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How PaperLess Helped Allan Brothers Streamline Invoice Processing and Save Time and Money

Britain’s longest established joinery specialist, Allan Brothers Ltd, were using a manual process for handling invoices, which involved coding and entering them into Sage 50, printing and distributing them for authorisation, and storing them in archive boxes. This process was time-consuming, error-prone, and costly, and did not provide adequate controls or visibility over the invoice workflow.

The company realised the need for a better solution when the Finance Manager had to take over the accounts payable function during the first lockdown in 2021 and experienced the challenges and inefficiencies of the manual process firsthand. The company also wanted to reduce the volume of paper and move towards a paperless office.

I am impressed with how PaperLess has enabled the finance team to produce management accounts within a few days of month end.  Previously, this would take 5-6 days, now down to 2 days.

Edward McGregor, Finance Manager at Allan Brothers Ltd

The Solution

The company decided to implement PaperLess software, a comprehensive solution that integrates with Sage 50 and automates the invoice processing from capture to archive. PaperLess software offers the following features that met the company’s objectives:

  • Company Inbox: A feature that allows the company to receive invoices from email and automatically extract the relevant data using OCR technology.
  • Multiline Processing: A feature that enables the company to process invoices with multiple lines and allocate them to different nominal codes, departments or projects.
  • Document Flow: A feature that allows the company to electronically distribute invoices for approval, based on predefined user rules and authorisation levels. The company can also track the status of the invoices and send reminders to the approvers.
  • Accounting Archive: A feature that allows the company to securely store the invoices and their associated data in a digital archive, and easily retrieve them by searching for any data.

The company archive allows me to look back at invoices to check prices or details, rather than having to ask finance for the information.  Having details at my fingertips means I can answer queries or check details so much faster.

Carol Bruce, Sales Office Manager at Allan Brothers Ltd

The Results

By implementing PaperLess software, the company achieved the following results:

  • Improved accuracy and consistency: The company eliminated the errors and discrepancies that occurred due to manual data entry and coding and ensured that the invoices were posted correctly and consistently to Sage 50.
  • Reduced processing time and costs: The company saved two full days per week of their finance assistant’s time, which amounted to approximately £10k per year. The company also reduced the printing and storage costs associated with paper invoices.
  • PaperLess also freed up capacity for the company’s finance assistant to take on responsibility for procurement, which had previously sat with the factory storekeeper. By having a better understanding of their ERP system, the finance assistant was able to look at stock levels and supplier lead times, and reduce the stockholding, which had a positive impact on the working capital.

 “I have found Paperless to be great.  It has made my job a lot easier and taken away all the manual input I used to do, and certainly made my job more interesting and less mundane.  It has allowed me to get involved in other parts of the business which I find interesting.”

Elaine Yorke, Finance Assistant at Allan Brothers Ltd

  • Enhanced control and visibility: The company enforced their authorisation levels and ensured that all invoices were approved in line with their limits, which addressed one of their internal audit deviations. The company also gained more visibility over the invoice workflow and could monitor the progress and performance of the approvers.
  • Facilitated audit and reporting: The company simplified their audit and reporting processes by having all the invoices and their data readily available in the accounting archive. The company could also provide the auditors with access to the archive, which reduced the time and effort spent on audit sampling and validation.

PaperLess software proved to be a valuable solution for Allan Brothers Ltd. as it helped them streamline their invoice processing and achieve significant savings in time and money. The company also improved their control and visibility over the invoice workflow and facilitated their audit and reporting processes.

Furthermore, PaperLess software also enabled the company to move towards a paperless office and reduce their environmental impact.

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