How Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club Eliminated Duplicate Invoices in AP
November 19, 2020
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Surrounded by waterfalls and tropical greenery, the setting of Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club is certainly idyllic.
The year-round country club community in Palm Beach County, Florida, boasts 606 luxury homes, a private beach club, two golf courses, 17 tennis courts, and a standalone fitness and spa facility.
But their manual AP processes were far from ideal. With between 3,000 and 5,000 invoices being processed manually during peak season, the club found itself stuck in a monotonous paper chase.
“It was really old school where the invoice would come in the mail, you stamped it, and put it back in the manager’s mail. It was just not working out,” said Bernadette Mukuka Ceant, AR/AP Manager CHAE.
They figured out it was taking an average of five minutes to process each invoice, using a manual coding system.
The paper-based process meant that invoices wouldn’t reach the accounting office, and it was all too easy to enter an invoice into the system twice.
“Occasionally, we’d get one of those phone calls saying ‘Hey, we haven’t received payment,’ and we don’t have the invoice,” Bernadette added.
Important financial information was buried under stacks of paper documents. Whenever the general manager needed information on a particular invoice, a long search would commence.
“You’d have to go into your filing cabinets and pull out the invoice,” she said.
The club knew they had to move to a digital way of managing their AP. What made them choose Beanworks was a sense of a shared vision, and the deep understanding which Beanworks had of their unique needs.
The result felt more like a strategic partnership than an off-the-peg software solution.
“Beanworks was a perfect fit,” Bernadette said.
Better use of time
Vendors submit invoices through email and the AP team scans them into Beanworks as they are received. The invoice header information is then automatically captured, with 99% accuracy.
“Before, you really had to look for mistakes which Beanworks automatically catches.”– Bernadette Mukuka Ceant, AR/AP Manager at Frenchman Creek Beach & Country Club
Beanworks set up managers to approve their own invoices and sends them daily reminder emails alerting them to new invoices which need approval. Both managers and the accounting team code invoices, which they chose to do to retain some control over the process. The accounts team then performs a second check before syncing the invoice with the ERP system (Jonas Club Software). About 75% of the current AP process is automated by Beanworks while Frenchman’s Creek staff do the rest.
Beanworks flags potential errors such as duplicate invoices making them easier to spot when entering into the system.
“Before, you really had to look for mistakes which Beanworks automatically catches,” said Bernadette.
Invoices which are lost can quickly be traced thanks to Beanworks’ digital audit trails. Now when a vendor calls to follow up on a transaction, Frenchman’s Creek can simply enter the vendor number in the system and determine if the payment has been made.
Staff are no longer tied up with time-consuming tasks which create little value, and are free to focus on those that do.
Remote working in times of COVID-19
Frenchman’s Creek can now access the information they need through a mobile app or the web using Beanworks’ cloud-based software.
That means they can manage AP from any location at any time.
“Approvers could be in another country, and if an invoice needs to be paid, literally you just need to approve it,” Bernadette said.
This has proved valuable during the pandemic. While the volume of invoices has decreased, the company is still able to create POs, approve invoices, cut checks and carry on “business as normal.”
This year, the company’s annual audit took place remotely.
“It was easy to give the auditors the credentials to log onto Beanworks,” Bernadette said.
Progressive, environmentally-friendly and forward-looking
Frenchman’s Creek is happy to be known as “the club that did it first” when it comes to investing in automation of AP.
It is easy for everyone to access the information they need to support informed decision-making. Documents flow quickly across organizational lines and there are no bottlenecks.
As a result, the club has gained a reputation as a progressive, environmentally conscious organization that isn’t afraid to think critically, tackle challenges head on, and look forward to the future.
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