By Sherry Wang, Group Controller, and Shelley Duggins, Accounts Payable Manager - Go Auto.
“We have a wildfire accounting process!” That’s what went through my head on most days as we had no efficient way of managing our growing number of invoices to process or providing managers with reports that made sense, were current, or were even accurate.
Go Auto—headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and representing 21 auto brands—is comprised of more than 40 dealerships, multiple repair and service centers, several reconditioning facilities, in-house finance and insurance departments, and a loyalty and rewards program.
We offer 12,000+ vehicles on GoAuto.ca, one of the largest vehicle inventories in Canada. And a 24/7 team of personal shoppers promises an easy, stress-free car-buying experience as they help customers compare vehicles, find the best deals, book appointments, secure financing, and more.
Go Auto AP Challenges and the Yooz Solution Fit
The accounts payable (AP) group of 12 processes more than 17,000 documents/month, and that volume is growing exponentially across the group. The sheer volume of inventory and all of the parts and services that go along with it resulted in a payables process that was daunting and simply unmanageable…feeling like a wildfire out of control.
We had other pain points as well:
- Lack of visibility into the process
- Missing invoices and missed payments
- Time spent handling all the e-mails tracking down invoices and dealing with supplier issues
- Coding errors
- MUCH. PAPER!
In 2016 we began researching a solution to automate our AP workflow with the goal of “getting a divorce from paper.” We realized very early on that Yooz was the only cloud-based solution that:
- Offered seamless integration with CDK
- Provided complete and transparent visibility into the invoice approval process
- Was customizable and scaled as the business grew
- Was as easy to learn and use whether our AP staff member was new or experienced
Key to success, we were able to gain buy-in and support from the executive team right from the start. We’re fortunate to have a very forward thinking and progressive executive team. From the group controller level, we are able to easily present ideas to our CFO and make strategic decisions quickly.
We anticipated some resistance to change, there always is. But our AP staff quickly changed their outlook from “Why do we have to convert to Yooz?” to “We LOVE Yooz!”
The company rolled out the implementation five stores at a time, learning and troubleshooting along the way. The Yooz system seamlessly integrated with our existing CDK DMS and was able to handle the large number of stores—40 and adding. The training, onboarding, and technical support were as easy for a junior staff member as a veteran because the platform is intuitive, clear, and concise.
It’s All About the Results
Now we enjoy:
- Full visibility into the payables process, and full accountability for department managers.
- Faster response to queries, fewer e-mails to manage, and less time spent tracking down approvers.
- More concise coding, which is easier for approvers and reduces room for error.
- Easily accessible audit trails maintained in real-time.
A specific example: Closing the month used to take five days, and in a business like ours that relies on immediate information, it was five days too long. Now our month-end takes a half day, we’re meeting our targets, the information is correct, and we can move right into the accruals stage.
Yooz Was With Us Every Step of the Way
We were very fortunate to have readily available support from Yooz, which was integral in a smooth and seamless conversion process. Together with our internal team and executive leadership we had all pistons firing in the same direction, which was why we were able to roll out Yooz to our group with such success.
Words of Wisdom from Us to You
- Understand and document your AP workflow; look for inefficiencies and areas of improvement.
- Make sure the executive team is on board. They must provide communication and support throughout the entire transition.
- Start the digital data analysis process early on and determine your goals for the transition to AP automation.
- The system makes everything more transparent, and so should be your management style.
And finally, keep the lines of communication open with staff, managers, and especially your suppliers.In Part 3 of this series, you’ll hear from Jason Kleve, controller at Transwest, a successful auto and truck dealership group in Denver, Colorado about his AP automation success with Yooz.