Janney’s goal was to replace an Excel-based expense and invoice process with an automated, intuitive, paperless workflow process that included builtin compliance and approval routing rules. It also wanted a solution that was easy for employees to use on the road or in the office.
Janney had a lengthy, manually-driven process in place for employees to complete an expense report for approval and reimbursement. After an employee manually completed an Excel spread sheet with line item expenses, it got routed for approval to one or more people. The approval routing process was to drop the paper spread sheet on the approver’s desk, and the final step was to send the approved expense report via inter-office mail to the accounts payable headquarters in Philadelphia. Accounts payable was responsible for auditing the reports for accuracy, duplicate entries, compliance, approvals and GL/cost center allocations. It was only after accounts payable received the reports that they could be tracked.
The invoice workflow was just as manual and time-consuming. Invoices were mailed directly to headquarters, or sent to one of the 108 satellite branch managers. The invoices were manually approved and sent to accounts payable via inter-office mail for processing, usually without a GL/cost center. Processing included scanning and entry into the Microsoft Dynamics financial system. Many times accounts payable needed to send the invoice to another department for approval, and the invoices weren’t tracked in the process. There was no transparency as to what was ‘out for approval,’ making month-end quite challenging.
During the due diligence process, we looked at Chrome River and Concur. Concur didn’t meet our scope of requirements and was too expensive. Concur also didn’t have an invoice module at the time.
At Janney, our mission is to be the highest standard of success in financial relationships.
Through our wealth management approach, we focus on the delivery of strategic financial plans that utilize a variety of financial products and services best suited to help individual investors and families meet their financial goals. Janney is equally committed to providing our corporate, municipal and institutional clients objective advice for the successful execution of their unique business plans.
Janney serves clients through a network of professionals in branch offices located along the East Coast. We are an independently operated subsidiary of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, and we are members of the New York Stock Exchange, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
Implementation to go-live
Janney had a very aggressive timeline for implementing both EXPENSE and INVOICE. The firm’s top priority was to customize EXPENSE to make it intuitive and easy to use by customizing buttons, creating default matter/project allocations for expenses, and adding compliance and approval routing rules. Chrome River’s project team was extremely helpful during this customization process. Janney’s implementation team had weekly meetings with Chrome River’s project team and was notified of every update and change that was made. The process was very transparent.
After the implementation phase, INVOICE was rolled out first. The accounts payable team was trained on how to create invoices and use the INVOICE solution. Managers and members of the accounts payable team who were designated as ‘approvers’ were trained on how to approve/return invoices via email (on a computer, tablet or mobile phone) or by logging into INVOICE. Everything they needed to know was include in a three-page training document that included screen captures.
After INVOICE went live, the expense management software was rolled out to two pilot groups - the IT department and the finance department. EXPENSE was then rolled out to corporate services and legal groups. Once the implementation team was satisfied with testing, they began training the branches. The training was accomplished through webinars that were instructed by the AP Manager and Director of Finance. It included a document outlining the entire expense process, including screen captures. Additional instructional videos were also created to cover the main functionality of EXPENSE.
All instructional/training materials were added to the Welcome page on the Chrome River dashboard for easy access by all employees.
- Abandon Excel spread sheets
- Eliminate manual entry into Microsoft Dynamics
- Eliminate manual auditing
- Implement a paperless/centralized workflow solutions for expenses and invoices
- Enforce compliance to company policies
- Automate/speed up approval rating
- Provide transparency throughout the entire workflow process
- Reimburse the employees faster
- Intuitive, easy to use solution
Spread sheets to cloud-based technology
The transition from spread sheets to a fully automated cloud-based solution addressed the issues that Janney wanted to resolve. With a paperless and centralized accounts payable process, everything is sent directly to a centralized email that all accounts payable staff can access. Expense reports and invoices can be tracked throughout the workflow process providing more transparency for the employees and accounts payable.
With automated compliance and approval routing workflow through the business rules engine, out of compliance expenses are flagged and the others continue through the approval routing process without holding up the entire expense report. Enforcing compliance up front makes the auditing process much quicker and simpler. Expense reports are processed much faster and team members are reimbursed more quickly – making happier employees.
Before automated workflow, weeks would go by before an invoice was approved and forwarded to accounts payable for payment. With Chrome River's invoice management software, invoices are automatically forwarded to the business owner much quicker and tracking is available throughout the entire workflow process.
Life after go-live
Once Janney was up and running company-wide on both EXPENSE and INVOICE, the transition from the project team to the support team was smooth. The team finds the helpdesk to be extremely knowledgeable and quick to respond to cases.
Since going live on Chrome River EXPENSE and INVOICE, we have been able to streamline our workflow processes with an automated paperless solution that benefits the finance organization and our business partners. I would highly recommend Chrome River to any organization looking to fully automate its current expense and invoice processes.
Automating expense and invoice workflow through Chrome River provided many benefits.
- Affordable monthly subscription
- Flexible configuration of the software to meet the firm's needs
- Built-in rules to enforce compliance to company policies
- Built-in rules for easy and quick approval routing
- Transparency into expenses and invoices from submission through payment
- Paperless/centralized accounts payable
- Extremely knowledgeable support team