ApprovalMax is great! It saved us 20+ hours per month processing invoices. The automated workflow is clever and quite flexible, and the staff members loved approving via email.” – Andy Dao, Finative
Consultant: Andy Dao of Finative. Andy established Finative to provide innovative business and financial solutions to clients.
Client: A global company providing recruitment, talent acquisition, and employee performance management to some of the world’s largest enterprises, such as USDA, Glencore, and the Bureau of Meteorology.
With offices in three continents, the company’s solutions are deployed in over 200 of the world’s largest organizations, including almost 100 federal agencies. They help recruit, onboard, engage, and develop employees to improve workforce performance.
A recipient of numerous awards – and with almost 400,000 users – the company processes over two million resumes a year, and over two million transactions every week.
In 2016, the company’s process was heavily paper-based, especially in finance. They had a desktop accounting software that required invoices to be entered manually after approval. And speaking of approval, the company used an in-house, self-built, multi-level software that they have been using in all parts of business for nearly 15 years.
The in-house system did not integrate with anything. If someone entered an invoice in the in-house software, finance would have to enter it again on the accounting system for payment, hence more chance for human errors – plus time wasted doing the same thing twice. There were no email reminders, no email approval, and no mobile apps, so it was very inconvenient for everyone to use.
When the company engaged Finative, they needed to increase efficiency, accuracy, and transparency among the company processes.
“Everything was slow, unclear, rigid, and confusing. Because of this, a request would take 30 days to get approved. This is in stark contrast with ApprovalMax, which takes only 3 days.” – Andy Dao, Finative
As the first step in overcoming this challenge, Finative recommended introducing a cloud-based financial system (Xero) at the centre of the finance department. With a much-celebrated capability for integrating with third-party apps and software, it was decided that, after a year of running Xero, the old approval system would be replaced with ApprovalMax.
Allowing data to flow seamlessly to Xero, ApprovalMax eliminates the need for data to be entered multiple times into multiple systems. This brought about an immediate and significant increase in efficiency and accuracy.
What’s more, it helped to establish an audit trail, while the approval matrix provided transparency throughout the process. Approvers can now clearly see what is being requested, and the budget they have to pay for the expense.
Currently, the company only uses ApprovalMax for the operating expense approval process, in which employees receive invoices/quotes from suppliers, before putting them through ApprovalMax for approval. The ApprovalMax matrix cleverly automates the allocation of the invoice to the appropriate managers. And after receiving approval, the invoice then automatically flows into Xero for payment.
Today, all departments in the company (across 3 countries) are using ApprovalMax. From sales and finance, to HR, admin, engineering, and client managers. The most frequent users are the department managers (who are mostly responsible for approvals) and team members who manage their department expenses.
“The managers love ApprovalMax for the email reminders and communications. The finance department loves the connectivity with Xero. I personally love the approval matrix.” – Andy Dao, Finative
Here’s how the overall solution looks, end-to-end:
The most significant results were increased efficiency, transparency, and accuracy for the entire company. And the company achieved all of that within a year.
Expense approval is no longer a big and painful item on everyone’s list. And as for finance, a great deal of data entry was eliminated, while maintaining confidence in the information received, and the reporting provided to management.
Under the old system, it would be common to observe errors at around 20%, which meant spending more time fixing mistakes. Crucially, the company hit 100% accuracy while processing expenses with ApprovalMax.