Company story

Upgrading to a more robust expense management system

With Stephanie Ho, Senior Accountant and Lambda School

COMPANY

An online coding school with live instruction, Lambda gives learners a way to advance their careers without upfront tuition costs. Instead of taking out loans, students pay for courses with an income share agreement (ISA).

lambdaschool.com

LOCATION

California

INDUSTRY

Higher Education

EMPLOYEES

160

STARTED USING DIVVY

2019

Summary

The finance team at Lambda was frustrated by old-school systems for spend and expense management. With Divvy, they got a modern solution that makes coding expenses as innovative as their coding curriculum.

Before Divvy

  • No spending limits on corporate credit cards
  • 30 seconds to review, approve, and book every expense
  • A cumbersome process to catch errors before syncing transactions to QBO

After Divvy

  • Robust controls to prevent overspending and abuse
  • 10 seconds to process every expense (one-third the time spent previously)
  • The Divvy + QBO integration supports manual syncing for more control

The challenge

Lambda School is best known for its innovative funding solution that allows students to avoid financial risk by paying for courses after Lambda helps them land high-paying jobs. But in the business office, the Lambda finance team was frustrated by old-school systems for spend and expense management.

Stephanie Ho, senior accountant at Lambda, said that Brex, their old corporate card, gave them no way to set spending limits for individuals, which created risks for abuse and overspending. In one instance, a student who was issued a card for program meetups racked up $1,000 in unauthorized charges.

Not only did their corporate card lack controls, it also made reconciliation difficult. According to Stephanie, “Recoding departments and expenses was so cumbersome with our corporate card that I would just export transactions into Excel, fix the coding, and import it into QBO rather than use the sync function.”

Reviewing reports in Expensify, meanwhile, took so much time for managers and the finance team that they started looking for a new software solution that could help save time and frustration.

“Recoding departments and expenses was so cumbersome with our corporate card that I would just export transactions into Excel, fix the coding, and import it into QBO rather than use the sync function.”

The solution

Before joining Lambda, Stephanie learned about the Divvy spend and expense management platform while researching alternatives to Emburse, the card generation and expense management software used by her previous company.

So when Lambda needed a streamlined solution, she recommended Divvy. “I had experience with Brex and Emburse, and Divvy is way more robust,” Stephanie said. “It has better spending control without as much manual management. Plus, the platform is free, they offer great support, and are constantly adding new features.”

She said implementing Divvy was straightforward, but some employees who were used to having no controls are still getting used to spending limits. “Divvy provided really good documentation,” Stephanie said, “which I incorporated into our process instructions for clarity.”

Since making the switch, nearly everyone at Lambda uses Divvy, and the finance team doesn’t worry when they issue cards for student meetups. With Divvy, they can set spending limits, see transactions in real time, and freeze cards instantly if they see or suspect unauthorized activity.

“Divvy is way more robust. It has better spending control without as much manual management.”

The results

In addition to helping Lambda minimize risk, Divvy has also helped maximize time savings. Stephanie calculated that every Expensify transaction took about 30 seconds to process: 10 seconds for managers to review, 10 seconds for her to approve, plus 10 seconds more to book the reimbursement.

“In contrast,” she said, “every Divvy transaction takes 10 seconds total for me to review and book. There were 833 transactions on the old system in July, so potentially 4.5 hours could be saved each month just by using Divvy.”

Lambda has also improved their month-end closing process with the Divvy + QuickBooks Online integration. With Brex, transactions automatically synced to QBO, which gave the finance team no time to catch errors. Their work-around involved an extra step to fix coding in Excel. Now, the option to control the sync from Divvy to QBO allows Stephanie and her team to “make sure all transactions are properly coded before syncing, which eliminates extra work and saves time.”

And, because many employees waited to submit reimbursements in Expensify, Stephanie said that switching to Divvy—which notifies spenders to complete transactions at the point of purchase—has put an end to expenses coming in months after books were closed.

“Every Divvy transaction takes 10 seconds total for me to review and book. There were 833 transactions on the old system in July, so potentially 4.5 hours could be saved each month just by using Divvy.”

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