Remote Employees Drive Accounting Processes at Car Dealership
Home Run Auto Group implemented DocuWare to consolidate its accounting staff spread among 27 dealerships into a remote, cohesive 16-person corporate department all individually working from home. The company reduced printing and personnel costs but more importantly, gained the ability to reassign workloads based on processes, not location, resulting in increased efficiency.
Home Run Auto Group has 27 dealerships across the Midwest and other “hub” companies that provide services to their dealerships such as an ad agency, as well as several other real estate companies. Established in 1962 with one dealership, the group truly began its rapid growth in 2002 with additional dealerships being purchased almost every year to present day. , The company now has 54 different companies under the Home Run Auto Group umbrella.
A few years ago Home Run Auto Group asked their CPA to join them as their CFO and take on the task of centralizing their car dealership’s accounting processes. The new CFO, Justin Fehrman, was excited to take on this challenge. One of his goals was to find a solution that would allow his staff to work remotely, in order to keep his best people. Relocating employees to a corporate office hours away was not a viable option. He knew he needed a solution that 1) would allow employees to efficiently work from home, 2) had customizable workflows, 3) was modular and would be easy to tweak when needed, and 4) could integrate with their dealer software, Dealertrack. After meeting with four document management vendors to learn about the benefits and tradeoffs of different solutions, DocuWare was selected.
“Dealership offices are so busy with people always coming and going. We wanted to make our employees more efficient and give them some peace and quiet to get their work done, but we didn’t want to require them to relocate and run the risk of losing them. People are our most valuable asset that we manage. So we moved them home so they could be more efficient,” said Justin Fehrman, CFO for Home Run Auto Group.
DocuWare was rolled out to the dealership and hub companies. As a first step, all the accounting personnel were pulled out of the dealerships and set up to work from home.
As accounting functions were being moved off-site, the dealership digitized many work processes at once. Office managers now scan and import documents into DocuWare where they are automatically indexed with information pulled from the dealer software, eliminating double data entry. Once the information is in DocuWare, it’s easily processed and posted in the accounting system by the remote accounting staff. Today, accounts payable invoices, repair orders and deal jackets containing up to 100 documents required for a vehicle sales such as a driver’s license scan, insurance information, credit application and title are all processed this same way. When a customer comes to pick up their vehicle after a repair, they sign the repair order which is then scanned into DocuWare so their signature is on file.
Additionally, DocuWare is being used for cash management. Home Run Auto Group requires two signatures on every check and DocuWare allows this safety feature to stay in place even with remote processing. The accounting team simply creates a check with one signature and stores it in DocuWare. The general manager prints the check and adds his signature to complete the process.
After seeing the benefits of one information archive, DocuWare was expanded to the human resources and payroll departments to securely store confidential information and streamline the payroll approval process.
“Once we moved to a digital workflow we realized some of our processes were not very efficient. DocuWare had the flexibility we craved that allowed us to easily change our workflow and simplify tasks for our employees,” said Fehrman.
Home Run Auto Group is now able to quickly book transactions from repair work and vehicle sales in their accounting program, as well as maintain a secure record of each vehicle sold or worked on.
With DocuWare in place, the accounting department has been able to reassign tasks for more efficient processing. For example, now one employee handles the payroll for five dealerships, while another takes care of Accounts Payables for 12 dealerships, and so on.
“In the past I would have needed 27 accountants, one for each dealership. But with the efficiency we’ve gained with DocuWare we can complete our work with only 16 people. We moved some employees into positions outside accounting. During our transition, we only lost one person,” said Fehrman.
Their return on investment was quick with a personnel savings for the department of $660,000 annually and an additional savings of $260,000 a year by reducing printing costs, such as toner, paper and hardware.
On a personal note, the CFO and controller are very happy with DocuWare’s transparent nature. They can see how timely things are processed, if someone is behind and if they need to re-configure a workflow or workload.
“One of the biggest benefits for me is the added internal controls and my ability to do a mini- audit on any dealership, without driving 13 hours,” said Fehrman.
In conclusion, the biggest benefit DocuWare has brought Home Run Auto Group is a consolidation of their accounting processes. Being able to set up remote staff and having the ease of modifying workflows as needed has allowed them to keep their best talent. The company placed a lot of value on having the flexibility to continually improve their processes and DocuWare gives them the tools to do so.
- Digitize documents in order to move accounting staff offsite and improve efficiency
- Implement a solution with customizable electronic workflows
- Integrate dealer software with document management system
- Reduced accounting costs by increasing employee efficiency through grouping processes
- Gave management transparency and the ability to monitor workloads and perform audits
- Provided secure storage of deal jackets, repair orders and human resource files