Tinka Consulting is a Brisbane-based business with clients all-over Australia that offers bookkeeping, accounting, business reporting and advisory services. This is an interview we had with Trent Todd, Technical Director of Tinka Consulting.
How would you describe your services and your customers?
We’re not a traditional accounting firm, we do not do tax so this allows us to focus on helping businesses reach their full potential. Our team has deep commercial experience and can help with reporting, advisory and processes improvement projects to increase productivity. We specialise in working with SMEs across the Digital / Tech / Software / eComm / Energy and Medical industries, mostly 10+ FTE businesses but all the way up to 150+ FTE ones.
What are the common challenges such businesses face?
They really need clear and accurate financial reporting that delivers meaningful insights for making informed decisions in their quest to move forward. It’s also essential that they can plan their cash flow properly. But fast growing businesses often struggle to keep up with the mounting administrative work and stay on top of risk. We often see a lack of financial processes like audit trail, formal approvals and payment controls.
How does approval automation help with overcoming these challenges?
One of the biggest challenges is the inability to plan cash amounts precisely because incoming invoices are not in the system until fully approved, and that can take weeks. Most of these businesses use email approvals, which are simply unproductive and all too easily forgotten in a busy inbox. Usually there is a large number of approvers, meaning that without an appropriate approach it’s not just difficult to do reliable cash flow forecasting – the accounts payable process is also affected.
To sum it up, a lot of time and effort can be used much more efficiently by introducing the right automation tools. A good example is this: one of our customers was about to hire a new accounts payable administrator, but the solution we provided eliminated the need for this additional position. This was achieved by introducing appropriate controls and processes to give the directors and auditors confidence in the procurement process.
So, are you saying that process automation makes a huge difference?
That’s right. Automating approvals and processes can save a lot of time and, therefore, money. One of our customers with 30 staff actually reduced costs by 39,000 AUD per year. We measure the time spent, so, the larger a business is, the bigger the savings. Another great example is a business with over 140 staff that achieved a total reduction of over 150,000 AUD per year. Implementing the solution here meant 2.5 days a week of the accounts administrator’s time could be reallocated to other activities.
How do you calculate ROI?
We back-calculate ROI from the number of transactions, the time saved per transaction, and the time charged. These figures are pretty conservative as ROI covers only measurable benefits but there are other advantages as well – improvements that are difficult to put a number on.
What apps form the basis of your solution?
We use Xero as the general ledger and ApprovalMax as the approval automation tool that lets us drive time efficiency on all levels. AutoEntry was chosen for data entry because it displays data line by line, which saves the approver having to actually open the invoices and thereby contributes to the ROI.
Can you describe the before and after for one of the clients you already mentioned?
A good example would be a software platform implementation business with 30 staff. They used to manage invoice approvals via email and had to include that correspondence in the Xero transactions. But emails got lost or not replied to, and there was no way of running multilayer authorisations to ensure proper control. Management approval was even done manually prior to payment and took a long time.
With ApprovalMax and AutoEntry we have centralised invoice entry and enabled multilayer approvals. This has achieved a yearly saving of 39,000 AUD and allows better control over accounts payable.
Replacing email approvals freed up people’s inboxes, boosting time efficiency across the company. Invoice accuracy has increased greatly, and there is now a transparent approval process that helps with cash flow forecasting and reporting.