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6-Real World Accounts Payable Automation Case Study

  • By ProcureDesk
  • December 11,2023
  • 10 min read

6-Real World Accounts Payable Automation Case Study

accounts payable automation case study

Struggling with accounts payable automation?

We covered 6 real-life case studies for you to see how other companies use accounts payable automation to improve their invoice processing time, back and forth emails with stakeholders, and pay their vendors faster.

In this blog, we will explore how ProcureDesk has made a huge difference for 6 companies who are key players in their industry. We will talk about the challenges that Coast Flight, Elhogar, Indiana Beach, Cerebral Therapeutics, Quantus, and Funai have experienced before integrating ProcureDesk into their solutions.

Get ready to dive into how these companies solved their procurement challenges with ProcureDesk.

If you’re experiencing accounts payable issues in your company and you would like to explore software to help you make your process more efficient and effective, you might want to see how our tool works. We have a team of experts who can walk you through our features. Click here to see it in action

What Is Accounts Payable Automation?

Accounts payable automation refers to using technology to automate your accounts payable process. This includes invoice capture, data entry, approval workflows, and payment processing.

There are quite a few benefits to applying AP automation within your company. To name a few, here are some of the benefits it brings:

  • Better cost savings: Automation can help your company reduce costs associated with your accounts payable. You can eliminate manual tasks through AP Automation, reducing errors and increasing your operational efficiency.
  • Improved accuracy: AP Automation can help you improve the accuracy of your accounts payable processes by handling a good volume of invoices without having to go through manual tasks or paper invoices.
  • Faster processing time: AP Automation can help you reduce the time you spend in managing invoices by eliminating back and forth coordination within your team. Overall it speeds up your process, eliminating manual and payment delays by leveraging robotic process automation.
  • Increased visibility: Did you know that AP Automation can help you improve the visibility of your accounts payable process? This helps your payable team access real-time data and reporting, helping you improve your financial operations by simply gaining foresight to cash flow.
  • Better control: AP Automation can help your payable team gain access to workflows and approvals. Thus making it easier to streamline your processes.

Related: Master The Accounts Payable Process: Strategies For Effective Financial Management

6 Accounts Payable Automation Case Studies

Our software ProcureDesk aims to help small to midsize companies automate their accounts payable process and reduce the time they spend creating and matching supplier invoices with purchase orders.

We do this successfully, supported by our wide array of features:

  • E-invoicing capabilities ensure that invoices are automatically captured from the vendors—no need to import invoices from emails. The system automatically receives and matches the invoices with the purchase order and sends it to your accounting system.
  • Purchase order automation so scientists don’t need to spend their precious time creating and sending the purchase orders to the vendors. The system automatically sends the purchase orders to vendors.
  • Purchase order tracking allows you to track the order acknowledgment and Advance shipping notice (ASN). Always know the whereabouts of your delivery without chasing the vendors and multiple email follow-ups.
  • Configurable approval workflows ensure that the purchase request is reviewed and approved at the appropriate level. Configure it once, and then forget about your compliance needs.
  • Budget internal controls ensure that you don’t go over budget. Define budgets at a granular level, like account, class, department, etc.

In this section, we will share some of the success stories of companies we’ve supported along the way, to help them create a successful procurement process.

Case Study #1: Coast Flight

Company Introduction

Coast Flight, a leading aviation training academy, has been instrumental in guiding aspiring pilots through rigorous aviation courses, offering a clear path to becoming commercial airline pilots.

Operating across three locations in the United States, Coast Flight faced challenges in managing decentralized purchasing processes, leading to inefficiencies and a lack of control over expenses.

Coast Flight’s AP Problem: The Use Of Manual Spreadsheets

Coast Flight’s decentralized purchasing model resulted in each location managing its supplies, documented in individual spreadsheets.

The accounting department struggled to gain visibility into these purchases, only learning about them upon the arrival of invoices.

Manual cross-referencing between invoices and spreadsheets became time-consuming, taking several days each month. CFO Kevin Slatnick highlighted the lack of control and tracking of purchasing requirements, creating a situational awareness problem for the company.

