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Farro invests in payment automation to scale finance processes and improve supplier experience

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Farro, grocery retailer, accounts payable customer story

Supporting small businesses is at the core of Farro’s mission

Farro was born out of the idea to showcase the finest of New Zealand food. Starting with a store in Mt Wellington and a team of 12, Farro has now grown to over 300 staff in 6 different stores across Auckland – Epsom, Grey Lynn, Mt Eden, Mt Wellington, North Shore and Orakei.

Their grocery retail experience is centred around igniting the senses with stores curating food that is free from artificial ingredients, high quality and delicious. At the very core of Farro’s brand and their shopping experience are hundreds of small local grocery and produce suppliers.

Farro’s suppliers range from wholesalers to farmers and artisan food producers. To keep their small business suppliers growing and thriving, Farro wanted to transform their invoice payments process. Peter McKay, Farro’s CFO, said the business needed to refocus.

“We knew we needed to drive efficiencies between our accounts payable team and our suppliers, ultimately looking to speed up payments, improve cashflow and reduce admin work on both sides.”

Accounts Payable Automation for grocery retailers

Manually processing 10,000+ invoices a month was not scalable and started to impact the supplier and employee experience

After a period of growth, Farro’s accounts payable (AP) team had reached their capacity to manually process thousands of invoices every month. 7 out of the 10 finance staff worked in accounts payable, keying data from PDF invoices into various systems. Time was spent sifting through inconsistently formatted invoices, following up on missing information and discrepancies in pricing. Endless back and forth email correspondence with suppliers to agree what’s payable caused frustration for all parties involved. On Farro’s side, the AP team was working nights and weekends to close the books. On the other side, suppliers were waiting for confirmation and payment to come through. Peter said he needed to improve this experience for everyone.

“Our goal is to have a quicker and smoother month-end closing process so we have absolute confidence in the accuracy and timeliness of management information. We also want to give suppliers visibility and certainty of their incoming payments.”

Additionally, Peter wanted to provide the best possible employee experience for his team.

“I have team members who want to get CA qualified and spending the majority of their time keying invoice data is not going to give them the experience they need. I want to refocus my team to high-value areas to drive growth for the business and their own careers.”

Invoice payment automation reduces month-end closing timelines and enables early payment options

Peter said Relay's accounts payable automation has been instrumental in transforming Farro’s month-end closing process and therefore improving the experience for suppliers.

Accounts payable automation - customer testimonial

Farro has also rolled out the early payment programme to their suppliers recently. The programme gives suppliers the option to get their invoices paid before the due date to improve their cashflow at an affordable cost.

“We still have a way to go - a digital transformation like this takes time. Relay made it possible to get early wins, significantly reducing manual data entry and reconciliation time. We can now redirect AP resources to more value-adding activities like cost accounting.”

Farro has started their digital transformation journey with Relay and has already seen a signifiant reduction in manual work. Automating the invoice payment process has improved both the employee and supplier experience - staff now spend less time on data entry while suppliers can count on prompt payments.

Is your business ready to leave manual invoice processing in the past? If you're thinking about automating accounts payable, let's chat.


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