Erasing invoicing difficulties with Lentune

Lentune’s Supplier Invoice Automation enables a streamlined, cloud-based workflow for construction businesses.

Jono Bonifant joined software solutions provider Lentune in 2014, and together with Lentune founder Matthew Reid, has transformed the supplier invoice process in construction with Invoice Automation software.

Jono Bonifant is the Director & CEO of Lentune, and for the past six years has partnered with Lentune’s Founder, Director & Software Architect Matthew Reid to simplify and refine the supplier invoice process in construction.

Jono Bonifant, Director & CEO, Lentune.

When Jono joined Lentune as Commercial Manager in 2014 he and Matthew noted businesses lacked insight around their invoice processes and identified the demand for a streamlined solution. “We started looking at the construction industry and discovered many companies were still tied to a lot of paper, and the painstaking task of data entry, when it came to supplier invoices,” says Bonifant.

“During a build, contractors can be inundated with invoices from their suppliers which, without automated invoicing, takes a lot of time for their accounts team to enter the data and process the information.”

Bonifant and the Lentune team then set about their goal to develop a project management system around the financials of construction, and the Supplier Invoice Automation module was born.

The first of Lentune’s now suite of construction management products, Supplier Invoice Automation enables a streamlined, cloud-based workflow for construction businesses. The smart accounts payable software greatly reduces supplier invoice processing, provides a real-time picture of each invoice and gives the user greater control over their cost management.

Bonifant says the software was created out of a large focus to eliminate the use of paper to improve sustainability, but first and foremost was developed to remove the need for data entry to improve productivity on site.

“It takes around 75% of an administration team’s time to enter and process invoicing data. By removing data entry from the invoicing process, productivity improves significantly,” says Bonifant.

“The traditional invoicing workflow generally starts with an invoice arriving which is then printed off and, at some point, passed to the boss for sign-off. The last thing that happens is the invoice is put into a financial system, with the whole process sometimes taking up to eight weeks.”

Bonifant says through Lentune technology all invoicing information is found in one platform and is available in a visible and accurate format as soon as the document is received from the supplier. It can give you a running total of project spend and if used with the Lentune app to create purchase orders, Lentune can tell you the total committed costs before project invoices have come in. By using Lentune software which has been developed specifically for construction, it can empower construction professionals to control and manage their job costing efficiently.

One company reaping the benefits of Lentune is construction machine and equipment supplier, Wacker Neuson. Prior to installing Lentune, the business had a manual paper-based supplier payments system.

Matthew Watson, Finance Manager, Wacker Neuson says the manual system wasn’t efficient and relied on lots of manual handling and data entry. “Our system also didn’t meet our lean objectives nor our environmental goals of reducing waste, including paper waste, where possible,” says Watson.

“Wacker Neuson offer zero-emission battery technology in many of our products and we take this ethos right through our business.

“Lentune helped us automate our accounts payable system. We moved away from manual handling and data entry onto Lentune’s digital cloud-based software. We find the optical character recognition functions within Lentune fantastic. This functionality really helps cut down data entry and drive efficiencies.”

Watson says their workforce is now able to process invoices more quickly since moving to the all-digital accounts payable model.

“We measure efficiency by the number of keystrokes required to enter, approve and process an invoice. Lentune, with its optical character recognition technology and improved user interfaces, has helped us reduce keystrokes to enter a supplier invoice by 75%,” says Watson.

“Lentune also has a great document storage feature which really helps with documenting the vendor invoice approval process.”

According to Watson Lentune has helped Wacker Neuson reduce the time required to process, approve and store supplier invoices by over 50%.

The construction industry is currently facing challenges from inflationary material costs to an increasing skilled labour shortage, but we’re seeing more businesses tackle these challenges with the adoption of new technologies and systems.

Lentune’s powerful dashboard reporting gives your project team visual data to easily interpret what’s happening under the hood of your business.

“Ultimately if your business doesn’t have good systems in place, it can result in staff that are swamped with paper trying to keep up with the running of their projects, and customers who are worried about cost blowouts. You should also consider the reputation that will come from the downfall of these things going wrong,” says Bonifant.

“By adopting a solution that gives accurate and timely information to everyone in the business, it can improve employee wellbeing and help retain staff in the current competitive construction environment.”

During the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the need to be able to complete a job away from the office increased sharply and continues to do so. It accelerated the conversation around mobile working solutions and systems that allow construction professionals to work on the move.

Constructors need information on the go, out in the field and they need to be able to complete the job away from the office. Mobile working has become more than commonplace, it’s the new norm. Bonifant says the best way to manage a project on the go is with cloud-based software.

“Having systems that are mobile and user friendly is paramount to a quality solution. Our cloud-based system allows the user to access all supplier invoices anywhere there is an internet connection with the click of a button,” says Bonifant.

Simplifying operations, Lentune’s Invoice Automation system breaks workflow down into three simple stages.

The check stage allows the administrator or accounts team to do their due diligence and ensure the data captured by the system is accurate. The system generates a visual PDF of the supplier invoice based on the data which can then be reviewed in seconds, checked in and delegated to the appropriate person. Invoice pricing can be checked against agreed supplier pricing before invoice approval.

Lentune Invoice Automation simplifies invoicing, saving time, effort and piles of paper.

Once the first stage is complete it provides visibility for the rest of the workforce to see what costs have been assigned to each project. Supplier invoices then move into the approval stage where team members approve the invoices that have been assigned to them.

Following approval, the third stage is processing. Lentune picks up any approved invoices and automatically sends them to the business’s accounts package to be paid. To further simplify the process Lentune can integrate with the business’ existing accounting software.

Bonifant says delegated authority is also an important feature of the invoicing system. “We all want to give our team ownership to do their role well, but we also want to make sure we’re not giving them control over things outside of their responsibilities,” says Bonifant.

“Delegated authority is a powerful tool for making sure people stay on task and only have authority over the tasks assigned to them. Lentune allows the administrator to select who in their business has the authority to view, amend and approve supplier invoices.”

“The user can be specific around who can approve invoices on what job and to what level. It gives them a lot of control around how they structure their business.”

From a dedicated dashboard, Lentune gives the administrator full visibility and oversight regarding the supplier invoices that need to be processed. They can see who in their team has invoices assigned to them that haven’t been actioned, how many and what the value of the invoice is.

“In terms of chasing things up, Lentune does the grunt work for you. Accounts teams have the information in front of them rather than having to sift through loads of data to see what invoices are still outstanding,” says Bonifant.

Lentune also provides the user with immediate access to back costing information and historical invoicing, ensuring accurate quoting for future jobs.

The outdated manual systems of shuffling through piles of paper and data entry are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Lentune’s Invoice Automation software can save time and effort for everyone in the business.

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