Case Study: Automated Accounts Receivable Processing – H.H. Brown
Established in 1883 H.H. Brown Shoe Company Inc. (HHB), a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, is a major supplier of premier work shoes and boots, rugged outdoor footwear and men’s and women’s comfort casual shoes. HHB is comprised of several independent operating divisions to take advantage of the diversity of the products. The result of operating in this manner and administering 11,000 active accounts in both the United States and abroad, created an environment where it was difficult to manage Accounts Receivable and associated credit risks.
H.H. Brown Objectives:
- Develop a user friendly Accounts Receivable custom software application capable of automatically processing data collected from scanned check images.
- Design and build a vendor interface to automatically download Chase Bank check images on a nightly basis.
- Eliminate nightly courier transfer of paper check copies and related storage requirements.
- Deploy automatic email notification system to notify management, support personnel, and customer support representatives of system status, payment irregularities, and actions required.
- Build a payment processing interface to integrate new software with existing credit management system.
The initial phase of the project involved a detailed analysis of the project requirements and an detailed evaluation of available image processing and optical character recognition tools. In addition to client visits and site surveys, tests were conducted with various tools to determine the feasibility of processing the Chase Bank images, resulting in several ‘proof of concept’ demonstrations. Once it was determined that scanned check data acquisition was feasible, additional studies were conducted to define the appropriate integration interfaces to the existing credit management system.
The next step consisted of a detailed process review and user interface design. ISG software designers worked closely with HHB personnel to maximize process automation and establish an efficient processing flow while minimizing the amount of user intervention required. Image download processes were automated and database learning features such as linking customers to bank routing numbers were designed into the software to further assist the user. Additional features include automated check processing against inbound EDI payment files, system status monitoring with automatic email notification in the event of a failure, and automatic letter and email notifications based upon HHB defined business rules.
The CICR processing environment was built using Microsoft’s .NET and MSSQL technology. To gain processing efficiency, ISG used high performance image processing routines and Sequel Server database stored procedures. Automated processes such as image file downloads and email notification were developed using WIN2003 server based services. A service monitor was also added to notify HHB in the event of service failures on the application server.
The final step involved building a control panel allowing HHB to maintain business rules and tuning parameters for the custom software application, a reporting module to summarize activity and balance transactions, and an accounting interface for exporting pertinent data to HHB’s credit management system.
During the entire design and development process, ISG worked closely with the HHB team and maintained a software development test site allowing HHB personnel to review and test each phase of the project.
Since the recent software launch HHB has succeeded in reaching its objective of automating the import of check images and major portions of the cash receipts processing application, as well as implementing a new automatic event driven notification system. Future plans plans call for additional high speed processing applications and continued expansion of services.
Contact ISG today to find out how our custom form scanning software can enhance your processing accuracy and increase worker productivity.