Standing in the Suppliers Shoes: 20% of Invoices Get Blocked for Payment due to System Mismatches

June 7, 2012 Bhaji Illuminati

mismatchTHEN, ALONG CAME TAULIA.

Carol Vecchio and Cienta Mohan work in the accounting department at CRH, an international holding company, which is part of Old Castle. The division they work for is a pre-casting company. The company does everything from buildings to underground utilities.

 

WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE?

Customers are dispersed. As Carol says, “We’ve actually never seen them because most of the people we work with aren’t close to us. We’re all throughout California so we talk to them briefly. But it’s pretty much just business and the invoices go out and come in.”

WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN GETTING PAID?

“We have special terms where they get a discount in 10 days. But usually we get it on time unless there’s a problem with the invoice; it’s usually on the customer’s side. The invoice has to be an exact match or they won’t approve it. For example, someone just could make a change on an address. We don’t know about it in the billing department so we bill it out on the address on the order and they block it. And we probably at least get 30 blocked invoices a month. I would say at least 100 to 150 invoices a month. So 30 is a significant chunk. If it’s blocked, it just depends on if there’s a problem or not and how difficult it is to solve the problem. We’ve had things that took a year to get fixed. But usually I would say blocked invoices get resolved in 60 days. It really affects our payables and our financials, but personally, our department has goals we have to meet and we don’t meet our goals when invoices doesn’t get paid on time.”

HOW DID THE DOWNTURN IN THE ECONOMY AFFECT YOU?

“Since we do a lot of work in construction—our businesses probably from five or six years ago is almost like 30% to 40% off. But it’s picked up a lot in the last two years. It seems to us that things take a lot longer to get sign off now. Maybe because the customer is a public utility and they, you know, have certain things they have to be in—are you calling from California? They had that big explosion in Daly City about a year ago when that gas pipe broke up. I think that they’d probably have more regulatory things so I think they are really, really sure that all their I’s and T’s are dotted because just like any big company you have to secure yourself. So, it didn’t seem like it happened before. It seems like it’s gotten a lot—there seems like a lot more people to have to tick off, you know, done-done-done, everything has to be agreed kind of thing.”

HOW DO YOU LIKE USING THE VENDOR PORTAL PG&E HAS PUT IN THE TAULIA PORTAL?

“Taulia is very easy to use—it’s very self-explanatory. It’s user friendly I think. Taulia is much easier to use than the one we that we used previously for this company.” “Still, change is hard. A lot of people on the customer side are not in the new system, and there’s a lot of people involved in this. With our customers there’s a lot of people that have to do their part and if they don’t know what they’re doing or aren’t doing it properly the whole thing falls apart so—we’re all learning. We are daily speaking on the phone with all these different people saying, “Make sure you’re doing this right”—and “what can we do to make it easier for you?” We’re trying to build that relationship with them. At first it seems to be just like anything else—red tape- but it needs to be done. Because once its done, it will be better. We want to make it a better business just for everybody to get the information out and then we can just say now that these changes have been made, the channels are smoother for all of us. That’s the way we see the future.”

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