ApprovalMax XU Magazine - Issue 19

ApprovalMax helps lucent advisory scale new heights of customer satisfaction

Fraser Barry Photo
Written by Fraser Barry

Find out how one of Australia’s leading advisory firms streamlined their invoice processing using a powerful bill automation app stack…

This is the process transformation success story of a Xero Accounting Gold Partner going fully digital. By using ApprovalMax, lucent advisory achieved its highest ever level of customer satisfaction and efficiency for invoice processing.

Founded in 2005, lucent advisory belongs to the new generation of tech-smart, cloud-savvy business advisors. We provide a set of solutions which effortlessly combine Finance and HR – including outsourced and virtual solutions – designed to maximise performance, improve processes, and deliver data that clients can trust.

Our ultimate goal is to help Managing Directors and CEOs of growing professional service businesses drive profit, deliver growth, take control of their numbers, and make better decisions.

And we do this via a range of services, including outsourced finance and bookkeeping, payroll, invoice processing, and bill payment.

The problem: An overwhelmed workflow

To deliver our services in the most efficient way possible, we selected Xero as our anchor accounting solution. Additionally, we used an OCR solution to digitise invoices and push them into Xero, while the invoices themselves were forwarded to lucentby our clients.

However, it soon became apparent that this workflow was flawed. Supplier invoices got stuck in client inboxes; manual approvals had to be chased; and missed, duplicate or unauthorised payments were all too common. As a result:

  • Our clients were overwhelmed with emails containing invoices and approvals.
  • Reporting was increasingly unreliable, due to incomplete data.
  • Budget forecasting was nigh on impossible, which led to poor cash flow management.
  • Payments were often delayed.
  • Our resources were stretched thin, as we were forced to chase clients for approvals, while also contending with full accounting responsibilities.

Here’s what our process looked like at the time.

The solution: ApprovalMax for bill automation

It was clear that something was missing. We needed a single point for all invoice and bill-related approvals for clients, with an automatic routing of bills for approval according to predefined rules based on Xero data. The ability to work seamlessly with any Xero-connected OCR tool would be helpful too.

But where would we find such a platform? Well, we didn’t have to look far.

ApprovalMax had everything we required, and more. With its powerful bill automation capabilities, it transformed our process into the seamless and streamlined workflow you see below.

It now works like this:

  1. All supplier invoices come directly to lucent advisory;
  2. After digital invoice capture, the automated approval process grabs the bills from Xero;
  3. Bills are then automatically routed to the appropriate clients’ personnel for approval;
  4. And once approved, bills are marked as ready for payment.

The key benefits of this process are that bills are fully authorised for payment, payments are on time, the approval process is automated, and full audit logs are kept. This means maximum efficiency and minimum manual intervention. Our clients are no longer burdened with receiving supplier invoices, while forecasting and management reporting can be done in real-time with high accuracy. And by introducing ApprovalMax into the mix, gone are the days of missed, duplicate or unauthorised payments.

The workflow in action: An almost real-time process

To give you an idea of the workflow in the real world, here’s a quick story about one of our construction industry clients.

They recently visited a supplier and placed an order for some building materials. The supplier’s cloud-based Point of Sale (PoS) system generated an invoice, which was sent directly to lucent advisory. The invoice was picked up and processed (review and coding, added codes, etc.) by a member of our team. An approval request was then generated and automatically routed for approval.

By the time our client left the store and made his way back to his car, he had already received the approval request (complete with the invoice details) on his mobile app. He quickly reviewed and approved the purchase on the spot. Once approved, the purchase was immediately accounted for as part of the budget forecast.

No delays. No bottlenecks. No worries.

The many benefits of ApprovalMax for data automation

The core functionality of ApprovalMax has certainly changed the game for lucent advisory.

Features such as bill review and approval, compliance, and audit reports have been complemented by welcome additional functions, such as purchase order creation and approval, bill to PO matching, and forecasting and budgeting. And the benefits are there for all to see.

Our approval process is now automated and visible, and with shared accountability, we can make bill payments on behalf of our clients with the utmost confidence. Meanwhile, the improved real-time data quality and forecasting means everything is reviewed and approved by the appropriate people. Finally, thanks to the built-in audit trail, we spend less time preparing, while enjoying far more transparency.

All in all, the combination of Xero + ApprovalMax has helped us hit new heights when it comes to customer satisfaction and efficiency.

Find out more… 

To find out more visit: approvalmax.com

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About the author

Fraser Barry

Manager Outsourced Finance Services, lucent advisory

Fraser’s motivation comes from helping clients realise the true potential of their business by harnessing the latest accounting tools and technology, and supporting them along their journey.