The success story around the automation of accounts receivable speaks for itself – time for a panoramic trip of a different kind!
Automation accounts receivable
Automated dispatch and collection of accounts receivable invoices
More time for other things and relieving the many volunteers – that was the motto for this “Accounts Receivable Automation” project. An impressive association, which maintains the operation of the steam railroads and the maintenance of the Furka mountain line with a lot of heart and soul. Around 800 volunteers work for DFB AG on a daily or weekly basis in their free time. They ensure the operation and maintenance of the approximately 18 kilometers of track, the steam and diesel locomotives, and the passenger and material transport cars.
The highest steam railroad in Europe, the Dampfbahn Furka-Bergstrecke (DFB), runs between Realp (1420m above sea level) and Oberwald (1368m above sea level). The panoramic ride over the Furka Pass takes about two hours. The DFB counts around 30,000 enthusiastic passengers per season, which lasts from the end of June to the beginning of October. The route leads through a largely untouched part of the Swiss Alps, some of which are otherwise difficult to access. It winds through wild gorges and along steep mountain slopes up to over 2000 meters above sea level.
The organization behind the steam railroad consists of a joint-stock company, a foundation and an association. The Furka Mountain Route Association has 8,000 members.
DFB has developed its own web-based CRM-like tool for managing AG employees and customers and the Foundation’s donors. The so-called DFB intranet. Accordingly, this is not only used for maintaining contact details, but has many other functionalities. The AG also uses it to manage helper assignments and driving operations, access a wide variety of documents and publications, create personalized letters, and much more. The foundation, for its part, uses it to record all incoming donations, but so far without automatic payment reconciliation.
For the time being, the association remained on their already used external membership and billing system until now the end of vendor support was announced.
All three steam railroad organizations also maintain their own separate accounting systems. Both the financial results accruing in the DFB intranet and the VFB system are each transferred manually to their accounting systems.
Both the financial results generated in the DFB intranet and in the VFB system are each transferred manually to the respective accounting systems.
- The primary opportunity was to correlate contact data, since a large proportion of VFB members are also DFB employees and/or donors to the foundation anyway.
- Switch to the QR deposit slip for payments in Switzerland.
- Automated payment capture to ease the burden on volunteers.
- Connection of the financial accounting to the payment system.
Because of the many similarities, the DFB intranet will remain the master, and VFB is now joining it as well. A commercially available, integrated invoicing and accounting system is to be used to achieve the desired automation. Automatic matching of names, addresses and payment transactions between the DFB intranet and the new system is an absolute must.
Based on the requirements and experience from comparable projects, it quickly became clear to redIT that with the accounting software bexio, a cost-effective solution existed that could be successfully implemented. Thus, bexio has simple and powerful interfaces, which not only enable the matching of contact data and articles. The interfaces can be used to create invoices, print them to a PDF and monitor the receipt of payments. The “Automation of Accounts Receivable” project has found its partner.
The DFB intranet is the master from where all actions can be controlled. In this way, member data is transferred to bexio, the various membership fees are created as articles in different languages and, at the end, an invoice is created for each member.
The invoice is printed out on a pre-set paper sheet that already contains a blank, easily detachable member ID card. To ensure that the member ID card is printed in the correct place, the PDF invoice created by bexio is post-processed so that the member ID card is printed with the correct data and so that the invoice and the member ID card can be sent together.
By having the invoices created by bexio, the collection process becomes much easier. Deposits are automatically matched and posted. The receipt of payment is transmitted to the DFB intranet at the end, so that the status of the invoice is set from «open» to «paid». If payment reminders have to be sent, the start of the reminder run also takes place on the DFB intranet. Payment reminders are created via bexio and sent by mail at the end via the online letter service “Pingen”.
A steam train ride over the old Furka mountain line is a unique experience. But it is a pity when there is no time for it due to administrative work. With the automation of the dispatch and collection of annual invoices, redIT has made a significant contribution to massively reducing the manual and time-consuming process surrounding the accounts receivable invoice. Since then, the volunteers have once again been increasingly seen on the steaming train on the Furka. With the automation of accounts receivable, there is now the basis for further automation projects that will relieve the members.
The resulting solution was created in close cooperation with the DFB team – We thank you for the partnership at eye level!
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