Public Sector - ERP - Digital Transformation

Digitised processes move University to cashless campus

SOA People’s SAP Extension Center delivers fast, efficient and cost-effective request-to-pay apps that provide process improvement and process visibility to Leiden University
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Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is one of the leading international research universities in Europe, with nearly 31,000 students and 7,000 staff. It additionally hosts some 4,000 international and exchange students on its Bachelor, Master and PhD programmes each year, as well as more than 800 visiting academic staff from all over the world.


  • Cashless university: The shared financial services desk doesn’t have to handle cash so there’s no cash transfers and less risk of error.
  • Digitalised audit control: approvals for gift cards are digitalised so there’s no lengthy paper trails with authorised signatories, and internal audit tracking is 100% visible.
  • Fast and efficient request-to-pay: With the three easy-to-use apps staff and third parties can easily submit requests and track approvals, while managers monitor the process and ensure essential tax documentation is in place
  • Compliance with tax regulations: The University is confident in its ability to comply with the latest tax regulations for its payments to staff and third parties
  • Transparent financial controls: The University benefits from tighter financial control across its request-to-pay process
  • SAP integration: The three apps for Request, Approval and Monitoring are seamlessly integrated into the University’s SAP environment.

The Challenge

With 16 Nobel Prizes and a reputation for playing a leading role in academic research and education, Leiden University has very high standards to uphold.

Monetary gifts and payments are often given in exchange for delivering external services and activities, such as guest lectures or training courses, and for refunding members of staff or students. The university needed to modernise the way it provided these cash, gift cards and debit card payments to staff, students and its large quantities of visiting third parties. Payments had to be accurately documented and fiscally managed so they could ensure compliance with the latest tax regulations.

Peter Magielse, SAP Manager, Leiden University says, “There was a considerable amount of manual admin and paper trails because we were physically distributing cash payments from the desk.”

Tighter financial controls and transparency would involve digitalising request-to-pay processes. For example, its current process did not allow the university to easily link payments to third parties with IB47 declarations or record data that needed to be fed through to the tax authorities. Self-service web-based applications would make it much quicker and easier to manage payments, provide automated checks, dramatically reducing paperwork and labour-intensive administration.

“One of the principles at the university was to minimise cash payments. We wanted to move to becoming a cashless university campus,” Peter explains.

“To deliver an application that met 90% of our desired functionality from go live was impressive. The SOA People consultants were experienced and really knew what they were doing in creating the applications we needed. We look forward to working with SOA People again on future projects” Peter Magielse, SAP Manager, Leiden University