- Crossroads, a growing community of believers with five locations, needed a solution for their staff that provided workflow and approval tracking for Accounts Payable.
- The CFO required greater visibility to purchases and employee/volunteer reimbursements and their impact on the budget.
- The Accounting team wanted a simple, paperless solution for processing AP invoices and reimbursements.
- With new building projects and expenses, the organization wanted a complete audit trail for the benefit of their community and donors.
- Crossroads now has ~170+ employee users able to access mobile (or classic), who can submit, review or approve invoices and reimbursements on any phone, tablet or laptop.
- The CFO can now view high dollar value purchases as they go through the approval process and can ensure that purchase orders meet budget requirements.
- The Accounting team can use Ariett’s Document Service for quickly submitting paper or electronic invoices to be processed using the Ariett Quick Add screen.
- The Church’s external auditors can now see exactly where money is being spent and who approved the expense.
"There are lots of contributions that come through Crossroads and we're paying bills and building new buildings. Ariett brings the approvals and audit history to our external auditors, so we can tell our community and donors that this is how their money is being spent and it's being spent with high integrity."
Nick Furnish, Senior Business Analyst at Crossroads, recently shared with us a little bit about his organization and how Ariett has helped their business process goals: "We are a church that started back in 1995 by 11 people who had a vision of what church might look like for people who've given up on church, but not on God. Now, we’re located in five locations across our city [Cincinnati] and we probably have over 24,000+ people who experience a service over the weekend."
As staff continued to grow, Crossroads wanted to improve efficiency and visibility throughout their accounts payable business process. "When they brought Ariett on," says Nick, "it was for the workflow and approval process. Invoices were everywhere before and there was no visibility to spend. When a vendor would call about an invoice, accounts payable wouldn’t know the status because it was sitting on someone's desk. Ariett definitely streamlined workflow and auditing and allowed us to implement centralized accounts payable with decentralized approvals and budget coding."
Elaborating on how Ariett's Cloud Purchase and Expense solution would bring greater transparency, Nick says, "There are lots of contributions that come through Crossroads and we’re paying bills and building new buildings. Ariett brings the approvals and audit history to our external auditors, so we can tell our community and donors that this is how their money is being spent and it’s being spent with high integrity."
Going Paperless Leads to Cost Reduction
One of the main benefits of Crossroads moving to Ariett has been the cost reduction and increased efficiency of a paperless accounts payable system. “With Ariett, there’s been an inherent reduction in cost because employees can be doing other tasks,” Nick says. Before using Ariett, "all of our invoices were paper-based, so our accounting department would need to have backup for everything that hit the general ledger. Accounts Payable was filing paper invoices by vendor and by year, and then they would box them up and store them each fiscal year-end. If AP ever needed to recall a paper invoice from storage, there was nothing fast about it."
To further expedite the approval process, Crossroads has also used "automatic reminders so that employees will get notified automatically about items that have been waiting approval.” Prior to using Ariett, “our Controller was sending out reminders manually – running a list and copying and pasting them into emails. Daily reminders have been helpful to get people to take action right away."
AP Team Enjoys Simple Invoice Processing
A few key ingredients for simple, fast accounts payable invoice and receipt processing have been Ariett's Document Service, Box4Dox, and Ariett's Touch interface that works across devices. Crossroads employees email invoices (or AP employees scan and email a PDF of the invoice) - from any phone, tablet or desktop - to the Document Service. Then, AP employees use the Ariett Touch Quick Add screen to review the invoice with a side-by-side view of the AP transaction.
Nick explains, "When using Box4Dox in Touch, our AP clerk can just scan the document and let Quick Add show them the next available document to process. This cuts out a lot of the clerk’s time because they just keep scanning invoice documents and let the system keep track of which items have been processed. Also, a lot of vendors email PDF invoices to our accounts payable department and our AP clerk sends them all to Box4Dox.” Whether invoices are scanned first or just emailed in, "Ariett's Quick Add has really helped our AP clerk and streamlined the process; Ariett has showed employees that it doesn't have to be a paper process."
CFO's Visibility to Spending:
While the AP team benefits from invoice automation, the CFO benefits from having a controlled purchasing process – from requisition, to purchase order, to receiving, to invoice processing – that is aligned with the organization's budget. When higher dollar value items are requisitioned, the CFO can access this information right away: "Our CFO is a part of our approval process for certain dollar amounts, so he's now aware and able to see the spend go through; I think that’s pretty important for watching your spend."
Ariett also provides the CFO and employees making purchases with the tools for ensuring that purchases continue to be aligned with the budget. Nick says, "After our budgets are approved, employees may create purchase orders and make the POs match their budget. Let's say, if I'm going to spend $5000 with this vendor over the next 6 months, I can create one PO and the CFO can approve it and know that the PO matches [the budget]. Then, it pushes down to the employee who manages the vendor, so the employee can just receive against the PO without additional approvals."
Seamless Employee User Experience across Locations
Regardless of where employees are – whether they are traveling or at a different site – they can easily use the same Ariett product. Nick says, "We use Ariett across all locations and it is the only way to get an invoice paid and to get a volunteer or yourself reimbursed. It doesn’t matter where you are because you're no longer bound to a physical location; you're still connected [to Ariett] and can see what you need to approve. I once had an employee approving an invoice halfway around the world on a mission trip!"
Employees responsible for submitting or approving invoices, requisitions or reimbursements have a seamless experience. "It becomes part of their normal flow," explains Nick, "because they [employees] don't have to try to figure out how it's all connected" when they receive an email notification with a link to Ariett. "To them, they can see and approve an invoice right from the link in their email – all part of their seamless workflow. They can get something approved with a few clicks and move on to their normal day."
Trusting Relationship with Ariett's Customer Success Team
Nick closed our conversation by sharing with us some powerful anecdotes about Ariett's Customer Success team. Nick says, "I'm very impressed with our Account Manager, who handles our account and tickets. She is always right on top of things, and over time, she's gotten to know the flavor of our organization and gained our trust. I also think the response out of Ariett's Customer Community and Help Site is very fast."