Improving productivity and reporting in Accounts Payable

We spoke with Alec Craig, Financial Controller with Clandeboye Lodge to find out how they are using Lightyear in their hotel business...

Alec Craig

Financial Controller

What is your business, why is it awesome?

The Clandeboye Lodge Hotel is an independent award winning hotel set in a tranquil location just a few minutes from Belfast. The Coq & Bull Brasserie serves delicious seasonal food all year around. Our Events Team make dreams come true for many couples and cater to everyone’s needs for functions large and small. 


What was your AP Process before implementing Lightyear and what were the biggest pain points you had in your process?

It was an entirely manual process, paper invoices coming in from suppliers were manually entered into Sage. These paper invoices were processed, filed and stored for our regulatory period. Invoices would occasionally get lost or damaged and would slow us down towards the end of the month chasing those invoices from suppliers. At Year End it would require a lengthy process preparing for Auditors and completing Statutory Returns, particularly where documents were not where they should be.


During the year we tender out contracts for our food and beverage. This would involve hours of work collating data of purchases from the previous year to ensure that we were getting the best price and to get indicative savings. In addition to that in the future we would like to tender for all of the products we purchase but the collation of the details is enormous, so we haven’t done it.


What was the Aha moment that prompted you to change to Lightyear for AP automation?


After seeing the power of Lightyear during the demo we knew that it would be a game changer for us from both an invoice processing perspective and on the reporting side. Recording purchases as they were happening would mean we could better control inventory and ultimately total expenditure.


How has Lightyear changed how you process payables bills?

Lightyear has completely changed our AP process, we went from a labour intensive manual process to an electronic based automated solution. We are able to collaborate with colleagues in real time on the invoices and can resolve queries instantly when they arise. It has allowed our team to spend less time manually coding and entering invoices giving us more time to analyse the hotels finances. 


What are your favourite features within Lightyear?

Of course the instant data extraction saves us a great amount of time. The price checking tool is very powerful as we can instantly see if the unit cost on the invoice matches what we have agreed with the supplier. The ability to dispute the invoice quickly and efficiently ensuring that once it hits our accountancy software it just needs to be paid. The online archive allows us to quickly find an invoice if there is a query on a purchase, makes the auditing process smoother and stores all documents online saving us tons of space. 


How much time do you think Lightyear saves your team per week?

Time savings per week are difficult to assess. We are saving time on extracting, checking and processing data. However, we see the real time saving is in storing the data in a format that allows us to access it readily and manipulate it to provide relevant information. Anyone working in Finance in Hospitality will have faced the question how many items of this product have we bought in the last year. Previously answering this question involved labour intensive days work of gathering, compiling and recording information. This can all be done through Lightyear’s inventory system, extracting the data as required and analysing potentials in no time. 


How much money are you saving with Lightyear?

As with the previous question we have not been able to quantify exact savings at this point in time. The potential savings are obvious. Being able to quantify total purchases, control inventory and accurately cost items sold and provided to our guests can only be of benefit. 


How do you use the payables insights generated by Lightyear?

We are able to track all of our purchases line by line. Being able to track spending for both the restaurant/bar side of the business of the hotel and enables us to have accurate data when we go to tender with our suppliers. It also provides for purchasing and inventory control within all sectors of our operations.


What software do you integrate Lightyear with?

We have integrated Lightyear with Sage50


What has been the biggest benefit of using Lightyear to you?

Lightyear is a tool which allows us to do a greater amount of analysis of our purchases. This is being achieved through keeping track of our purchases and inventories. From this we are able to accurately assess offers from Suppliers in our tendering processes. 


What would you say to someone to recommend Lightyear to them?

We have sought a time effective tool that allows us to control and analyse our purchases. A time effective tool that ensures we are being charged what we agreed. A time effective tool that puts us in control of our purchasing. A time effective tool that is compatible with our current software. Lightyear meets all of these.