Rockford Associates: Research and profit from cash recovery

Cash Recovery

Durham University commissioned Rockford Associates Limited to deliver a cash sum recovery for any unforeseen overpayments that may have escaped its systems

Durham University is a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting. It is one of The Russell Group’s 24 members who are world-class, research-intensive universities. Russell Group universities work extensively with schools and colleges of all types, across the UK, to support teachers to identify and build on potential – and to raise the attainment of pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Durham is a university like no other.

What requirements were needed?

Durham University commissioned an Accounts Payable Review as a risk-free mechanism to recover unforeseen overpayments that may have escaped its robust systems and processes. It undertakes regular reviews and promotes good governance by conducting self-checks and regularly undertaking the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). Notwithstanding good controls the University is aware overpayments can evade the most robust systems and some suppliers remain indifferent to returning monies.

The review required an in depth and 100% thorough analysis of its Accounts Payable Transactions and Payments. It would help safeguard the University’s Cash Assets whilst internal resources could be focussed on day to day business productivity. The findings of an independent Accounts Payable Recovery provider would be impartial and moreover motivation to deliver optimum cash recoveries would be sustained and focussed throughout the life cycle of the project.

What was the solution?

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

A senior Recovery Auditor was sent to site 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 University Accounts Payable and Finance Teams.

What were the results?

Rockford Associates analysed over 415,000 transactions from the Universities Oracle Finance System. The review identified, verified and recovered 80 exceptions and delivered the University a material five figure cash sum recovery that contributed to safeguarding the University cash assets. The review provided Durham University with an independent and positive reassurance that 99.99% of transactions were processed correctly by invoice value and 99.99% by invoice volume. Rockford identified 229 inactive suppliers assisting the University manage its Supplier Master File and received a Findings and Recommendations Report with control observations to help future best practice.

Clare Butcher, Head of Financial Services, Durham University said:

“The Rockford auditor was knowledgeable and worked well with our Accounts payable team. The audit delivered both cash returns and the overall validation of our ledgers proving 99.99% accuracy which is very reassuring. I am pleased to recommend the services of Rockford Associates”

Ray Dorney, Director, Rockford Associates said:

“Rockford works with many members of The Russell Group. Durham University is a valued Client and the business relationship spans a decade. It manages an efficient and effective Accounts Payable operation. Durham conducts Professional Procurement processes and engaged Rockford’s specialist Education Accounts Payable Recovery Services via the Procurement Compliant Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Spend Analysis and Recovery Services (SARS 2) RM3820 Framework Agreement”

Find out more

To find out more and how you would benefit from an audit completed by Rockford Associates, or if you would like to see more case studies of how we have assisted other organisations please see our contact details below.


Rockford Associates Limited
Aston Court
Kingsmead Business Park
High Wycombe
HP11 1LA

Telephone: 01494 578111



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