Success stories / CDB Group
About CDB Group
Established in 2000, CDB Group is Australia’s and New Zealand’s largest importer, distributor and marketer of electronic products. With a reputation for exceptional service and forward-thinking, CDB is focused on continuous improvement to meet the ever-changing needs of their retail partners.
ERP System: MYOB EXONET
Companies: CDB Media and CDB Goldair
Background: why Ocerra?
CDB Group reached out to us in April 2020 after extensive research of AP automation market. One of the key requirements was to be able to post to the ledger whilst the invoice is pending approval.
Traditionally, many AP solutions prefer to only post an invoice to the ERP once it is approved. It was a showstopper for CDB Group, as they did not want to change their processes to suit the AP system. They were looking at a more flexible solution that allowed them to receive an invoice, hit the P&L and await approval from the business to pay that invoice.
“It’s important for us to have invoices recorded in our P&L prior to receiving the approval to pay from the business. We prefer this approach as opposed to accruing for these invoices.” explains Mark, CFO at CDB Group.
At Ocerra, we immediately ticked the box for this requirement, as we built our software to accommodate different business needs and requirements.
There are many other benefits that CDB experienced with Ocerra. We interviewed Mark Lumsden, CFO of CDB Group and Janette Buchanan, financial controller at Goldair Australia, to learn more.
“The most evident cost saving is our headcount. We had two people on the AP team, and they can now work on other areas of the business. We expect to see further efficiency gains”, says Mark.
Increased accuracy and fewer manual tasks
Ocerra offers a reliable, AI-driven data extraction engine for automated invoice processing.
“The AI is very clever and has lived up to its expectations. It works consistently, and everything is now standardised. Not only does it extract data from the invoice, but it also knows the GL codes, tax rates and payment terms for each supplier.”
“You can often transpose figures when you key it in manually, but Ocerra eliminated this issue, and we can totally rely on it. If something is not matching up, it will be highlighted it so we can take an extra look”, adds Janette.
What’s more is that it cuts out extra work for daily processes. Whereas before it was necessary to import PDF attachments as a separate step, now it happens automatically.
“Having the PDF invoice attached during export is extremely powerful. We never had that before. You can easily pull up an invoice either in the ERP or through Ocerra. Having the PDF within the tool is very powerful.”
Faster approvals and increased productivity
“We use Ocerra daily, and we love it. It saves so much time, especially in terms of approval. All the invoice approval issues that we had are gone. Follow up is clear and easy. There is no need to print out an email or creditor invoice and manually key it in, then physically scan everything and send it off to Australia. It is instantaneous now!” says Janette.
The amount of time needed to approve invoices has been reduced dramatically for CDB Group. Ocerra ensures that approvals go through in a timely fashion, and there is no need to chase approvers, as the team can easily track and audit the workflow.
“While we have a significant improvement on the time taken within the finance team, it also saves time for the whole business. The time spent on the approval to come back through the business has been halved”, adds Mark.
Ocerra offers full control and visibility to the invoice approval process. The audit feature allows users to see who has viewed it, updated, approved or didn’t approved and when.
“The main thing with Ocerra is that the team is no longer chasing approvers. You can track each invoice in the workflow and identify bottlenecks promptly. For example, if someone is travelling or forgotten to approve, you can clearly see where the invoice has not moved through the status”, adds Janette.
Unlocking financial insights
“Ocerra gives us a huge amount of visibility. We know exactly the cost per customer by rebate but also the category it is relating to. This gives us valuable information, as this is a massively important KPI for us that gives us control on larger cost line.”
There is no need to dig through the stacks of paper to uncover valuable data insights anymore. All the invoices are now in one portal, easily accessed, and nothing is lost. This allows for pulling any data and building meaningful reports to improve business operations.
“With all the information available, we can now analyse and interrogate it. For example, you might be interested in who is your main supplier, the dollar amounts spent with them or the regularity of invoices. Ocerra enables us to drill into the data and see who we are paying, how often, and how much”.
With Ocerra, you can use any business intelligence tool to build custom dashboards and reports for your AP needs. Instead of having to go through the paper documents, you can analyse either through Power BI or using Excel integration, depending on what you are interested in looking at.
“Power BI integration with Ocerra gives us an opportunity to view and analyse data with ease”.
An easy-to-use and intuitive system
“I think the best thing about Ocerra is simplicity, it is a fairly intuitive tool. The beauty of any strong software is the ability to make tasks simple e.g. like Xero. Ocerra delivers with simplicity. The user gets familiar with what they need to do very fast”, says Mark.
Ocerra allows showing only relevant configurations depending on the user role, thus reducing the time to onboard new people. For instance, there is no need to show the user all the settings and options if all they need to do is to approve an invoice.
“I like how simple and structured it is. A lot of the team are now familiar with the workflow module; they can change it and upload the files. The tool itself is clever, and the design is intuitive. It’s not easy to make such a simple tool”.
While the AI takes time to be trained, Ocerra’s team monitors invoices during the first 1-2 months to ensure the system picks up the correct data from various invoice layouts. This allows posting invoices to the ERP in 2-3 weeks after sign-up.
“Also, the implementation was very straightforward. Ocerra’s team has been knowledgeable and fast in getting back to us. The actual set up was simple and clear. Overall, the tool is very good and reliable”, says Mark.