This is How Magnum York Beat Late Payments
January 11, 2022
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
As president of a large property management firm in Alberta, Canada, Peter Best understands the value of real-time access to data, especially when managing 750 properties across 14 cities. But thankfully, this was not an issue during remote work for his finance team, as they had automated accounts payable (AP) long before the pandemic.
“With COVID-19 vendors are emailing everything. We seldom get mail or paper invoices,” says Best, who along with managing other duties at Magnum York Properties, also oversees finance functions. “Whether I’m working from home or office, I just use Beanworks’ search function to find invoices and other documents online. Most of my search is for property and vendor-based documents. I do a little bit of coding as well sometimes.” The company was recently acquired by Associa, a community management organization in North America that has been serving communities for over 40 years.
The problem with paper-based AP
There were a series of roadblocks that inspired Best to look for an automation solution:
- AP workflows were disjointed because data was stored on paper and spreadsheets.
- Three managers were approving over 300 invoices per month—all on paper—resulting in delayed payments. “We were 45-50 days late in paying vendors,” Best points out.
- Tracking duplicate invoices was another recurring issue. “We didn’t know where invoices were or when they came in. We were losing them on people’s desks. Vendors would blame us for not paying on time, and we couldn’t even tell if we received their invoice or not,” Best describes.
“The data that we got from Beanworks helped us to pinpoint where the problem was. There has been a drastic improvement in payment-related delays.” – Peter Best, President/Broker at Magnum York Properties
Quitting paperwork hassles
“Sometimes, if we took too long to process one invoice, the next invoice would come in with the previous invoice’s amount,” Best says. It all added up to a convoluted and frustrating AP cycle. Facing this unwieldy process, Magnum decided to implement Beanworks AP automation, streamlining manual tasks on a central, easy-to-use platform.
“There are some key reasons why we chose Beanworks over other solutions. It prefills invoices for us, and I can easily see invoice numbers, paid invoices, and vendor details–all online,” Best highlights. Instead of having staff spend hours doing data entry, he wanted to give them time to spend on strategic tasks.
“We didn’t know where invoices were or when they came in. We were losing them on people’s desks. Vendors would blame us for not paying on time, and we couldn’t even tell if we received their invoice or not.” – Peter Best, President/Broker at Magnum York Properties
What vendors want
As a result of using Beanworks, Magnum York has addressed its number one priority: paying vendors on time. Previously, it took about three days for a check to be signed and another five days for mail to be delivered, plus extra hours for approvals and manual processes like data entry.
“The data that we got from Beanworks helped us to pinpoint where the problem was,” Best says. The system identifies when an invoice came in, got approved, and then processed. “There has been a drastic improvement in payment-related delays,” he adds. The organization is paying vendors in days as opposed to weeks and months.
To get ahead of angry vendors’ calls and emails, Best and the accounting staff reconfigured the approval process. All invoices must be signed off by 10 am every morning, and checks are released every Friday. To maintain momentum, Best has launched an internal system called “Preferred Vendor Program,” which gives Magnum York better control over cash flow. Preferred vendors are a small percentage of businesses that get paid every week, versus others who get paid bi-weekly.
“The biggest benefit goes back to vendor management. When they ask us about an invoice, we can instantly find out in the system and track the timeline,” Best notes.
Moving to Beanworks AP automation has also eliminated the risk of duplicate invoices. The software automatically flags duplicate invoices, saving the AP team from manually tracking and correcting any errors or mistakes. “Now, with Beanworks, we have more control over the problem of duplicate invoices. The software doesn’t like them,” Best mentions.
To secure the finances from new risks and fraud, the team has created a Microsoft Teams channel dedicated to identifying common threats such as phishing scams. Instead of involving everyone in the company, they’re deliberate about who interacts and how. “I get a lot of phishing emails, and I’m impressed by how well worded they are,” Best says.
The newly streamlined AP operations across the organizations allow for more productive partnerships with vendors and other stakeholders. Beanworks conducts real-time updates, removing the manual roadblocks such as data entry. “It helps manage the volume of invoices,” says Best.
“We seldom get complaints about invoices or payments anymore. It’s also faster. If the invoice is on the reception desk by 10 am on Monday, it will get processed that week.”
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