Erin Jaskiewicz, the accounts payable (AP) manager with Campus Apartments, was aware of the problems in her department that were preventing her company from achieving its growth goals. Luckily, AvidXchange’s AvidPay AP software helped set the company on a more efficient path to success.
She and her teammates were routinely deluged with 800 paper checks to be processed each week for 250 vendors. It was a cumbersome, inefficient process for the campus housing provider that serves more than 70 colleges and universities and manages more than $2 billion in assets.
Jaskiewicz and her teammates spent too much time shuffling paper checks from one desk to another, printing, stamping and stuffing paper in envelopes, and hauling all that paper to the post office for mailing – the entire process just wasn’t working.
Jaskiewicz also recognized their Entrata accounting system could be enhanced to handle the AP processing demands that her company faced.
AvidPay AP software solves these problems
All these problems were solved in March 2019 when the company decided to install AvidXchange AvidPay, an automated AP software that eliminates paperwork, accelerates payments and reduces mistakes.
Campus Apartments shifted customers, vendors and suppliers away from paper checks to electronic vendor payments using three methods: AvidPay Direct, Automated Clearing House and credit cards. AvidPay AP software reduced the number of checks the company processed in-house weekly from 1,400 down to 10 during its busiest times.
“This has resulted in much stronger, more trusting relationships with our vendors, which is extremely important in our business,” said Jaskiewicz, a 10-year veteran with the company.
“We were doing massive check runs,” she added. “No wire payments, no credit cards, no automated clearinghouse. Everything was paid by check even inter-company payments. There was lots of shuffling of checks from one desk to another, lots of deposits having to be made. AvidPay changed all of that.”
AP software creates efficiencies across the company
Not only did AvidPay AP software benefit Jaskiewicz’s team and the company’s vendors. Other Campus Apartments departments got a lift. AvidPay gave the company’s employees visibility across all the AP stakeholders and created new efficiencies that extend from property managers to the company’s treasury department.
“There were many times in the past when a question would be asked about a payment and we’d have to take screenshots and ask treasury if they could pull a copy of the check,” she said. “Or we’d have to say ‘we’ll get back to you.’ ”
Now she says they seldom get those questions. On the rare occasions when they do, the team just pulls the backup to review the information they need instead of asking another department for help.
“Believe me, everyone appreciates that including our chief financial officer who can now approve payments and run reports from anywhere whenever he needs to.”
AP software installed before work-from-home orders began
The timing of the AvidPay AP software implementation was fortunate, said Jaskiewicz, because the pandemic began a year later and prompted many employees to work from home. Soon before the stay-at-home orders began to affect the campus housing business, the company had already integrated AvidPay with its Entrata accounting system.
For the past eight months Erin and her team have been working remotely and haven’t returned to the office except to occasionally expedite a payment.
“Luckily, with Entrata and AvidPay, we now have a system that has enabled us to work safely from home without missing a beat,” she said.
Under the new process, her team generates payment files as if it is going to print a check but then they simply click on a dropdown option for AvidPay. “It’s seamlessly integrated and extremely easy to use,” she said.
While this AP software implementation turned out well, Jaskiewicz said her team dealt with some initial pushback in the transition from paper to digital.
“I think many were afraid that their payment might somehow get lost or late — they really were skeptical. But now it has simply become the new normal. They really appreciate having options that they didn’t have before. Fortunately, the transition was so simple and seamless that vendors were very quickly comfortable with moving away from paper.”
Vendors were not the only ones skeptical of making this transition. At first Jaskiewicz was also. But none of her concerns ever became issues. In fact, she pointed out, the integration ran so smoothly that there was no system downtime nor the need for formal training.
She’s so pleased with the transition to AvidPay AP software that she offered this advice: “If you’re processing paper payments, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Make the transition to automation with AvidXchange and don’t look back.”