The manual process, utilizing spreadsheets and shared drives, further complicated matters.

Purchase orders were not consistently captured, changes were not reflected, and missing invoice information led to additional follow-ups.

The accounting team spent extensive time reconciling discrepancies, especially during the increased volume of invoices.

How Did ProcureDesk Help?

To address these challenges, Coast Flight seized the opportunity during the COVID-induced slowdown to enhance operational efficiencies.

Implementing ProcureDesk brought transformative change by centralizing the entire procure-to-pay process into one system.

Now, buyers across different locations utilize ProcureDesk for all purchasing activities, eliminating the need for manual spreadsheet updates.

The accounting team gains total visibility into all purchase order activities, and the approval process is fully automated. Budget owners have real-time insights into expenditures, ensuring no surprises upon invoice arrival.

The 3-way match process in ProcureDesk facilitates easy identification of invoice discrepancies, and the automated exception routing process streamlines approvals.

Syncing invoices with QuickBooks after approval eliminates manual data entry, saving considerable time for the accounting team.

ProcureDesk’s Results

The ProcureDesk implementation yielded significant results for Coast Flight.

The invoice process is now centralized, simplifying the 3-way match and exception routing. Invoices seamlessly sync with QuickBooks, eliminating manual entry and improving accuracy.

CFO Kevin Slatnick expressed the substantial time savings of 25% to 35% in processing invoices, a remarkable improvement for the accounting department.

This newfound efficiency allows the team to focus on strategic financial activities rather than laborious manual tasks, ultimately contributing to Coast Flight’s continued success in training the next generation of airline pilots.

Case Study #2: Elhogar

Company Introduction

Elhogar Community Services, a not-for-profit organization established in 1977, dedicates itself to enhancing individuals’ and families’ mental health and emotional well-being through a range of community programs.

With a mission spanning senior care to specialized mental health services, Elhogar is committed to positively impacting the community it serves.

Elgohar’s AP Problem: Lack Of Expense Visibility

Upon joining Elhogar in 2018 as Fiscal Director, Beatrix Koev identified the need for complete visibility into expenses.

With cost-reimbursement contracts in place, timely expense information was crucial for reimbursement. The manual purchasing process, involving requisition forms submitted via email, created transparency issues.

The Finance team lacked insight into approved expenses, leading to delays in reimbursement and inhibiting Elhogar’s ability to manage cash flow effectively.

How Did ProcureDesk Help?

Recognizing the cultural and technological challenges, Elhogar embarked on a journey to modernize its purchasing practices.

The priority was automating the purchase approval process, initially routing all approvals to the Directors and the CEO.

However, this caused a bottleneck at the CEO level. The process was refined to allow self-approvals by Directors, streamlining 80% of requests at the program level.

To further simplify requisition creation, ProcureDesk implemented catalogs for top vendors, facilitating repeat purchases.

Elhogar emphasized the importance of flexibility and simplicity in the ProcureDesk system, praising its ability to meet purchasing and ERP requirements without compromising ease of use.

ProcureDesk’s Results

Elhogar’s team highlighted the flexibility and ease of learning and implementing ProcureDesk, emphasizing the importance of providing detailed information during implementation for customized solutions.

Within 2-3 weeks, the purchase process system was live, providing the team with a streamlined approach to requisition creation.

The impact was significant: requisition creation time was reduced from 10-15 minutes to a few minutes. Real-time visibility into the status of purchase requests enabled a more efficient approval process, resulting in a reduction of over 50% in the approval cycle.

Elhogar’s team summarized the results as a clear oversight of monthly purchasing activities, speedy payables integration into the accounting system, and an audit-proof approval process.

Beatrix Koev concluded, “ProcureDesk has transformed our purchasing practices, ensuring complete transparency and regulatory compliance while significantly improving our cash flow management.”

Elhogar Community Services now stands as a testament to the successful integration of technology, cultural shift, and effective expense visibility in the not-for-profit sector.

