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It’s the autonomy it gives employees that really counts. We’re treating them like adults.

Habito is an online mortgage broker and lender. Sourcing from a network of lenders, it developed its own platform to help borrowers get a mortgage in just a few weeks. Read how Spendesk helped Habito enhance its finance processes.









Aaron Townsend, Head of Finance


See how Spendesk makes life easier for finance teams at Habito

In the past, Habito’s finance team used to spend countless hours answering employee queries on spending and payments. With Spendesk, finance can stay focused on strategic work and keeping the company on sound financial ground. And when Habito went fully remote during the COVID-19 crisis, Spendesk was a key tool that let everyone continue to operate effectively.

Before Spendesk

Company credit cards were hard to track

Remote challenges, relying heavily on the finance team

Endless small issues handled by the finance team

No autonomy for employees who needed to spend

With Spendesk

Simple payment platform rolled out to all staff

An easy online payment process that team members love

Less day-to-day admin for the finance team, and more time for strategy

Faster employee reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses

Faster online payments

Like most companies today, Habito relies on a large range of SaaS subscriptions and other online purchases. And having a spend management tool like Spendesk makes these easy to manage.

“We use Spendesk as one of our key partners in the finance function, and particularly to help our team spend online. We also have a large-scale invoicing and PO system. But we tell our teams that, whenever they can avoid using an invoice they should, because Spendesk will be quicker and easier to manage.”

“It’s great for us, because it’s very light-touch for the finance function. The responsibility falls on the department heads and the people actually making the purchases. We just set all the controls at the beginning, and we can leave them to it.”

We’ve set up most of our SaaS subscriptions through Spendesk. And any one-off purchases are also made with Spendesk, obviously. So we try to get people onto Spendesk as much as possible. 

And the biggest benefits are for Aaron’s own role as Financial Controller. “Before, all of this was on the credit card. We had no idea who spent what, and we were constantly chasing people.” Which is still very common for businesses. But most don’t know what they’re missing.

“From a control point of view, it’s a lot better. Disposable virtual cards are great. And the subscription cards are really good from a visibility point of view. I always know which subscriptions are running, and can assign cards to different people when someone leaves, for example.” 

“It all makes it so much easier to do our jobs. When we sit down with the different department heads, it’s now so easy to point out tools they don’t need anymore, and people who no longer need access to budgets.”

Instant expense reimbursements

Habito was an early adopter of Spendesk’s employee expense reimbursements. These let employees claim out-of-pocket expenses quickly from the mobile app, and then finance teams can pay them back directly from Spendesk. 

Which cuts out unnecessary steps in a normally tedious process. “It just means that we don’t have to add expenses into our bank payment run. People can get paid a lot sooner. We do weekly payment runs, so people get paid back pretty quickly anyway. But we can pay people ad hoc - if they have a big event and a lot of expenses, we can get money to them right away. We just press a button and it goes.”

We’ve dropped Expensify as a result.”

As a modern tech company, Habito knows that new software offers better solutions for everyone. And that includes the company’s own finance team. “One of our goals as a finance team is automation. We’re trying to automate as much as possible, or find much more efficient ways of dealing with the transactional things that finance teams like us do.” 

“Normally you have to take the expense, export it, and upload it to the bank. That’s all eliminated. Once it’s approved, it’s done.”

More flexibility for remote teams

Much like companies all over the world, Habito went fully remote in March 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis. And Spendesk was a key tool that let everyone continue to operate effectively. 

“As a tech company, we’ve always been pretty remote friendly. And we’ve always been pushing Spendesk pretty heavily to our teams too, so everyone knows what it’s for and how important it is for us.”

By having a decentralized, digital spending process widely in use, not much changed for team members when they started working from home.

“The only time I ever hear about Spendesk is from people saying ‘can you add me?’ That’s it. Because it’s so simple. If people need to buy something or spend online - new SaaS products or gifts for someone - they can go ahead and do it. Finance isn’t being bugged.”

Drastic time savings for the finance team

Spendesk was built to make life easier for finance teams. And the most obvious upside comes during the financial close process. “Closing time is now much quicker. We get our flash report on day one these days. By the end of day three of the new month, we have our final numbers.”

But for Aaron, this isn’t where the true value comes from. “The biggest saving isn’t necessarily during the close. Spendesk definitely does help during this period, of course. But for me, it’s the fact that we’re not constantly having to answer queries around spending

“We used to use shared credit cards. And that always used to mean people coming and asking me for the shared credit card. I honestly believe that I save a couple of days a month from not having to respond to queries about payments, spending, or who’s responsible for each cost. People can now just look it up themselves.” 

The administrative burden on finance teams is hard to overstate. They spend days every month fielding questions and giving advice to team members who don’t understand the ins and outs. But Aaron’s team can now focus on providing strategic advice and keeping the company on sound financial ground. 

“It’s the autonomy that it gives employees that really counts. We’re treating them like adults - they know how to use a card and how to spend. In that sense, we’re saving a few days every month because I don’t have to answer all of those questions. They have the power to spend - within the sensible limits we impose.” 

Integrations are an added bonus

Spendesk gives companies all the tools they need to spend smarter. But it also connects to other common workplace software, to help finance teams work smoothly with other business units. 

“The integration with Slack is really handy. If someone needs approval because they’re over a certain amount, that comes over Slack and we can approve it from wherever we are. So that’s another major saving on a day-to-day tactical level.” 

And the same goes for your other finance tools. “We use Netsuite, which is a pretty huge system. We had a lot of help from the Spendesk team getting the two tools to work together. And now that it’s up and running, everything is very quick and easy. We have the template down and it’s working well.”

I’m the Financial Controller at Habito. I helped build out the finance function from the beginning. I look after the day-to-day financial transactions, control, and budget forecasts. I have a team of two other people - a finance manager and an assistant accountant.

We use Spendesk as one of our key partners in the finance function, and particularly to help our team spend online. Everyone likes it, because they have full autonomy to spend what needs to be spent.

Aaron TownsendHead of Finance

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