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Grow Revenue Faster with AP Automation for Intacct

Webinar Transcription

Mike: Good morning, everybody. My name is Mike Johnson. We appreciate your time with AvidXchange. Today, we’re gonna focus on a hot topic today, how to grow revenue faster with automation for Intacct users. So we have a partnership along with Intacct. We’re gonna talk a little bit about AP automation today, some of the benefits around that. So we’ve got a quick agenda.

This is scheduled for 30 minutes. We’re using GoToWebinar, so many of you may be familiar with it. But if you’re not, somewhere in your console you’ll see a chat box. So feel free to ask us any questions. We do have time at the end of the session for a quick Q&A. We’ll be really doing quick round of introductions. I’d like introduce my associate here, Linda from Intacct, in a few minutes.

We’re gonna look at defining AP automation. We’re gonna talk about how to grow revenue with AP automation, do a live demo. So we’ll take a quick look at our AP automation portal. We’ll run an audience poll, and then we’ll have that quick Q&A. But if you have any questions, throw them into the chat box and we’ll have time at the end of the session to help you.

So my name is Mike Johnson. I’m with AvidXchange. I’ve been around the company for about four years now. So I have the opportunity and fortune to be able to run businesses throughout my career as a general manager for a business for about five years. So I have direct check experience. I know some of the pain and some of the stress points along with finance. I’m not a CPA or a financial…I’m not trained in accounting, but I’ve had the opportunity to run businesses.

So we’re based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. We’re a SaaS model like our partners here Intacct are. So we’re in the cloud. We offer our customers an experience to help them automate the process so we onboard you in 45 days or less. We build you an AP portal where you simply control who have access, what they can see and what they can do. We appreciate your time this morning. We’re looking forward to the conversation. I’d like to introduce you to Linda. So Linda, say hello.

Linda: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining Mike and I today. And thank you again, Mike, for the opportunity to tag along with you today. As Mike mentioned, I am with Intacct, and I have been with Intacct for about seven years now. And one of the things that you should know and take away today is our strong relationship with AvidXchange. And this is part of our model. We are a financial management solution. As AvidXchange, we are a cloud-based solution, and that offers you a very streamlined processing. And we want to share our relationship today, and talk to you more about how you can grow your business, utilizing both AvidXchange and Intacct. So thanks again, Mike. We’ll go ahead and get started.

Mike: I appreciate that, Linda. Just for those that are on the phone, tell me a little bit about your experience as a Solution Consultant? What do you do for Intacct?

Linda: That’s a great question. I do a lot of things, but my primary focus is to work with organizations to understand what their key business requirements are. As a Solutions Consultant, think of me as a product person. So I’m the person that’s gonna share the software solution with you. First, I’m gonna listen to what it is that is most important to you. And you know, one of the things that I do is support our sales team, and I also support our partners, like Mike and team, with putting together that product demonstration. So that’s really my focus.

Mike: Thank you, Linda. I appreciate it. That’s why I’m excited to have her join me today because we’re both, you know, technically what we’ll call “in the trenches.” So we both meet with companies of all shapes and size, for-profit, not-for-profit, high tech, low tech. Name it. We’ve talked to folks like you there on the phone today. So it’s gonna be an interesting conversation with Linda to have because we share similar experiences where we see organizations or companies like yours that are looking at this technology more today than ever. So there’s a lot of things that are going on in the marketplace. They’re making us more…you know, raising up on the scales.

We know it’s on the project list of 1 to 10 things that finance teams are looking at today, but it kind of goes up and down that scale. Sometimes it’s the number three, sometimes it slips into number seven based on priority. So I’m excited to have Linda join me in a kind of conversation about what she sees working with Intacct clients and listening to what they’re looking for and how we plug in with Intacct. So let’s talk about really the goal we need to do before we talk about the benefits. We have to really define what it is that we’re talking about. So what is AP automation? You know, we talked about cloud technologies, Intacct and ourselves.