Case Study #3: Indiana Beach

Company Introduction

Indiana Beach, a popular amusement park nestled in Monticello, Indiana, offers a diverse range of attractions, including campgrounds, rides, lodging, and dining facilities.

The facilities team plays a crucial role in the park’s operations by procuring various products and services, from hardware for ride maintenance to food supplies for dining facilities.

Indiana Beach’s AP Problem: Lack Of Cashflow Control

The challenge for Indiana Beach was gaining better control over cash flow, a crucial aspect during the park’s on and off seasons.

The manual process of creating paper-based purchase orders and obtaining approvals via email was time-consuming and hindered the team’s ability to manage cash flow proactively.

Andrea Page, Director of Finance, emphasized the importance of regularly staying on top of invoicing and monitoring cash flow.

How Did ProcureDesk Help?

The purchasing process at Indiana Beach faced scalability issues, with purchasing volumes varying significantly between the park’s off-season and peak season.

The manual creation of purchase orders, averaging 100 per month during the off-season and exceeding 200 per month during the peak season, was not conducive to efficient operations.

This led to productivity losses and posed challenges for the Accounts Payable team in matching invoices to purchase orders.

Recognizing the need for automation, the finance team turned to ProcureDesk to transition to an electronic purchase order process.

The platform provided complete visibility into purchasing activities, an approval workflow to control spending, and automation that significantly reduced the cycle time for issuing purchase orders.

The Accounts Payable team benefited from automatic invoice matching, which streamlined the verification process and allowed them to focus on cash flow requirements.

ProcureDesk’s Results

With ProcureDesk’s purchase order system, Indiana Beach achieved operational scalability and efficiency. The finance team transformed from a bottleneck to an enabler for the operations team.

The platform’s catalogs enhanced the user experience, enabling employees to make purchases seamlessly while providing the finance team comprehensive visibility into cash flow trends.

Andrea Page highlighted the platform’s impact on budgeting and planning, stating that ProcureDesk improved purchasing efficiency and facilitated better budget creation and cash flow control.

The team now possesses a complete picture of purchasing trends, allowing for proactive budgeting and planning for the future.

In conclusion, ProcureDesk empowered Indiana Beach to overcome cash flow challenges, streamline purchasing processes, and enhance overall financial control, positioning the amusement park for continued success in providing a memorable experience for visitors.

Case Study #4: Cerebral Therapeutics

Company Introduction

Cerebral Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, stands at the forefront of innovation in developing therapies for refractory neurological diseases.

With a foundation built by neuroscience, neurosurgery, and drug delivery experts, the company pioneers intracerebroventricular (ICV) therapies for individuals with neurological diseases.

Leveraging their proprietary technology, ICVRx™, Cerebral Therapeutics is dedicated to bringing groundbreaking drug therapies and companion biomarker strategies to the market.

Cerebral Therapeutics’ AP Problem: Inability To Track And Analyze Spending

As a dynamic, venture-backed startup in the life sciences sector, Cerebral Therapeutics faced challenges common to many companies in their early stages.

The manual processes for generating purchase orders (POs) on Microsoft Word and Excel sheets for expense tracking proved cumbersome and error-prone as the company scaled.

The complexity of their spending, predominantly directed towards third-party vendors and service providers, demanded a more efficient and scalable solution.

Manual accounting processes were becoming increasingly untenable, and the lack of insight into spend analysis hindered the company’s ability to project future budgeting and manage cash flow effectively.

How Did ProcureDesk Help?

Recognizing the need for a transformative solution, Cerebral Therapeutics turned to ProcureDesk for procurement software that could automate its manual processes.

The core requirements included vendor-by-vendor cost analysis reporting over time, automated PO generation, order tracking, reconciliation processes, and integration with Xero accounting software.

ProcureDesk became the catalyst for streamlining day-to-day operations and providing comprehensive solutions to address the challenges faced by Cerebral Therapeutics.

ProcureDesk’s Results

The decision to implement ProcureDesk yielded significant results for Cerebral Therapeutics.

