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Irish Chamber

2019 Finalist - Lightyear

Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2019

Today, globally, there are 150 billion bills sent B2B, and 90% of those bills are still processed manually, starting with a piece of paper. The cost to businesses to process those bills is more than $2 trillion. That’s more than the GDP of Australia and Ireland combined, and 7-times more than businesses spend on social media advertising globally.

Before my brother Chris and I founded Lightyear, we were running hospitality businesses in Sydney, and we were drowning in paper. 34,000 supplier bills was costing us more than $400k to process annually. So, initially, we set out to find a solution to go paperless, and to automate our Accounts Payable process. But, as we contacted all the leading ‘paperless’ Accounts Payable automation solutions to enquire what their process looked like, we were dumbfounded. Each of their sales-pitches, and process workflows started like this - ‘So, first, you get your paper bills, and then...’  


Wait, what!? The world’s leading solutions for automating Accounts Payable, and going paperless, required you to start with paper? Each of them was trying to make the process of dealing with paper bills faster. Each of them was using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to ‘extract’ the data from the bills - scanning the document to interpret the shapes and shadows to recognise words and numbers. Well, that’s just like me trying to read without my glasses on.

But, incredibly, as we asked other business owners what they would like from an automated Accounts Payable solution, they all suggested something similar - they were looking for a better way of handling paper. Businesses had all become conditioned to a paper bill being the start of the Accounts Payable process. They were looking for faster horses. Henry was turning in his grave.

Old thinking. Old tech. There had to be a better way.

If you start with paper, you end up with rubbish. So, first, we needed to develop technology to avoid the need for paper, and scanning. And that’s what we did.

Lightyear’s proprietary technology allows businesses to receive their supplier bills by email (just their supplier’s normal bill - nothing fancy) before extracting the data with 100% accuracy in REAL-TIME. That bill (and the data) then gets presented to the person/s whose job it is to approve them, before being exported to accounting software.

No paper. No signatures. No data-entry. No filing cabinets. Everything automated, and available in the Lightyear cloud.

But this is just the beginning. Our mission is to “Help businesses thrive in the global economy by delivering innovative tools that streamline process and payments, digitise data, provide insights and connect businesses in the Lightyear Cloud”.

The journey has just begun.