, the Consultinghouse accounting app has now arrived in 2020. This blueprint illustrates the promising potential that even traditional companies can successfully keep pace with the digital transformation and use the benefits to their advantage. Companies are not left on their own and do not have to recruit a team of data scientists themselves, but can benefit from innovative products on the market.

 

Modern incoming invoice processing

The Consultinghouse platform enables end customers to submit their invoices via drag and drop function. Once submitted, the invoice is immediately sent to the machine via the Parashift API where it is processed by a machine learning cluster and validated by human follow-up checks. Once the processing is complete, the metadata is fed back into Consultinghouse's system as a structured JSON.

 

 

screenshot_2_consultinghouse

 

 

The metadata received back now makes it possible to generate entire booking proposals fully automatically on the basis of client-specific rules. In addition, after an automatic account assignment, the data is used to offer various real-time analyses to corporate clients:

 

  • Costs by supplier and month
  • Sales by customer and month
  • etc.

 

Increased productivity through automated extraction of invoices

Across all bookings, the team has already achieving a level of automation of around 40%. With the consideration of various edge cases, up to 80% automation should be realistic in the future. The degree of automation depends on various factors. Some of these are, for example, the type of document, its quality and whether different tax rates are listed that require split bookings. If these factors are not an obstacle and a well-maintained set of vendor rules exists, vendor names can be matched with accounts, thus quickly achieving a high proportion of shadow processing. Accounts receivables can also be entered automatically according to a similar principle by comparing them with bank statements.

However, the use of new technologies does not mean that the team wants to reduce the experienced specialists. On the contrary. The platform is to be understood merely as a helpful tool for the accountant that is supposed to make his everyday life increasingly easier and to enable him more and more in his abilities.

 

More attractive service offering

The fact that the accountants now have considerably more capacity means that they can more comprehensively come after their actual core competences and expand consulting services. In combination with real-time reports, Consultinghouse is thus able to create a state-of-the-art customer experience for clients through a balanced mix of personal advice and digital solutions. A mix that customers can determine individually and that leads to higher customer satisfaction according to experience.

 

Integration with Parashift

Consultinghouse coordinated the integration of the Parashift platform itself, which enabled a fast and cost-effective implementation. After initial testing with various clients, the team is now rolling out the solution step by step for all end customers. Communication between the extraction platform and Consultinghouse's internal systems is handled via Parashift's REST API. As already briefly mentioned, documents are uploaded via a POST request and then processed by the Parashift engine and validated by Parashift employees. Webhooks have been implemented to avoid Consultinghouse having to send GET requests on a regular basis to check whether the processing is complete or not. This allows Consultinghouse's system to automatically communicate in the background with the extraction platform that then issues a corresponding message as soon as documents are ready for collection. So, the accounting platform only needs to send a single API call.


Building on these initial use cases, Consultinghouse will now gradually develop additional use cases in order to implement them along the Parashift innovation cycles.

 

Also read the blog article by Sebastian Wilke from the Consultinghouse Team here: Consultinghouse LinkedIn-Artikel: Boosting customer experience with autonomous accounting