Accounts payable turnaround has gone from 6 weeks to three to five days for McKee Fehl.
McKee Fehl Constructors is proudly local Wellington construction company, with a reputation for successfully completing unusual and difficult projects on time and within budget. Their diverse and award-winning portfolio ranges from small to large scale industrial and commercial redevelopments, including some of Wellington’s most iconic landmarks.
The Public Trust Building, Lambton Quay, Wellington.
When CFO Jonathan Tomkins first joined McKee Fehl, the system that was being used to manage approvals and payments was almost 100% paper-based. “We were sending physical files of invoices around our sites. What's more, it all had to be processed manually into our legacy accounting system," he recalls.
This time-consuming system meant that it was taking around a month and a half to get an invoice ready for payment. “We knew there had to be a better way," Jonathan says. "Chasing ring-binder folders around constructions sites is just not efficient enough. So, we went looking for software that had multiple workflows, with approvals.”
McKee Fehl investigated a number of invoice automation options, with the Lentune solution ticking all the boxes. In fact, it was the only one that measured up. “When you've got a distributed workforce, it's the only solution that allows workflows to be managed,” Jonathan explains. “There's no competing product on the market that can do that.”
Along with the finance team that works under Jonathan, there are up to 50 people on various construction sites who are also now using the Lentune invoice automation solution. And while the ability to manage workflows has had a major impact on their efficiency, Jonathan says that the recognition technology is also a key strength. “We hardly ever have a problem reading invoices,” he says. “And because it's a construction site, we can direct the invoices to the person who made the purchase. We've got up to 50 people purchasing items and being able to route the invoice to that specific person to get their first approval is really important.”
To go from a 6-week turnaround to somewhere between 3 and 5 days has been a key factor in not only creating a more streamlined, efficient process, but it’s encouraged staff buy-in as well. “We had people who were 100% resistant to any changes," he recalls. “They did a complete 180 when they realised how much easier it was going to be. Feedback from staff has been almost 100% positive.”
Jonathan also points to increased accuracy as a key feature of moving away from a paper-based system to an online one. “We just don't get the same level of user errors that we used to,” he explains. “While you can't completely eliminate human error, it's definitely reduced dramatically. And that's because we don't have this huge level of data entry where every single field from the invoice has to be entered.”
From implementation to go-live to on-going support, Jonathan says that the service they’ve received has been great. Lentune have been able to customise the workflows to suit McKee Fehl’s business needs and are always on hand to talk through any issues or new ideas. “They worked with us to find out about our needs and what should be changed, and how they could improve,” says Jonathan. “It’s been huge for us. And it’s simple and easy to use.”
"When you've got a distributed workforce, it's the only solution that allows workflows to be managed. There's no competing product on the market that can do that."