In 2008, Kaz Uyesugi was fresh out of University of California Irvine with an undergraduate degree in economics when the U.S. markets crashed. “I know the crash wasn’t due to an accounting debacle, but clearly our finance processes were broken,” remembers Kaz. “It all could have been addressed with proper accounting controls.”
This realization, in a rapidly shrinking economy, sent Kaz back to community college to gain more practical and in-demand accounting skills. In 2011, he joined Gatekeeper Systems, Inc. as an accounts payable specialist. In 2017, Gatekeeper Systems, Inc. acquired Carttronics to offer a comprehensive suite of intelligent cart solutions and loss prevention services to retailers around the globe. Kaz became part of a team charged with harmonizing and improving the two companies’ invoicing processes.
“The Carttronics group is incredibly nice and committed to their work,” said Kaz. “We were all from San Diego, all positive, dedicated people with a very real job to do.” Working to solve for questions solidified the team, which focused its efforts on learning opportunities rather than overcoming challenges. Already, the team has issued new billing standards that have reduced invoice generation time and churn while improving customer communication.
A naturally curious person, Kaz more interested in what he doesn’t understand that what he does. “I’m always interested in what makes people tick,” says Kaz. He remembers once having to attend a fishing trade show for his wife’s work. “I don’t fish, and I expected to be incredibly bored,” says Kaz. “Instead, I turned it into a game to understand why people like to fish and what grows the industry. It ended up really fun.”
This curiosity approach pushes Kaz to better understand Gatekeeper Systems’ customers. “How can I present the simplest invoice that still has enough information to move swiftly through our customer’s accounting systems?” ask Kaz. “Reaching to better understanding their invoicing exceptions has been invaluable to making process improvements.”
Kaz is also a true believer in accounting. There is no fuzzy math, just situations with not enough controls. He also uses accounting to take the ‘He Said/She Said’ tensions out of improvement conversations and to encourage solutions-oriented conversations that bring people together.
Since the merger, Kaz has also worked with Gatekeeper Systems product, operations, and customer experience teams to add value to the customer invoicing process. He sees a future where accounting technology works to further save time and bring Gatekeeper Systems’ and Carttronics’ systems together. Perhaps this is what Kaz enjoys most about his job. “I don’t get pigeonholed,” says Kaz. “I have the opportunity and flexibility to learn new things. To make things better for the customer.”