So what do we do? What are the benefits? So everything you see here is mapped out as kind of order sequential logic behind the AP process. An invoice comes in…is coming in today via email and mail probably for most of you. In either case, you may be opening up mail or downloading an email because typically we need physical copy. There may be a purchase order involved in that process. You’re routing it out. If you’re centralized, that’s cool. But if you’ve got organizations that are diverse and spread out across the company, it could require email or overnight courier, so there’s a cost there.

You’re coding invoice, you’re approving it. It takes all shapes and forms from a stamp, to initials, to a sticky on a paper. It comes back to the accounting office eventually, we hope in a timely fashion. Somebody’s doing the data entry into Intacct, and then once it’s in your accounting system, you’re making a business decision, “Hey, let’s pay some vendors.”

So…and then once that process we see today which is…it’s kind of interesting. I think you may agree, Linda, with the way people are doing this in today’s consumer world. We’re paying things online, we’re paying our bills, we’re getting electronic statements from all our vendors. You know, I got a text this morning that said AT&T has already debited my account for my cell phone bill. But yeah, we come to work, we print checks, we deal with paper invoices, and then at the end of that we’re filing them in what we call the traditional filing cabinet. So research becomes kind of a manual phenomenon. Is that what you see typically when you engage Intacct customers?

Linda: I do. And what’s surprising to me is that, you know, some of the larger companies that maybe we’re all familiar with, are still doing this very manual process. And like you said, in our personal lives, we’re all about how can we do it faster, how can we, you know, move things along faster whether it’s a communication or paying a bill, or whatever. But in our business life, we’re still touching that piece of paper multiple times. And we all know what that lends to is, you know, not only a lot of cost, but a lot of mistakes. So I see the same thing.

Mike: Yeah. I love referencing this when I’m talking to companies, and I say, “Hey, what do you do at home?” And they’re like, “To your point, I pay online,” but they come to work and do this. It’s kind of ironic and they kind of have these epiphanies all of a sudden like, “No kidding. Why am I doing this?” So everything you see here that’s got an X over it is where our technology really impacts that process. So the real secret on AP automation which really isn’t a secret, is what it delivers back to you in your company as time, time that you could be spending on more valuable things that your organization could be investing in. Whether it’s acquisitions, growth, maintaining profitability, all these things that we kind of reference in those steps that we walked through a moment ago equate the time.

So everything you see here: no more receiving invoice, no more opening the mail, no more attaching POs, no more routing electronic workflows, approval, building a robust audit trail, date and time stamp, no more data entry into the accounting system, no more printing checks, no more filing and filing cabinets, research becomes a mobile phenomenon. We live in a mobile society, all the millennials that are coming out in the job force today, you know who they are. You see them sitting on the train, a plane, a bus, and their heads are in their phones. Right, Linda?

Linda: Yeah, exactly. I’ve got one that’s 30 years old, and I’ve lived that life. I know what that looks like.

Mike: Yes. It’s interesting how people converse these days. So let’s talk a little bit about how…you know, now that we’ve taken, we described what AP automation is, let’s talk a little bit about how to grow revenue with applying this kind of technology, because the secret, remember, is time. So we’re gonna give you back an enormous amount of time. Sometimes what equates to almost 60% your day can be given back to you when you look at taking the paper out. So let’s take a look at what the costs are.

According to studies and research, the average cost through a process of paper invoice is around $9. It can be higher. It can be lower. A lot of the factors that go in is what you’re paying people, the amount of paper, the invoices, the amount it touches, you know, how it gets disseminated and returned for approval process. In an automated world, if you’re gonna, you know, take the paper out, you’re gonna have $1.50 per invoice.

So there’s a pretty good dramatic ROI in the return for investing in technology like this is gonna hit your bottom line right away. The other thing is on payments. So you know, that’s the irony I see in business today is that, you know, we talked a few moments ago about how we pay our bills online today yet we come…according to studies that I read, most B2B payments today still involve a large majority of paper checks. And those cost money. So the $7.15 is kind of the average. Again, it can be higher, it could be lower. But that’s when you factor in the envelope, the paper, the stamp.

