Zola Scales Payment Operations and Invoice Processing

  • Automated bill processing and payments for 600,000+ invoices annually
  • Accelerated monthly close without hiring additional AP staff
  • Future-proofed financial operations for managing millions of invoices and payments on a global scale

HQ New York, NY
Customer Since 2018
Industry eCommerce


“Our staff doesn’t have to spend all day living in Tipalti. We can better allocate our time supporting the business as opposed to entering and coding invoices.”
—Shayon Donaldson, Accounts Payable Manager, Zola

Zola is reinventing the wedding planning and registry experience. The eCommerce company is transforming how couples and guests share, buy, and ship wedding gifts, from blenders to travel packages and honeymoon funds. And Zola provides a free suite of planning tools to remove the stress of planning for the big day.

However, the accounts payable workload was anything but stress-free for the finance team as Zola began to grow.

According to Zola accounts payables manager Shayon Donaldson,

“Last year, we processed more than 600,000 invoices. And this year, volumes are increasing, so being able to keep up with this workload without adding head count was the need of the business. We needed to build a scaleable infrastructure to avoid having to hire a large AP staff.”

At first, Zola tried to streamline its payment operations with Bill.com. But as payments were doubling, they soon found themselves spending too much time every week working through invoice approvals and making payments.

Zola made the decision to implement the Tipalti platform for automating its end-to-end AP workflow. This solution would also make it easy for vendors to onboard with Zola as well as give them options for how they would be paid. “Our vendors are the heart of our business. The home goods market is a word-of-mouth industry. It’s really important for us to have great relationships with our vendors, because that can make or break references to other new vendors that we want to work with,” said Donaldson.

Today when a product is purchased on Zola.com, Zola has this product shipped by the vendor, and the vendor submits an invoice back to Zola either via email or, more often, via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) using SPS Commerce. Either way, automated invoice processing with Tipalti saves the Zola team a tremendous amount of time.

“Our staff doesn’t have to spend all day living in Tipalti. We can better allocate our time supporting the business as opposed to entering and coding invoices.”
Shayon Donaldson, Accounts Payable Manager, Zola

As Donaldson explained, “With Tipalti OCR (optical character recognition), we can automatically fill out the needed invoice data including date, invoice number, and total amount; and if necessary, we can code it to wherever it should be coded to.” EDI can contain hundreds or thousands of invoices at a time, and when Zola’s vendors submit invoices using this method, they’re read and processed automatically with Tipalti.

When closing the books each month, Zola’s AP team runs payment reconciliation reporting from Tipalti that provides summary and detail-level payments information that is input into Intacct. Zola has plans to integrate its Tipalti software directly with Intacct in the near future.

The biggest return on investment (ROI) delivered from Zola’s modernized AP automation platform has been avoiding the high cost of hiring more people to handle the workload. According to Flora-Rica Abiva, who leads Zola accounting, “Without Tipalti, we’d have 10 people in AP as opposed to the two people we have right now. And we can still close on the second day of the month.”