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How one operator slashed paper invoice processing to save money

Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill streamlined operations and boosted the bottom line with Yooz
Photograph: Shutterstock

Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill, a growing Mexican chain located primarily located in the southeastern U.S., had a problem. They were on the verge of a massive expansion of corporately owned restaurants—which was good—but they were also drowning in paper and facing significant logistical challenges.

“I was trying to figure out,” said Tim Carter, Salsarita’s CFO, “if we doubled our restaurants, did that mean we were going to have to double the staff of accounts receivable? It was going to take a lot of manpower for a non-value add activity.”

The expansion moved forward. In the last year and a half, Salsarita’s grew to 80 restaurants across 18 states. Of those, the number of corporately owned and operated restaurants grew from 10 to 18. But rather than adding more staff to handle data entry and continue using expensive couriers to ship invoices and important documents to corporate headquarters, the company began using Yooz—a cloud-based software that helps restaurants automate accounts payable and accounting tasks.

At the time Salsarita’s turned to Yooz, it was dealing with processing more than 500 documents a month. Carter said that many of their vendors were small businesses themselves and simply dropped off paper invoices. Even when a vendor submitted an electronic bill, it still had to be printed out, processed and rescanned back into the system. It was a labor intensive, inefficient process that resulted in the occasional lost invoice and a backlog of documents.

Carter said Yooz changed all of that.

At the restaurant level, Yooz allows its restaurant managers to scan the invoices and other important documents at their convenience. The result is that managers have more control over their own workflow—some scan the documents as soon as they come in; some scan them all at the end of the week. The bottom line is, with Yooz, managers have more freedom compared to the days when all the paperwork had to be ready when the courier arrived—and if a bill missed the courier for some reason, it might not be in the system for several days or even a week.

Because Yooz is integrated with Salsarita’s accounting software, the invoices are routed to the right people for approval. Accounts receivable can check the dashboard and see the status of each invoice and whether they have been approved. Best of all, Yooz’s optical character recognition software is learning to recognize key data points and even autofill some documents. This is helping to transform the data entry element of accounts receivable into data verification.

“It will prefill some of the coding that used to be done by hand,” Carter said. “It used to take two and a half days to do that, and now it’s about half a day.”

Carter said implementing Yooz forced Salsarita’s to look hard at its own systems. The company created a flow chart showing the life cycle of an invoice from start to finish. Salsarita’s had to make some changes to accommodate Yooz, but Yooz also customized their software to specifically meet the chain’s needs. The result has been improved efficiency in the system and a much better use of staff time.

“It does exactly what we were looking for,” Carter said, adding that managers now use the system for much more than just invoices. “Now, if there’s a document someone has, we just say ‘‘Yooz it to me.’”

For more information on how Yooz helped Salsaritas transform their back office and automate processes, read this case study.

This post is sponsored by Yooz

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