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Shifting to AP Automation, Healthcare Provider Speeds Up Invoice Approvals by 86 Percent

May 11, 2021

Back in 2016, Roger Rego faced a less-than-ideal situation as the finance director for Bridge Community Health Clinic, a health and dental care provider based in Wausau, Wisconsin.

For any outgoing vendor check of $20,000 or more, he needed to get a signature from the treasurer of the clinic’s Board of Directors.

But the treasurer had to drive across town to the main office to sign the checks. So Rego often had to wait until the next Board meeting for the treasurer’s signature – sometimes two-to-three weeks later.

As a result, vendors didn’t get paid as fast.

Using AvidXchange software, treasurer approves invoices and checks anytime, anywhere

This all changed in 2017 when Rego and his finance team decided to start using the AvidXchange accounts payable (AP) software products, AvidPay and AvidInvoice, to complement their use of the Blackbaud accounting system.

From then on, the treasurer could automatically approve the invoices on his PC or smartphone from anywhere, at any time. And he didn’t have to sign the checks anymore.

“Now we no longer depend on the treasurer’s availability to come in and sign the checks,” said Rego who was involved in clinic’s decision to use the AvidXchange software. “All the approvals are logged into the system. The treasurer gets an alert and typically approves the checks within a day. There’s just no lost time using the AvidXchange software.”

"There’s just no lost time using the AvidXchange software."

Clinic’s other big challenge: Use of paper

Along with check signing, the clinic also had another big challenge before automating AP: paper.

“We were all paper,” he said. “Anytime you have a paper process you have opportunities for issues to happen. When you’re doing everything with paper, everything moves at a snail’s pace.”

That made it tough to track the status of invoices. About half the time, the clinic didn’t know when invoices showed up nor where they were. To track them down, Rego often sent emails or made phone calls or asked the vendors to re-send them.

Cut invoice processing time from 2 weeks to 2 days

But using AP automation, the company can now process and pay all 250-300 monthly invoices in roughly two days – compared with two weeks with the previous process. That’s a time saving of 86 percent. Now Rego spends just a few minutes a day processing. Before automation, it took him a few hours.

“Before I had to look at the invoice and make sense of all the numbers to make sure they were correct. Now everything’s ready to go. The invoice information comes to me with everything loaded. All I have to do is let the payment go. And we never lose invoices.”

"When you’re doing everything with paper, everything moves at a snail’s pace.”

During pandemic, finance team kept paying vendors quickly

Keeping track of invoices became especially important last year during the pandemic. Medical equipment shortages were widespread. As a result, the clinic started working with new vendors to obtain items such as medical and dental supplies, as well as scrub uniforms for health professionals.

For many vendors cash was tight. They wanted their payments faster. “There weren’t a lot of people giving a lot of payment grace periods during the pandemic,” he said.

But because of AP automation, the clinic kept paying vendors quickly.

“If we were processing invoices and making payments the old way during the pandemic, when people weren’t on site or we weren’t getting together as often because of social distancing, that would have been a tough situation for us.”

AvidXchange improves invoice approval process

Rego says he especially likes the ability to quickly see the status of invoices whenever and wherever they need to.

“I love how fast I can pull information I need,” he says. “All the information I need is right at my fingertips. Everybody on your finance team can be looking at the invoice and payment data from wherever they want to. You can get right to where you need to immediately.”

He also likes that the AP automation software cuts time for budgeting. Department directors and managers can go right to AvidXchange to run a complete vendor report or simply pull up all the invoices underneath the vendor name. They can see anything they want on how the invoice came in or where it stands.

“That makes budgeting and research so much easier. It frees up the finance team to do finance and to stop making photocopies or searching for and pulling together paper documents.”

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