In an automated process what you’re looking at is really the ability to do that with 68 cents, so dramatically lowering the cost involved with that. So it’s a pretty positive impactful ROI, and these come from studies from PayStream Advisors and Aberdeen Research. So these are pundits that do a lot of research in their industry, financial industry tracking this kind of data.

So what drives up the cost? I mean the cost is really involved, it’s the manual labor and the intervention or what I like to call exceptions. Because there’s always exceptions in finance, right? We see it all the time. There’s data errors, there’s purchase orders, and shipping, lots of moving parts, lots of communication that needs to take place. We live in a very disparate world where people are using email, phones, IMs. You see them pop up on your screen. So the labor costs typically consume about 62% of all total AP cost. That’s a huge amount of money and effort that’s being spent on this. And Linda, I think you’re probably financing, you talk to companies but it’s really hard to find and retain good talent these days, is it not?

Linda: Yeah. I wanna make a note about the previous slide, too, as well, Mike. One of the things that I found a little surprising is when we talk to companies during our discovery meetings… And we…you know, we asked them about how are you processing payments today? Walk me through that whole procure-to-pay process. And when we get to specifically talking about the touch points and how many times they’re touching paper, and then we go into how much do you think…and we ask this question. How much do you think it costs you to process a transaction from start to finish, all the way through, you know, paying that vendor? And then we break it down to, what does it cost you just to produce that check?

And it’s surprising to me how many companies don’t understand what that cost is. They have this idea that, “Okay. Well, you know, there’s a little money in the envelope, and in the stamp, and in the form. Okay, you know, maybe a dollar. Okay, so maybe it’s, you know, a couple of bucks, maybe $2.50, postage just gone up, whatever.” They have no clue how much they are really investing to get that payment out the door. So this is a great slide, and I encourage you. I somewhat challenge you to ask these questions in your own organization, because I would almost bet that you don’t really understand how much the true cost is.

And then, you know, when you look at that next slide it really is about labor. But what’s more important to me is every time Mike says, “Time, that time,” Time is really money. It’s cost. And every CFO, every controller that we talk to, that is number one on their list. We wanna automate, we wanna streamline, we wanna improve efficiency, we want to reduce cost. And this is one of the larger ways that you can do it. And just one final point here, Mike. This is a quick win. This is not something that’s gonna take you months or years to implement. I think, Mike, you said something around 45 days. So this is a quick win, and who as a CFO, or a controller, does not want a quick win in their pocket?

Mike: Absolutely. There are some resources that we can bring to bear to help them, Linda, to understand what the costs are. We have kind of a simple baseline ROI calculator that, you know, applies those kind of metrics, labor costs associated with paper. It gives them that quick analysis. We also have tools and resources to do a deeper dive if they’re interested in that. But to your point really, as you find out most people don’t know how much it costs, and it’s almost the status quo. It’s the way we’ve always done it. We have people. Why not have them do that? But what else could they be doing other than some of these, you know, more manual processes?

So it’s all about growing without headcount. You know, if you’re looking at the things that are happening globally, the workforce is shrinking. You know, my generation, the baby boomers are getting closer and closer to retirement. One of the things that, Linda, you know, accentuated is that it’s time related. So I know as I age I find I don’t…the time seems to pass by even quicker. Look, we’ve already gone for the first quarter of 2017. We’re into April already, and spring’s happening. All these things are transpiring. It’s happening and how do we make our businesses more mobile and nimble?

So how do you continue to grow without adding headcount? And a lot of that can be done with technology such as ours. As Linda said, it’s a 45-day easy implementation. It’s a quick win. So you know, you can connect anywhere, anytime. The same thing with Intacct leveraging their financial management solution. You have access to that 24/7. So you’ve got, you know, intimate knowledge of what’s going on in your business. So connect anywhere any time. Mobile, we’re scaled for mobile, so you know, in practice you can receive notification that you have invoices and payments waiting for you while you’re offsite at locations, going between business groups or offices. And then act on that. So you know, it also allows you to almost triple the amount of invoices.

