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Customer Story

How Xelix helped Mole Valley Farmers achieve a 40% increase in productivity

  • 5x ROI in year one 
  • 40% increase in productivity
  • 8x quicker AP audit 


Mole Valley Farmers was established in 1960 when a small group of farmers in South Molton, North Devon, created an agricultural buying group. With the success of this early enterprise, the Mole Valley Farmers family of companies became a leading agricultural supply business spanning the length of Britain.

Employing 2,000 staff with a turnover of more than £600m, the AP department manages around 6,500 suppliers and over 500,000 invoices a year. Since 2019, Mole Valley Farmers has been migrating to a new IT platform, Microsoft Dynamics AX. The business also engaged a third-party company to capture, read and scan invoices into a portal, before performing a three-way match.

Suzanne Homewood, Accounts Payable Manager at Mole Valley Farmers, turned her attention to statement reconciliation, which she says, “wasn’t efficient.”

So, how did Suzanne transform her AP department from “chaotic” to efficient, boosting morale in the process?

“We now have improved visibility, spare time for further AP tasks and happier suppliers. Not to mention fantastic team morale. We have a happier, more efficient team.”

Suzanne Homewood, Accounts Payable Manager at Mole Valley Farmers
  • From a lack of statement reconciliation visibility...

    Suzanne explains why she'd been frustrated with her statement reconciliation process and why staff turnover was so high when she joined the business.

    “Everything was manual and there were many challenges. When I first joined Mole Valley Farmers, the statement reconciliation process consisted of a pile of statements and various highlighter pens. The team was manually typing data into a spreadsheet, line by line. With my continuous improvement background, I knew there would be a more efficient way of working.

    "Initially, I introduced VLookup through Excel. This meant training an already overwhelmed team and asking suppliers to provide statement copies in Excel. We couldn’t achieve 100% and therefore had manual exceptions. It was a bit chaotic.”

  • ...to transforming the statement reconciliation process

    Suzanne wanted to improve statement reconciliation and gain visibility of her team’s productivity. With Xelix, she achieved that and more.

    “On average, we’ve had a 40% productivity increase in statement reconciliations. Plus, we’re now reconciling 90% of statements received. A large statement would previously take up to a whole day to reconcile. With Xelix, it takes around two hours. For smaller statements, 15 to 20 minutes has become five minutes.

    "This improvement frees up time towards the end of the month. The team use this to work through unallocated cash on accounts,” says Suzanne.

    She goes on to explain how using Xelix impacts their supplier relations.“Customer service has always been key for me and Xelix helps us improve supplier relationships. When we reconcile statements, Xelix automatically sends an email to the supplier. They can see our requests for copy invoices, and if they respond the same day, we can have them on our system for payment the following week. It’s such a quick turn-round now, it’s brilliant.”

    As for audits, Suzanne describes Xelix as a “game changer,” saving weeks of work.

    “We’ve always had to manually re-reconcile suppliers the auditors chose. It would take us three weeks to work through. With Xelix, you choose your supplier and reconciliation date, and it does it automatically for you. Plus, we can give the auditors direct access. It saves us so much time,” says Suzanne.

    Before using Xelix, the AP audit process typically took around two to three months. With Xelix, the process is complete within two weeks.

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How Mole Valley Farmers use AI to supercharge AP controls and drive process efficiency

  • A happier, more present and higher performing team

    Not only has Xelix transformed Mole Valley’s statement reconciliation process, but it’s also changed how Suzanne and her team feel about their roles. With a team split between permanent home working, office-based and hybrid working, Suzanne describes how they feel now.

    “Team morale has improved tenfold. I used to see a lot of sickness and tears. I don’t have any now. One team member who used to sit in the background has flourished since implementing Xelix. Her confidence has grown, and she’s become our go-to person for Xelix-related questions.”

  • Positive peer feedback

    Suzanne had already looked at two systems to relieve the pressure and anxiety around statement reconciliation. She also wanted to reduce the number of invoice and payment errors. When she learnt about Xelix at the Accounts Payable Association’s Managers Update, it became a third contender.

    “This was the first time I’d heard of Xelix. People around me were saying 'yes, we use them and they’re fantastic' and 'customer service is fantastic.' That was the clincher for me. Customer service is one of our core values, so based on this feedback, I made a call to [Commercial Director] Max,” adds Suzanne.

    Xelix is an investment, so Suzanne had to get buy-in from her FD. A proof of concept using all three Xelix modules and Mole Valley data flagged around 120 payment issues to investigate. Two highlighted huge duplicate payments. 

    "One payment was over £50,000 and another was equally large. We’d paid those invoices twice. I remember my FD’s remark. He said: 'Why didn’t our scanning company pick these up? We’re paying for that service. Why didn’t they pick it up?'

    "The issue was due to slightly different invoice numbers - not something our scanning company can pick up. But with broader criteria and AI working in the background, Xelix did. Those two invoice errors sold Xelix to my FD. He could see the ROI would be pretty much instantaneous, and it would protect us in the future,” she says.

  • Further opportunities

    Suzanne says Mole Valley isn’t done with Xelix yet, and she anticipates further AP improvements. For example, their productivity improvements have freed up time for someone to focus on the Transactions module.

    The scanning company they use only checks for supplier name and purchase order issues. So, Mole Valley started using Xelix to monitor transactions as well. They expect to pick up errors the scanning company isn’t capable of finding – like the two large duplicate invoices.

    “We’re thankful for Xelix being there now to capture those duplicates as well,” says Suzanne.

    Another area flagged for development is Xelix’s reporting suite. Suzanne knows the benefit won’t just be within the AP department.

    “There are elements of the reports which could assist the Treasury department, such as forecasting spend based on the number of invoices due in the coming weeks. Xelix’s reporting suite proves useful for procurement too, providing a report on spend by supplier, for example,” explains Suzanne.

    Mole Valley Farmers also wants to use Xelix for the agricultural side of its operations. Whilst 50% of the business, it amounts to around 1,000 active suppliers and 40,000 invoices a year. This data will soon feed into Xelix.


  • Ongoing protection will deliver ROI

    Suzanne sums up her experience of Xelix so far. 

    “My initial expectations of Xelix were to provide automated statement reconciliations and great customer service to help us with changes we required. They’ve definitely met those.

    We have regular reviews with the Xelix team in which they inform us of any changes they’re making following our feedback. They also want to know what changes they can make to help us become more efficient. It’s exactly the customer service I’d expect from a company like Xelix.”

    And what would Suzanne say is the most significant transformation having implemented Xelix?

    “The insight we gain from the Transactions module. Not just duplicate invoices but processing errors such as not having VAT on an invoice when that account usually does. It also highlights process downfalls and training gaps, so it’s a greater indicator for optimisation in those areas too. In terms of return on investment, this is the most valuable aspect of Xelix for us.”

Team morale has improved tenfold. I used to see a lot of sickness and tears. I don’t have any now. One team member who used to sit in the background has flourished since implementing Xelix. Her confidence has grown, and she’s become our go-to person for Xelix-related questions.”

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