First National Bank of Granbury has focused on treating customers as if they were family since it was chartered in 1887. Headquartered in Granbury, Texas, the bank has expanded to serve eight locations, with an asset size of nearly $650M. First National takes pride in offering their customers and suppliers the latest technology within a “friendly, personal and comfortable” banking environment.”
As the AVP/Internal Operations Manager of a community bank with a two-person AP department, Kyle Williams ensures the timely payment of hundreds of vendors every month, from independent subcontractors to huge utility suppliers. He identified time-consuming, manual payment processing as a core operational pain point and began to explore viable solutions that met the unique requirements of their community-focused bank.
First National’s strategic objective was to automate AP processes:
- To pay vendors more efficiently, quickly and with minimal error
- To improve the workflow of employees within the AP department
- To allow AP department officials to focus more time on strategic objectives and responsibilities
First National Bank of Granbury turned to BankTEL when it came time to make the transition to fully automated AP processing. The conversion allowed the bank to leverage greater departmental efficiencies to increase productivity and pay their vendors in an efficient and process-oriented manner.
With AvidXchange to automate invoice and payment processes, and AvidPay to streamline payment of all vendor invoices, First National was better positioned to focus on other strategic goals, while maintaining a high level of service for both customers and suppliers.
From saving significant time to freeing up the AP team to focus on more critical tasks, First National’s move to automated payment processing had far-reaching benefits.
Relieves Pressure on AP Professionals Working in Small Departments
First National serves the needs of thousands of customers across a variety of locations. Before the transition to AvidPay, small teams such as Kyle Williams’ two-person AP department were not only responsible for a tremendous workload each week, they were also susceptible to the risk of one of those key employees not being able to come to work, which impacted overall workflow across multiple departments.
“If either of us were unable to come in for any reason to handle AP, I’m honestly not sure we would be able to pay our vendors efficiently,” Williams explains. “We would probably have to switch over to debiting GLs and creating cashier’s checks, which is double the work for other employees that could be handling other business instead of trying to enter in the GL tickets, create the cashier’s checks, and then track all of that. It could be an absolute mess.”
Automating payments with AvidPay alleviated the tenuous balance placed on the small AP department. “Now, with AvidPay, even if we were both out, it would be very simple if we absolutely had to explain the process of inputting an invoice, creating a payment batch and then submitting a payment batch back out to AP, over the phone,” says Williams.
“The way it’s set up, worst-case scenario, we could still pay our vendors with ease with minimal disruption to anyone’s workflow. AvidPay takes so much of the process off of our hands once we have all of the information loaded into the BankTEL system.”
Streamlines AP and Optimizes Department Workflow
As part of their ongoing effort to maximize efficiencies and optimize workflow, First National saw great benefit in making the shift away from time-consuming, paper-heavy payment processes. Automation allows the small AP team to complete a week’s worth of payment processing in just a couple hours.
“The biggest factor that won us over as a small, two-person AP department, was that we weren’t going to have to manually cut hundreds of checks each month, making us far more efficient in our everyday roles,” says Williams.
“We streamlined AP to pay our vendors more efficiently and quickly, and with minimal error, while also improving workflow of the people handling AP. As soon as we switched over and navigated the conversion along with AvidPay, our workflow immediately improved. I am personally able to move on to other projects much sooner instead of being tied up just getting our vendors paid.”
Mitigates Risk for Unexpected Disruptions
First National transitioned to automated AP workflow with BankTEL and AvidPay prior to the 2020 pandemic. Kyle Williams attributes the easy transition during these unprecedented times to automated payments processing.
“Even with the current pandemic, our employees are able to work fewer hours and still achieve their tasks,” says Williams. “Before the transition to AvidPay, it would take one person all week to handle AP processing. Now we can handle it remotely and with reduced hours on-location with ease. I have many duties here at the bank, so when the other AP employee was out, it would be a strain to make sure everything was handled on time, while also handling all of my other duties.”
In summing up the ease of use, Kyle simply says, “If you can write your own check, you can handle this software. It is very intuitive.” Hear Kyle Williams discuss how AvidPay has helped to streamline First National’s AP processing and optimize his department’s workflow in this recorded webinar.
What Other Clients Are Saying
“We just had our first external audit with ASCEND. I scheduled a 30-minute sit-down with the auditor to look at specific items. This process would have taken about six hours before ASCEND. The auditor couldn’t get over how easy and accurate it was. She said at least 10 of her bank clients immediately came to mind, that should start using BankTEL. She took a stack of my cards, to give to the accountants at these banks, in case they wanted to call with questions.”
“I’ve been through the conversion process to new software before, and it’s usually a nightmare. Nothing balances and nothing works. But with ASCEND, things balanced and things worked. It was a very easy move.”
“With BankTEL, everything was more streamlined, there was better reconcilement, better functionality and better security on the user-side of things. It was a major step up for us.”
“Banks deal with accounting every part of every day. It’s a core part of the business. To be able to maneuver through the system and have the detail of records, the tracking and reporting that are available at BankTEL, was long overdue. Ascend is leagues ahead of where we were previously.”
“One thing I like about BankTEL is that they always want to know what you want and how they can make their product better. They like to listen to customers.”