ApprovalMax XU Magazine - Issue 16

Taylorcocks and ApprovalMax establish end-to-end cost control: Find out how your customers can keep on top of spending across their multi-entity businesses.

Written by Andy Perrett

A cloud-based transformation story by a leading accountancy practice that helps its clients take full control of their expenditure.

Taylorcocks is an Accountancy Age ‘Top 100’ firm of chartered accountants and tax advisors specialising in the provision of bespoke, high quality accountancy, taxation and advisory services. As Xero Platinum Partners, and winner of Xero’s ‘Emerging Partner of the Year 2017’ award, taylorcocks is at the forefront of modern accounting technology. At taylorcocks, we have carefully selected the software we partner with and built our app stack. In addition to Xero, taylorcocks partner with the likes of Datamolino and the June 2018 Xero App Partner of the Month, ApprovalMax.

Take spending under control, end-to-end

One of the recurring challenges is our clients’ necessity to ensure that money spent is money spent well. This requires any expenditure, regardless of the legal entity it originates from, to pass through a rigorous check and set of traceable approvals first so that they tick all the boxes needed, for the right price, and with the right vendor. It’s also essential that all invoices received from an approved supplier (Bills) are matched with the original Purchase Orders to prevent double-counted, erroneous or unauthorised payments.

This is a tall order for taylorcocks’ client-first approach because our clients frequently use an accounting system without the flexibility and data storage required to track and analyse spending accurately, even if done ex-post. Plus, our clients often lack the appropriate tools and internal business practices to define, follow, and enforce efficient business processes for spending management. They mainly use Excel spreadsheets to track Purchase Orders, and have no proper approval process and Bill-to-Purchase Order Matching in place. In consequence, all information regarding the Purchase Orders for a particular new invoice is added to the infamous tracking spreadsheet retrospectively – defeating the entire object of spending tracking.

A case in point: A multi-site and multi-entity client

To combat this challenge, taylorcocks maintains a selective set of certified software applications pre-integrated with the leading cloud-based accounting software Xero, including the bill digitisation software Datamolino. However, the core elements for accurate end-to-end spending management and advanced expenditure control is delivered by the key capabilities of ApprovalMax:

First, Purchase Orders are created outside of Xero and then put through a strict approval process before being recorded in Xero. This way only correctly approved Purchase Orders appear in Xero.

Second, all invoices pass through a customised Bill approval process in ApprovalMax, and are matched with the previously approved Purchase Orders – before any payment takes place.

Third, multiple approval levels and the Automatic Approval capability really make a difference for our clients’ needs and expectations. For example, if a Purchase Order is raised by an authorised user and within a certain spending limit, it will be approved automatically. However, if it exceeds the designated threshold, it will be submitted to one of the regional managers for approval. In case of an unusually high invoice amount, the Bill will be automatically routed to the regional director, ensuring total control over spending across all entities and locations.

Fourth, all our clients (but particularly expanding multi-entity organisations with several separate management structures and quickly evolving internal processes), benefit greatly from the unlimited number of flexible approval levels ApprovalMax lets them set up. Significant time savings, higher productivity, and better data quality to boot. They also appreciate that they can now distinguish between Requesters, who raise Purchase Orders but are kept outside of Xero, and the managers who will review and approve.

Incremental benefits

Apart from facilitating the compliant and audit-ready end-to-end management of Purchase Order and Bill approvals, ApprovalMax enables businesses to quickly ascertain their overall spending to date with regard to a particular supplier. If this is beyond a certain threshold, ordering from that source can either be stopped and switched to another vendor, or associated Purchase Orders can be rejected.

Our clients also favour the extraordinary flexibility ApprovalMax provides, and that the ease of setup and intuitive use is second to none. We have found that the roll out of ApprovalMax is very straight forward. Starting with just one company in a multi-entity (eight and counting) and multi-site group, we quickly deployed to each of the remaining units across the space of just a couple of months, and are ready for any other entities joining the group in the near future.

Introducing ApprovalMax enables our clients to fully automate their internal processes related to Purchase Orders and Bills, and lets us focus on high value-added advisory and consulting services while spending much less time on typical accounting routines. This also enhances our clients’ satisfaction and ensures taylorcocks retains its position as a leading trusted advisor.

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About the author

Andy Perrett

Andy leads the cloud accounting project at taylorcocks, a top 100 firm. He drives the project forward educating both clients and staff on the benefits of cloud accounting. As Platinum Xero partners, Andy has a wealth of experience in migrating clients onto cloud software, and in managing the change across the practice. Andy is also responsible for appraising the add-ons in the Xero Marketplace, building the taylorcocks app stack and implementing them with clients.