Calgary Sports Scores Big by Investing in E-Invoicing


With the 2018-2019 NHL Season in full swing, and currently holding the second spot overall in the standings, the Calgary Flames have a realistic chance at winning the Stanley Cup this year. So, what’s contributing to their success? We can’t speak much to their team’s strategy but it’s no surprise that their owners, the Calgary Sport and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), are winning off the ice just as much as on. Download Case StudyFounded in 2012, CSEC is a privately-owned professional sports and entertainment company that owns and operates four franchises: the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey league, the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League, and the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Additionally, CSEC owns the Flames’ minor league affiliates based in California and New York state. 

Managing four separate franchises and their accounts payable is no easy feat. Let’s take a dive into how the organization has transformed their business processes including the challenges and ultimate successes that have made CSEC a force to be reckoned with.

CSEC’S Challenges

With a management agreement with the City of Calgary to operate the Scotiabank Saddledome, CSEC was receiving and processing over 2,000 paper invoices per month with an average cycle time of 30 – 60 days. By operating on a mandatory per-event accounting model, which treats each team within the group as a unique business unit, CSEC was managing a very complex and exhaustive manual process for all of their invoices. 95 percent of CSEC’s entire accounts payable process was paper-based, which required a team of 4 full time employees dedicated to managing the process and was estimated to cost approx. $300,000 annually. In addition to the cost and time implications of the manual process, CSEC needed to strengthen their compliance rules as well as reduce the number of lost documents and breaks in the approval chain.

It became apparent that they would need a solution that was capable of simplifying an unconventional accounting setup, without adding considerable cost to their operations.

The Solution Was Simple: Cortex

Our e-invoicing solution was scalable to CSEC’s particular AP needs, with 100% invoice capture and processing through the Network from day one. Integration to their Workflow and ERP allowed for seamless transition to in-house operations at CSEC and set them up to take advantage of early pay discounts offered by their suppliers. 

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In addition to the technical solution provided, we offered comprehensive professional services support, focused on the onboarding of CSEC’s suppliers to the Network. By running early adoption campaigns, and post go-live support to suppliers, CSEC saw increased adoption rates which improved their automation numbers immediately.

The hours required for CSEC to process their invoices dropped from 8,000 man hours a year to 4,000 man hours and the approval cycle declined from 30+ days to 7 days.

By introducing the Cortex Trading Partner Network and having Suppliers send invoices electronically, CSEC was successful in simplifying their accounting processes, improving relations with their Suppliers, and reallocating resources to other areas of the business, all while saving money.

Just as smart sports organizations are embracing Big Data analytics to generate enhanced insight into athletic performance and translating that into measurable team performance, Cortex provided CSEC’s finance group with a 21st century solution that quickly delivered meaningful results to their organization’s bottom line.

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