AT A GLANCE
- Maintain reputation for on-time payment with suppliers
- Ease burden on accounts payable team chasing up paperwork
- Cope with business growth after acquiring another business
- Esker Accounts Payable Automation delivered by the FUJIFILM Business Innovation Process Automation team
- AP process now 100% paperless
- Fast and accurate invoice routing
- AI intelligently monitors and alerts errors & changes
- Immediate visibility across the procure-to-pay process
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Automation transforms AP function…
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 recently acquired Blenheim’s Simcox Construction, adding a further 80 staff members active in civil construction, infrastructure works and earthmoving. Even prior to the acquisition, the accounts payable team were busy, often spending time chasing documents. While understandable and a practical reality in a company handling more than two thousand invoices every month, these situations were at odds with the organisation’s policy of paying its suppliers on time.
With the purchase of Simcox, the limitations of paper-based processes became painfully clear as increased volume exacerbated the situation.
“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,” explains Arlee Folkers, Group CFO at Isaac Construction.
Folkers knew that Isaac would need a modern solution to maintain its hard-earned reputation.
After testing the market, the team decided to engage with the FUJIFILM team, who were recommending Esker Accounts Payable Automation.
The implementation process started with several presentations and then a collaborative workshop.
“This proved invaluable, you could tell FUJIFILM 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.”
“Once an invoice is in our system, we can track every single one with absolute ease.”
Attendees included a project manager, a technical specialist and account manager from FUJIFILM, Isaac’s accounts payable employees, the company accountant, a representative from Nimbus (the Enterprise Resource Planning solution used by the business), an IT specialist an external project manager for added oversight.
The additional resourcing was helpful, Folkers adds, because her accounts payable staff members were eager to get the solution in, having been at the coal face dealing with inadequate paper processes.
“They were experiencing frustration and continual problems which had them feeling like they weren’t on top of the job.”
The project went live after just 4 months.
With Esker, the entire electronic system works seamlessly, eliminating paper in the process. Most importantly, Isaac Construction now enjoys complete visibility across the accounts payable workflow. “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, alongside a mobile app, Esker also allows AP staff to approve on the go.
The system’s built-in AI is also helping with fraud detection, “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 has maintained 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 FUJIFILM Process Automation 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.”
“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.”
Source: This article was originally sourced from FUJFILM Business Innovation
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