An elaborate coding system for accounts payable, but why not use a matter management system?

Law Technology News, Oct. 2011 at 38, recounts a painful story of a large pharmaceutical company that needed to track and allocate legal costs to business units, products, or cost centers. Also, according to the author, Kenneth Jones of Xerdict Group, the general counsel’s office needed to break out legal costs by different types of litigation or transactional work.

Their solution? Add special codes for invoices processed through the corporate financial system in the invoice payment module. The codes can go more than one level and they allow the reporting of spend by the different reporting categories needed. Much training and testing was called for.

My question: why did this law department go through all the agitation to jerry-rig something in accounts payable rather than license its own matter management system? Why customize and contort the enterprise-wide accounts payable system to satisfy the legal department’s peculiar need when store-bought solutions are at hand? Perhaps the consultants or internal IT had their own agendas?

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