Polsinelli Shughart
Its manual method of preparing, approving and processing invoices had become unmanageable.
Industry:
Legal
Employees:
600+ Lawyers
Service:
EXPENSE and INVOICE

Automating a Manual Process

With the rapid growth Polsinelli Shughart experienced in recent years, their manual method of preparing, approving and processing invoices had become unmanageable. They required an AP automation solution, including electronic approvals and the ability to provide invoice images with client bills. They also wanted to eliminate double entry of expenses that were incurred once by staff submitting requests manually and once by the Accounts Department that entered the expenses again into the finance system.

Why Chrome River?

The decision to implement Chrome River INVOICE was in part made because of the successful implementation of Chrome River EXPENSE, which has been in place for two years. Polsinelli saw the benefits of automating their expense reporting workflow and were looking for similar benefits across the rest of their accounts payable process. Chrome River INVOICE provided the functionality and benefits they were looking for. The fact that INVOICE flawlessly integrates with EXPENSE and Thomson Reuters Elite Financial Management System made their user adoption easier. The team that made the final decision to implement Chrome River INVOICE was made up of Julian Arredondo, CFO; Morrisa Costanzo, Director of Accounting, Project Manager; and Megan Knapp, Accounting Manager, Implementation and End User Testing/Trainer.

Chrome River INVOICE provided the functionality and benefits they were looking for. 

Overview

Established in 1972, Polsinelli Shughart is one of the top 100 law firms in the country, with more than 600 attorneys in 16 cities spanning from New York to Los Angeles. The firm is a recognized leader in the areas of business litigation, financial services, real estate, bankruptcy, business, construction, life sciences and health care law.

Fast, Smooth Implementation

Polsinelli began the rollout of INVOICE with their Accounts Payable group. They next created a pilot user group that included select people from each of their 16 locations. The pilot group used INVOICE for a month before a firm-wide rollout took place and concluded after a two-month period. Polsinelli divided the rollout into three phases, each phase consisting of five to six offices. In order to make the transition from a paper-based system to Chrome River INVOICE a smooth one, Polsinelli allowed their employees to submit paper invoices for a two month period after the rollout. At the end of the two months, they no longer accepted paper and completed the transition to INVOICE. 

Since the firm had been using Chrome River EXPENSE and the easy-to-use interface and functionality was already familiar to end users, Polsinelli experienced very few issues during their INVOICE implementation. The INVOICE transition process was further improved because Polsinelli shared with Chrome River ideas they thought were helpful from a usability standpoint during their implementation of EXPENSE. With these in place, the enduser transition to INVOICE was seamless. 

Polsinelli’s implementation team had weekly meetings with their Chrome River project manager. During these meetings, they were able to address any concerns. These meetings were a huge benefit and contributed to the speed and success of the implementation

After the invoice management software implementation was complete, Polsinelli’s end users and legal administrative assistants provided excellent feedback about the service, saying basically that they loved it! Reasons for such high user satisfaction included the ability to send an invoice online instead of in paper form, and the ability to track the progress of the invoice within Chrome River INVOICE. 

And it’s not just the end users who are happy with the invoice automation software; the Accounts Payable team is also extremely pleased. Piles of paper on their desks are reduced and they appreciate INVOICE’s electronic approval feature, which means they no longer need to track down an approval because the end user forgot to have their expense approved. Another benefit that the team enjoys is the ability to track a request at any point in the process. 

The pilot group used INVOICE for a month before a firm-wide rollout took place and concluded after a two-month period.

Goal

Find an invoice management service to automate purchase ledger invoice workflow, approvals and processing, eliminate double-entry of expenses and the ability to include disbursement invoice images with client bills.

Clear Benefits

INVOICE and EXPENSE afford Polsinelli the ability to make more timely payments to suppliers and expense reimbursements to employees because of the automated invoice and expense approval processes, making both suppliers and employees very happy. Further, Polsinelli’s attorneys and administrative directors can now approve expenses and invoices in a timelier manner, anytime, anywhere, electronically through a browser or email, thus allowing Polsinelli to process expenses and invoices faster as well. Since invoices and receipts are scanned, there is no worry about losing paper copies, which could happen with their manual method of preparing, approving, and processing invoices. Polsinelli users have also found Chrome River’s intuitive interface and ease of use speeds their workflow and instead of processing invoices all at one time, the Accounts Payable team can now process these requests for payment as soon as they arrive in their Chrome River INVOICE queue. 

INVOICE and EXPENSE afford Polsinelli the ability to make more timely payments to vendors and reimbursements to employees. 

Staff Efficiencies and Cost Savings

Polsinelli has nearly doubled their number of full-time attorneys over the last two-and-a-half years and because of the staffing efficiencies gained through the implementation of EXPENSE and INVOICE, they have not added any full-time employees to their Accounts Payable team. Instead, the AP team has been able to assimilate the additional processing of expenses and invoices for nearly twice the number of attorneys because they’ve replaced their tedious manual paper processes with Chrome River EXPENSE and INVOICE automated workflow.  

Polsinelli has also realized a cost savings on the purchase of paper forms and, with the imaging capabilities included with INVOICE and EXPENSE, they have also reduced their need and costs for storage space. 

The Accounts Payable team has been able to assimilate the additional processing of expenses and invoices for nearly twice the number of attorneys. 

Why Chrome River

Most comprehensive, easy-to-use invoice service on the market, which is complemented by Chrome River EXPENSE.

Ongoing Configuration Support

After Polsinelli went live with INVOICE, they started receiving unlimited access to Customer Support. Their support contact at Chrome River does a good job of addressing issues as they arise. As the firm’s knowledge of the system increases, they have become more familiar with how to request specific configuration changes that they need, reducing the number of communications and questions experienced early on. 

Life after Automation 

Now that Polsinelli has incorporated Chrome River INVOICE into their daily workflow routine, they are realizing the benefits of automating their manual method of preparing, approving and processing invoices. Expenses and invoices are approved faster, payments to suppliers and reimbursements to employees are quicker, scanned invoice images ensure that paper copies won’t be lost, and invoices can be processed as they come in due to the easy-to-use INVOICE user interface. 

Implementing Chrome River INVOICE has increased staff efficiencies on the Accounts Payable and Billing teams, and as a result, Polsinelli has doubled the number of full-time attorneys over the last two-and-a-half years without the need to increase the Accounts Payable team. Being able to more quickly turnaround client invoices also means improved accounts receivable aging as well as improved cash flow. 

Benefits

Faster check request approvals, staff time efficiency and reduced costs for supplies and storage. Although the attorney headcount has nearly doubled; accounts payable staffing has not increased.

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