The first Huckleberry Farms store opened in Greenlane, Auckland in the early 1990’s with the mission to make organic and natural whole foods accessible to everyone in New Zealand. Now known as just “Huckleberry”, the brand has four stores offering a healthier and more sustainable grocery alternative to New Zealanders.
As is the nature of a multi-store grocery business, Huckleberry deals with hundreds of suppliers and multiple daily deliveries resulting in thousands of invoices that need to be processed each month. Huckleberry’s accounts payable team, at the time led by Financial Controller - Mel Otto, was under immense pressure every month to close the books, often resulting in late payments. The reconciliation process was manual with a stand-alone Point of Sales (POS) and accounting system requiring hours and hours of manual keying of invoice data.
The finance team evaluated multiple vendors to help streamline their accounts payable process and decided to go with Relay. As opposed to other options on the market, Relay was able to provide a cost-effective solution, customised to Huckleberry’s operating requirements - all within comparatively short timeframes.
Mel has been stoked with the results.
“Relay has been fantastic to work with. This has been by far the shortest and easiest software implementation in my time.”
Within a month, Relay implemented an end-to-end solution that integrates with Huckleberry’s POS system pulling purchase order (PO) data. PO data is matched with invoice data that is automatically extracted from PDF invoices. Matching invoices are authorised for payment and directly flow to Huckleberry’s accounting software, MYOB Exo (Exonet). Invoices that can’t be matched due to missing POs or variances in invoice amounts are displayed in an intuitive interface for quick and streamlined resolution by the team.
Huckleberry's account payable team went from spending weeks tied up with data entry to only dealing with exceptions that need human attention and problem solving. This means that the team is now set up to grow as lean as possible - the time of one FTE has been freed up to focus on more value adding work for the finance team.
Automated invoice processing has also reduced the time it takes to close the books each month. With month-end closing reduced by one week, Huckleberry have gained increased confidence in providing timely management reporting and ensuring prompt payments to their suppliers.
Is your business ready to leave manual invoice processing in the past? If you're thinking about automating accounts payable, let's chat.