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How Taking AP Paperless Empowers a Mechanical Services Company to Save Time and Gain Visibility

October 11, 2022
Piedmont Service Group Customer Story

Piedmont Service Group shares how AvidInvoice and AvidPay for Microsoft Dynamics GP streamlined their AP Process

Ken Oesch joined Piedmont Service Group in 2008 and has served as its CFO for the past nine years. He manages an accounting team of 15 and is charged with making sure the company’s books, financial processes and procedures are accurate and consistent. He keeps an eye on what’s in the accounts payable (AP) queue and ensures that internal management and external auditors have the financial information they need, when they need it.

Gwen Smothers is the Accounting Processes and Business Systems Implementation Manager. She handles day-to-day accounting and systems’ implementations and upgrades. She also provides training for anyone within the company who relies on their systems, including Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting system.

Thanks to AP automation, Piedmont Service Group’s CFO has a clearer picture of the health of the organization and the day-to-day accounting executive can more easily manage AP and payments.

The challenge: Too much paper, too much wasted time

Piedmont Service Group was drowning in thousands of paper invoices and struggling to match them with purchase orders. When they didn’t find a match, they’d waste time chasing down answers to figure out what was missing or who was holding things up. That meant searching through stacks of paper, which often led to making extra copies, which only intensified the deluge of paper.

“Our invoices were in one system and data entry in another, which meant matching was especially time-consuming and complicated,” said Smothers. “Imagine the time and frustration when we had 10 invoices from one PO. It was just as frustrating on the payments side—forced to cut checks, stamp them and rely on the US Mail Service to get them to vendors on time.”

Equally frustrating was the lack of visibility the paper chase created. It made it tough for the CFO to answer questions or provide a status to internal and external stakeholders.

“I knew there was a better way and when I heard about AvidXchange at a Great Plains User Conference, I knew we needed to make the switch,” said Oesch.

Customer Profile

Customer: Ken Oesch, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Gwen Smothers, Accounting Processes and Business Systems Implementation Manager, Piedmont Service Group
Industry: Facilities Management (HVAC Mechanical Services)
Products used: AvidInvoice; AvidPay
Accounting system: Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains (GP)

Founded in 1971, Piedmont Service Group is a privately held HVAC mechanical services company headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since its inception, Piedmont Service Group has expanded to eight offices throughout the Piedmont region of Virginia and the Carolinas with more than 300 employees. The company prides itself on leveraging the latest technologies in the field and in the back office to ensure efficiency and provide top-notch service to customers of all sizes.

The solution: AvidXchange automates the work to save time, provide visibility

In 2017, Piedmont Service Group implemented AvidInvoice and AvidPay to eliminate paper from the AP department and streamline invoice processing and payments.

AvidInvoice provides 3-way matching to simplify and speed up processing. And, the company no longer has to write and mail checks to its vendors thanks to AvidPay payment options, including full-service processing. AvidInvoice and AvidPay seamlessly integrate with the company’s existing Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting software.

“Thanks to AvidXchange, we no longer have file cabinets in the AP department and we’re no longer wasting time searching through paper to process invoices and pay our bills,” said Smothers.

Instead of cutting checks, stuffing envelopes and dealing with postage, the team simply uploads a batch of invoices into the AvidXchange platform and the AvidXchange payments team takes it from there.

“In addition to creating a paperless department, the biggest benefit from AvidXchange is the visibility and control it provides. We can easily see what’s been paid and identify any holdups. That visibility is everything.”

The result: Faster processing with fewer people

Automating invoice processing helped eliminate paper from Piedmont Service Group’s AP department and negated the need for a temp to handle data entry when invoice queues became unmanageable. What’s more, the team no longer needs to hire an additional two employees to keep up with growth and ensure vendors are promptly paid.

Smothers can now process in two hours the number of invoices it used to take two days to process, and she can manage AP remotely.

In addition to saving time (and trees!), the integrated AP solution also provides the mechanical services firm the visibility it needs to stay on its toes to ensure satisfied customers and stakeholders. 

“Thanks to AvidXchange, when auditors need information and GMs ask about certain invoices and need quick replies, I can easily run reports and get them answers,” Oesch said. “We tell people all the time about AvidXchange and what it has done for our business, streamlining our AP and eliminating the need to send paper checks.”

AvidInvoice and AvidPay, seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Dynamics GP, have simplified work life for Piedmont Service Group’s finance team. AvidXchange’s automated AP solutions free them from paper and cumbersome financial processes, providing the team with time and insights to help guide important decisions to secure their organization’s leading position in the mechanical services space.


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