“I started out in search of a document processing solution and learned along the way that what we really needed—and ultimately found with Yooz—was a complete end-to-end invoice processing and payment solution that could do so much more.”
That’s how I sum up my journey to AP automation. In this blog series, I’ll tell more about that along with some of my lessons learned along the way and a little additional insight as you embark on your own AP automation journey.
But first, a little about the company: Since its beginnings in Charlotte, NC in 2000, Salsarita’s restaurant chain has expanded to locations in 18 states and is still growing. With bright, colorful, comfortable restaurants and signature dishes like its Quesorito, customers and interested franchisees ask us, “how do you do it all the time?”
The company’s secret? To start each day making fresh, house-made salsas. They’re so good, it’s what our restaurants are named after. Hand-mashed guacamole. Wildly addictive tortilla chips made fresh all day, every day. Flame grilled choice steak and chicken. And personalized meals to each customer’s taste. From Buffalo, New York to Auburn University to Tyler, Texas, Salsarita’s pledge, “Mexican Food Done Right,” is what we strives to achieve in all of our restaurants.
I had one dedicated AP clerk on the finance and accounting team who was processing around 500 documents per month. Each of the individual restaurant managers were manually receiving paper invoices—food and supply delivery people would leave paper invoices along with the delivery—then routing these documents back to headquarters either via courier or overnight services; all costing hundreds of dollars per week.
Even in the rare cases when a vendor sent an invoice electronically, the AP clerk still had to print out the document, process it, then re-scan it back into the system. It was stressful, not to mention time-consuming, at both the corporate and the individual store level keeping track of them all and hoping nothing was lost or misplaced.
The highly manual, paper-laded workflow resulted in a backlog of 6,000 documents per month waiting to be manually entered or scanned into the system, making for a very unpredictable month-end.
During my search in the Sage Intacct Partner Marketplace for a document processing solution, I found several providers who offered what I considered a 500-pound solution for our 10-pound problem. It was too much for what we needed.
Yooz helped me to realize that what we really needed was a complete end-to-end invoice processing and payment solution that would scale as we grow. And the Yooz platform—seamlessly integrated with our Sage Intacct ERP—was not only the perfect fit, we discovered it could do so much more.
Once we made the decision to go with Yooz, I expected the implementation to take at least six months. I began with one local franchise piloting the Yooz platform. I was apprehensive about how the manager would react, having to actually scan the documents at the time of receipt from the delivery vendor. She actually was really happy about the new process! No more pressure to save all of the paper invoices until a courier/overnight service shipped them to headquarters. No more worrying about losing documents. After this successful pilot, we rolled the solution out in two other high-volume stores.
Six weeks of pre-work with the Yooz implementation team (loading GL codes, document types, etc.) and six weeks of pilots equaled about three months total—half the implementation time of what was expected!
The Yooz and Sage Intacct seamlessly integrated joint solution not only met the needs of Salsarita’s and solved all of our workflow challenges, it also turned out to be much more useful than the corporate leaders expected. We have discovered other document management uses for Yooz, such as communicating documents between restaurants. We have set up additional workflows set up for H.R. and payroll as a result.
Other benefits we’ve realized?
- The AP clerk is able to take some of the more basic tasks off the plate of our controller, freeing him up for more strategic, forward-thinking, and creative work.
- No more document delivery via couriers or overnight delivery services, saving us hundreds of dollars per week.
- We are processing/communicating 38% more documents per month.
- We now enjoy a more predictable, more accurate, and less stressful month-end.
What can I tell you about your journey to AP automation?
Don’t make assumptions about what a solution’s capabilities are. Remember, I was asking potential providers questions about document processing only and learned along the way that what we really needed—and ultimately found with Yooz—was a complete end-to-end invoice processing and payment solution that could do so much more.
How do you leverage and make efficient the human resources that you have? It’s a question franchises always struggle to answer. Yooz inspired the answer for us: Rather than hiring additional people, give your existing staff the automation tools to make their roles multi-faceted. Your finance department—all departments for that matter—can run lean and take on more strategic, value-added duties.