ApprovalMax XU Magazine - Issue 13

ApprovalMax Improves AR Automation for Mazars Thailand

Jonathan

How to improve sales invoice accuracy and enhance customer satisfaction by using automated approval…

Mazars is an international, integrated, and independent organization, specializing in audit, accountancy, tax, legal, and advisory services. We are present in 79 countries around the globe, and have 270 offices worldwide.

Mazars Thailand is a leading audit, accounting, tax, legal, and advisory practice, combining the benefits of an integrated global partnership with the entrepreneurial drive of its senior advisors.

Our focus is on working with multinational companies and owner managed business investing in Thailand, enabling them to establish and run their operations in Thailand quickly and efficiently.

In recent years, we have enjoyed rapid growth, and are in the top-10 in our market, as well as being  number 1 in the accounting outsourcing area.

Growing challenges with company sales invoice authorization

The need to implement ApprovalMax arose as a result of how we were issuing customer invoices. The process was purely manual, printing out paper copies of monthly invoices that were then sent by post. Multiple corrections would sometimes be required, leading to significant extra effort on the part of our accounting team, and to reduced cash flow.

The use of modern cloud-based applications such as ApprovalMax, together with Xero, have radically changed the approval process – establishing a sophisticated approval process which ensures that the proper chain of managerial and executive reviews and approvals are in place, and fully digitalizing it.

Special requirements of the approval process in Mazars Thailand included the need to group invoices in different ways, such as by service line and engagement team, the need to have a clear audit trail tracking the audit decision history, as well as the ability to aggregate data and approved invoices for large multinational clients automatically.

Implementing sales invoice approval processes that work

ApprovalMax allowed for the quick set-up of a straightforward approval matrix in a simple and intuitive way that covered all of the proper managerial and executive reviews and approvals needed for monthly invoices, such as defining approval roles and routing workflows.

With an average monthly volume of more than 600 sales invoices, three service lines, and a number of partners in each department performing the final review and sales invoice sign-off, the approval process proved to be quite complex.

Easily adding more sophistication to the authorization process

Not only was ApprovalMax able to handle the complexity of the approval process, it was also able to add new levels of approval where necessary – such as review by a manager at the team level. Overall, there are now 15 engagement teams or cost centres, with each cost centre having its own manager, and with groups of cost centres overseen by a partner.

The ultimate approval workflow in ApprovalMax is as follows: a junior member of a team creates a sales invoice and submits it for approval. The sales invoice then goes to the manager of the team, who reviews and approves it before it goes to the partner for review, significantly reducing the risk of mistakes. The approval role of the team manager can also vary by client, which adds another degree of flexibility and sophistication to the review and approval process.

ApprovalMax also allows exceptions – for example, where an invoice does not have to go through the standard approval process, and can be submitted for executive review and approval right away.

ApprovalMax also allows an additional step to be added to the approval process, where people outside of Mazars Thailand, such as an authorized person of the client, can approve invoices. For example, when a sales invoice is approved at the Mazars managerial level, it can then be sent automatically to the client reviewer for that person to check it, and it can then be returned to Mazars for final approval and sign-off. This gives multinational clients a way to track all of their invoices and maintain control over what is invoiced.

Among the most valuable features of ApprovalMax are: ease of use, along with the ability to build sophisticated approval processes very quickly. No technical expertise was required to set up the approval matrix, and it can be set up and changed by any user with the appropriate level of authorization.

Results of ApprovalMax Implementation: higher customer satisfaction and increased cashflow

With over 600 invoices issued each month, the effect of the implementation was powerful and felt immediately.

ApprovalMax provided the following benefits to Mazars Thailand:

  • Increased quality of initial and follow-up invoices: Since proper managerial and executive reviews are performed automatically, errors are caught and corrected quickly, ensuring that the invoice is correct and properly issued the first time it is sent to the client.
  • Increased cash flow: Since monthly invoices are now created in mere days and issued to clients quickly, client payments are made earlier, thus increasing cash flow.
  • Full accountability: The ability to keep records of the approval process (such as who approved the invoice and when, or making notes) – specifically at the manager level – did not exist earlier. Such records are important during an audit.

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About the author

Jonathan Fryer, Partner – Accounting and Outsourcing Solutions, Mazars (Thailand) Ltd

Jonathan is an ICAEW qualified chartered accountant focused on providing business advisory and outsourcing services to owner managed businesses and international organisations operating in Thailand and Asia.

With more than 10 years of professional experience in accounting and audit in an international environment, Jonathan has a deep knowledge in international accounting, tax and business regulations as well as business operations.