Rockford Associates: Accounts Payable Review aids Public Sector Finance

public sector finance

Here, Rockford Associates explain their experiences of recovery audit work and case study results

Rockford Associates is a leading professional firm of recovery audit specialists. Since 2001 we have conducted over 680 audits and recovered over 100 Million pounds on behalf of private and public sector clients on a risk-free basis to our clients.

We work across private and public sectors and clients include commercial organisations operating in all market sectors, as well as County, City and Metropolitan Borough Councils, NHS Trusts, Housing Associations, Universities, Charities and Government Departments.

Recovery Audit Services

Our core offering is the analysis of payment records to aid identification of purchase ledger overpayments and their subsequent recovery from suppliers. The audit consists of a review of historic payment transaction data. We use our proprietary in-house forensic software to uncover overpayments resulting from:

  • Goods/services being paid for twice;
  • Payments being made to the wrong supplier;
  • Payments being made in the wrong currency;
  • The by-passing of existing software duplicate checks;
  • The same invoice being paid across different Accounts Payable systems, countries, divisions or ledgers;
  • Credit notes being paid as invoices.

Our Pathfinder software produces over 18 audit reports, each looking to identify overpayments using different criteria and algorithms. Where applicable, our software will look for overpayments across data from different entities, countries, divisions and systems within our client organisations.

We will also identify and investigate those suppliers who, from our previous experience with other clients, are most likely to have hidden or removed overpayments.

Rockford Associates – Client Survey

94% – Rated Very Professional

91% – Agreed of Value

100% – Agreed Non-Disruptive

91% – Agreed another audit likely

100% – Would recommend service to others

Crown Commercial Service – Spend Analysis and Recovery Services II framework. Ref: RM3820

Rockford Associates has been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) new ‘Spend Analysis and Recovery Services II’ framework, Ref: RM3820.

The new framework means that public sector organisations across the UK can access the most effective forensic analysis services, to recover historical overcharges or over-payments from their supply chain.

Rockford have recently completed an audit for Bart’s Health NHS Foundation Trust, the success of which has been detailed in the following case study.

Financial transparency sees cash recovery

The requirement

Bart’s Health NHS Foundation Trust commissioned an Accounts Payable Recovery Review as a risk-free mechanism to identify and recover unknown overpayments that had escaped its own robust internal systems and processes. The Trust processes a high volume of supplier invoices and conducts self-checks, regularly undertaking reviews with the National Fraud Initiative (NFI).

The Trust understands that overpayments are not always recognised or voluntarily declared by suppliers and that funds can be lost permanently if left unclaimed or if the supplier goes into liquidation.

An in-depth and thorough analysis of Accounts Payable transactions and payments is often time-consuming and resource intensive. For this reason, many organisations choose to outsource projects such as these to independent specialist providers.

The solution

Rockford Associates Limited extracted 3 years of Oracle AP transaction data. The process was easy and straight forward as no scripting or software development is required. The Trust data was speedily uploaded to Rockford’s secure share file site (Rockford is Cyber Essentials Certified) and Rockford produced AP Analytics reports by running the data through its bespoke data mining software “Pathfinder”.

A senior Recovery Auditor was sent to the Trust to deliver a full end to end review. With access to mail, systems and scanning in place the Auditor identified, verified and recovered a number of overpayments by conducting a seamless statement review whilst concurrently analysing Rockford AP Analytic reports. Service was delivered on site and remotely with minimum disruption to the Trust Accounts Payable and Finance Teams.

The Trust had previously used the services of Rockford in 2013, it was further reassured in 2019 it could speedily engage Rockford’s specialist NHS AP Recovery Services via the Spend Analysis and Recovery Services (SARS 2) Framework Agreement.

The results

The Trust’s approach to Financial Transparency yielded positive results. Rockford Associates analysed over 645,000 past transactions from the Trust’s Oracle Finance System. The review identified, verified and recovered 82 exceptions delivering a six-figure sum which translates into more investment in patient care and services.

The Trust welcomed Rockford’s independent validation and positive reassurance that 99.99% of transactions were processed correctly by invoice value and 99.98% by invoice volume.

Rockford further identified 11,847 inactive suppliers so assisting the Trust to accurately maintain an accurate Supplier Master File database and provided a detailed Findings and Recommendations Report to help prevent future overpayments. Jasmine Lee, Associate Director Financial Services, Bart’s NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Bart’s NHS Foundation Trust is committed to ensure high standards of corporate governance and personal behaviour are maintained in the conduct of the business of the Trust. A main selling point of the service was that Rockford did the legwork in getting the cash physically back for us. That was a valuable resource to us. The engagement provided an independent reassurance and positive validation that our systems and processes are working well. The review was delivered promptly and efficiently with minimum disruption to day to day business productivity. We will happily recommend Rockford’s Accounts Payable review to any NHS Trust or other body considering a review.”

Ray Dorney, Director at the Rockford Associates Limited said:

“The outcome with Bart’s NHS Foundation Trust is rewarding for both parties. Our relationship has spanned a decade or more and has always proved mutually beneficial. The Trust’s Professional approach to Financial Transparency and the behaviours supporting that process has resulted in significant cash recoveries via Rockford’s specialist NHS Accounts Payable Recovery Review”

Find out more

To find out more and how you would benefit from an Accounts Payable Review completed by Rockford Associates, or if you would like to see more case studies of how we have assisted other organisations, please get in touch.



Rockford Associates Limited  

Tel: +44 (0)1494 578111


Please note: This is a commercial profile  


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