So that’s the good news. As you grow your business, you’re not looking at adding additional headcount to these positions where you have people, you know, tracking paper, filing. And I… You know, some of the financial tech companies I work with within tech companies — Linda, this is interesting — will say to me they get people, they come on board and within 90 days they’ve left. These are millennials coming out of college thinking that they’re gonna be the CFO in month four, and then become frustrated because they’re processing paper that they’ve never had to deal with in college or in their own personal life, and can’t understand where it is. They become frustrated and leave the workforce.

So lots of advantages to automation is it helps you grow your business. But you know, it’s all about saving time and eliminating paperwork. And you know, there’s this negative connotation we talk about manual process. So I’m sure in your assessment when you visit with companies, you see some of the manual steps they’ve got involved. Right, Linda?

Linda: I do, and you know, one of the things that comes out often and maybe folks have not really thought about this maybe because I am one of those baby boomers, I think about things like this. But you know, a hundred years ago when I was in an accounting department, one of the things that we needed to do was to dig in these filing cabinets, and find these backup papers and invoices and so forth, for the auditors. And one of the things that I would tell you is when you start thinking differently about how you’re storing this information, and the access to this information, and what this means to you, in something as important and driven as an audit, now you’re with the automation, and with the streamlining with the dashboard-ing and all of the information that you’re going to see an impact. You’re going to be able to set up a dashboard for your auditors, and they’re gonna have this information right at their fingertips.

And it’s all because of the relationship that we have with AvidXchage for tracking all that paper that 30 years ago was over here in a filing cabinet. So to this picture, you know, this could have been me. You know, the auditors are here and look at all this stuff that I have to pull out for them. Now they have a self-service type of application because of this automation.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. I was invited once to speak at a sporting goods company, and the controller had me come in and he said, “Take a seat.” And I was like, “Okay, where would you like me to sit because they’ve just gone through an audit and every spot is off. This was covered with these folders.” So you know, four hours is a lot of time in a day spent on these processes that, you know, really…there’s technology out there to help you. You know, you’re using your personal life. Why not use it in your work space? So that epiphany that we’re seeing… Because I could tell you, you know, from going to your meet ups and meeting some of the clients and having joint clients that when they reach this, you know, earth shaking moment when they say, “Enough is enough. Let me do something.” It’s really they’d never want to go back to the way they used to do it.

So it can give you that time back. You know, you rely on technology to do a lot of what we call heavy lifting. And you know, as Linda articulated, you have access to it 24/7. Imagine in an AP process we could generate an ad hoc report any moment, any time to know exactly where your invoices are whether they’re pending, approved, disputed, by vendor, by invoice, by location, by who ordered it. Generate a report that you could supply an auditor without having them coming in and sit in your conference room, has significant benefits.

So you’re eliminating all these things of opening mail, scanning, filing, entering invoice data into Intacct, printing, signing and mailing checks. It’s exhausting to read that list. So you can say, you know, it improves the audit trail and you can say goodbye to saving documents for seven years because we comply with IRS standards. But we’ve been in business now going on 17 years. We haven’t thrown anything away, so our customers have access to critical EPD dating back all the way back to our start point in early 2000. So lots of advantages to automation.

And what would you do with the extra time? I mean that’s the question. I think, you know, you started the transition into, Linda, where you’re talking about they don’t know their cost. Tell me about how you do this. And then you kind of work them through this scenario. What would they do with the extra time? So here’s some of the things that we see, you know, people leveraging AP automation to add to their Intacct solution as a benefit. How about you, Linda? What are you seeing in some of those…when they hit that switch?

Linda: So here’s what companies are focused on today. They’re focused on growth. And there’s a couple of things that this solution helps them do. One, it helps them be better every day. So we’re gonna help them with that everyday task of processing invoices and getting things paid and out the door. That’s the better every day. When we do that, we’re gonna improve their efficiency, and we’re gonna gain some time and some manpower back. The other side of the coin is we’re gonna help them manage for the long-term. So what does that mean? Well, that means that if your company is gonna grow, then you need to have the vision, you need to be that visionary to be able to see where you need to go next, and how you’re gonna be able to grow your company.

