When someone asks me, what is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business, I have to say it is working with so many wonderful clients and helping them make a difference within their companies. One of those people is Tanya Ruden, the Accounting Manager at American Equity Life Insurance. A few years ago, we expanded their FileBound system into their Accounts Payable Department and designed an approval workflow. As Tanya explains it, FileBound “brought order to our chaos.”
I love that statement, as it truly sums up what a properly designed and installed document management solution can do for an organization. Before taking the plunge into an automated capture and workflow solution for their payables, American Equity was like so many other companies. They coped with antiquated processes and ideas of how to best manage their payables area. And not unlike other businesses, they experienced all of the typical issues of not having controls in place; late payments, double payments, missing early pay discounts, managing approvals and struggling to retrieve documents for auditors.
So, what did it take to put order to this chaos? First it took someone to understand that there was a better way to manage the process. For American Equity, that person was Tanya. Having recently joined the company, she quickly assessed that in order for the company to sustain their growth, she would either have to add staff, or organize and modernize their processes. So, Tanya accepted the “risk” of change and went to work. Learning that the company had an existing document management solution in FileBound, she contacted The Priton Group to better understand the system’s capabilities. Next, she approached management with her ideas and received approval to move forward.
The first step was to conduct a discovery process. The company does not rely on purchase orders for their purchases. As a result, the AP department did not have a way to anticipate incoming invoices. In fact, most invoices were sent to the person who ordered the goods or services. As a result, they did not know there was a payment due until they received an invoice from a department manager, or a late statement from a vendor. The discovery allowed The Priton Group to conduct interviews with each department, understand how they presently processed their invoices, and then work with Tanya’s team to design a new automated solution.
The new system centralized the receipt of vendor invoices to the AP department. Now, as soon as an invoice is received, it is processed into the system and an automated workflow is kicked off. Defined steps route documents and notifications alert users when they have an invoice to approve. Escalations within the workflow provide updates to approvers and managers when an item has not been worked on within a given period of time. More importantly, Tanya and her team know where every invoice is at any time in the process. They now have order to their chaos. Click here if you would like to hear Tanya talk more about their solution.
So now it is your turn to make a difference and bring order to the chaos in your Accounts Payable department. If you need help you can visit our website by clicking here or call us at (608) 279-4088. We will share with you how many other organizations have taken advantage of document management workflow and the benefits they received.
Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.