Law firm Bird & Bird rolls-out Onventis Invoice Processing to 32 offices worldwide

London based law firm Bird & Bird processes over 80.000 invoices annually with Onventis Invoice Processing, for 32 offices and over 1.500 users world-wide.

The challenge

Bird & Bird is a global law firm with 32 offices around the world. Like other global organizations, the different offices tended to work in their own way and the manual handling of invoices was a burden for the manpower in the organization. With the Accounts Payable automation project Bird & Bird was seeking to implement one process and one tool for the entire organization. While leaving flexibility for the individual offices to adapt their local approval processes as needed.

Three main objectives where defined:

– Reduce the manual work involved with the invoice processing, in order to disburden the short-staffed accounts payable departments
– Simplify the process of getting the right people to approve the invoices
– Setup a process that enables decentralized receipt- and handling of purchase invoices while allowing for local, specific, requirements
Not to mention that the pandemic took away a part of the normal stream of communication which complicated the processes even more.

The solution

By implementing Onventis Invoice Processing, Bird & Bird was able to reduce the amount of manual labour while processing incoming invoices significantly. On top of this, the implementation of this solution allowed Bird & Bird to roll-out one process, including a dynamic structure for approval workflows, for their offices all over the world. This greatly improves manageability, efficiency and reduces the risk for human errors.

The advantages

  1. A scalable process to effectively handle a large stream of invoices in one tool.
  2. A proven interface to the law firm specific Aderant software used by Bird & Bird.
  3. The ability to process invoices from any location in the world. Fully supporting the new ways of working (especially in the pandemic).
  4. Saving time on manual invoice entry enables the AP staff to spend more time on improving data quality and other internal processes.
  5. A partner and solution provider that knows the specifics of running an accounts payable department in a law firm. Ranging from the posting entities used (e.g. “section” instead of “cost-centre”) to the role of (and related, specific, processes) of disbursements.
  6. Staff members at Bird & Bird really welcomed having a good user interface – “it feels like we are becoming more modern, which in legal is a big thing” one of the users commented upon go-live.
Figure 1. Regular invoice processing workflow vs Bird&Bird's solution for invoice processing

The flexibility in configuration needed by Bird & Bird to roll-out worldwide

Bird & Bird is an international law firm with a focus on helping organisations being changed by technology and the digital world. With over 1400 lawyers in 32 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, Bird & Bird is supporting their customers all around the globe.

Over the past few years, they have been looking for a sustainable and scalable solution to handle the growing number of incoming invoices. Many parts of this process involved manual effort and the operational work was consuming (almost) all available time. Whilst managing and improving the quality of the data and related processes, which creates significantly more business value, often got postponed due to this.

Finding the answer for above mentioned issues proved to be a harder task than expected. Due to the large number of offices that Bird & Bird has and the set-up of the invoice processing a solution that is flexible in setup was highly desirable.

The project to roll-out to 32 offices worldwide

The roll-out to all 32 offices worldwide started in the United Kingdom and the configuration for that office is used as blueprint for all further rollouts. Using a blueprint configuration Onventis Invoice Processing allows for differences to be configured per office or country. Onventis Invoice Processing is integrated with the Aderant business management software true a proven interface used by over 10 law firms worldwide.

Ashley Maw – Head Of Finance Systems at Bird & Bird – said: “During the implementation we have really come to appreciate the flexibility of the tool and project team at Onventis. They have a very flexible and pragmatic approach in helping us handle the different scenarios of workflow approvals and ways of working around the firm. We’ve rarely seen competitors offer the same level of adaptability as Onventis does.”

Invoice precoding at Bird & Bird

At Bird & Bird the invoice receipt is decentralized. The Bird & Bird process requires the system to allow for other users the AP department to upload invoices, which they receive from suppliers. In addition, these users are asked to provide sufficient information about the invoice during the upload process, this is called the pre-coding activity. This prevents the accounts payable department from having to ask colleagues in the organization for information about certain invoices. This allows for faster processing.


Why Bird & Bird works with Onventis, industry knowledge, proven interface, and flexibility of the solution

In the selection process Bird & Bird was in elaborate talks with another provider. Ashley comments: “We were actually expecting to work with this provider but were then completely surprised by industry knowledge and pragmatism of the Onventis project team. This combined with the proven interface and flexibility of the solution makes that we now work with Onventis. They completely lived up to the expectation as we have now rolled-out an efficient and pragmatic solution that works for all our offices around the globe”.

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