TOGA transforms AP, reducing invoice processing costs by 30%

Automating accounts payable processes has had a significant impact for TOGA.

Founded by Ervin Vidor AM in 1963, TOGA is a leading Australian property group with a portfolio across Australia, New Zealand and Europe and employs more than 2,500 team members worldwide, processing approximately 260,000 invoices each year.

TOGA is the nationally-recognised name behind the award-winning Jones Bay Wharf rejuvenation in Sydney, Harbourfront Balmain, the Darwin Waterfront revitalisation, popular retail hot-spot ‘The Hub’ at Bondi Beach and the Adelaide Treasury Building. A company with a conscience, TOGA and partner Qualitas established Australia’s first pop-up youth shelter after making a vacant 42-room hotel temporarily available at no cost whilst it awaits development consent. ‘The Addison Project’ was announced by TOGA and the Minister for Family & Community Services in March 2017.

With nearly 60 years in the industry and with a highly skilled and specialised property team, TOGA have firmly established themselves as one of the most experienced, Australian owned, fully integrated property developers.

When it came to choosing a provider to transform their AP processes, TOGA looked for a solution that could provide security and scalability to meet the needs of its growing and global business operation, provide a better experience for their team as well as a company that could make the process as painless as possible.

“Medius changed our thinking in the finance team about the power of the cloud. There are numerous, functional benefits of being on the latest version and we’ll never go back to being on-premises again.”

Michael Gowing, Head of FP&A | TOGA Group

The journey towards AP automation success has not been without its challenges, as can often be the case with enterprise software implementations that have a transformational impact. However, with Medius, TOGA has achieved significant results that will continue to evolve in step with the ongoing enhancements that Medius offers in its cloud based solution.

Out-of-the box cloud deployment

TOGA was previously using a customised, on-premises solution that was integrated with their JDEdwards ERP system. The bespoke solution had become cumbersome and was unable to meet the requirements of the business. They needed a replacement AP Automation solution that was easy to implement and user friendly.

“Medius highlighted the difference between an out-of-the-box and bespoke solution. The role configuration options in Medius, such as delegation of authority, were advantageous and simple” says Michael Gowing, Head of FP&A at TOGA Group.

Moving to a fully cloud based AP automation solution was also beneficial for TOGA.

“Medius changed our thinking in the finance team about the power of the cloud. There are numerous, functional benefits of being on the latest version and we’ll never go back to being on-premises again.”

A better employee experience

Removing unnecessary admin burdens was an important outcome of streamlining AP processes that benefited the team. 

“Automation helps me get a more effective use of my most precious resource: my people,” says Gowing. “From a business perspective, when we employ someone, we remunerate them for the highest skill level attached to that role. If you fill their day with administrative activities, it is a poor use of that resource. Medius really helps with that because it takes the tedium out and allows them to focus on higher end work. Our people aren’t there to put codes on invoices.”

Global scalability

Medius has customers in more than 100 countries and this global presence was a benefit for TOGA to ensure that compliance to local regulations were met in each country.

Michael Gowing says: “The ability to tap into team members in different countries and jurisdictions was a major benefit.  When we were launching in Europe it was invaluable to talk to people who had experience in Germany because they understood the AP rules. The global presence of Medius gave us the ability to straddle major markets with ease and this was highly advantageous.”

The ability to configure Medius for different tax markets also makes it easier to scale. After a successful implementation in Australia and New Zealand, Medius’ AP Automation was deployed into Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland, where TOGA also has a presence. The strong local market knowledge and support from Medius was invaluable,” says Gowing.

Streamlined AP process

TOGA now has an easy to use, fully automated system with visibility.

“It is auditable and traceable,” says Adrian Urquhart, Chief Financial Officer at TOGA. “We can see when invoices have been paid. We can put our invoice approval rules in. It is a more intuitive system for all end users, not just those in finance. Even just searching for old invoices is a dream.”

Lars Mellergaard,
VP APAC | Medius

“There are a lot of features we didn’t have in our previous system.  For example, with Medius we can identify and mark critical suppliers in the system so that approvers know to give those invoices priority.”

Lars Mellergaard, VP APAC at Medius, emphasises that the power of Medius lies in more than just automation. “It’s a whole digital transformation process to improve your business processes,” he says.

Medius solves the traditional challenges in processing invoices: getting an invoice without a PO coded correctly. It also automatically forwards the invoice to the correct approver or approvers. It automates and streamlines the three-way match between the invoice, purchase order and the goods receipt. If tolerances have been configured for deviations, Medius’ solution will automatically code and approve it, enabling touchless processing.”

TOGA collaborates closely with its large supplier base. They have to be flexible and therefore the technology has to also be adaptable.

“It’s not like we’re a bank and can stipulate a certain way of working,” says Adrian Urquhart. “Our sister company which operates the hotels, has customers going there for a guest experience which is regional or bespoke. If we have a supplier who wants to issue invoices for products or services in a particular way, we need technology that’s flexible.”

Efficiency gains

 “The feedback from users tells us we have a better system to what we had in place. The reporting is miles better and it allows much more control for governance and compliance,” says Michael Gowing.

TOGA experienced process improvements when initially migrating from their previous solution to Medius and the efficiency of invoice processing has improved since implementing AP automation.

“We’ve been impacted heavily by Covid-19, however our efficiency has improved over the years by implementing AP automation and offshore invoice processing.  Since implementing AP automation the cost of processing an invoice has reduced by half and is on track to reduce even further,” says Gowing.

The work to drive efficiency does not stop at AP Automation. TOGA will be looking at further opportunities to streamline key business processes leveraging Medius solutions.

“Medius has an impressive technology roadmap and we’re looking at using Medius in the future to turn our AP and Procurement function into a profit centre. Medius has everything in one place and coupled with off shoring, this will be a big benefit for us,” concludes Michael Gowing.

About Medius

Medius links invoice capture, processing, and payment to replace the worry and wondering of managing AP with calm and confidence. Medius goes far beyond basic automation by using artificial intelligence to do most of the work – so invoices get confirmed, coded and paid; AP teams get to go home and rest easy; and businesses can trust their budgets and forecasts.

To learn more, visit https://www.medius.com/au/