The American Soybean Association (ASA) is an association of 21,000 American soybean producers. ASA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020 and has been advocating for soybean farmers for over a century. ASA’s goals include policy development and implementation. It organizes an annual meeting of voting delegates, where policy goals are set. The ASA has testified before Congress and lobbies both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.
Customer Testimonial – Xledger & The American Soybean Association
Xledger was able to sit down with Cindy Westervelt, the Accounting Coordinator for The American Soybean Association, to see how Xledger has modernized ASA’s accounting department.
What are a few of ASA’s top challenges facing your finance department?
One challenge that we are working with currently is to decrease bank service fees for recurring accounting transactions like wire transfers, positive pay, ACH, and bank statements. However, Xledger has been instrumental in the formation of our positive-pay program that ensures safety and compliance with weekly payment batches. The automated positive-pay files and ACH files are easily uploaded once converted to the required format.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your financial team?
[During Covid] Xledger’s automated technology has enabled more remote capabilities. Having immediate access to information and documents for inquiries is the biggest improvement that Xledger provides over previous software. PDF copies are easily accessible for review, auditing, and history. Workflow tracking is useful to determine voucher history along with the capability to insert comments and notes for users to review throughout the payables workflow process.
I personally have become more efficient and capable of utilizing Xledger for my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Because of Covid, I have found out what the efficiency capabilities are of Xledger, and how I can work remotely. I appreciate being able to function away from a standard workstation since Xledger is accessible almost anywhere there is a wireless connection. Using a cell phone hotspot allows security with the tasks that I am working with.
How has cloud financial software benefitted your team over the last year?
Xledger’s cloud-based technology, data, and automation have enabled remote work, more collaboration, less use of resources such as electricity, fuel, automobiles, and possibly changing the look of today’s office environment. It is not just the efficiency and time-saving and accuracy; it is helping with climate control.
One of the improvements in my position at ASA is the time savings and efficiency with the bank reconciliations. Bank transactions can be matched daily, weekly or end-of-month when the bank statements are available.
The other improvement that Xledger has provided is with payables and workflow. The paperless workflow of invoices, review, approvals, and check signing is automated and much more efficient. Backup and documents are accessible by anyone with a computer and wireless access. Real-time data is valuable for ASA in St. Louis and for our DC governing committee as well. We are processing Soy Political Action committee donations and contributions through Xledger and utilizing Sharepoint to ensure that all interested parties are kept current. With Xledger we have transitioned away from paper requests, printed backup copies, and in-person check signing.
How would you envision your financial processes if you did not have Xledger?
As I have been in the accounting field for more than 30 years, I have worked with many software platforms including SAP and Microsoft Dynamics. I would not want to go back to any of these programs. In some of the ERP software programs the accounting package was tacked on and did not interface well with other modules. If I were job searching at this time and found that I would not be working with Xledger I would keep up the job search until I found very similar accounting software to work with.
What are some challenges you face currently and how are they now solvable with Xledger?
I can think of one challenge that comes up once a year when our project managers and directors are asked to draw up a budget and forecast. I am often sought out and asked for project summaries. Our accounting team has put together step-by-step instructions to show where this data and information can be downloaded from Xledger at any time. That has been one time-consuming drawback in the past. Data is available for past and present fiscal years, filters and inquiries can be set up, data conversion to pivot tables and charts is possible and comparisons can be made.
Anything else you would like to mention about Xledger?
Xledger’s efficiency and accuracy have been a game-changer for my role. Processing payables, receivables, bank reconciliations, and the rest of my accounting requirements is much more streamlined. From my accounting coordinator standpoint, Xledger has been very satisfying to work with.