“We don’t keep physical invoices in the office anymore” – How U-Pak’s AP Team Went Digital With Beanworks
May 20, 2021
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
As one of Canada’s oldest waste management businesses, U-Pak has perfected the tall task of recycling for more than 3,500 customers with its zero-waste technology.
With more companies realizing the importance of investing in a good waste management strategy, U-Pak’s operations have experienced a noticeable uptick. “We’ve been constantly growing and expanding as a business,” says Mary Molony, VP of Finance at U-Pak.
This sudden growth posed a significant challenge. “In the past three to four years, we haven’t added any more staff members in the accounts payable department,” Molony says. The team was operating the old-fashioned way, using paper, and this wasn’t sustainable.
“Before automation, I felt like I was approving invoices standing right in front of the filing cabinet.” Mary Molony, VP of Finance
“The biggest problem was that the invoices were either scanned at one of our plants and then emailed to us, or they were physically sent to our head office. And then I would have to manually input every single one – it wasn’t ideal,” describes U-Pak’s accounting specialist, Dorota Grabowska.
Employees working from different locations did not have access to U-Pak’s accounting software. When a vendor called regarding payment, the team had to contact Grabowska for an update. “The process didn’t really flow well. It was a big issue for us,” she adds.
Approvers struggled to authorize payments on time, causing further delays. Invoices were stored at several locations – this meant that not only was it difficult to hunt them down, but rejected invoices also had to be sent back to the plant for review. “Finding invoices during an audit was a lot of work,” Grabowska says.
“The biggest problem was that the invoices were either scanned at one of our plants and then emailed to us, or they were physically sent to our head office. And then I would have to manually input every single one – it wasn’t ideal.” Dorota Grabowska, Accounting Specialist
U-Pak decided it was time to modernize their accounts payable (AP) system to streamline their invoice processing practices. They chose Beanworks AP automation for its ease of use and seamless integration with their main financial system, Sage 300.
By digitizing their office filing cabinet, the team can access invoices at any time from any location. “The manual work that I used to do has decreased dramatically,” says Grabowska. “Now, the employees are able to key in invoices from anywhere.” This repetitive exercise was taking up to 40% of the work-week before automation.
“This has been the biggest advantage – everything is housed in Beanworks and everybody has access to it,” Grabowska points out.
“Being able to see the previous month’s invoices and verifying prices within the software is a huge time-saver.”
It’s also critical for managers that have to approve invoices while working remotely. Thanks to Beanworks, they can just log in and sign off with the click of a button. Unlike before when an invoice had to be sent back to a plant after being declined, now approvers can just leave notes in Beanworks and request further review.
The reporting functionality comes in handy for Molony who can access the system and conduct internal audits from home. “Being able to see the previous month’s invoices and verifying prices within the software is a huge time-saver,” she says. “Before automation, I felt like I was approving invoices standing right in front of the filing cabinet.”
Using the hours they’ve saved, Molony and her team can focus on bigger projects, such as data analytics.
“Now that we have better tools, we can deliver optimal results.”
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