The once error-prone processes involving Word documents and Excel spreadsheets were replaced with streamlined, error-free ordering and reconciliation.

The software ensured reliability in the accounting processes, eliminating concerns about double or late payments due to inefficient reconciliation.

  • Significant Cost Savings Due To Avoiding The Need For Additional Administrative Staff: Automating purchasing and invoicing processes with ProcureDesk allowed Cerebral Therapeutics to avoid additional administrative staff. The potential burden of manual processes on existing employees was averted, resulting in significant financial savings and increased operational efficiency.
  • Detailed Spend Analysis Reporting For Forecasting: One of the critical outcomes of implementing ProcureDesk was the ability of Cerebral Therapeutics to perform detailed spend analysis reporting. This capability empowered the company to forecast and plan effectively, which is essential for a life sciences company involved in drug and device development. The data generated from ProcureDesk reports became instrumental in vendor negotiation, planning, and forecasting for future drug and device initiatives.

In conclusion, ProcureDesk was pivotal in helping Cerebral Therapeutics overcome manual process challenges, ensuring efficient and error-free operations, significant cost savings, and providing detailed spend analysis for informed decision-making in their mission to advance therapies for neurological diseases.

Case Study #5: Quantus 

Company Introduction

Quantus, Inc. is an ISO Certified Company, providing critical services to the Life Sciences Industry. Specializing in CALIBRATION, CERTIFICATION, ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING, TECH-STAFFING, and VALIDATION Services, Quantus has consistently demonstrated its commitment to superior customer service and technical expertise.

Since 1998, the company excels in Compliance and Technical Services, serving clients adhering to FDA & ISO Regulations and Standards.

Quantus’ AP Problem: Difficulties In Spend Control

As a leading field service provider and laboratory testing services entity in the life sciences industry, Quantus, Inc. experienced substantial growth over recent years.

The doubling of its employee base and an 80% increase in the customer base posed significant challenges in spending control, expense management, and forecasting.

Once directly involved in day-to-day administrative accounting tasks, senior management found it increasingly difficult to track, manage, and control spending as the company expanded. The initial procurement system in place was quickly outgrown, necessitating a more robust and scalable solution.

How Did ProcureDesk Help?

Quantus recognized the need for a more comprehensive solution. They sought a system that supported real-time spending analysis, integrated vendor catalogs and punch-outs with vendors like Amazon.com, and seamlessly integrated with QuickBooks to prevent redundant data entry. Enter ProcureDesk.

The company embarked on implementing ProcureDesk, with ongoing support from the ProcureDesk team throughout the onboarding process.

The system’s quick implementation, seamless integration with existing systems, and user-friendly interface facilitated adoption by the accounting team, enabling them to use the system within weeks comfortably.

ProcureDesk’s Results

The impact of ProcureDesk on Quantus has been transformative.

The ability to delegate task-level accounting activities while maintaining oversight of spend control allowed Quantus management to focus on strategic planning and high-level financial activities.

The switch to ProcureDesk resulted in:

  1. Improved Spending Control Systems, Forecasting, and Budget Analysis: ProcureDesk provided Quantus with much-improved spending control systems, enabling enhanced forecasting and budget analysis. The ability to track spending from a budgeting perspective allows Quantus to forecast annually and quarterly track spending against company targets.
  2. End-to-End, Consistent Purchasing Processes: ProcureDesk introduced consistency to purchasing processes, offering a seamless workflow from approval to reconciliation. Integrated vendor catalogs were crucial in streamlining day-to-day operations, enabling different personnel to place orders efficiently and categorize them appropriately for budgeting and spending management purposes.
  3. Significant Reduction in Hands-on Hours: The implementation of ProcureDesk resulted in a substantial reduction in hands-on hours spent on day-to-day financial tasks. This efficiency gain allows Quantus to allocate resources strategically, contributing to overall operational effectiveness.

In conclusion, ProcureDesk has proven instrumental in empowering Quantus, Inc. to tackle the challenges of rapid growth, providing a scalable and comprehensive solution for spend control, expense management, and financial forecasting in the dynamic life sciences industry.

