Case Study: KwikTag & Creative Solutions
An AP Automation Transformation Journey
Creative Solutions in Healthcare is the second largest long-term care provider in Texas. The company owns and operates 85 nursing and assisted living homes across primarily rural and small metropolitan areas, including El Paso and San Antonio. Their Accounts Payable (AP) department supports a large, multifaceted organization: It processes 5,000-6,000 invoices per month among 14,000 active vendors, managing a 114-entity portfolio, including individual nursing home locations, divested organizations, and holding companies.
Before adopting KwikPayables, the AP automation solution from KwikTag, Creative Solutions’ AP department faced many challenges that stemmed from the fact that its operations were completely paper-based. Its manual processes were a drain on company resources, time, and labor. Originally, invoices were entered, coded, and stamped at the facility level by administrators, then mailed to the corporate AP office for review. The corporate AP department was then responsible for rekeying data into their system and sending invoices back out to administrators for approval.
About eight years ago, Creative Solutions centralized their AP processes, with all invoices going directly to their in-house corporate office. AP clerks keyed invoices manually and then sent them via custom third-party software to administrators for approval or rejection.
Despite the dramatic improvement over their previously decentralized processes, Creative Solutions still faced a high volume of paper and a heavy reliance on manual data entry. Their third-party software still left everything paper-based, initiating invoice processing with a piece of paper, using manually generated barcodes, and requiring manual scanning. AP clerks would have to GL code by line item, which was a strenuous undertaking given their high vendor count and invoice volume. Additionally, under the manual, paper-based process, invoice approvals were taxing on healthcare administrators, taking time away from these on-site administrators’ patient care and other work duties.
Approach & Implementation
Creative Solutions in Healthcare was looking for an AP automation and document management solution that would target and alleviate their pain points. Because they have 85 locations, their AP department wanted to streamline operations and eliminate hand-keying so invoice processing could be completed in a timely manner, with invoices easily routed for approval. They also wanted to facilitate maximum ease of use on the user side and reduce the amount of time required for administrators to review incoming invoices by offering multiple access points (e.g., various log-in choices, invoices sent directly to email accounts, etc.). Administrators could then focus on more valuable, patient-care tasks.
The Creative Solutions AP team researched and demoed various models and software that would address their needs, and ultimately selected the KwikPayables product by enChoice. Because Creative Solutions manages multiple entities across their organization, the integration with multi-entity management (Binary Stream MEM) was critical. KwikTag offered the tools, integrations, and flexibility Creative Solutions was looking for in an AP solution.
“KwikTag completely flipped our AP process. Nothing is on paper anymore.” – Diana Garrett, Special Projects Coordinator, former AP Director
Creative Solutions aimed for a transition that would be as efficient and orderly as possible. In their previous transition toward centralized AP, Creative Solutions did not have the experience or guidance to make well-informed decisions regarding their custom software. They did not understand the level of detail necessary for properly utilizing a new solution, especially given their unique business structure, and thus went through a painful and difficult conversion process. Given this experience, Creative Solutions approached their new AP transformation using effective change management and thoughtful restructuring. After redefining their procedures and deciding on a system that would work best for Creative Solutions, KwikPayables went live on October 1, 2018.
The KwikTag solution has greatly improved the AP processes of Creative Solutions in Healthcare. Their AP process is no longer reliant on paper, turning a manual, time-consuming process into one that is image-based and automated. KwikTag attaches images of invoices and checks to data files, removing the need for hand-keying, stamping, and scanning. AP clerks can easily send invoices for review to administrators, who in turn can now approve directly from their inboxes.
“As far as time-saving, KwikTag is invaluable. It is like working in a completely different environment without the necessity of the paper.” – Diana Garrett
Since implementation, Creative Solutions has identified some areas of the solution that required customized support. KwikTag has been collaborative and supportive in configuring their solution best for their client, including creating custom fields in AP email notifications and allowing imports of both CSV data and image files. Overall, Creative Solutions is pleased with KwikPayables, as it has streamlined their AP workflow processes, decreased workflow cycle times, and significantly reduced paper volume. Creative Solutions is next looking to transform their PO process, which is still segmented and paper-based. The company is planning to utilize the KwikTag solution for PO-based invoice automation, storage, and three-way matching, eventually closing the loop between their purchase and pay operations.