So rather than you investing your time in these manual processes, let us help you automate and be better every day, so that you can put your time in to more strategic and visionary activities that are gonna help you grow your business. Maybe that’s identifying a new market to go into. Maybe that’s improving another area of your business that needs attention that you just don’t have time to get to today. Maybe that’s looking at where you need to focus your attention, and maybe where you need to go for your next business opportunity. Having that time to do that is going to come as a result of us helping you be better every day.

Mike: Yeah, because it’s… I’m sure you find this, and I found this when I was running a business. Life is full of exceptions. So exceptions really can be very challenging if it’s a daily occurrence. So what technology like this does for you, it gives you back that time to focus on exceptions because you’re…you know, there’s a great little story or a piece that one of my colleagues wrote about. You know, the typical average day, you grab your cup of coffee, you making a drive into the office, you get out of your car, you’re holding your cup of coffee and the folders that you took home last night to work on. You open up the door and the first person you see says, “Hey, the check printer’s down.” And before you know it, the story goes on to a point where you get to your office and your day’s completely dealt with exceptions and everything you had planned and calculated for is gone out the window.

So the ability to help you take that kind of low hanging manual repetitive process out and automate it is gonna give you back what Linda and I keep harping on is that time. Where else could you spend that? So you could actually… You know, we do for our customers, we receive 100% of their invoices electronically or via paper for them. It’s a blended service. We capture that data and we verify the accuracy with a 99% guarantee. We build their workflows, enable them to, you know, do ad hoc workflows, modify those workflows, see the approval process, date and time stamp every step of that process along with an invoice. And then we pass that data, you know, through a connector with Intacct, as an open payable that bill goes into Intacct system.

And then we can facilitate on the backend to help them with 100% of their payments by really… I mean the key theme that we have here, and I share often with folks is that we’ll facilitate payments to your vendors the way they wanna be paid. The paper check option we can’t get away from here in the U.S. We’re not Europe where they don’t know what to do with a paper check. But here in the U.S., you still have a requirement. You know, we also offer two forms of electronic payments that I know with Intacct they’ve got a deep partnership with Amex. So lots of options are available to you. They will help you automate that process, save you time and money. Any thoughts on that, Linda, at this point?

Linda: You know, that’s a great point to make is that you can somewhat personalize what pieces of this solution you wanna take. So on the backend, if you want to pay those checks via ACH, that’s perfectly fine. If you need to do paper checks, we’ve got that option as well. The only thing I haven’t gotten, Mike, to agree to is for me to send my personal bill to him, and see if he can get those paid for me. But other than that, I think, you know, we’ve got the solution that will meet your company’s requirements and needs.

Mike: You captured my secret. I’m independently wealthy, so send me your bills and I’ll take care of them.

Linda: Okay, perfect. They’re on the way.

Mike: Yeah. Let’s take a quick look at our AP portal. So we wanted to give you a quick view of what this could look like in your business today. So basically as we start in the beginning we implement your portal, we’ll brand it for you in 45 days or less. Yes, we’ve done it in a week to two weeks. It’s really working with your schedule and your availability. This is not one of those long and drawn out projects. We’re looking to enable you or empower you in a very quick fashion. We build your portal. You’re in charge of who has access, what they can see and what they can do. People can focus in, and this is what their view is gonna be.

This is Marie Cannon. She’s typically the first person and what we’re going to do is just show her her dashboard. So this is just listing your invoices. I didn’t want to get into it too much. I just wanna give you a look at what this quickly looks like. So I’m just gonna click on an invoice. You can see whether it’s 1 or 100 pages. Marie can simply scroll through the invoice. We verify the header detail. We provide our coding information. It’s kind of a teaser. So this is an AP automation portal that we’ve built for customers. We’d love for you to reach out to us after this if you’re interested in doing a deeper dive and stay in the biz. We can show you exactly what it looks like.

But we’re kinda running up on our time. We committed to 30 minutes today. So we’re gonna jump back to the presentation, and we’re gonna do a quick final audience poll. So I’m gonna ask my cohort and colleague in crime here, Haley Martin, who’s in our marketing department, to jump in.

