EastGen: AP/AR Workflow Automation with SharePoint
EastGen is an Ontario-based dairy, beef, and goat genetics company providing solutions to over 8,500 customers across Canada. Their motto and mission is “to challenge ourselves to constantly advance the dairy industry”, and as such they need the right processes in place across the company to ensure optimal efficiency in how they operate to help them accomplish this mission.
As part of an ongoing initiative to modernize processes and operations, EastGen turned their attention towards digital transformation in their finance department. In particular, with the business experiencing rapid growth and the volume of invoices constantly rising, they needed a solution to go from paper-based accounts payable (AP)/accounts receivable (AR) processes to a fully automated, modern digital application.
Handling thousands of invoices from suppliers across the world
EastGen deals with suppliers all over the world and invoices come in through many different channels. Previously, invoices were received as physical documents, distributed through the office in paper form, approved manually (requiring in-person signatures) and stored in filing cabinets when processed.
However, this became increasingly cumbersome as the business experienced rapid growth and monthly invoices reached numbers in the thousands. The high volume of invoices made strict auditing and approval standards extremely difficult to enforce. Tracking down the respective employees responsible for approvals, and requiring in-person signatures, was a significant time-waster and hindrance to productivity – especially with the growing trend of remote work. Physical storage of documents was becoming increasingly tedious and finding information on these documents was getting harder and harder as the volume grew to multiple thousands of hard-copy invoices.
Ultimately, the company reached a point where they required a digitally automated solution to streamline this process and that could scale with the company’s growth.
Leveraging Microsoft SharePoint to automate AP/AR processes and store critical documents
Working in close collaboration with the finance and operations teams at EastGen, SharePoint was identified as the optimal platform to architect this solution and to help the company accomplish all project requirements. As such, the MRS SharePoint team – including developers and project managers – spearheaded the initiative to deliver an innovative application for EastGen.
Entirely custom-built on the Microsoft SharePoint platform – leveraging SharePoint workflow capabilities, Microsoft Flow, custom .NET development and mobile-responsive design – the application automates and enforces EastGen’s invoice approval and document storage process without disrupting employees’ individual tasks.
Features include custom pre-built forms and form-fields that mandate the information provided, task alerts and notifications, automated document routing for approval, e-signature capabilities and cloud document storage with advanced security and safeguarding provisions. This ensures that at every stage of the process, policies, procedures and best practices are strictly adhered to, all necessary information is logged, employees are notified when they have a task to complete, approvals and signatures can be completed digitally and remotely and all files are stored securely in the cloud. The solution also integrates with EastGen’s Oracle ERP system and their internal Azure Active Directory.
From tedious, manual, paper-based processes to an innovative workflow application
For EastGen, the solution resolves the challenges of tracking the flow of paper documents in various stages, maintains control/approval standards, shares documents across offices, and enforces audit trail standards. Employees no longer have to track down necessary approval officers – an increasingly complex task as their workplace has expanded and become more mobile and remote – to get their physical signatures on documents. Hard-copy document storage, and the headaches that come with organizing and retrieving these documents, has been replaced by digital document storage in the cloud, easily accessible for employees from wherever they are. And by enforcing compliance and keeping detailed audit trails, the company feels more confident that they are adhering to critical best practices and managers have full visibility on the process.
This all equates to far greater efficiency, drastically increased productivity and a more modern, digital workplace for employees.