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How AP Automation Modernized a Family Construction Business

June 23, 2022

Sorrells & Co.

“We can now keep track of invoices and move them through much quicker, even leaving town and handling approvals from our laptops. No matter where I am, I have access to our data and can easily look to see what we’ve paid, when and why.”

Female construction foreman speaking with co-worker on site.

Sorrells & Co.

Sorrells & Co., a design + build construction company in Waco, Texas, is a family business started in 1998. The company created Waco’s first master planned community on the 120-acre Sorrells family farm and has since developed multiple residential and commercial neighborhoods. Its work includes the renovation of a historic building in Waco’s downtown to create a coworking community space.

Becky Sorrells, a certified public accountant, has been an important component of the family business since its inception. Her role has evolved from handling Sorrells & Co.’s bookkeeping from home while she cared for her then small children to serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of a burgeoning residential and commercial design + build construction company.

Missing invoices, daunting approval cycles and Friday pay days

Reliant on scores of contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, Sorrells & Co. was drowning in invoices. 

Sorrells was also frustrated with being stuck in the office to distribute paychecks every other Friday, the customary pay day for construction trades. Following the pandemic, a pressing labor shortage made it difficult to hire an AP professional to help with this process.

Intrigued with the idea of a paperless office, Sorrells began researching automated accounts payable (AP) solutions.  She needed a solution that seamlessly integrated with Sage 100 Contractor, a cloud-based construction management and accounting software she relies on and especially appreciates for its ability to handle job costing, a critical aspect of the construction industry.  

End-to-end automation eliminates the paper chase

In 2019, Sorrells implemented TimberScan Titanium, an AvidXchange invoice automation solution specifically designed for the construction industry. It eliminates data entry and approval hassles and enables Sorrells to view invoices and documents and to cut checks in Sage 100 Contractor.

In 2021, Sorrells implemented AvidPay, AvidXchange’s full-service payment automation solution that offers electronic payments. Integrated with Timberscan on one platform, the AvidXchange construction suite offers a fully automated purchase to pay solution, accessible from one location.

The company is in the process of helping its contractors move to electronic payments through AvidPay for faster payment and reduced ACH costs.

AvidXchange helped Sorrells & Co. transition change-resistant contractors to a modernized, faster approach by offering a customized solution — assisted ACH payments. The process allows Sorrells to cover the cost of ACH for select suppliers.

Freedom from paper

Sorrells has experienced multiple benefits since automating AP last year, from stress-free invoice processing to better visibility, faster payments and fewer hiring needs.

She estimates that she used to spend two weeks per month solely processing invoices and paying bills. She now no longer has to do that.

Cloud-based automation and electronic payments also save Sorrells & Co. significant costs, including paper and mailing expenses. It also saves the company the cost (and aggravation) of hiring someone to tend to the office and hand out checks on Friday afternoons. Sorrells handed over AP duties to an employee from Dallas who remotely manages invoice processing an hour or so per day, and the company continues to transition contractors over to electronic payments, eliminating the hassle of paper checks.

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