In early 2009, the agency’s Finance processes broke down. Several highly visible and only potentially related issues came to light as thousands of customer complaints poured in: double billing of customers; holds on customer funds that prevented needed purchases; inability to send credit card transactions to the bank; thousands of orders with no indication of status; and millions of dollars in customer billings unaccounted for.
ESI, as prime contractor, cataloged issues and estimated impact and documented financial processes to identify potential root causes of the issues. To move from estimates and hypotheses to full understanding of the issues, ESI built a database of all customer orders and all Finance accounts payable and accounts receivable records to enable a comprehensive match-up.
Using database queries, ESI isolated specific dates and billing files that were lost or corrupted. ESI spearheaded a joint IT, Finance, and Customer Service effort to reconstitute, reauthorize, and process the billings, yielding $25 million in collections.
ESI staff drafted system change requests to establish end-to-end internal controls and got buy-in from the IT, Finance, Controller’s, and business line offices to implement changes. Lastly, ESI instituted a quarterly comprehensive check using the database to proactively spot and address new issues.
ESI applied its Finance, IT, and Process Transformation expertise to produce both immediate benefits ($25 million recovered and customer issues resolved) and sustainable processes (systemic internal controls plus quality assurance through the quarterly database-driven check) for the organization.