190,000 paper invoices a year is an awful lot of paper. It was everywhere and it certainly made hard work of locating records. Now it’s all electronic our lives are a great deal easier!
Ian Caley, Group Accountant for the cooperative, explained the particular challenges that were addressed by mstore. “Our members prefer to receive their invoices on paper so we spent a lot of time processing and marking up supplier invoices to pass on to them. We would photocopy each document to file for our own records before manually typing key accounting information into our accounts system.
“If we wanted to retrieve an original photocopy it meant searching through lots of paper filed in cabinets, often stored off-site. We deal with over 190,000 invoices annually so the whole process was very tedious and slow.”
In 2003 an imminent upgrade of the cooperative’s IT systems and software prompted a renewed interest in digitising the group’s accounts payable processes and Arena was asked to visit.
“We are not a conventional business in any sense. We had very specific requirements that the Arena advisor was able to understand very quickly and give us reassuring answers to. Arena worked closely with us to make sure our accounts software was properly integrated to work with mstore. The whole process was fast and straight-forward, with no interruption to the running of the business.”
Ian is extremely pleased with the results; “at the press of a button the accounts team is able to retrieve any document. There is never a need to rifle through mountains of paper and queries can be resolved on the first phone call. This makes us more productive, frees-up time to get on with other tasks and has improved our customer service. After six months original paper invoices are destroyed so we have a lot more space and no need for external storage.”
Since the initial installation of mstore the system has been developed to manage the growing amount of paper received for processing. This has reduced the amount of manual data entry required to populate the accounts system and further digitised the accounts process.
“It’s difficult to talk about return on investment in simple financial terms. mstore has made our lives so much easier and that is worth a great deal to us. Repetitive tasks that allowed for error have been removed and in every way mstore has delivered on Arena’s promises.
"We have a good relationship with Arena and the support issues we occasionally face are dealt with quickly. We definitely made the right move and we have no reason to regret what was, at the time, a fairly daunting and business-changing decision for us.”