Size: Small Industry: Technology Applications: Sage Line 50
iPass case study
iPass is a leading provider of secure network remote access for mobile employees. Because iPass maintains relationships with a large number of access partners, their business development managers travel frequently.
Challenges faced with expense management
Wearing two hats
Paul Woffenden, an accountant in practice and a Sage business partner, introduced webexpenses to iPass.
Paul is the company’s outside accountant, but he manages many of their systems, including the processing of expenses for the iPass workforce, consisting of staff that spend a significant amount of time travelling abroad.
He knew that he had been right in recommending webexpenses to his client when individual users gave very positive feedback.
“When I propose a product to a client, I am wearing two hats. First and foremost, as an accountant I seek to recommend best practice systems that deliver data that is reliable and which interface efficiently with the client’s other systems.
“As a Sage business partner, the revenues that we can generate are well received but only of secondary importance.
“Webexpenses is a product that can deliver on both counts, and so to receive very positive feedback from the individual users of the system was an added bonus.”
Previously, iPass staff submitted expenses using a system of emailed spreadsheets. This created an enormous burden in opening spreadsheets, checking data and transferring data to the accounts system. Moreover, employees would tinker with the spreadsheet, which increased the complexity of consolidating the data and raised a significant audit issue, as a spreadsheet lacks any audit capability.
How webexpenses helped
Paul contacted webexpenses, who were able to provide an ideal solution to the iPass expenses issue.
“The process was very efficient. The sales team were able to lead me through an online demonstration over the phone. From there, I provided the data to allow webexpenses to set up a trial configuration. At the end of the trial, we amended the configuration as appropriate and rolled out to the employees.
“The whole process was very smoothly handled from beginning to end. I couldn’t have been more happy.”
Benefits to employees, line managers, the finance team and the MD
From Paul’s perspective, the benefits were immediately apparent:
“In the accounts department, the timesavings are significant, and the feedback from the individual users has only been positive. They are able to submit their expenses from anywhere, which makes their lives easier.”
Ian Taylor, a business development manager, gives the user’s perspective:
“Compared to any paper-based system, the benefits are enormous. Because there is a consistent format and because I can reach my expenses at the click of a button, I can complete an expense report in a far shorter time.
“The authorisation process is very efficient and far less cumbersome than the old system.
“From the Managing Director’s perspective, there has also been a significant improvement. Paul says:
“Previously, the MD was involved in the sign off of each and every expense report. With webexpenses, line managers approve expenses and I provide a simple consolidation of all expenses to the MD at the end of the month. It’s a much improved use of his time.”
Paul’s experience in recommending webexpenses to his client is a good example of how Sage business partners can achieve the twin objectives of improving a client’s processes and generating an additional revenue stream.