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Speedway Motorsports Discovers the Horsepower of AvidXchange’s Accounts Payable (AP) Automation Software

November 16, 2023
sara grafals at charlotte motor speedway

Founded in 1959, Speedway Motorsports is a leading marketer, promoter and sponsor of motorsports such as NASCAR and IndyCar races. Through its subsidiaries, the company owns and operates 11 motorsports facilities across the United States, including the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Its mission is to provide the best fan experience possible.

Sara Grafals, a former motorcycle rider, followed her passion for high-octane thrills into the role of controller for Sonoma Raceway, a track owned by Speedway Motorsports. During her 20+ year tenure, she’s held various roles at the company, now working as the senior vice president of regional finance, focused on process improvement within the organization.  

Customer Profile

  • Customer: Sara Grafals, Speedway Motorsports      
  • Products Used: AvidInvoice, AvidPay
  • Features Used: AvidAnalytics
  • Industry: Real Estate
  • Accounting System: Traverse

The Challenge: Siloed, Paper-based Processes Limited Visibility

With facilities across the country, Speedway Motorsports transitioned to a shared services model to increase efficiencies. Rather than focusing on a specific facility, employees pivoted to work for the entire organization. With this change, a handful of glaring issues prohibited the team from operating efficiently.

First, Grafals recognized the accounting department didn’t have an accounts payable automation solution that allowed for centralized access and visibility to accommodate all employees across the country. Additionally, the team struggled with lengthy and cumbersome month-end closing processes due to manual payment approvals. Accruals in particular posed a hurdle, requiring a day and a half to gather data via paper purchase orders (POs).  Lastly, disparate systems caused the inability to run company-wide reports that could help make important business decisions.

"The accrual process is really one of the heavier, more labor-intensive processes during month-end close. It was a stack of paper POs that we went through with Post-It notes on whether each invoice had come in. There was absolutely no digital tracking whatsoever."

The Solution: Automation Helps Advance New Business Initiatives

Speedway Motorsports made the decision to adopt AvidXchange’s AvidInvoice and AvidPay solutions to streamline, digitize and automate its invoice processing and supplier payments. With anytime, anywhere access, Grafals and her team now have widespread visibility into invoice tracking and approvals across facilities, allowing more time to focus on other key business initiatives.

In addition, Speedway Motorsports implemented AvidAnalytics, an embedded business intelligence feature offered by AvidXchange. Through AvidAnalytics’ enhanced reporting and pre-built dashboards, Speedway Motorsports was able to simplify its month-end accrual process by identifying PO balances and pulling in line-item details by general ledger account. Grafals’ team also uses the tool to easily pinpoint requestors to follow up on outstanding items. 

sara grafals at charlotte motor speedway

Further, the organization was able to use AvidAnalytics to identify suppliers across its multiple facilities to establish strategic partnerships and negotiate discounts. Analyzing spending on a company-wide basis was something Grafals said the team “could not do at all under our previous system.” The improved visibility will help facilitate partnerships and discounts for the company.

“AvidAnalytics helps us quickly and easily pull information by location for open POs and balances due by line item. This key information is critical to getting our books closed timely and accurately.”

The Results: Enhanced Reporting Fuels Company Savings

The benefits of implementing an automated AP solution and enhanced reporting features started to pay off immediately. Grafals was able to save the company over $300,000 per year and her team more than 200 AP work hours per month.

In addition, Speedway Motorsports has shortened its month-end PO accrual process from a day and a half to 30 minutes. Grafals added that AvidAnalytics’ reporting matrix empowers her team to close each month a couple of days earlier, “We’ve been able to speed up the process,” she said. This has freed AP staff to take on additional responsibilities within the finance department and learn new skills.

Grafals is enthusiastic about the potential cost-savings opportunities AvidAnalytics will bring to the company by using the feature to review and analyze spending on a company-wide basis. “We are continuing to improve who we spend money with. Looking at that and being able to negotiate gives us buying power we can leverage. Those savings are then reinvested in other ways to enhance our at-track fan experience.”

“You’ll be amazed at how AvidAnalytics streamlines tasks and allows managers to see things in real time. It provides us with the ability to give our staff the reporting mechanisms and matrixes they need on a timely basis.”

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