Haley: Yes. Thank you, Mike. And thank you, Linda, so much. This has been really informative and we’ve had a lot of people chatting with us throughout the webinar about how much they are learning. So the poll is up. If everyone could just take a second and make your selection. It looks like only about 17% of you have voted, so we’ll wait and give everyone a chance to answer, and then we’ll also start taking some questions.

Mike: Thank you, Haley. What we find is typically this is a journey. People are collecting information so we can appreciate the fact that more often than not you attend these webinars to gleam a few nuggets or pearls of wisdom that you can carry forth to your organization to plant the seed. So when the time is right, the time is right for you. Linda, probably you’re like me when I have an opportunity with customers. You know, I like to start with a kind of an open-ended question, what’s going on? I mean this technology has been around for a long time. What makes it more relevant or what makes it a hot button today? So you know, we’ve got a few questions here. I want more information about AP automation. Sure, we’d love to connect with you and supply data, white papers, things of that nature.

Haley: Mike, we did have a question come in. And the question is, “How much does something like this cost? I’m a slightly small organization and I just wanna know if it’s affordable for me.”

Mike: Yeah, we’d love to talk to you in more detail because our pricing is simple. I use that word cavalierly, but it’s a transaction model. So there’s a one-time fee to build your portal, then you just pay for what you process through the system. So no long-term, no annual subscription fees of that nature. We don’t sell seats or site licenses. So a lot of, you know, giving your pricing estimate is dependent upon how many invoices, you know, how many people…not how many people. But what type of workflows, things of that nature that we can build into it. So great question. We’d love to learn a little bit more of what your…the size of your operation is to see if we could help. Other questions, Haley?

Haley: Thanks, Mike. Yes, we do have another question. And just a friendly reminder to answer the poll, 64% of you have answered it, so I’m gonna give it about 10 more seconds and then close it out. Mike, the last question is, “Do you have any referenceable customers on Intacct today that I could speak to?”

Mike: Absolutely. Yeah, we’d love an opportunity to connect to you because I think that’s…it’s always kind of the final question, have you done your due diligence, maybe a demo, had some pricing, some technical review? And then you say, “Hey, I wanna talk to someone who’s actually using this.” We’d love to put you in contact with them. We don’t have them in reserve. They’re not paid advertisement for us. My job here is to facilitate that call, and then we’re out of it. So we want you to get an honest assessment from some of our clients on how we perform. You know, we’re a SaaS model, and I love to accentuate this. It’s software and service. We wanna make sure that you’re successful with our software, so there’s a high degree of service to make sure that you’re empowered and able to use this solution to its maximum. So great question.

Haley: Okay.

Linda: Mike, just one quick thing that I’d like to add to that is that, you know, this is a true relationship between AvidXchange and Intacct. And we have aligned ourselves with the same company culture and with the same focus on service and success in making our customers successful. So rest assured that, you know, this relationship is going to work together to make sure that we meet your business requirements.

Mike: Thank you, Linda. We really do appreciate it. It’s been a pleasure working with you on this project, this webinar. It’s been a great opportunity just to interact with our partners at Intacct. So we appreciate any final comments, Linda, from your perspective, any closing thoughts.

Linda: No, except that I think that this is something that folks maybe haven’t looked at before, but now with the economy and the growth that’s going on in organizations. To your point, they’re asking themselves, how can we do better, how can we improve and how can we automate processes. I asked that same question that you do. You know, why are you looking and why are you looking now? And answering those two questions gives us a lot of information on how we can help you best. Knowing that this is a best-in-class solution means that you’re gonna get the best solution for every area of your business.

Mike: Great. Thank you, Linda. It’s been a pleasure. I appreciate everybody’s time and attendance today. Just for attending or signing up, you’ll receive the presentation and the recording, great research material to build your case, so when you’re ready to automate your process. If you have any questions, give me shout at AvidXchange. It’s mijohnson@avidxchange.com. Check us out on the web. We appreciate your time. It’s been a pleasure. Enjoy your day wherever you are, and thank you very much.

Linda: Thanks, everyone. Bye now.

Interested in learning more from an AP Automation expert?
Hosted By:
Linda Pinion
Sales Engineer at Intacct Corporation