Riggs Distributing Takes a Leap Forward By Automating Accounts Payable
COVID-19 becomes a catalyst for change
An exclusive distributor for premier appliance brands, Riggs sets exacting standards. The company upholds excellence in every part of its business, including the finance department, where timely and accurate payments are a point of pride. But when COVID-19 hit, accounts payable (AP) processes that required an in-office presence became unworkable.
“Managing payments and internal approvals was suddenly extremely challenging,” said finance manager and controller Nancy Guadarrama. “We trust City National® to help us stay ahead of trends, so we reached out for immediate help with implementing a new way to handle AP remotely.”
An agile mindset open to innovation
Riggs already had a City National Commercial Card account, but searched for a more efficient AP process. The company’s number-one priority was to define and streamline approvals — and this desire became urgent when the pandemic forced people out of the office.
Before COVID-19 hit, Riggs processed nearly 90% of payments with paper checks issued at the end of a manual invoice approval process. In addition, there was constant shuffling between Riggs’ systems and the bank portal. Unsurprisingly, Riggs incurred its first-ever late fees as a result of the pandemic’s disruption of its decentralized manual processes.
“City National offers an exceptionally flexible commercial credit card rewards program that delivers world-class benefits to our clients. Businesses receive points they can use for travel, merchandise or gift cards. They can even turn points
into cash back.”
City National's Approach
Greater functionality and more intuitive software
“We take a consultative approach with clients,” said Chris Savic, commercial payments product specialist at City National Bank. “We lead with our industry expertise, not by product pushing. Our first step with Riggs was a thorough discovery process to ensure a great fit for its needs. Riggs is very agile and open to new ideas. The whole Riggs team provided input for determining the right solution.”
Given Riggs' specific set of needs — including timely implementation — the right solution quickly became obvious. City National’s award-winning Book2Bank℠ AP management solution, with its plug-and-play integration into a business client's existing accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software,1 offered everything the client needed, and more.
A comparison between Riggs' existing AP automation software and Book2Bank showed Guadarrama and her team a much greater level of functionality and efficiency.
The big bonus, from the Riggs team’s point of view, was Book2Bank’s credit card payment capabilities. Card payments help maximize cash flow and add security because vendors receive a single-use card number for each invoice payment. Employees can also use commercial cards for business expenses and travel needs — and card program rewards points3 can accrue to the business or individual cardholders.
City National showed Riggs added value by taking the time up front to consult with their team about AP technology, trends, and best practices. This allowed the City National team to lead a swift integration of the new Book2Bank software.
"Our overall implementation was extremely fast, to the point where it only took about a week,” said Guadarrama. “We appreciated the teams getting us up and running quickly so we could experience immediate value from Book2Bank.”
“The advantages to our clients are enormous.”
Control over the entire AP process
Right away, City National’s Book2Bank technology allowed Riggs to automate payment activities and do all AP work remotely. Through full integration with Riggs' existing ERP software, Book2Bank minimizes errors and risks. The system automatically pulls data from invoices, populates expense fields and posts the information to the ERP software. It even sends automatic reminders to the team!
Rosetta Rajoyan, senior product manager at City National Bank, explained: “When people experience what Book2Bank’s transformative automation can do for their business, they are truly wowed. They tell us they can’t believe how intuitive, useful and easy the whole solution is for them.”
Invoices can be moved around electronically for appropriate approval levels. Once they are posted, Riggs can automate payment, choosing check, card or ACH. City National’s Positive Pay builds fraud protection into the check processing service. Suppliers receive automatic remittance emails and invoice details along with their payments. As a result, Riggs saves as many as four to five hours per employee every week.
In addition, information entered into Book2Bank is centralized, organized and stored forever in the cloud. All documentation is searchable, which makes everything much easier for referencing, reconciliation and auditing purposes. Reports are easy to create, and everything can be managed remotely, at any time, from anywhere.
“Implementing a cloud-based AP solution like Book2Bank adds security and resiliency, which was a huge benefit during the pandemic,” said Rajoyan. “Operations also scale easily, with no need for additional hardware. Backup and updates are seamless and automatic, with no downtime or servers.”
“Helping our clients thrive is a top City National priority.”
Continuously working to deliver improved solutions
The successful Book2Bank conversion — on top of an existing City National Commercial Card2 solution — ushered in a new level of freedom and productivity for the Riggs team. They gained much greater control over the entire AP process while experiencing complete visibility into the status of all invoices and payments.
By continually working to help clients discover better ways to simplify, grow and transform their businesses, City National can create frequent advancements and upgrades to improve the user experience.
Michael Anderson, head of treasury products, segment solutions and business analytics at City National Bank, explains: “Through close collaboration and hands-on involvement with clients, the City National team obtains valuable feedback. We’re able to learn from every successful product implementation. It’s exciting to continue making improvements to our leading-edge technology solutions.”
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