Customer Stories

“We’re saving a day-and-a-half” – Formula for AP Success

May 9, 2022

Elemental Energy

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Processing invoices while working from home felt like a rollercoaster for Tania Ontiveros, Controller and Director of Corporate Operations at Elemental Energy, a renewable energy company based in Vancouver, Canada. “It became like a one or two-day process to export the AP list, review invoices, and send them over for approval,” she says.

Accounts payable (AP) challenges had existed long before the pandemic at Elemental Energy.

But with the subsequent lockdowns and the sudden shift to hybrid work, routine tasks came to a standstill. “It was getting out of control,” says Ontiveros, who was managing payables for over ten entities. “We shouldn’t have to spend so much time on AP.”

Like other finance leaders who sought automation to move past these challenges, Ontiveros also evaluated solutions that simplified AP for her hybrid team. What made her choose Beanworks AP automation was a combination of time-savings and centralized access functionality. “We’re saving a day-and-a-half by moving invoice processing into the cloud. Automation has given me, our bookkeeper and our accountant, more time back to focus on work that matters more,” she highlights.

Ending emails and paper-based approvals

Before transitioning to hybrid work, most invoice and payment approvals combined a mix of informal channels based on their departmental needs. Like most businesses, Elemental Energy operated on a paper-based approval cycle. For a certain payment threshold, approvals had to pass through the CEO; therefore, all details had to be present and accurate. Follow-ups were conducted through emails, and this often proved to be an arduous task, especially if a manager requested to see the backup records.

“The fact that at any time I can just go in and see everything in one place is a big time-saver.”

Thanks to Beanworks AP automation, Ontiveros can leave it to the software to route approvals and follow-ups. “We’re trying to avoid using paper. Now, when we send a batch of invoices or payments for approval to our managers or CEO, they know that someone in the AP team has already reviewed them, and everything is coded properly,” she says.

automation

The other significant improvement is instant access of documents for all entities. The software automatically consolidates invoices from Elemental Energy’s ten entities, offering seamless integration and eliminating the risk of losing information. “The fact that at any time I can just go in and see everything in one place is a big time-saver,” Ontiveros says.

With the help of Beanworks’ automated approval routing and the data integrated with Elemental Energy’s primary financial system, Sage 50, the organization has developed an invoice processing system that yields consistently impressive results. All invoices arrive electronically at their dedicated AP email address and are then forwarded automatically into Beanworks. “From here, the software does its magic,” Ontiveros says.

Reimaging AP

As Elemental Energy transitioned to a hybrid way of working, it began to rely on software such as Beanworks to navigate routine tasks more efficiently. Finance automation was the first step in that direction, and according to Ontiveros, “it has been working great for them.”

“We’re saving a day-and-a-half by moving invoice processing into the cloud. Automation has given me, our bookkeeper and our accountant, more time back to focus on work that matters more.”

For her industry peers looking to move accounts payable into the cloud, she suggests finding platforms that interact seamlessly with each other. “When the two programs do not communicate properly, it can cause more work,” she says.

As a finance leader, Ontiveros has perfected the approvals process in her organization. The next big step would be to venture into automated payments. But for now, “Beanworks AP automation has been a great choice for us,” she says.

Check out how Beanworks automatically routes approvals and follow-ups with its customizable approval matrix.

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