Aurora Transport Ltd. – Sherry Hafner

“My Lease Operator Pay Used to Take Me Five or Six Days—Now I Can Get It Done In Less Than Half That Time!”

How the admin. staff at one oil field hauler saved their sanity when they outgrew QuickBooks®

Aurora Transport Ltd. of Grande Prairie, AB, hauls any types of fluid for the oil patch, including sweet oil, frac oil, water, dirty water, sour [oil], and acid. Sherry Hafner, office manager, spoke to us recently about their Axon Experience.

What kind of problems were you able to solve with Axon?

Aurora Transport

“The biggest thing was the double and triple entry of data we had to struggle through previously, particularly with our lease operator pay.

Our lease operators run under our fuel cards. Before Axon, when a fuel bill came in, I would first enter it as a payable, then I’d have to turn around and enter it again to charge it back to them so it would come off their statement.

Then I’d have to take the lease operator tickets out of my system, export a report into Excel, and work at it from there. So anything to do with lease operators was double entered.

I was using two systems in order to pay them. It was very, very time consuming – it could take me five or six days. Now I can get it done in two days – way less than half that time.”

What led you to the decision to invest in Axon?

“Our safety person at the time was talking to safety people at other companies, and one of them mentioned that they had Axon. And his big thing was all about how easy it is to do the fuel tax with Axon. That piqued her interest, because she was the one at the time doing our fuel tax.

I like the way that you can access the tickets, whether it’s when you’re doing payroll or if you’re just looking for information. Throughout the whole program you can locate any information you need. Everything is just right there; everything is so accessible. - Sherry Hafner

That got us interested, and I knew we were outgrowing QuickBooks. The year before we started with Axon our owner had built a new shop, and we were getting busier and busier.

I kept thinking that if we kept growing the way we were, there’s no way we would be able to handle what we were doing in QuickBooks. I knew we needed some sort of bigger, better program than QuickBooks, so I started looking around.

At the time I thought, we absolutely don’t need this yet, but we’re going to. I knew we were going to grow, and it was for my own sanity that I wanted something better than what we had.

After taking a close look at Axon, I was so convinced that I took it to my managers and convinced them – and I hoped to hell that I was right (laughing) because I was putting my reputation on the line here. It’s a big expenditure, and in this business the office comes last as far as spending.”

Has it changed the way you do your fuel tax?

“It has definitely changed. Before, it was all done manually. We used to run a spreadsheet for every truck and somebody would enter the mileage into the spreadsheets, and then the next person, who was responsible for the actual reporting, would have to total the mileage and then figure out the IFTA report.

Then it would need to be checked, so we’d go back and recalculate everything. You spent a lot of time making sure that you had it right.

But with Axon it’s automatically done with each ticket. It’s just so simple, so much easier, because it’s already done for you.”

Has producing the operator statements improved for you?

“Oh yes, very much so. There’s not one thing I don’t like about your statements. And it’s easy for them to read.

I had one gentleman actually tell me that he couldn't believe how good our reporting to them was, how clear everything was because it takes it right off the payables invoice that I input so they have the invoice numbers and everything they need. They’re very happy with it, and I’m very happy with it.”

How has Axon affected your invoicing process?

“I’ve trained three girls on Axon. It’s very, very easy to train them to input the tickets. They catch right on. Before Axon we were giving them up to three months to get it, and now they've got it in a week.

It’s very, very user friendly, and it makes them put in enough information so everybody else’s job is so much easier.

The driver pay is automatically updated from the ticket, and the client is invoiced from it as well. Everything is so much smoother.

I like the way that you can access the tickets, whether it’s when you’re doing payroll or if you’re just looking for information. Throughout the whole program you can locate any information you need. Everything is just right there; everything is so accessible.

It is really helpful in the Ticket section. All you have to do is punch in the number or put in whatever information you have to give it, and it’ll find things for you one way or another. What would take hours searching through paper records now takes seconds.”

What advice would you give to somebody who says ‘I’m afraid to move from QuickBooks, because I like it, and my accountant uses it’?

“I would say ‘Just do it!’ I think you have to, like Nike says, ‘Just do it!’ Once you’ve got all your stuff in the system and you get going, it’s 10 times better.

I know I was scared too. I don’t like change, but I knew that if I didn’t find something for our company that was better than QuickBooks, I was the one who was going to suffer as the business grew.

Don’t get me wrong; it was really hard for me to do the transition, not because of any problems, just because of the ‘change factor.’ But believe me, this is definitely a change for the better.

We had an accountant who started with the company. He retired, and he passed us off to the people that bought his firm. And I didn’t like the second set. So we’re about to start our third set [of accountants]. But what’s impressed me about Axon is that any kind of reporting they want, Axon can come up with it.”

What would you say to someone else in your industry about Axon?

Actually I just had this happen to me not that long ago.

Our operations manager’s wife works at another company that’s similar to ours. She’s using Simply Accounting and wanted to know if she could come over and have a look at the program. Her husband has been kind of bragging it up to her, and her company is looking for a new program.

I told her I’d show her all the highlights of what really got me excited about it when I started using it. I said, ‘I know it’s quite a bit of money, but it paid for itself within about eight or nine months!’

At the end of October our receptionist (who also did ticket entry) left. But Christina (our safety person) and I were able to go straight through the winter without hiring a receptionist. And that was because of Axon.

Basically I am an Axon lover. Anything that’s come up, Axon’s been able to handle. They’ve either been able to fix what I need or help me figure out how to get at what I need. I’ve never been told, ‘No, sorry. We can’t do that.’”

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