AT A GLANCE
- Construction & Property
- Accounts Payable processing largely relied on paper-based approval
- Time consuming data keying
- Double handling of documents
- Manual exception handling
- Lack of visibility in invoice processing
- Inability to route invoices for approval
- Esker Accounts Payable automation solution that integrates with Nimbus Enterprise Resource Planning system
- Eliminate paper in the Accounts Payable process
- Visibility of status of invoices
- Real-time budget control and alerts
- Complete process audit trail and KPI management
- Web-based and mobile interfaces for geographically spread business users
- Reduced resources to process invoices from “two and a half people” down to two
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If you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, an enterprise software project doesn’t have to be a headache…
Christchurch-based Isaac Construction has earned a reputation for excellence by making sure everything it does is at the highest possible level of quality. Employing a team of more than 300 specialists, the company delivers a wide range of services, including construction, surfacing, bitumen products, transport, quarrying and professional contract management services. Isaac Construction recently acquired Blenheim’s Simcox Construction, adding a further 80 staff members active in civil construction, infrastructure works and earthmoving.
“The entire project has been ‘a pleasure’. You don’t hear that about many implementations. But Fuji Xerox has shown that when you get all the right people in at the start, and you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, an enterprise software project doesn’t have to be a headache.” Arlee Folkers, Group CFO, Isaac Construction
Even prior to the acquisition, Isaac Construction’s Accounts Payable team were a busy pair, often spending time chasing documents explains Group CFO Arlee Folkers. “One of the many problems with paper is you send it for authorisation, and it sits on someone’s desk. Another is that people aren’t always sure where invoices should go, so they get passed from person to person and can slip through the cracks.”
When you get the right people in at the start and have a clear idea of what needs to be done, an enterprise software project doesn’t have to be a headache
While understandable and a practical reality in a company handling more than two thousand invoices every month, these situations are at odds with Isaac Construction’s policy of paying its suppliers on time. “We’ve always done our best to pay on time. It’s reputational; when you get it right, people like to work for you – but paper has its limitations,” Folkers notes.
Upon the purchase of Simcox Construction, those limitations of paper became painfully clear as increased volume exacerbated the situation. “This really compounded the problem as Blenheim is a remote office and we had no way of seeing what was happening in the procurement cycle. There were also differences in our Accounts Payable processes which were proving challenging for staff members,” Folkers says.
After testing the market for potential solutions, Folkers engaged Fuji Xerox New Zealand for the implementation of Esker’s leading Accounts Payable automation software. The implementation process started with several presentations and then a workshop. “This proved invaluable and you could tell Fuji Xerox had done many of these deployments in the past. They involved everyone who would be touched by Accounts Payable automation – and they sequenced it very well, so people weren’t in the room unless necessary.”
Attendees included a project manager a technical specialist and account manager from Fuji Xerox, Isaac’s Accounts Payable employees, the company accountant, a representative for the Nimbus Enterprise Resource Planning solution used by the business and an IT specialist.
Having managed multiple enterprise software projects throughout her career, Folkers also brought in an external project manager for added oversight. “The thoroughness of the preparation, including seeing how all the various systems talk to one another, set the scene for what was the best implementation I’ve ever been involved in,” she enthuses.
This was helpful, Folkers adds, because her Accounts Payable staff members were eager to get the solution in, having been at the forefront of inadequate paper processes. “They were experiencing frustration and continual problems which had them feeling like they weren’t on top of the job.”
The exercise kicked off in February 2019 and the project went live in July 2019.
With Esker, suppliers are required to send all invoices to a dedicated Isaac Construction inbox which is auto-forwarded to Esker. The Esker system ingests them, routes to the right people for approval, and then schedules payment in accordance with vendor terms.
Because the entire system is electronic, paper is all but eliminated.
Most importantly, Folkers says Isaac Construction now enjoys complete visibility across the Accounts Payable process. “If someone rings about their invoice, we can answer immediately because we can see it, when and to whom it’s been submitted, as well as where it is in the process. And once an invoice is in our system, we can track every single one with absolute ease.”
As a cloud solution, and with a mobile app, Esker also allows Accounts Payable and other staff who need to approve invoices, to check and review from anywhere. “We’ve also noticed intelligence in the Esker system. For example, a client’s bank account changed but they didn’t notify us. Esker picked it up, though, and sent an alert so we could verify the legitimacy of the change.”
The visibility and workflow delivered by Esker also ensures Isaac Construction maintains its reputation with suppliers at its Christchurch and Blenheim operations. “We’ve gone from ‘two and a half’ people focused on Accounts Payable, down to two. And they now have room to breathe,” says Folkers.
She describes the entire project as ‘a pleasure’. “You don’t hear that about many implementations, but Fuji Xerox has shown that when you get all the right people in at the start, and you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, an enterprise software project doesn’t have to be a headache.”
Best of all? “I know I’ll never have to look for an invoice again.”
Source: This article was originally sourced from Fuji Xerox
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