Find out how ApprovalMax complemented Xero in a cloud accounting solution for the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere.
Founded way back in 1968 by a group of passionate farmers, the New Zealand National Fieldays Society Inc. has played an integral role in the growth and success of the country’s agribusiness sector.
A not-for-profit society and a registered charity, Fieldays was originally set up to provide a link between urban and rural businesses. It also aimed to promote agricultural interests both locally in New Zealand, and on the global stage.
Today, Fieldays can proudly look back on 49 years of significant growth. Additionally they’ve generated over $430m of economic benefit for New Zealand economy in the last year alone.
The Society owns, manages, and develops the breathtaking Mystery Creek Event Centre. Mystery Creek is a 114 hectare property, home to the NZ Agricultural Fieldays event – the cornerstone of the Society.
Supporting a New Approach
In light of this success and growth, our organisation has been undergoing significant change.
Building on the collaborative relationship with Xero being a Principal Partner of the Society, we moved from a cumbersome ERP system to Xero’s modern cloud-based accounting platform.
This allowed the Society to overcome one of our critical challenges: lengthy and costly introduction of change. With the organisation quickly growing and business processes constantly evolving, it was crucial that we be able to support change at the system level as well.
With Xero, our accounting processes became available both online and on mobile. Most importantly they became significantly easier to set up and evolve.
However, we still needed to complement one more thing – the financial approvals. We required the ability to replicate the way the approvals worked in the decommissioned system. We also needed to expand them to address the growing compliance and regulatory requirements of our booming agribusiness.
In addition to this, we also have some process specifics such as delegating the review and approval decisions. The new approval system needed to support status tracking and a more granular level of role definition.
And that’s how we came to ApprovalMax.
The Native Solution
ApprovalMax is pre-integrated with Xero and complements it with fully functional approval workflows.
It gave us the ability to set complex routing rules and approver roles, including delegates. In short, it was the native solution we had been searching for.
ApprovalMax allowed us to – in the simplest way possible – create a complex approval matrix, wherein we defined roles, business rules, and routing workflows, all while remaining intuitive and easy to use.
Thanks to ApprovalMax, our process now looks like this:
Xero works as our central system, into which we feed all of our financial documents, including those from an external CRM and event management system.
ApprovalMax then works with every financial document present in Xero, including Purchase Orders, Bills, Sales Invoices, and Credit Notes.
The ApprovalMax platform raises Purchase Orders, and pushes them across for approval by the relevant individuals. When they’re approved, the rest of the Xero processes take place.
Sometimes there won’t be a PO, so instead the corresponding workflow receives and routes the bill. The approval process also covers Sales Invoices and Credit Note.
The approval matrix defines approval request routing. It also makes sure financial documents are routed to managers with the correct level of authorization and approval authority, regardless of the document’s origin.
The Benefits of this Integration
All in all, Xero – as a cloud-based accounting platform – allowed us to bring speed and flexibility to lead change.
We were able to quickly get our accounting processes up and running, with everything we need now centralized and available online. And with that the cost of change became trivial; the platform required no technical skills to implement and run.
ApprovalMax too was up to the mark. Cloud-based, extremely intuitive, and pre-integrated with Xero, setup of the approval workflows was quick and easy.
Bringing them together, the solution allowed us to achieve the following:
- Tighter Controls – We now have the ability to track the approval status, pinpoint bottlenecks in the process, and make sure we complete everything in a timely manner. Our approval process has now gained a greater degree of control and visibility.
- Improved Accountability – We are now able to keep a record of the approval activity, including who approved what and when. We can also leave notes in case an item is rejected. This offers some much needed context to the process while avoiding bloated email chains.
This level of accountability is incredibly important to us as we often delegate approvals. Having the option to run detailed audits – thanks to the audit trail feature provided by ApprovalMax – and review these decisions is fundamental for a non-profit organization.
And we’re not ready to stop there. In the future we’ll be looking into extending our use of the ApprovalMax solution to approve employment contracts, sponsorship contracts, and other commercial or operational contracts.
It’s a big thumbs up from down under for this Xero App Marketplace match up.
Author: Anthony Burman, CFO at the NZ National Fieldays Society