How BMI Group saves 4 hours of work per week for 15 employees involved in the financial control process

How BMI Group saves 4 hours of work per week for 15 employees involved in the financial control process

3 min read

Learn how BMI Group (Canada), a company specializing in revitalizing industrial properties, transformed its financial operations by implementing ApprovalMax. This move saved 4 hours per week for 15 key employees, equating to two full-time employees per month. It also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by improving oversight of purchasing, increasing compliance, streamlining workflows, and engaging more stakeholders in the approval process.

Revitalizing the past for a brighter future: the journey of BMI Group

The BMI Group repurposes and revitalizes legacy real estate and industrial infrastructure. Based in Tillsonburg, Ontario, the BMI Group grew out of the St. Jacobs Farmers Market with a truck, two wheelbarrows and three brothers growing and selling potted plants. This small 2001 enterprise has grown into one of the largest property management companies in Southwestern Ontario.

It was through a contract managing the recycling of scrap metals that the brothers entered the resource recovery market and subsequently purchased their first retired paper mill in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Today, BMI is the largest holder of end-of-use paper mills in Ontario, while also applying its expertise to residential, commercial, and hospitality properties ranging from single-family homes to award-winning restored lofts.

A team of 15 people work at BMI’s head office and are responsible for capital allocation, investment management, and asset management. Additionally, around 50 people on the operations team run the projects on the ground. The group operates with a unique model, describing itself as a flat, zero-distance company. Most employees are self-directed and are a part of a wider web of strategic partners and contractors, bringing the total number of contributors to BMI Group projects to several times more than the core team. This model allows the business to be flexible, efficient, and effective in managing and executing its projects.

2 FTEs 

saved for the company per month

16 hours per month

saved for each individual

CAD $200k

saved p.a.

Transforming financial operations: how ApprovalMax streamlined the approval process for BMI Group

Previously, the company managed their approvals entirely through email, which presented several challenges. The email-based system made it difficult to reference and audit the approval trail, and things often got lost, requiring follow-ups and pushbacks to get approval. Additionally, BMI Group’s governance structure required several approvals for virtually everything. This, coupled with the fact that each project was running under its own corporation and systems, made the approval process cumbersome and inefficient. It was clear that a better way to manage approvals, create visibility, and streamline financial operations was needed.

After assessing their needs and requirements, BMI decided to implement ApprovalMax, a decision made easier by the fact that it integrated seamlessly with the business’ existing accounting software, QuickBooks. This integration was crucial as the team had no plans to switch from QuickBooks and were looking to standardize and simplify the systems across the platform. ApprovalMax provided a single portal for a chain of approvals, matching bills to purchase orders, and providing backup for requests, bringing everything neatly into one place. The implementation was straightforward, and BMI was able to start using ApprovalMax within days of signing up. It provided a simple, best-practice structure for processing purchase orders, bills, expenses, and vendor approvals, hitting all the key points and needs for financial operations.

Key benefits of Implementing ApprovalMax

Time savings

Significant time was saved by eliminating the need to manage approvals through email. 15 key people involved in approvals across the organization saved approximately 4 hours each week. This equated to saving the equivalent of one or two full-time people each month in terms of processing approvals.

Cost savings

Prior to using ApprovalMax, work often had to start before official approval was obtained due to the urgent nature of their operations. This sometimes resulted in receiving invoices for unapproved work, creating confusion and lack of oversight. ApprovalMax eliminated this issue by bringing everything “out of the shadows” and into proper sequence, ultimately saving, as estimated, hundreds of thousands of dollars by providing better oversight of purchasing.

Improved oversight and compliance

ApprovalMax enforced a structured approval workflow, which ensured that 100% of things were getting approved, compared to only 50% before. This also meant that approvals were now required from operational folks, who were not formally part of the approval process before, leading to better oversight and compliance.

Streamlined workflows

The platform allowed for the creation of more granular and division-specific approval workflows, compared to the standard majority board approval required before. This helped in adapting the workflows to be more aligned with the operational needs of the company.

Increased engagement

Portfolio operations folks, who were part of the chain but not part of the approval process before, were now engaged in the process, leading to a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to approvals.

“The implementation was so straightforward that we were using ApprovalMax within days of signing up. It provided a simple, best-practice structure for processing purchase orders, bills, expenses, and vendor approvals. It hit all the key points and needs for our financial operations.”

Fil Marinkovic, CFO, BMI Group

Want to try ApprovalMax?

You’re just a few steps away from using automated workflows that will save time for the whole team!

Start a 14 day trial