From XU Magazine, 
Issue 30

Easy approvals and clear audits for biotech and tech start-ups: a case study with Archangel Accounting

How ApprovalMax meets the spend control and audit needs of companies developing state-of-the-art products for the pharma, healthcare and food industries...

Archangel Accounting is a UK Chartered Accountancy firm. They have a team of eight accountants, whose clients are mainly start-ups in the biotech and tech sectors. The Archangel team serves businesses through key growth stages: from the start-up phase until the company successfully goes through an IPO or exit. 

Let’s find out how Archangel Accounting uses ApprovalMax to help start-ups control their expenditure and prepare for audits and IPO’s.

Expenditure controls for clients

For all Archangel Accounting clients, having robust electronic expenditure controls is a very important aspect of effectively managing finances, because they deal with large expenses on a day-to-day basis. Archangel discovered ApprovalMax when a client implemented it to work in conjunction with their Xero ledger, and saw first-hand how much benefit it brought to the client. 

“In my opinion, one of the key advantages of using ApprovalMax is that you have a way to appropriately approve purchase orders prior to committing to ordering goods and services and follow the established purchase matrix easily. You also get a sound audit trail and reporting of expenditure against purchase orders. Comments in ApprovalMax help all those involved deal and respond to supplier order and invoicing issues”. Julia Jones FCA BSc, Managing Director, Archangel Accounting

Most of the companies served by Archangel Accounting have a similar clear authorisation process. The person who needs a spend approved raises a purchase order, which then goes to the manager for approval. When the bill comes in, it’s pulled from Xero to ApprovalMax and matched to the initial purchase order. Then it is routed to the purchase order requester so that they can confirm whether the goods or services have actually been delivered or supplied. There’s no need to route invoices to the manager at this stage because the spending has already been approved at the purchase order stage.

The app stack Archangel Accounting prefers

Their standard app stack includes Xero, ApprovalMax and Dext. All invoices go direct to Xero and on to ApprovalMax, while staff expenses go via Dext to Xero and then Xero sends it to ApprovalMax to gain the required approvals. Thanks to these apps, Archangel Accounting are able to provide our clients with a paperless end-to-end accounts payable process. They save time and effort both for the client’s team and the accountants.

IPO and audits

For IPO’s and audits it’s very important to have documented and well managed control procedures. In order to prepare for an IPO, the documentation and testing of the control environment are very important. Segregation of duties ensures the risk of financial fraud is reduced. The automated workflows provided by ApprovalMax really help to add the appropriate approvers for specific tasks and to capture these controls in an electronic audit trail. The auditors that have been shown the ApprovalMax system have been highly impressed with the software, as it provides a great way to clearly separate roles for different people raising purchase orders, and then approve purchase orders and bills properly.

“The automatically generated audit trail is great — auditors are highly impressed about how the approval process works. Our clients get only positive comments from the auditors on how the authorisation process is organised”. Julia Jones FCA BSc, Managing Director, Archangel Accounting

Easy onboarding, offboarding and delegation of approvals

“It doesn’t usually take much time to onboard new ApprovalMax users, as it offers a very straightforward process for purchase order requesters and approvers. After we give our clients a demo of the software, they are ready to start using it, and they are really happy with the process.” Julia Jones FCA BSc, Managing Director, Archangel Accounting

Offboarding is also pretty easy with the ApprovalMax offboarding feature, where you can replace the user who leaves the company in all the workflows they are involved in at once.

When someone goes on holiday, they can specify that they’re out of the office and set a delegate who will take care of requests submitted for their approval while they’re unavailable. This way, nothing will fall through the cracks.


A simple, efficient and inexpensive spend control solution

Even though Archangel Accounting have now implemented ApprovalMax for most of their clients, they remember the days of e-mailed approvals and the limitations this brought. The risk of fraud was much higher and the admin burden of recording approvals from e-mails much greater. So they’re really happy to have found in ApprovalMax such a capable tool that ticks all the boxes for authorising spending and doing weekly payment runs for their clients without any missed payments.

Why leave it there?

To learn more about ApprovalMax

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