A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by ITESOFT's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from ITESOFT is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

UK Managing Director
ITESOFT, Digital Automation
Focusing on the digitalisation of financial processes and the
prevention of fraud, ITESOFT UK work with large corporate
entities and governmental departments across Europe and
the US. They have developed their own software platforms
to support this and have designed a cloud-based system that
utilises AI to improve its efficiency with every document it
encounters. Established in the UK more than 15 years ago, they
are a division of the French company ITESOFT SA. Managing
Director Nick Dunnett tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the
development of their software platform and how they have
adapted to changing legislation.
We have developed our own software to support our provision, which focuses on
three key areas: finding the key data in attachments or paper files and converting
these data into a digital record; supporting business processes; and supporting
fraud detection and prevention. We offer this digital transformation as a cloud-
based service and have designed unique technology, based on the international
standard for business process methodology notation, to support the day-to-day
running of businesses. Beyond streamlining this whole process, we also use fraud
prevention software to assess whether abnormal patterns can be detected or
documents have been altered.
Since establishing the business in the UK, we have seen sustained double-digit
growth. Previously, when we sold our software as a package rather than a
subscription, this growth was slower, but our overall trend has been very positive.
»UK Managing Director:
»Established in 1984
»Based in Woking
»Services: Automating financial
»No. of employees: 250
Highlighting best practice
A platform that continuously
Although there has been a continuous
move towards e-documentation, many
companies have still not managed to
achieve this transition successfully.
Often, their concept of an e-document
is an attachment to an email, rather
than a true electronic record, so we
have invested a huge amount in our
optical character recognition software
to assist with the digitalisation of
physical files. We have also embedded
AI into our shared cloud-based system,
meaning that it learns and improves
with every supplier invoice it processes.
It took time for this system to get up
to speed, and originally we required a
specialist to tweak the finer elements.
We no longer require this, and it
works more efficiently the more it is
used. This means that our clients do
not have to worry about processing
vast amounts of data, something that
would almost certainly require taking
on additional staff.
Most of our clients are larger corporate
entities or governmental departments.
In order to raise our profile, we have
been hosting events for the last four
or five years, inviting businesses to
learn about our processes. Alongside
this, we have adopted a more social
approach to selling, creating content
and blogs that educate people about
the issues that affect them and their
customers. By sharing this knowledge,
we are able to build awareness and
strengthen our inbound marketing.
A focus on fraud prevention
One of the most unique aspects of
our system is our fraud prevention.
Globally, fraud is estimated to equate
to five per cent of total annual
revenues, or $4 trillion in annual
losses. Although our system currently
focuses on financial processes, we are
looking to expand this into all other
areas of each organisation. Our system
covers both internal and client-facing
scenarios and allows each client to
check the details of each customer
immediately – essential when trying to
prevent fraud. Less than 40 per cent of
organisations in EMEA report that they
are utilising proactive data monitoring
and analysis software. Our goal is to
minimise the possibility of fraud while
making all processes more efficient. If
we achieve this, we can make a real
difference to the lives of our clients.
Corporate responsibility and
environmental impact
The last 12 months have seen a
significant rise in the awareness of
our impact on the environment and
climate. While much of this attention
has been focused on individuals’
impacts, especially single-use products,
we realised that there was also a
significant environmental impact from
organisations when considering their
back-office functions, such as finance.
In fact, for most organisations, at least
30 per cent of supplier invoices are still
received as pieces of paper; another
30 per cent are then received as
attachments to emails. Unfortunately,
many organisations will then print out
these email attachments to process the
information. In terms of impact, for a
ITESOFT are located in
Dukes Court, Woking
Globally, fraud
is estimated to
equate to five
per cent of
total annual
revenues, or
$4 trillion in
annual losses
mid-sized business, this can equate to
the use of more than 250,000 pieces
of paper per year, just within accounts
payable. This is the equivalent of 30
trees a year.
At ITESOFT UK, we are aware that
not all invoices can be converted into
electronic documents, although we
firmly believe that the proportion of
documents received as paper can still
be significantly reduced with the use
of email, EDI and supplier portals.
However, we also believe that there
is no reason for documents received
as attachments to be printed: our
solutions have been designed to ensure
that we can capture information
regardless of the format in which it is
received, reducing the environmental
impacts of organisations.
Adapting to uncertainty and
changing legislation
Because of the uncertainty surrounding
Brexit, which is affecting a number
of the larger organisations we deal
with, especially those that trade
internationally, many businesses are
taking longer to make decisions about
what strategies they want to adopt.
This has knock-on effects for service
providers like us, and we hope that
the entire situation will be clarified
soon. One of the more general issues
we face is organisations becoming
far more risk averse. As many
companies look to move spending
from capital expenditure to operational
expenditure, they are becoming much
tighter on the return they receive from
their investment. Whereas IT projects
were previously embraced, they have
entered a phase of being perceived as
risky. To combat this, we are offering
our customers guaranteed levels of
performance and the opportunity to be
up and running within a month.
To ensure we are able to sustain
the progress we have made, we
are looking to further expand into
customer-facing systems and refine
our fraud prevention software. It is
also essential to remain abreast of all
changing legislation, as a few new
policy shifts, such as the introduction
of Making Tax Digital, have had a
major impact on us and our clients.
The government are continuously
pushing best practice and the duty
to report about payments, especially
how companies are paying their
smaller suppliers. There is an ongoing
legislative discussion in this area,
deciding how strong any regulation
should be. This is something we, and
all other businesses, have to bear in
mind, as the speed with which people
receive payment has a dramatic impact
on the wider economy.
Less than 40 per
cent of
organisations in
EMEA report
that they are
proactive data
monitoring and
ITESOFT wins the
DM award: Accounts
Product of the Year

This article was sponsored by ITESOFT. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster