“Reconciling expenses now takes 30 seconds” – Athabasca Catering’s Expenses Transformation
December 9, 2020
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit this year and hordes of office workers got used to working from home, Athabasca Catering faced a challenge.
The company provides meals and janitorial services for construction and mining sites. They feed over 400 people per day – and this was not work that could be done from home.
It made their paper-based expenses process even more complicated than before.
Thankfully, Athabasca was able to put Beanworks’ AP automation expenses module to work.
Robert Cremers, director of finance and administration, explained: “Our people working at the sites don’t have the luxury of working from home. Submitting expense claims became very challenging. So when we found this expense module, we just said, aha, there’s a way to solve that problem.”
Robert could now approve the expenses without needing to be physically in the office himself.
But one of the biggest benefits has been the simplicity of using the mobile app for those who are entering their expenses.
Staff in the nearly 200-strong company take pictures of their expenses as they go from anywhere, and the information is automatically uploaded into the app. It can then be compared easily with the Visa statements at the end of each month.
“It literally takes me 30 seconds to reconcile mine,” Robert said.
Moving to a paperless world
“Before, everything was on paper” – Robert Cremers, director of finance and administration, Athabasca Catering
Athabasca Catering’s entire accounts payable process is now paperless. This marks a huge change in the way of working for the company, which also manages its invoices and purchase orders (POs) with Beanworks.
“Before, everything was on paper: all our invoices, and our check stubs and payment advice [slips] were stored in filing cabinets,” Robert said.
Moving to Beanworks has reduced Athabasca’s spend on paper by about 75%. It has also slashed their spend on printing and copying from $400 per month to $100 per quarter. Storage costs will eventually be reduced too.
Visibility over purchases
Going paperless for expenses, invoices and POs was not the only advantage Athabasca Catering gained from their move to Beanworks.
Previously, the company had no POs at all, and no approval process for purchases. This meant that “anybody could basically purchase whatever they wanted,” Robert said.
It was critical to get some visibility and control back over that process – especially when 80 people have permission to make purchases at Athabasca.
Using Beanworks’ PO module has given the team exactly that.
A host of benefits
Ease of use and implementation was also important to Athabasca. Thankfully, Beanworks fit the bill here, too.
“What I really liked about it [is], it’s very simple to use,” Robert said. “It’s been flawless. The implementation team to help us get started was fantastic.”
“They listened to what our needs were. We were up and running really quick, which is what I really appreciate…There’s one piece of software we’re implementing, and we’ve been at it for a year-and-a-half, whereas Beanworks was a matter of days.”
Having invoices on the system rather than on paper makes it easier to detect any kind of fraud. With the team now working from home, instead of scanning in and emailing any invoice which looks unusual, everyone can look at it on the system at once.
And the amount of time the small accounts payable team of three have to spend on data entry has been dropped by 60%.
“It’s been really good progress for us.”
“Being a finance guy that was kind of exciting to me to see that finally, we’re going to have some control over who purchases what,” Robert said.
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