Since March 2021, Synertec have been working with Sydenhams to provide a finance automation service for their purchase ledger documents. Synertec’s Purchase Ledger Automation solution is used to ensure that invoices are captured and archived automatically when they reach Sydenhams and their branches, removing what would have otherwise been a manual task.
What is being done?
In 2021, Oliver Sherborne, Director at Sydenhams saw an opportunity to change the way that 6 members of their staff were posting and processing invoices. To automate this process, which is essentially a reconciliation exercise, meant that their workload was reduced, freeing them to spend more time on business priorities. Sydenhams were seeing hundreds of invoices per month, specifically in relation to kitchen and bathroom supplies where each individual item had its own separate invoice. The high match rate on these invoices meant that work was significantly reduced to manage these incoming invoices and shift from a once analogue process to a digital solution. Oliver wanted to make a difference to the employees in the business. He stated, “Our ethos is that, where possible, we look to move both existing staff and future candidates from needing to do a process that can be automated. Then, they can spend more time thinking and adding value to the business.” This felt like a natural progression, where technology can support the efficiency of the business. This natural progression helps to automate the processes that reasonably can be automated without issue. Previously, invoices would arrive via either post or email, and then would be reconciled and keyed in. They’d then be given a sticker barcode, scanned in and digitally archived. On this, Oliver said “I’d like to go from paper-based to paperless wherever possible, and the flexibility of Synertec can support that in getting it where it needs to be.” This would also see the expansion of processing other documents, as Oliver looks to incorporate expense invoices into this too. He stated “The Purchase Ledger Automation solution is currently covering 50-60 percent of what we could do – I’d like us to cover the remaining 40 percent.”
When changing auditors, staff at Sydenhams delved into the detail of their processes, to see how best to refine them. By using Synertec’s solution, there is now much greater awareness across the branches, meaning they can understand where has a higher or lower match rate on their invoice processing and then figure out the cause. Oliver said that this was hugely important for the success across several branches, saying that “by putting more structure into place, we have less human error. We’re also much more price conscious now as we have time to look into what we’re being invoiced for, rather than focusing on the processing.” This directly supported the staff in having more time to really think about the finances, and ultimately help the staff focus on more critical tasks. “Redeploying the time of team members equated to more time in the day to focus on projects that help push the business further ahead.” In terms of the accuracy of the matching at Sydenhams, they are now closing in on 80%, which is 30% above the industry average. “By paying attention to the detail, it helps focus on the next steps of improving business processes.” As Oliver focuses on the growth of Sydenhams, opening multiple branches per year, there is now consistency between them. An increased number of branches also means increased transactions – using the Purchase Ledger Automation solution means it no longer requires increased manual processing.
Working with Synertec
When working with Synertec, the focus is on a consultative relationship to ensure that the customer’s needs are supported in the most suitable and efficient way for them. Oliver was pleased with Synertec’s agnostic approach to supporting Sydenhams’ needs, saying “Other companies simply roll the same product out anywhere. It was a breath of fresh air to see that Synertec wanted to make sure it fit what we wanted to achieve.” We’re very pleased to play a role in supporting Sydenhams to achieve their business goals and look forward to the continued growth in support as we further increase the development of our Purchase Ledger Automation solution with them.