Case Study #6: Funai

Company Introduction

Funai Lexington Technology Corporation (FLTC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Funai Electric Co., LTD., rooted in a legacy division of IBM and Lexmark.

Leveraging over 19 years of microfluidic design, application, and commercialization experience, FLTC is dedicated to designing and manufacturing a diverse range of products utilizing in-house microfluidic technology.

Funai’s AP Problem: Error-Prone Accounting Process

George Parish, COO at FLTC, faced challenges managing purchase requests and tying orders into the company’s QuickBooks accounting software.

The existing system relied on an Excel spreadsheet to create and track purchase requests, which were manually entered into QuickBooks.

This process became cumbersome, error-prone, and inefficient, prompting the need for a software solution that could streamline purchasing and accounting processes.

How Did ProcureDesk Help?

FLTC assessed various software solutions and found that ProcureDesk offered the integrations needed for comprehensive budget management within QuickBooks.

With ProcureDesk, FLTC empowered managers to approve requisitions and track budgets, facilitating smarter spending decisions, improving financial oversight, and reducing COO oversight. T

he ProcureDesk team provided hands-on setup support, enabling FLTC to offer real-time budget spend visibility to managers.

ProcureDesk’s Results

Since implementing ProcureDesk, FLTC has experienced a transformation in its purchase approval processes, transferring responsibilities to department managers. The results include:

  1. Streamlined Order Management And Real-Time Tracking: FLTC employees making purchase requests now have real-time visibility into their orders, enhancing morale, reducing frustration, and providing clarity on order statuses. Real-time monitoring and tracking have improved the day-to-day experience for employees.
  2. Seamless Transfer Of Responsibilities: FLTC successfully transitioned order approvals from the COO to department managers. ProcureDesk provides department managers with real-time budget overviews, enabling smarter decision-making and spending control even with reduced COO oversight.
  3. Budget And Spend Transparency Enhancing Employee Engagement: Managers at FLTC now have increased accountability and a better understanding of the company’s financial picture, leading to more informed purchasing decisions. The software has fostered a culture of budget transparency, encouraging managers to ask questions and actively engage in financial decision-making.

In conclusion, ProcureDesk resolved logistical errors streamlined accounting processes for FLTC and influenced company culture around budget management.

The software has improved employee engagement, smarter spending decisions, and a more transparent and efficient financial ecosystem within FLTC.

20 Benefits Of AP Automation

Did you know that using AP Automation within your company can offer numerous benefits to your organization?

Apart from simply streamlining the processes within your payable department, AP Automation is more than what meets the eye!

  1. Time Savings: AP Automation can reduce the time spent on invoice processing time, thus making it easier to process your approval workflows. Your team can use an intelligent automation platform to focus on more strategic tasks.
  2. Cost Reduction: When you automate repetitive tasks such as process invoices, your organization can lower your operational costs associated with manual labor for invoice payments, paper usage, and even correcting errors.
  3. Improved Accuracy: AP Automation can reduce the risk of human errors, ensuring accurate data entry, calculations, and compliance with financial regulations.
  4. Faster Approval Cycles: Automated workflows speed up the approval process, reducing the time it takes for your company to approve and pay invoices.
  5. Enhanced Visibility: AP automation gives your company real-time visibility into the status of invoices, approvals, and payments, improving transparency and control.
  6. Early Payment Discounts: Automated processes allow your organizations to use early payment discounts. This is done by accelerating the payment approval and processing cycle.
  7. Reduced Paper Dependency: Did you know that AP automation reduces or eliminates the need for paper invoices? This makes it easier for your company to promote a more environmentally friendly and sustainable approach.
  8. Better Vendor Relationships: Doing timely payments and accurate processing for your company can contribute to strong relationships with your suppliers. Thus giving you better terms and conditions.
  9. Streamlined Audits: Automated systems provide a digital trail of all your company transactions, simplifying the audit process and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
  10. Optimized Cash Flow Management: Real-time insights into cash flow allow your organization to manage budgets better, plan for expenses, and avoid late payments.
  11. Integration with ERP Systems: AP automation solutions can seamlessly integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, ensuring data consistency and reducing manual data entry.
  12. Enhanced Security: Automation systems often come with robust security features, protecting sensitive financial data and reducing the risk of fraud.
  13. Mobile Accessibility: Do you know that many AP automation platforms can offer you mobile accessibility? This makes users like you manage invoices and approvals on the go.
  14. Customizable Workflows:  Organizations can tailor AP automation workflows to align with their specific business processes, ensuring a personalized and efficient system.
  15. Automatic Data Capture: AP automation tools can automatically capture data from invoices, minimizing the need for manual input and reducing errors.
  16. Compliance Management: Automated systems can enforce compliance with internal policies and external regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.
  17. Reporting: AP automation can give your company easy access to comprehensive reports and analytics, supporting informed decision-making and financial planning.
  18. Scalability: AP automation systems can scale to accommodate increased transaction volumes within your company without significant manual intervention as your organization grows.
  19. Quick Implementation: A lot of AP automation solutions can be implemented quickly. This minimizes the disruption of your company’s existing processes.
  20. Increased Employee Satisfaction: Your employees can benefit from a reduced manual workload. This allows them to focus on more strategic and fulfilling tasks, increasing job satisfaction.

