Culligan Improves Its Supplier Invoice Process Thanks to Esker’s Accounts Payable Solution
MIDDLETON, WI — October 31, 2017 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it is working with Culligan, a world leader in water treatment products, to automate its accounts payable (AP) invoicing process in France. Esker’s cloud-based Accounts Payable solution has enabled Culligan to centralize accounting at its shared services center (SSC) and accelerate invoice approvals.
Prior to Esker, Culligan’s five-person accounting department manually processed more than 20,000 annual invoices from over 30 sites throughout France — a time-consuming and error-filled process.
“The decentralized nature of our organization led to delays in our supplier invoice process,” said François Cornuez, director of accounting at Culligan France. “Invoices were mailed back and forth from the different offices to headquarters, resulting in many lost invoices and time-consuming supplier reminders. The lack of visibility over the whole process caused a lot of high stress levels, heavy workloads and a drop in the quality of our service.”
Improved internal process
Culligan's primary objective was to structure its AP department in a way that improved performance and visibility throughout the invoicing process. Prior to Esker, invoices arrived at each site and were mailed out once a week to the company’s SSC, which was responsible for accounting — a process that often took several weeks. With Esker, invoices now arrive directly at Culligan’s SSC via email or automatic mail sorting and are integrated into the company’s SAGE X3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, then sent to the 80 approvers for validation.
Benefits of AP automation
Esker’s solution was selected for its ease of use, scalability and seamless integration with SAGE X3. Thanks to Esker, Culligan has achieved numerous benefits, including:
- Centralized accounting: AP is now fully managed from Culligan’s headquarters and the SSC has more autonomy and a smoother workload spread out over the month. The company’s management team benefits from improved visibility over the whole process (i.e., invoice processing, workflow validation and cash forecasting).
- Faster and smarter data capture: Esker’s intelligent data capture capabilities, based on machine learning technology, learns to recognize the content of invoices as they arrive, resulting in 90 percent of invoices accurately processed in one try.
- Accelerated invoice approval process: Invoices, which previously required multiple mailings over a period of several weeks, are now rapidly processed.
- Improved performance: Invoices are processed faster, which has helped improve value-added tax (VAT) handling, on-time supplier payments and negotiations for early payment discounts. Additionally, cash forecasts are now more accurate.
- Simplified archiving: Invoices are easily accessible at any time for a period of 10 years, resulting in significant time saved for Culligan’s AP staff, particularly with year-end closings with an auditor.
- Increased productivity at Culligan sites, as invoice processing has moved to company headquarters. Time freed up for staff to spend on higher-value tasks centered on the customer.
“Esker’s solution integration with our ERP was absolutely key,” added Cornuez. “We were able to reproduce in Esker the controls we had already set up in SAGE, such as verification of VAT codes, analytical accounts and calculation of due dates. Esker is a natural extension of Culligan's digital transformation.”
Founded in 1936 by Emmett Culligan, Culligan is a world leader in delivering water solutions that will improve the lives of its customers. The company offers some of the most technologically advanced, state-of-the-art water filtration products. Culligan’s products include water softeners, drinking water systems, whole-house systems and solutions for business. Culligan’s network of franchise dealers is the largest in the world, with over 800 dealers in 90 countries. Many Culligan dealers have valuable equity in their communities as multigenerational family owners of their franchises. Culligan France employs over 1,200 employees across 30 agencies and 21 independent concessions.
Esker is a worldwide leader in cloud-based document process automation software. Esker solutions, including the acquisition of the TermSync accounts receivable solution in 2015, help organizations of all sizes to improve efficiencies, accuracy, visibility and costs associated with business processes. Esker provides on-demand and on-premises software to automate accounts payable, order processing, accounts receivable, purchasing and more.
Founded in 1985, Esker operates in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific with global headquarters in Lyon, France and U.S. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2016, Esker generated 66 million euros in total sales revenue. For more information on Esker and its solutions, visit www.esker.com. Follow Esker on Twitter @EskerInc and join the conversation on the Esker blog at blog.esker.com.