Kowalski’s Markets are gourmet grocery stores with 12 locations across Minneapolis and St. Paul. The markets feature a variety of local, sustainable, all natural or organic products throughout the meat, seafood, deli and sushi, produce, bakery, artisan cheese, dairy, frozen foods, wine and spirits, gifts and floral departments.
The company is a civically-minded business that partners with the Minnesota Active Citizenship Initiative. They also focus on supporting local growers, businesses and nearby communities.
As Kowalski’s Markets grew and expanded, managing paper accounting records became very difficult. It took one corporate accounting employee 3-4 days per week to type the invoice information into their accounting system.
Department managers were also typing the invoice information to compile a weekly report. Manual processes were being done twice and were taking time away from employees’ core responsibilities. Outdated paper and manual process meant that financial information was located in disconnected systems which caused further delays.
Workflow automation and Sage integration bring efficiency
Today, invoices are scanned at each store and automatically indexed using DocuWare Intelligent Indexing, an Artificial Intelligence service that learns how to “recognize” index terms wherever they are on a page. Next, the invoices are electronically routed to the department head, who fixes any missing or incorrect index terms and reviews the costs. Using an electronic stamp, the invoice is routed to the corporate accounting office where it is given one final review before being stored in DocuWare.
A tight integration between DocuWare and Kowalski’s accounting solution, Sage, allows the accounting staff quick access to documents stored in DocuWare, right from within their familiar accounting program. It is easy to transfer invoice processing and manage accounting documents within the same financial data environment.
Kowalski’s has eliminated more than 40 hours a week in data-entry time and their employees have more time to dedicate to the key part of their jobs. The accounting department can instantly answer vendor questions about being short paid. One of the biggest benefits the accounting department has seen is that they no longer look up information for department managers as these managers have searchable, self-serve access to important accounting information.
For Tony Olufson, the Accounting Manager, the biggest advantage is being able to instantly perform a cost analysis.
“Every month I do an income statement review. If I’m curious why expenses are high, I can easily run a report in the system to satisfy my curiosity and become instantly very aware of what we are spending. With DocuWare we ended up making our processes better and easier: the end result is that we catch things that would otherwise be too labor intensive to research. This kind of insight is invaluable to us.”