Two years ago the accounts payable (AP) process turned into a major headache for the Pinellas County Housing Authority, which provides leasing, management and maintenance services to more than a thousand Florida housing units.
The AP department used a multi-folder, copy-and-paste system to process an estimated 800 monthly invoices for its vendors such as landscapers, utility companies and painters.
Constantly, invoices got lost in the wrong folders, and it often wasn’t clear when invoices had been submitted, approved or paid. At least four or five vendors every month emailed and called the organization asking why they hadn’t been paid. That added 8-to-10 hours of work for the AP team to figure out why the payments had not been sent and to solve the problem.
“I really had no control of my accounts payable,” said Neil Thompson, the department’s chief financial officer. “I wasn’t sure where everything was across the process, which invoices had been approved and not approved. I just didn’t know where everything was. A lot of confusion was going on. I just got tired of it so decided we needed to make a change.”
Moving on from the old system, in June of last year his company decided to implement AvidXchange’s AP automation software including the AvidPay, AvidInvoice and AvidCreate-A-Check offerings. These complement the MRI accounting software the housing organization uses.
AvidXchange increases efficiency up to 75 percent
Since it started using the AvidXchange software, the AP department has cut the number of steps in the invoice, approval and payment process by up to 75 percent, he said. Just as important, he’s no longer getting calls from vendors wondering why they haven’t been paid.
“Control of the process was my number one concern, and using AvidXchange I got that control,” he said. “I can go into AvidXchange and know where I stand on every invoice.”
He can now search for and find all his invoices quickly and knows where they are in the workflow. “There’s a lot less stress. All issues we were having before are not coming up anymore.”
Before shifting to AvidXchange, he said he was spending too much time each workday solving AP issues — but that’s not necessary anymore. “With our previous process I could never tell when invoices were submitted,” he said. “Now I know where they are and how long they’ve been there.”
Hugo Lotti, the organization’s management information systems director, has been collaborating with Thompson during this technology shift and shared this insight about the AvidXchange software.
“Our previous AP process was super excessive,” he said. “The biggest problem we solved by shifting to AvidXchange has been streamlining our business processes. Our process is a lot simpler than it was before. We’ve cut the number of business processes dramatically.”