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Gourmet grocer eliminates manual AP data entry using DocuWare

This article appears in the issue May/June 2019 [Volume 28, Issue 3]

Founded in 1983, Kowalski’s Markets is an upscale  gourmet market with 12 locations across the Twin Cities.

As Kowalski’s Markets grew and expanded, managing paper accounting records became difficult, and it was taking one corporate accounting employee 3-4 days a week to type the invoice information into the accounting system. Department managers were also typing the invoice information to compile a weekly report. Manual processes were y being done twice and were taking away from employees’ core responsibilities.

To improve the situation, Kowalski’s decided to leverage DocuWare. The solution was piloted in the headquarters store for a few months, then rolled out to all 12 stores, one at a time, over the course of the next 3 months.

Today, invoices are scanned at each store and automatically indexed using DocuWare’s Intelligent Indexing feature, which is an AI 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. 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.

As a result of the implementation, Kowalski’s says it has eliminated more than 40 hours a week in data entry time and employees have more time to dedicate to the key part of their jobs. The accounting department can instantly answer vendor questions. And, one of the biggest benefits the accounting team members have seen is that they no longer have to  look up information for department managers as these managers now have searchable, self-serve access to accounting information.

“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,” said Tony Olufson, Kowalski’s accounting manager. In addition, he noted,  vendor relations have been positively impacted now that answers are readily on hand and the company is able to take full advantage of early payment discounts.

And finally, when Kowalski’s rolled out the solution, it discovered the up-front customer-facing departments didn’t understand how much work the back end or accounting department was doing. DocuWare helped the company create a shared sense of ownership and gave everyone an understanding that they are an important part of the big picture, Olufson added.

For more information, go to www.docuware.com.


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