Until now, the creation of complex cross-company invoices could take several days. Payables had to be processed manually and up to 20,000 line items needed to be taken into account.
Nicolas Neumann, an accounts payable analyst at SAP, felt overwhelmed by the amount of material he had to process manually. At the same time, he identified a logical method that could automate the posting of complex cross-company invoices and began working on a solution. The tool simplifies accounting processes by structuring invoices automatically and transferring them directly to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) — cutting processing times from two or three days to just 20 minutes.
The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest employee recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the co-CEOs to an individual or a team.
Posting Automation Tool for Intelligent Enterprises
For SAP, posting automation provides a way to structure financial accounting more efficiently with the given resources. In addition to reducing processing times, the solution delivers other benefits, such as mapping data accuracy in real time. It helps reduce processing errors resulting from manual input. The tool can easily be implemented in SAP’s financial accounting departments worldwide as well: It doesn’t require any major investments, only a few hours of employee training.
Digital Innovation for the Experience Economy
Posting automation offers companies major potential for capturing added value quickly for themselves and their customers. It lets them work smarter, more efficiently, and with more agility. By promoting and improving the employee experience, the project also underscores SAP’s strategy for the experience economy and helps companies improve their bottom line. Intelligent technologies boost productivity and enable the workforce to better serve the needs of their customers.
Autism at Work Program Changed His Life
Neumann was born and raised in Buenos Aires. Even as a child, he always felt like he was different. So different, in fact, that as a teenager he increasingly experienced interpersonal conflicts that he did not understand or even perceive as such. Classes were easy for him but, as can be the case among people with autism, he found the noisy, fast-moving school environment challenging. “It was very hard for me back then,” remembers the 21-year-old. In contrast, his colleagues today describe him as an extremely friendly, helpful young man with incredible abilities.
Neumann joined SAP in 2016 through the Autism at Work program. He has the ability to teach himself complex materials in a very short time. He taught himself to program, for example, and started working on a solution for payment automation — In his spare time, at night. When his team and mentors noticed he seemed sleepy at work, they asked him about the reasons why. Neumann worked up the courage to tell them about his innovative project, and they recognized the potential of his idea.
“My entire team supported me and gave me the time to develop and realize my ideas,” he says. First, they gave him one day every week when he could dedicate his efforts exclusively to implementing his ideas for payment automation. The more he developed his tool, the more time he was given. Today he invests half of his daily working time in improving the tool and working with computer scientists and machine learning experts.
Neumann has big plans for the future. He wants to explore the world, experiment, create, and participate. For him, being nominated for the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is another step toward his dream of pursuing a lifelong career in software development.
Diversity and inclusion are paramount for SAP because they bring different perspectives, experiences, and abilities together. Support for an environment of diversity of all kinds is the source of groundbreaking, innovative ideas like those by Nicolas Neumann.
Finalist Fast Facts
- Submission Title: Posting Automation of Cross-Company Complex Invoices
- Team: Nicolas Neumann
- Board area: Global Finance and Administration (GFA)
- Achievement: On his own initiative, Neumann created a tool that automates the posting of complex invoices with multiple cost allocations by automatically transferring the invoices into the ERP system.
- Impact: The tool reduces processing times from two to three days to 20 minutes. All Accounts Payable departments at SAP reduce time in manual work and can invest that time in other activities. The primary benefits include data accuracy, time optimization, and resource efficiency. SAP is paving the path to innovation by embracing diversity and inclusion.