How Bruce Stevenson revolutionised its invoice approval process

As Scotland’s largest Independent Insurance Broker, Bruce Stevenson offers niche products in a range of specialist areas, including Property, Hospitality & Tourism, Distilleries, Social Housing, Renewable Energy, Private Clients, and Farms & Estates.

And as an innovative and dynamic broker, they are dedicated to uncovering efficiencies in their day-to-day processes, allowing for a greater focus on what’s most important to their business – their clients.

In this post, we take a look at how they overcame the challenge of effectively processing client invoices through the introduction of cloud-based approval workflows and process automation.  

The Challenge

Before automating their approvals, Bruce Stevenson’s invoices and expenses were recorded on a spreadsheet, which was prone to crashing, and where data could be easily removed in error. Financial data quality was poor, and at times unreliable. Also, filing and collating paper documents proved to be a huge waste of time.

The company took steps to address this issue by switching to the cloud accounting platform Xero.

With Xero, Bruce Stevenson was able to streamline some of the manual processes in the accounting function, but the invoice approval process was still reliant upon manual intervention. This involved physically signing invoices or emailing authorisations, with a weak audit trail.

This way, to achieve a fully digital and efficient invoice management process – and to automate data and document management in general – a cloud approval workflow system needed to be added to the application stack.

However, one more challenge remained – and that was the need to have the authorisation process on the surface, with all approval decisions easily traceable to facilitate audits.

The Solution

To address this challenge, Bruce Stevenson decided to utilise ApprovalMax alongside Xero.

ApprovalMax is pre-integrated with Xero and is a natural software choice to support: multi-step and multi-level review and approval; authorisation exceptions handling; Bill to Purchase Order matching; and other spend control and organisational optimisation needs.

The integration to Xero was seamless and took literally minutes to activate. Moving from a manual approval process to the automated approval workflows provided by ApprovalMax was a simple business case to make.

What’s more, the link up between ApprovalMax and Xero has provided a clear line of sight for invoices awaiting approval, and there is no longer a need to chase Directors for signatures.

Today, the system is used throughout the business, and has helped significantly with approvals across Bruce Stevenson’s four offices. Feedback has been positive throughout the business and Bruce Stevenson’s external auditors have also praised the system.

Finance Manager Gary Wood (FCCA) had this to say:

“The invoice and expense process has been revolutionised at Bruce Stevenson. All invoices are now clearly approved prior to payment and greater consistency has been achieved around the business. We have also started to review the Purchase Order system in ApprovalMax, which is as intuitive and efficient as the approval workflows.”

The Results

The business has benefited greatly from an improved audit trail and a faster invoice authorisation process. Invoices can now be approved out of the office – on the go and from email – and easily disputed if necessary.

The staff at Bruce Stevenson have found ApprovalMax to be incredibly user-friendly, with complex approval workflows implemented as and when the business requires. This has saved the business considerable time and smoothed the way for a more efficient internal process.