How Tinka Consulting used ApprovalMax to help NOUS drive efficiency by eliminating manual work
About NOUS: NOUS is a branding agency that provides creative intelligence that delivers results. They help develop brands, but also deliver those brands through website design and development, creative concept and design of brand collateral, digital campaigns, video production, packaging and marketing automation.
The problem: trying to run complicated approval workflows manually
NOUS has over 20 staff in Brisbane and services businesses from all kinds of industries. NOUS takes a lot of care to ensure when they bill their clients it is true and correct. To ensure this there is a multi-layered approval process prior to invoices being sent. This can be up to four steps, including the approvals by managers from various departments, account managers and directors.
The company used to have a manual file system for approvals: documents were put into someone’s folder to get their approval and then transferred to the next person, and another one, and another one… With so many approval steps this was becoming an honours task for the admin team. This administrative person had to open each folder and all the PDFs it contained – at times up to 80 files – to check if all had been signed and approved before moving them on into the next folder. With this kind of approach, it was a real challenge for both approvers and the admin person to keep track of this process. There were also manual approvals carried out on printed documents.
Introducing ApprovalMax to save $40k and a total of .2 of an FTE in the operational team
Since the sound approval rules had already been established and thought out in great detail, recreating them in ApprovalMax was pretty easy. The automated process with notifications simplified things for the approvers drastically and the laborious folder management became obsolete, freeing up that person’s time for higher value operational tasks.
At the same time, spurred on by the ease of approvals in ApprovalMax, Tinka Consulting offered to tighten spend control and implement approval of bills.
The move to paperless accounting
Complemented by a data entry tool, ApprovalMax enabled NOUS to completely eliminate paper from their processes.
Before, some of their approvals were in PDFs, others on paper – for those who preferred to physically sign documents. By creating a paperless approval process, it was then easy to push this mindset into the payment process using the batch payment functionality in Xero.
Improving the customer-to-practice communication
For Tinka Consulting, implementing ApprovalMax has improved the communication and collaboration with their clients enormously: there are fewer errors and more trust because the client is able to properly review and stay in control while having to do less work.
- Approval efficiency has risen by 50% (from entry to posting)
- .25 of an FTE for administrative assistance was repurposed through efficiency gains
- .2 of an FTE in the operational team was saved in total
- Total ROI: $40k (conservative value)
- Increasing the number of approvers has improved transparency across the business