See how Koru Kids transformed their finance system with Spendesk
Prior to Spendesk, Koru Kids was using a number of different systems to handle various parts of the accounts payable process, but many of them focused only on functionality, not usability. Spendesk was a comprehensive solution that solved the pain points of finance users approving purchases, as well as non-finance team members who spend on the daily.
Inefficient management of company spending
Trouble tracking payments and subscriptions with company credit cards
Hard to analyze suppliers for online payments
Struggle to integrate purchases easily into Xero
An all-in-one spend management solution to handle payments in one place
Easy-to-use virtual cards for subscription and one-off purchases
Accounting automation that saves time and energy
High-functioning Xero integration for quicker accounting
Scalable spend management built for finance teams
Like most successful startups, Koru Kids needs systems that help it grow today, and will keep paying dividends tomorrow. Scalability is crucial.
“For anyone in finance, it’s critical to ensure that processes are set up to scale with the business. It can very quickly get out of hand and then you're stuck with a mess, at a time when the company is moving too fast to deal with that.”
And while Koru Kids had some modern tools in place when Dana joined (in August 2019), at the pace the company was growing she felt that those tools would soon fail to meet requirements.
“We were using a number of different systems to handle various parts of the accounts payable process. We used Pleo for our corporate cards, Expensify for expense reimbursements and ApprovalMax for invoice management. I didn't like Pleo as a tool for finance. While it had non-finance employees front of mind - people who are actively using the cards - there was quite a gap when it came to finance teams and how it fit in with our processes.
“So I set about looking for a replacement, and came across Spendesk.”
“We started off using Spendesk just for the corporate card elements - the virtual and physical cards. I was so pleased with the system that soon after I switched on the expense reimbursement as well. Spendesk really is a one-stop shop, and my goal is to eventually use it this way. But I’ve been doing that gradually as I continue to build out the finance function.
“Next step is to turn on the invoice management feature as well, which I’m really excited about as right now that’s quite a manual, cumbersome process.”
Smooth subscription management
Despite having other finance tools in its chest, Koru Kids used to handle subscriptions the old fashioned way. “We had Pleo, but most of our subscriptions were actually on one or two corporate cards owned by the CEO and the COO. So it meant that we had all these charges coming through in Xero, and it was difficult to trace where each of those were coming from.
“And then if you needed to update or even use a card for a subscription, you'd have to chase down the CEO and CEO of the company, who are obviously very busy. Plus, it's a bit risky just sharing that card around.”
This is precisely the situation that Spendesk was first created to avoid. Shared company cards are difficult to manage, tedious, and a genuine security risk.
“We use Spendesk now for our subscriptions. Someone requests a card and then can easily attach that to the subscription.” Which means unique card details for every subscription, and purchases assigned to the right team member and budget.
“For me, it's really great because now I have visibility of all those subscriptions. And when we have an employee leave - as happened recently - it was so easy to just change ownership of that subscription. I hadn't even discovered that feature yet, but it was really intuitive.
“So it's not just about the employees being able to get cards for subscriptions. The focus is on the subscription itself now, and then you can just change the owner whenever you need to. It makes subscription management incredibly simple.”
Fast employee reimbursements
Despite having physical and virtual cards, there are still occasions when employees need to spend their own money. In these cases, it’s only right that they’re paid back quickly and in full.
Spendesk lets employees log expenses, submit receipts immediately, and get reimbursed faster than ever. “It’s really straightforward and fast for those team members. Someone has an expense, so they'll throw that into Spendesk and I can get that reimbursed right away.”
But more importantly, Spendesk makes out-of-pocket expenses a rare occurrence. “We used to have a lot more of that because we didn't want to get too many Pleo cards, and it was difficult to get hold of our main business account cards.”
“But now, people don't need to be out of pocket. We've got a system that allows them to very easily request the card and get that approval. The speed of that means they don't actually need to use their own money. Because it’s really quick to get company money when they need it.”
Dynamic Xero accounting integration
Because Koru Kids already had some modern expense tools in place, accounting was semi-automated when Dana arrived. But there was still plenty of admin to be done.
“Payments would come directly into Xero. But they weren’t formatted the way we needed them. One of the key reasons also that I wanted to move away from Pleo was the way that supplier names integrated with Xero - the supplier name was a Pleo reference rather than the supplier itself.
“If I was trying to do a supplier analysis and see how much we spent on Amazon, for example, we'd have some charges come through our Barclays card and some go through Pleo, but the Pleo ones wouldn't have the Amazon reference in the same reference field as where you'd expect it in Xero.”
“This made it very difficult to do supplier analysis. Whereas Spendesk captures it and I don’t have to make any changes. It’s all there, ready to analyze. And that makes it much easier.”
“Both from Xero to Spendesk and vice versa, that integration is really smooth.”
Finance tools built for finance first
When Dana’s choosing tools and software for her team, the way they’re designed is critical. “I've worked in finance for 15 years. So much of our time is spent on data manipulation - taking data from systems and then reconfiguring that to put it in the way that you want to see it.”
“I feel like a lot of finance systems just focus on the functionality but not so much the usability. In finance, you can't have something that doesn't work, that doesn't bring the numbers across. You can't have any gaps. Most systems get that right but that’s where they stop.”
“The reason I love Spendesk is that it gets the functionality right, but it’s also got usability. It makes the whole process painless and actually saves you time. It takes away the non-value-add activities and just slots in seamlessly. Spendesk hasn’t just thought about the functionality, but also about how to reduce the work here or make this no work at all.
“It's operating away in the background and you don't even notice it there.”
Non-finance employees are happy, too
Solutions that work for finance teams are no good if the rest of the company hates them. Luckily, that hasn’t been the experience at Koru Kids.
“I am the main financial user. So all the feedback I've had other than myself, is from non-finance users. Without even asking them for their opinions, they’ve come to me on their own to say ‘by the way, this thing is amazing. It just blew my mind.’ It’s all been super positive feedback.
“It's not just addressing the pain points of finance users, it's also addressing the pain points of non-finance users. For them, the pain point is speed and approvals. Wanting to get a marketing campaign up and running, and then having to wait because they haven't got the approval yet, or it hasn't been paid yet. So this just lets them get on with their job.
“It enables and empowers them, but also makes that process as unobtrusive as possible Because these are non-finance people - they don't want to deal with numbers and finance, they just want to do their job. So they've all been really, really positive about it.”
Support and communication is the icing on the cake
From experience, Dana knows that it’s not always easy to get the help and support you need from a software provider. But both for product improvements and technical support, she’s loved the partnership with Spendesk.
“With some companies, it feels like they're just so reluctant to make your life easier. In five years’ time they might address something that you raised five years ago.
“But Spendesk has the user front-of-mind, and I know that any issue I raise is going to be addressed. I can actually talk to someone, and they’re going to listen and help me sort out any problems I have.”