With 14 offices across the state, the process for paper check approvals was incredibly labor intensive. First, invoices needed to be sent from regional offices to the branch office for approval, then the check was printed, circulated for signatures, and finally put in the mail for delivery. Vendors were waiting two to three weeks to get paid.
“As a financial institution it’s really hard to explain how you can have money sitting right in front of you but you can’t pay your vendor right away.” said Nicole Hulbert, Senior Accountant with Seaside.
In November 2015, the facilities director sadly passed away and suddenly the accounting department found themselves looking more closely at their AP processes, fixed assets, and prepaid systems. They knew they needed to make adjustments on how to manage things moving forward.
They looked at a couple of different options and decided they wanted to go paperless; not only in AP with invoices and approvals, but also with payments.
In January 2016, Seaside found the solution they were looking for in the nation’s leading financial services accounts payable provider, BankTEL Systems. Through BankTEL’s ASCEND solution, Seaside was able to easily automate their workflow including integration of electronic invoicing and approvals. Within the first year they added ACH, and while it was much quicker than paper checks, it was still taking 3-5 days to process and pay vendors.
BankTEL had recently entered into a partnership with Corporate Spending Innovations (CSI) bringing virtual card payments to their ASCEND platform. Seaside was intrigued with this potential integration; their only concern was how their vendors and clients would be communicated with. Their highest priority was ensuring that their relationships were handled appropriately and that their reputation of quality client service was not compromised.
In October 2017, Seaside made the leap. The BankTEL ASCEND Accounts Payable module is integrated with CSI’s platform, so the payment process was simple. Seaside processes payments as normal within BankTEL ASCEND, and the file is automatically sent to CSI for card distribution. Now Seaside is delivering payments in one business day with virtual credit cards.