Implementing AP automation can contribute significantly to operational efficiency, cost reduction, and improved financial management across various industries.

Related: Unlocking The Full Potential Of Xero Accounts Payable Automation


What Are Some Of The Most Common Accouts Payable Automation Solutions?

Here are some of the most common accounts payable automation solutions:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): OCR software can automatically capture invoice data, such as the vendor name, invoice number, and amount due.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): EDI is a standard format for exchanging business documents electronically. It can automate the exchange of invoices and other documents between trading partners.
  • Workflow Management Systems: Workflow management systems can be used to automate the approval process for invoices. They can also be used to track the status of invoices and ensure they are paid on time.
  • E-signatures: E-signatures can be used to sign invoices and other documents electronically. This can help to reduce the need for paper and to speed up the approval process.
  • Automated Clearing House (ACH): ACH is a network that allows for the electronic transfer of funds between bank accounts. It can be used to automate the payment of invoices.
  • Virtual Credit Cards: Virtual credit cards can make secure online payments. They can be used to automate the payment of invoices to vendors that do not accept ACH payments.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems: ERP systems can integrate the accounts payable process with other financial and operational processes. This can help to improve efficiency and accuracy.
  • Cloud-based Accounting Software: Cloud-based accounting software can be used to manage the accounts payable process anywhere, anytime. It can also be used to collaborate with other team members.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) Tools: BI tools can analyze data from the accounts payable process. This can help identify improvement areas and make better decisions about the process.
  • Data Visualization Software: Data visualization software can create charts and graphs that help visualize data from the accounts payable process. This can make it easier to understand trends and patterns.

Related: Revolutionize Your Business With Accounts Payable Best Practices

The Bottomline

Without a doubt, these case studies show how ProcureDesk carries a transformative power to help companies across industries.

Challenges like manual processes, decentralized tracking, and paper-based systems can be solved using our comprehensive solution with a wide array of features that aim to bring organizations newfound efficiencies, accuracy, and sustained growth.

If you’re ready to create a resilient and forward-thinking future for your company, it’s about time you  explore on the opportunities that AP automation tools such as ProcureDesk can bring your business.

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you scale your purchasing and Accounts payable process.

  1. Claim your Free Strategy Session. If you’d like to work with us to implement a process to control spending, and spend less time matching invoices, claim your Free Strategy Session. One of our process experts will understand your current purchasing situation and then suggest practical strategies to reduce the purchase order approval cycle.
  2. If you’d like to know the maturity of your purchasing process, download our purchasing process grader and identify exactly what you should be working on next to improve your purchasing and AP process.
  3. If you’d like to enhance your knowledge about the purchasing process, check out our blog or Resources section.
  4. If you know another professional who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter.