In Part 2 of our interview with Jack, he shares the impact his company has seen on ROI since implementing Esker and some specific ways he has used the solution for unique workflows. If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here. Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Esker: So since then, how has Esker been able to address the challenges you were experiencing?
Jack: Very well. Every day, I see the number of invoices that come in. I see them go through, get coded, sent out for approval, and posted, all in front of me in real time. And that is worth a lot to me. The integration we have, with the forwarding of our Outlook mailboxes, everything flows through there, and within minutes, we have it in our system. We have an invoice processing rate of 0.6 days, and we do about 1,200 invoices a month. We expect that volume to increase another 40% with the migration of another division onto Esker in April 2019.
Esker: Beyond just the visibility into where invoices stand, what other metrics are you able to see now that you didn’t have access to previously?
Jack: I use three dashboards: invoices verified by month, average processing time by month and invoices with approvers. We can see cash discount metrics when we run the SAP payment proposals. We have seen the discount capture rate approach 100% this year.
Esker: You mentioned earlier evaluating automated solutions by look and feel. So what do you like about the dashboards or the way the whole system is set up in terms of look and feel?
Jack: I like the way the drill down works, where you can go in and see the number of invoices processed. You click on that and can see who processed them. It’s really the “over time” view where I can see we’re very consistent on how we do our job. I can see the ratio of PO and non-PO invoices very easily and see which approvers are falling behind and if not approved which will be paid late.
It’s very easy for me to see where we are at any point in time. From go-live till now, I know we’ve processed 30,000 invoices at $3.1 billion. It’s right in front of me. My whole team sees the same picture and we work together on all aspects of the job.
Esker: Great. And in terms of ROI, were you tasked with setting a specific goal?
Jack: Yeah, lost discounts. We looked for a 75% reduction and we retired some other systems. So we saved some money on licensing and exceeded all of those other metrics.
Esker: And how long did it take you to realize those goals?
Jack: Probably three months. Immediately, we got rid of the temporary help. We lost one processor, so I was down to only one processor within one month, but I never replaced them. I never went up in headcount.
Esker: I also understand that there were some unique use cases regarding how you handle interviews. Is that something that you could explain?
Jack: Yeah. A person who interviews at our company can get reimbursed for their travel expenses. We get a lot of them, and in the past, we were setting up individual vendors for these things — it was painful.
We set up a one-time vendor in SAP and mapped the key address fields in Esker. The OCR engine in Esker captures the name and address data eliminating any manual keying. It was as simple as clicking the one-time vendor button and everything would auto populate. All we had to do then was confirm the data was OCR’d correctly. It prevented us from having to set up tons of vendors and made it very quick. So when we get a request from our recruiting department (there might be 20 or 30 at a time), we get those processed immediately and the checks are cut that same week.
Esker: Are there other unique workflows like that? As in applications that you could use Esker for in other areas that you’re considering?
Jack: The most complex one is our foreign vendor approval process. We get a feed of our vendors from SAP and within the feed is foreign vendor designation.
When an invoice is processed for a foreign vendor, Esker automatically identifies that the vendor is a foreign vendor, populates the tax department and requester into the workflow and routes it for approval first to the tax department and subsequently to the requestor. When it is routed to tax department the tax professional answer a series of questions that are required for 1042S reporting These answers are captured in Esker and in backend SAP and allow for automated reporting at the end of the year.