Case Study: Consulting

A top 20 U.S. accounting and advisory firm was unable to recover the majority of its client-related shipping costs. That changed when it implemented PS/Ship.

This top 20 accounting and advisory firm* in the United States knows the challenges that come with running a business with a distributed footprint. Chief among them, the ability to properly tie costs to clients or projects efficiently and accurately, including shipping costs. That’s where PS/Ship comes in.

Manual Billing Process Was Costing the Firm Time and Money

“Being an accounting firm, we operate the same way that most professional service firms operate, which means that everything is billable,” says a manager with the firm’s national procurement team. “Whatever we do, whether it’s time or a postage stamp or travel, everything is billable.”

The issue, however, was that it was difficult for the firm to effectively bill clients for shipping costs “because when creating labels on the FedEx platform, there was no way to integrate and validate the client number with our time and billing system,” she says. This resulted in the majority of client codes being entered incorrectly when creating shipping labels. Then when the shipping invoices arrived at the firm, which would consist of anywhere between 75 to 100 pages, there was no way for the firm to correct data and bill the correct clients in a timely fashion.

“Because there was no requirement for our users to accurately specify client numbers at the time the label was created, more than 70% of the client numbers that were entered were either wrong or improperly formatted,” the manager says. “We were eating more than 70% of the recoverable shipping costs and were only able to bill about 30% of the costs to clients at that point.”

The firm was also incurring additional unnecessary expenses because of the extensive manual labor needed to sort through the ever-growing stacks of paper invoices, and the process of manually inputting the costs into their financial system. “That process would take two to four weeks to go through the invoices, do the billing and pay FedEx,” she says.

Process Automation to the Rescue

After building the business case that her firm was paying for hundreds of thousands of dollars of what should be recoverable shipping costs every year, and spending hundreds of hours processing invoices, the manager decided to implement PS/Ship.

Using PS/Ship, users are able to reference an up-to-date list of available client codes to choose from, and they’re required to provide one before the label is created. This ensures that the correct client or project will get billed for each shipping cost.

This forced cost allocation, paired with PS/Invoice’s automated invoice retrieval, took our process from two to four weeks to a few hours for us to get invoices in the system, paid, uploaded and pushed through to the clients for billing,” she says. “That’s a huge, huge savings.”

Since the firm began using PS/Ship, 80% of its shipping costs are passed along to clients. “Now we only absorb about 20%,” the manager says. “And when you’re talking to professional service and accounting firms, that’s very important.”

PS/Invoice helped modernize the carrier invoicing process by automating the workflow and providing visibility across the firm.

Improved Security, Easy Address Changes and a Smooth Transition Are Added Bonuses

PS/Ship has also offered a level of security the manager didn’t anticipate. In the past, the manager says her firm had its FedEx account compromised four times, which caused tons of frustration as new accounts needed to be set up. That added unnecessary juggling by the operations teams to carry on the firm’s normal shipping activity.

“It’s a big undertaking to move everybody over to a new account seamlessly,” she says. “But because PS/Ship hides our account numbers from view and integrates with our firm network for a secure Single Sign-on experience, our FedEx accounts haven’t been compromised a single time.”

The software also helps streamline the process of getting new information to the entire firm, including simple yet important things like address changes.

“PS/Ship has been phenomenal about making address changes, because we’re constantly moving our offices around,” the manager says. “Now when the addresses have to change, I just email PS/Ship and they take care of it for me.”

But perhaps the best part is the ease with which her firm transitioned to PS/Ship. “The only part that took a little time was getting it set up, and even that went smoothly,” she says. “I have over a thousand employees here — and to teach them how to use PS/Ship, we didn’t even have to do a class. We just sent out an email and told them how to do it — it was that simple.”

*The firm wishes to remain anonymous to protect its privacy.

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