In 2011 my company decided it needed a system that could grow and develop toward our goal for each individual restaurant to supply invoice, payroll and revenue data automatically into our accounting software without having to rekey information.
After investigating numerous alternatives, we selected docSTAR’s solution. docSTAR’s design allowed us to keep our existing internal processes without having to adapt to a new system. docSTAR was clearly a superior product to our existing solution and no other competitor had the integration that worked with our databases.
We were extremely fearful that they would not be able to convert our legacy data. Technical issues kept preventing the conversion. We were given immediate support, as multiple program engineers dedicated their time to analyzing and addressing the challenge. They kept working at it, kept fixing it, and they got it.
Once the two systems were aligned and all of our data was converted, process implementation began right away. docSTAR was implemented with employee files first. Everything from W-4 documents to disciplinary records are now maintained in one central, secure platform. This allowed for a more streamlined workflow to be initiated for new hires.
We have more than 100,000 documents in our existing AP database and continues to process approximately 20,000 invoices annually. So, naturally, we are focused on AP document processing efficiency.
docSTAR’s Intelligent Data Capture feature captures the invoice image and extracts key metadata then routes the invoice to the secure docSTAR secure repository for archival.
Our main office is able to capture the invoice data from its various restaurants through the Microsoft Access Database driven inventory module. The line item details are then reviewed and coded before sending it on to our Sage 100 ERP accounting system. I envision expanding Intelligent Data Capture to all company operations, including daily transactions, in coming years.
The search abilities of the system are critical. The docSTAR system facilitates comprehensive searching based on flexible queries. Our previous system had awkward search functions. It didn’t have anything like docSTAR’s ‘contains’ logic. So if you didn’t design your search just right, it didn’t find the documents and would sometimes crash the system.
Together, the image capture and search functions allows our AP department to operate smoothly in all tasks relating to archived and incoming invoices. As was the case with our AP processing, we are now able to leverage image and data capture for our purchasing/invoice processing system. This internally written software retrieves data directly from the POS systems in the restaurants and subsequently pushes that data into the firms’ accounting software. docSTAR is able to automate components of this workflow and again allow for improved archival.
We experienced a variety of benefits from implementing the docSTAR solution. Among them were time savings, improved security and increased compliance, all of which have an impact on our bottom line.
By eliminating downtime that we were experiencing previously, we are saving roughly 5 man-hours every week. In addition, there is improved efficiency in document retrieval. As soon as the invoices or HR documents are scanned, they can be seen by all users and there is no longer an issue with losing documents because someone has pulled the paper file. Multiple users can view a single document at the same time, and the search and retrieve functionality has saved us at least 30 man-hours a week over our old paper system - including typically higher dollar man-hours. The time I spend researching A/P issues has been dramatically cut. I spend 10% of the time I used to spend on A/P invoice research and I can research things that have been entered into our system as soon as they are entered. This is especially helpful during month/year end close. Overall we have improved manpower efficiency by 40 hours a week and this savings includes high dollar time as well as with our A/P tech.
With an electronic document management system, you don’t have lost documents as is frequently the case with paper-based processes. With docSTAR’s tracking and data accessibility features, we know where all documents are at all times and who has access to them.
With the flexibility and tracking afforded by the docSTAR system, we have streamlined our auditing and reporting process. If auditors come in, we just set them up with a laptop and say, “Here you go, search away.” Before docSTAR, we’d have to manually pull all those documents which took a lot of time and took our employees away from their projects.
In looking ahead, I am excited to expand docSTAR technology to other departments and activities, streamlining additional workflows and further diminishing duplicate processes that occur between the individual restaurants and our headquarters. We look forward to additional time savings, and broader gains in security and compliance as the system is leveraged in other processes.