5 Ways to Unleash Land Productivity – Part 3

Part 3 – Automating the Payment Approval Process

Our “5 Ways to Unleash Land Productivity” blog series, which examines the top risks posed by legacy land management software, continues with a third installment – Automating the Payment Approval Process.  

Recently we’ve looked into the challenges that land professionals encounter every day; be sure to check out overcoming inaccurate acreage reporting and ensuring land data integrity.  In the coming weeks we’ll take on chain of title and integrating Land with Land Division Orders as well as the W Energy Software solution to each challenge.

You would think that in a digital era, paper memos would be ancient history.  However, all too often land teams rely heavily on paper-based processes and manual workarounds to obtain the signatures required to pay interest owners, making payment approvals our topic for today.

Paper vs. E-mail, Which is Worse?

Every month when it’s time to disburse payments, does your process look like this?  The Landman/Land Analyst reviews a stack of payment requests, making handwritten notes requesting payment.  Then, said Landman/Land Analyst drops the stack of papers on a second person’s desk, requesting his/her signature to issue payments.  It sits there, hopefully not getting snowed under by other docs or acquiring a coffee ring stain. Eventually, the final approver reviews the stack, signs each memo, and walks the pile down the hall handing it to the controller for a final signature.  Not only is this paper shuffle tedious but it also puts your payment obligations at risk of being late or going unpaid.

To be fair, some legacy land software has fought the paper shuffle with emails.  However, it’s still a shuffle as emails are traded back and forth across teams. Now, instead of a paper shuffle we’re doing the digital shuffle and running the risk of being lost in a series of emails.  

In addition to emails, in some cases we are seeing electronic approval within applications.  However, these still prove to be cumbersome. First, there may not be a clear indicator as to what is pending approval when you login, requiring users to go lease by lease looking for what needs approving.  Without proper notifications, users are reduced to playing the email shuffle. Second, your organization may only have a few user licenses for the land software but employ additional approvers. This sends us back to the paper shuffle.  No matter how you slice the pie, manual approval processes are time-consuming, inject human errors, and jeopardize SOX compliance.

The Beauty of Approval Workflows

Speaking of SOX, most legacy land management software was coded before the milestone Sarbanes Oxley law was passed way back in 2002, hence their inability to meet the modern needs of energy companies.  Which is why W Energy Software stepped back, thought it through, and got it right with a unified upstream ERP platform built on the cloud.

Here’s how W Energy Software accelerates the monthly payment approval process while ensuring SOX compliance: 

  • Configurable approval workflows with automatically generated emails and/or in-application notices to guide approvers to the next step in the approval process.
  • Calendar-based interactive views for all payment and non-payment obligations alongside lease expirations.
  • Separate security-controlled approval areas and with designated screens for each type of approval, pre-filtered to the specific user’s work queue.
  • Security controlled administration screen where designated approvers can be changed and recommendation conflicts can be resolved.
  • Ability to view all current and historical Payment and Non-Payment obligations as well as Lease expirations with recommendations and workflow status.
  • Clear comments history for each record with required remark and recommendation fields validated for SOX compliance.
  • Granular security and support for your entire team with approver-level access.                                                

Now that’s the level of efficiency you should expect from your land management software.

Read Part IV of this series by clicking here.

Kelsi Flores spent over 11 years in Land Administration with XTO Energy, a subsidiary of EXXON Mobil before she joined W Energy Software. She is a Certified Division Order Analyst and past president of her local chapter. Over the last year and a half, she has worked tirelessly with land departments at E&P companies to create a best-in-class land solution for the industry. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her husband and 2 daughters, ages 2 and 6.

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