UK outdoor equipment retailer GO Outdoors has selected an automated payments solution and electronic document management system from Albany Software. The solutions will enable GO Outdoors to automate supplier payments and phase out cheques, saving the company approximately £9,000 annually in stationery, postage and resource. Automating this process will help the retailer better manage relationships with its suppliers as well as reduce needless paper waste in the finance department.
Roger Woods, financial controller at GO Outdoors, said: “When it comes to making payments, business expansion has made a considerable difference to both us and our suppliers. As orders increase so do the magnitudes of payments and it has become ever more important to clear payments promptly in order to keep supplies flowing.
“As we become a more sizeable customer to our suppliers, the implications of potentially receiving a cheque late through postal delays, plus having to wait three days for clearance, become greater in terms of their cash flow and business processes as well as our receipt of goods in a timely fashion,” Woods continued. “Internally, handing such a high volume of cheques is both time-consuming and resource-hungry. I personally sign each cheque, which collectively takes an hour or so of my time and is the most tedious part of my week.”
The cost associated with processing and posting cheques was also a key driver behind the purchase of the Bacs solution. Woods said: “We have estimated that it costs GO Outdoors about £1.50 to post something to a supplier, including stationery, postage and resources. When we are sending over 100 cheques a week, this cost becomes significant, totalling around £9,000 annually. The investment in Albany Software’s solution will therefore provide a return within a very short period of time.”
A key benefit for GO Outdoors is the complementary document management solution, eCONNECT, which allows the retailer to send remittance advice documents electronically. Woods added: “If we adopted Bacs for supplier payments but then chose to continue posting remittances, any cost savings would be considerably diluted by the process. I wanted to implement a solution whereby the entire process could be managed electronically. This also allows us to reduce paper consumption and needless waste within the finance department, something which is important as companies become more environmentally sensitive.
“Part of our company ethos is that we strive to pay suppliers on time wherever possible. External circumstances such as postal strikes can affect our ability to achieve this, which was a definite trigger point to leave cheques behind and gain more control over the way we pay our suppliers. As a growing company, image is important to us. I believe that electronic payments project a far more professional approach and that cheques are becoming increasingly unacceptable in a business capacity. Quite simply, cheques are becoming a thing of the past and we needed to catch up.”
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