Best AP/AR Solution Winner: Dubai Municipality

Published: Sep 2021


Photo of Ayesha Musabah Rashed Alshibli, Senior Accountant, Fatheya Abdulla Khorri, Principal Accountant, AbuBaker Abdulla AbuSrdaneh, Senior Support Admin, Ahmad Mohammed Saleh, Head of Accounts Section, Alia Mahammed Shahdad, Head of Unit, Hana Humaid Rashed Saeed Al Rumaihi, Senior Accountant and Lubna Khamis Rashid Almazrooei, Senior Accountant.

Lubna Khamis Almazrouie

Dubai Municipality is Dubai’s central municipal body with jurisdiction over city services and the upkeep of facilities. Founded in 1954, its function has grown in line with Dubai’s expansion and currently has 11,000 employees working across 34 departments. It is one of the largest governmental institutions and is a leading driver of growth and evolution.

Dubai Municipality’s finance department overhauls its services with digital solution

The challenge

A lack of automation and the heavy use of paper left Dubai Municipality’s finance department facing many challenges, especially in its accounts payable (AP) department. The department had to manage the burden of direct commissioning requests, customers arriving in person to the department’s headquarters to deliver documents and invoices and the ensuing office overcrowding, traffic congestion and risks of valuable information getting lost.

The Municipality was renowned for lengthy transaction processing and missed timelines, battled with huge paper consumption and the accumulation of files. Requests to open advances were made manually, contradicting the government’s directives for smart and technical evolution. Elsewhere, procedures around receiving bank guarantees, post-dated cheques and processing insurance were paper-intensive and time-consuming.

The pandemic hastened the need for change, making it more imperative to find digital solutions to complete transactions. Other processes run by the Municipality, including processing applications for compensation by people whose property had been impacted by government projects, were also hit by bureaucracy.

The solution

Automating the procurement process from ordering to cash has removed the paper trail. The finance department now utilised a fully automated Government Resource Planning (GRP) system. This allows suppliers to enter invoices and bank guarantees through a smart supplier portal and monitors the status of companies’ invoices and payments and bank guarantees without the need to communicate with Municipality employees.

The GRP system allows officials to download invoices automatically around the clock, giving approval via smartphones in a process that saves time and effort across the Municipality units.

Best practice and innovation

The digital overhaul also solves challenges the Municipality faced around receiving bank guarantees, post-dated cheques and insurance procedures.

A smart guarantee provides a bank guarantee via e-mail, avoiding all requirements to visit the department building. Automation has smoothed other processes like the procedure around receiving and processing post-dated cheques and insurance, and digitising transactions around applications for land annexation and electronic payment for planning services. Here evaluation requests are received directly, and the valuation price is listed through the same system, resulting in electronic correspondence and administrative procedures being dispensed with.

Key benefits

  • No paper trail and rationalisation of expenditures.
  • No office visits, supporting sustainability and preserving the environment.
  • Ease of tracking the status of bills and tracking suppliers of their bills automatically.
  • Ability to measure transaction progress.
  • Simplifying land and property valuation and compensation procedures.
  • New automated procedures for receiving bank guarantees, post-dated cheques and insurances.

“The process has distinguished our finance department from other government departments, leading on integrating the new systems (smart expanse) with the GRP system and processes around smart expenses and the automation of bank guarantees. Our procedures have been improved and simplified within record time, illustrating the agility of Dubai Municipality,” says Abdulla AbdulRahman Abdulla, Director, Finance Department.

The Adam Smith Awards is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2021 Awards attracted a record-breaking 309 nominations spanning 40 countries. To find out more please visit: https://treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards.

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