A seamless workflow with mobile approvals for a scaffolding contractor: a case study with Bulley Davey

How ApprovalMax changed the way a scaffolding company’s bill approvals are handled

Bulley Davey is an accounting firm offering accounts, taxation and business advisory and support services to a wide range of businesses and individuals. Established in 1935, they strive to go beyond the obvious to provide a cost-effective, high value solution that meets their clients’ financial needs.

A construction industry client with a complex purchasing process

Bulley Davey use ApprovalMax for their scaffolding contractor client’s bill approval, which is quite a complex process involving numerous people from different departments across the whole business. All bills, from administrative expenses and cost of sales to expenses for equipment, require approval. In the construction industry it’s quite common to hire scaffolding or scaffolding components from other companies. So in most cases, the bills for equipment hire should be reviewed by an employee who is in a position to confirm that a certain equipment had indeed been hired on that specific day, and whether the project was still ongoing at the time. It’s actually possible that 4 lines of such an invoice are correct but the fifth line is wrong, meaning the bill has to be rejected. 

The employees who do know everything about the materials, equipment and costs are usually working on-site though. They can’t keep going to the office just to approve bills and, therefore, need a quick and easy way to look through them on the go.

Email approvals are not sufficient when the stakes go up

The client used to work with email approvals before, they were sending multiple emails across departments requesting people to reply and write “Okay”. But there was no way to see at what point something had been approved, or by whom, so there was no audit trail either. And it also wasn’t obvious where in the process a particular bill was. In case of a hold-up, nobody knew whether there was a problem with a bill, or the person meant to approve had just not read the email yet.

Moving to Xero and creating the perfect app stack

Previously the client used Sage, but when they moved to Xero they needed an end-to-end solution for their accounts payable. That’s why Bulley Davey introduced Dext Prepare for data entry, ApprovalMax for approval automation and Telleroo for payments. 

Bulley Davey call this their perfect workflow and are planning to move all their clients to this app stack because it works really well and covers all their needs.

Building approval rules and performing them in ApprovalMax

Getting started with ApprovalMax required a virtual sit-down with the company director: to show him Xero’s nominal codes and categories, and ask him who he wanted as the approver for specific types of invoices. As the director has to approve every single invoice as well, a two-level approval matrix was built. 

Now invoices arrive at the accounts department and go through the approval matrix. Next, they get sent over to the different department heads, who approve first before the company director makes his approval decision – regardless of which department a bill comes from. 

ApprovalMax traces the approval process of every single invoice. If there’s a problem, it will be noticed straightaway. As you can see if a particular invoice is sitting with a specific approver, it’s much easier to work out why it hasn’t been approved yet; no comparison to the inefficient emails before.

Benefits of using approval automation 

ApprovalMax reduces the amount of manual work significantly and enables Bulley Davey to handle the client’s bill approval process remotely. It also provides an audit trail and makes finding any invoice currently awaiting approval simple. They always know where exactly each bill is in the process and can quickly resolve potential issues. The automatically generated approval history shows at any given time the details of why, when and by whom something was approved. Just log in and check. This is very helpful, especially given the responsibility accountants have regarding payments. 

With ApprovalMax, the client’s staff have a very convenient way for approving bills on the go while working all over the site. It only takes about 10 minutes a day to approve from the notification email or in the mobile app. There’s no need to come into the office for it, not even once a week.