Streamlined invoice processing achieves better customer experience

About lucent advisory

Founded in 2005, lucent advisory belongs to the new generation of tech-smart, cloud-savvy business advisors. Their solutions effortlessly combine finance and HR, including outsourced and virtual solutions, and are designed to maximise performance, improve processes and deliver data that clients can trust.

The many problems of the past: missed, duplicate and unauthorised payments

To deliver their services in the most efficient way possible, lucent advisory selected Xero as their anchor accounting solution. Clients forwarded their supplier invoices to lucent advisory, who used an OCR solution to first digitise and then push them to Xero. 

However, it soon became apparent that this workflow was flawed. Supplier invoices got stuck in client inboxes and the manual approvals were everything but efficient. Missed, duplicate and unauthorised payments were all too common. Clients were overwhelmed with emails containing invoices and approvals, so payments were often delayed. Resources were spread thin because lucent advisory employees had to chase clients for approvals while also fulfilling their accounting responsibilities. To top it all, reporting became increasingly unreliable due to incomplete or inaccurate data and budget forecasting was almost impossible.

Here’s what their process looked like at the time:

The solution: end-to-end bill automation

It was obvious: lucent advisory needed to introduce a single point for all invoice- and bill-related client approvals and beef it up with automated bill routing according to predefined rules based on Xero data. So, the core functionality of ApprovalMax proved a perfect match and has certainly changed the game for lucent advisory. 

Now, the approval process looks like this – and takes minutes instead of days:

1.         Supplier invoices go directly to lucent advisory, who take care of digital data capture and entry. 

2.         ApprovalMax pulls automatically all bills “Awaiting Approval” from Xero.

3.         Bills are then automatically routed to the respective approver on the client side.

4.         Once authorised, bills are pushed to Xero and marked as ready for payment.

Benefits achieved

The key benefits of this new process are ample: bills are properly and timely authorised, payments are always on time, the approval process is fully automated and detailed audit logs keep a record of everything. This means maximum efficiency and minimal manual intervention. Clients are no longer burdened with passing on incoming supplier invoices; forecasting and management reporting can be done in real-time and with high accuracy. Introducing ApprovalMax made a real difference, gone are the days of missed, duplicate or unauthorised payments.

The new approval process is completely automated and transparent, enables shared accountability and facilitates bill payments on behalf of clients with the utmost confidence. Approval requests are reviewed and decided by the appropriate people, the improved real-time data quality and reliable forecasting makes managers’ lives so much easier. Finally, thanks to the built-in audit trail it takes a lot less time to prepare audits. A true win-win situation.