“Within a four-month period back in late 2014, we doubled in size,” says Brian Murphy, Director of J.D. Edwards Business Services at Island Hospitality. “Our accounts payable (AP) department, already bogged down by time-consuming, manual tasks, was overloaded by the sheer number of additional invoices. We needed a transformation.”
Island Hospitality is one of the largest independent hotel operators in the United States, overseeing 170 properties with ties to international brands such as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott. The West Palm Beach-based company depends on hundreds of vendors — from national suppliers to mom-and-pop shops.
Nearly 38 work hours saved each week
In response to the crushing volume of invoices, Island Hospitality launched AvidInvoice and AvidPay in July of 2015, and soon Murphy saw the transformation he had hoped for.
“We used to complete a check run by 10:30 AM on Fridays,” Murphy recalls. “Then until 5 PM in the afternoon, we’d have seven people folding checks, stuffing envelopes and running them through our postage meter.”
With AvidPay, Murphy calculates that the company saves about 37.5 work hours – the weekly equivalent of one employee – on those tasks alone. Several people from the AP department were able to move into other more strategic positions in the company.
Invoice processing time reduced by 80 percent
AvidInvoice has generated even further savings. Invoice processing times were slashed from an average of 18 days to three.
“AP representatives who used to function more as data-entry clerks are now able to actively manage accounts instead of paperwork,” Murphy explains. “They have time to review invoices based on dollar values or by vendor. They work with our properties to make sure invoices are coded correctly and that the right vendors are being used.”
Seamless integration with AvidUtility
Following their success with AvidInvoice and AvidPay, Murphy was keen to streamline the AP department further through AvidUtility.
“Many of the checks that we were processing in-house were utility and telecommunications bills,” he says, “where it’s critical that all payments are made on time. With AvidUtility, which handles receipt through review to payment, we were guaranteed no late fees.”
The company implemented AvidUtility in 2019 and “everything has been running quickly and smoothly ever since,” Murphy reports.
24/7 remote access
During the lockdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the AvidXchange systems have continued to support Island Hospitality’s AP personnel.
“We can access AvidXchange from anywhere…so as long as you have a proper login and link to the portal, you can approve invoices,” Murphy says. “By getting out of the check-writing business and processing it all through AvidXchange, a check run can literally be done from home.”
With each hotel ownership group having its own internal and external auditing teams, Murphy was challenged to manage a time-consuming and cumbersome audit process.
“The auditors are here almost all year long and at different times,” Murphy says. “At times, I need to fill 16 different requests.”
AvidXchange’s systems now allow him to generate custom reports that he can upload to the auditors’ websites or their secure portals.
Island Hospitality separately runs its own quarterly reports through AvidXchange and shares copies with its clients’ auditors, who appreciate the flexible Excel format.
“They can pull and review the information in the way that they need,” Murphy said.
“Overall, AvidXchange really was a no brainer for us,” says Murphy. “My advice to anyone is to take a look into automation and see if it will help your organization the way it transformed ours.”