Why BLR Provincial Construction will never go back to paper-based approvals

Gordon Tivendale is a Business Manager at BLR Provincial Construction, an Australian-based building and construction company that specialises in commercial construction, developing new homes, heritage restorations, and renovations. 

The company has been using ApprovalMax for almost a year and a half after discovering it in the Xero App MarketPlace. Gordon read some of the 5 star reviews and decided to try it out for their bill and invoice approvals. He tells us how ApprovalMax changed the way they handle bills and expenses and why they’ll never go back to paper-based approvals.

The garage and entrance of a newly built house with warm, inviting lighting at the front door and windows

How BLR Provincial Construction handled supplier invoices before automating their AP and AR processes

BLR Provincial Construction has one Accounts person (Annie), and 5 Project Managers. They can have up to 10 – 12 construction projects running at a time. Before they started using ApprovalMax, they were approving all their invoices for payment using a manual paper-based approach. 

“Annie had to print everything out, then she had to categorise each supplier invoice according to the construction project it was related to. Each month, she had to deal with 500 bills and invoices, so you can imagine how much time, sorting, printing, and paper she was dealing with, especially when it was spread across 10 – 12 different construction projects.” Gordon says.

BLR Provincial Construction's team laying concrete from within their factory.

Once Annie had the paperwork for each project ready to go, her next step was to chase down each Project Manager to get every single invoice approved. A lot of her time was spent chasing up 5 different Project Managers, and getting all those approvals manually signed off.

Why implementing automated approval workflows has opened up a whole new world for BLR Provincial Construction

Headshot of Gordon Tivendale, Business Manager at BLR Provincial Construction

It’s completely different now that we’re using ApprovalMax. We got it set up and in a couple of weeks we could see it was immediately working. As soon as we went over to the new system, everyone loved it.”

Gordon Tivendale
Business Manager at BLR Provincial Construction

Project Managers get approval reminders in the ApprovalMax app as soon as something comes in. Annie loves it because she doesn’t need to print out invoices, sort them into piles, or chase any of the Project Managers up for approvals. These days, she is able to spend her time on other meaningful projects now that she has all that time back.

ApprovalMax has taken a lot of heartache away from the bookkeeping process. These days, the average approval time at BLR Provincial Construction is much shorter compared to what they were previously. Before Approval Max, it would take 3 – 4 weeks to approve a single invoice. Now it only takes 4 – 5 days. With around 500 bills and invoices each month, this is a huge reduction in the average invoice approval time.

A photo of the foundations of a garage being laid to add the build onto a brick house.

“The flexibility of being able to approve costs anywhere at any time is great too – our Project Managers don’t need to physically go into the office. ApprovalMax has made it so easy that some of our Project Managers could be using the mobile app to give approvals while they’re on a  construction site, or when they’re lying on the couch at night – that’s just what some of them like to do!” says Gordon.

How approval automation has dramatically improved their time management

BLR Provincial Construction have set up their own configuration options in ApprovalMax. Having the option to tailor their approval workflow is good because it means every PO, bill and supplier invoice goes to the right Project Manager from the beginning. 

“We’re saving about 50+ hours or more a month doing this. We’re also saving on the cost of printing, buying paper, archiving costs, and everyone’s time. It’s good to be paperless and not have to spend time archiving or filing paper anymore. It works perfectly for us.”

Gordon Tivendale
Business Manager

How ApprovalMax Works in the Construction Industry

  • The types of recurring supplier invoices you get in the construction industry are for materials like timber, concrete, steel, and hardware.  
  • Construction companies also get billed by subcontractors – examples of these are the electricians and plumbers that work on a site for them. 
  • Finally, there are overhead expenses like power, internet, stationery, phone bills, etc. Every single bill or invoice goes through ApprovalMax.
  • Every bill or invoice that comes in should get allocated to a construction project, which is then allocated to a Project Manager for approval. 
  • Anything that isn’t set up should go to a default person – this might happen when there’s a rush job. The good thing is that the default person can chase it up easily and override it if they need to, in order to get approval.
  • Once the approval is made, the payment can be scheduled on time and no late fees are incurred.
The BLR Provincial Construction team taking a break in their factory

How easy was it for BLR Provincial Construction to implement
and use ApprovalMax?

Using ApprovalMax is really simple and it does exactly what Gordon and Annie want it to do. Some of their Project Managers are tradesmen, and they’ll admit they’re not tech-savvy. The amount of training has been minimal too – they had a training session, but they figured out how to use ApprovalMax on their own after that. It’s easy for them because it’s intuitive.

Headshot of Gordon Tivendale, business manager at BLR Provincial Construction

“To anyone in the construction industry: using ApprovalMax is so, so, much better than using a paper-based system. If you’re still doing the old way, you have to change. It’s chalk and cheese.”

Gordon Tivendale

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