Even in today’s world, Accounts Payable teams struggle with long, drawn-out payment cycles. Relying on paper and manual operations contributes to significant delays.
That used to be true for Houston-based Rio Marine.
Rio Marine Inc. and its two subsidiaries provide a broad range of technology and services for the marine industry. On any given week, two to three AP team members process at least 200 invoices. Payments range from small dollar amounts for nuts and bolts to thousands of dollars for large equipment.
When John Buchman was hired as the Controller in 2019, he began to look for ways to run a tighter ship. His staff was bogged down with a “very old-school process. Before payments were sent, our check signers were presented with a stack of invoices two to three inches thick, paper-clipped to checks.”
Buchman and his team had over a decade of experience working in Microsoft Dynamics GP, and they appreciated its strengths. However, Buchman admits that “tasks in GP tend to be…well, clunky and over-complicated.” Especially when managing payables for multiple companies, GP requires that users log in and out of each company and repeat many of the same steps.
For Rio Marine, a pay run could take a week or more because of these limitations. This was frustrating for everyone involved.
Automate Every Step of the Way
Even though Rio Marine had been using
When Buchman started looking into other features of their Mekorma software offered, he discovered the Action Board. The Action Board uses Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) to streamline a few key areas of the AP process:
- The system builds payment batches automatically, based on stored criteria. An AP clerk can click one button instead of going in and out of each company and performing repetitive tasks.
- After batches are auto-created, staff can post, generate EFT output files, and create Safepay files in one click.
Buchman says: “Our AP department was apprehensive about using the Action Board at first, but once I explained that it used the native GP Windows – and if something went sideways, they could go back to using those GP Windows — that gave them peace. And once they got used to the new process…they can’t live without it.”
Expanding Payment Types
In early 2020, John’s team was in the process of transitioning their vendors to accept ACH payments. Then the pandemic hit and everyone was forced to work from home. They ramped up efforts and moved 90% of their vendors from checks to ACH.
It’s an enormous task for an in-house AP team to take on. But once they are onboarded vendors the Action Board made it easy to process multiple payment types across all companies.
Approving Payments in a Remote World
Ongoing remote working mandates and the move to electronic payments created another challenge. Rio Marine’s payment approvers did not typically use GP, and they felt anxious about losing the visibility they had previously when hand-signing checks.
When John discovered that
The combination of Mekorma Payment Hub’s Action Board, along with PowerApprovals, enabled John’s team to reduce their payment cycle by 75%. Rather than the full-week manual process they had been familiar with, they are now able to build batches, get approvals, and print checks or create ACH files within a single day.
Does your finance team want relief from the burden of hand-signing checks and manual processes? Here are additional ways to
Mekorma can help your business automate Accounts Payable in GP – or approve payments outside of GP.
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