Is Digital Finance That Hard To Deliver?

Digital transformation, digital banking, digital finance…

A lot of things start with ‘digital’ now, have you noticed?

That can tempt us to think they’re all fairly empty terms, but we’d be wrong. For example, digital finance – the use of automation to create a seamless, end to end electronic procure to pay system – is one example.

Not consulting jargon at all, but a useful concept – as I will show you, via a real world use case. The practical example I want to discuss is our customer Fishpools, the largest quality furniture store in the South East of England.

The company offers thousands of homeware products and gifts covering everything from bedroom to bed linen, beds and flooring. However, up until 2014 the business stored all financial information and correspondence in paper filing cabinets.

This meant time had to be spent in paper-heavy business processes and workflows Alice Norris, Fishpools’ busy Operations Director, told us. Alice admitted that all that paper had an effect on her team’s ability to deal with queries. “The amount of filing was leading to blockage – but the business hadn’t stopped growing.”

Time saved – and customers better served

Alice and the rest of her management team recognised that a more efficient way of working had to be found. And so their leap to digital finance using EASY software.

In preparation for the changeover, Alice had started to get important internal Fishpools paperwork barcoded, as she knew this would make future digital archiving more streamlined. That work formed the basis of the next rung in the ladder, the scanning and electronic storage of Fishpools’ financial documentation. As a result, everything that comes in through the front door – about 800 sales orders and delivery notes and about 400 invoices per week – is immediately captured.

This means team members are as productive as they can be, as client, supplier and order information is far easier to store and search electronically than searching through filing cabinets. Indeed, “The amount of time that has been saved by senior members of staff and at our distribution centre is huge,” Alice confirms.

It’s also proving hugely valuable for Fishpools to have all relevant sales, purchasing and financial information always available from an efficiency and regulatory point of view. “As the finance team has to produce a wide range of compliance documentation, to be able to sit in the office and have everything on a screen right away to meet obligations is a lot easier than having to search through documents.”

How is this digital finance way of working helping the Fishpools customer? If they ever need to contact the firm Fishpools is able to respond immediately, which translates to immediate customer support and problem resolution, she says.

Another benefit is increased physical space at the company, freed up as it’s no longer taken up by cabinets. The team has been able to free the equivalent of a full time employee now EASY is in place.

So moving to digital finance has been very beneficial, as remarks like this show, “Our receptionist scans everything in, it’s automatically filed, and then what paper we do receive gets recycled.”

Summing up, for Alice and Fishpools, digital finance has stopped being a marketing slogan and become a reality: “The move to digital clearly benefits our business and we expect our use of it to grow with us.”

There’s no reason it can’t for any of your clients, either.

Good luck with spreading the digital finance message!

Howard Frear

The author is Sales and Marketing Director at EASY SOFTWARE UK 

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