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Aunt Flow promotes period equity with help from BILL AP automation

Customer Stories >

Aunt Flow promotes period equity with help from BILL AP automation

Toilet paper is offered for free. Why aren’t pads and tampons? That’s the guiding question that drives Aunt Flow, a WBENC-certified women-owned company based in Columbus, Ohio. Since its founding in 2016, Aunt Flow has been committed to ensuring that every person has access to period products.

But being at the vanguard of the menstrual movement and stocking thousands of bathrooms from universities to corporate offices to K-12 schools isn’t easy. That’s why Aunt Flow is always seeking innovative solutions to big problems.

When CEO and founder, Claire Coder, got her period in public without the supplies she needed, she decided to launch Aunt Flow. When the company saw the need to improve old-fashioned, wall-mounted period product dispensers, they designed 3 (soon to be 4!) patent-pending models that can hold up to 5x the amount of organic, high-quality period products with half the reload time. When they saw the impact of period inequity for menstruators, they launched a donation program to address and alleviate period poverty.

And when Aunt Flow wanted to streamline their vendor payments process, they implemented BILL finance automation.

Transforming AP from a pain point to a seamless process

Director of Finance Pete Swanson is relatively new to Aunt Flow and the only dedicated in-house finance person. While he joined after the company implemented BILL in March 2020, he knows from previous companies what the impact of “before and after” BILL looks like.

Says Swanson: “When I implemented BILL at my previous company, we went from manually writing paper checks and getting people to physically initial invoices to streamlining the whole process through BILL.

Aunt Flow products
“Centralizing and digitizing all payments in one place with BILL transforms accounts payable from a pain point to a seamless process.” — Pete Swanson, Director of Finance, Aunt Flow

The impact of that shift is big, especially for a small finance team. Continues Swanson, “When you’re dealing with paper invoices, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle, and it requires a lot more hours and face-to-face to figure out payments. Centralizing and digitizing all payments in one place with BILL transforms accounts payable from a pain point to a seamless process.”

BILL simplifies international payments, vendor management, and invoice entry

As a manufacturing and retail business, most of Aunt Flow’s dollars go towards paying for the manufacture of their dispensers and inventory, with additional payments for research, design, and general operating expenses including a number of marketing partners.

The simplicity of BILL international payments functioning through the same system and process as domestic payments makes it easy to pay these international vendors.

And managing vendors for the marketing budget is simple as well. According to Sarah Howard, Marketing Director at Aunt Flow, “Marketing is an important budget for the company, and BILL makes it easy for us to manage that. Setting up payments for marketing expenses has been so painless with BILL and the BILL interface is very user-friendly. Now I don’t have to be the middle person confirming payments. Partnering with BILL enables us to easily make payments associated with important marketing events like trade shows and conferences.”

The Aunt Flow team also appreciates BILL’s artificial intelligence (AI) for repeated vendor payments. Says Swanson, “BILL’s AI remembers vendors, general ledger accounts, and approvers, and auto-populates this info so that we don’t have to manually enter them.”

Aunt Flow product dispenser

Aunt Flow saves time and gains transparency into the payment process

As for how much time Aunt Flow saves with BILL? “It’s hard to put an exact number to quantify the efficiencies gained on BILL,” says Swanson.

“Removing manual processes with BILL basically just frees up everybody’s time, and gives the finance team—and everyone involved in the payment process—time back to work on more strategic and high-value initiatives. From budgeting to forecasting to financial strategy like structuring the sales team to generate revenue in the most efficient way possible and using analytics to optimize marketing spend.”

"Removing manual processes with BILL basically just frees up everybody’s time to work on more strategic initiatives.” — Pete Swanson, Director of Finance, Aunt Flow

BILL finance automation has also led to greater visibility and transparency. “I love how BILL enables us to have a dialogue and greater transparency around payments,” says Swanson. “It’s a really helpful feature that I can add comments right on the invoice page to ask questions like ‘What are we using this vendor for?’”

Working towards greater collaboration and greater efficiency with BILL and NetSuite

For the Chief of Staff at Aunt Flow, the benefits of BILL go beyond payments. BILL’s easy to read dashboard lets the team track payments in real time which helps make sure that everyone is accountable for timely payments. The best thing about BILL? It builds in opportunities for cross-functional conversation and collaboration.

The solution also helped support the company mandate to “wrangle financials in a way that made sense and was reportable.”

When the team recently transitioned from QuickBooks to NetSuite, the transition to BILL was seamless and there was no big disruption to how the company processes their AP through BILL with NetSuite.

The Netsuite implementation was on time, but there are still some things to iron out—though all the resulting hiccups are manageable. Thanks to the BILL NetSuite integration, AP processing is seamless and not on the team’s list of things to fix.

Aunt Flow helping people. Period.

Core to Aunt Flow’s mission is their donation program—because the ability to access period products isn’t always a question of availability; it’s also a question of cost. Period poverty is a systemic issue. Menstrual products aren’t covered by food stamps or WIC. And the inability to afford period products particularly impacts young people and people in marginalized communities.

Through their donation program, Aunt Flow supports organizations that directly confront that issue. For every 10 tampons or pads Aunt Flow sells, they donate one to someone in need. In 2022, this added up to over 1,600,000 period products donated.

They recently launched their Model O dispenser, and are partnering with more advocates including student athletes to bring more period equity into educational spaces.

Continued automation is the plan for the future of operations at Aunt Flow. Now that NetSuite and BILL are in place, the team is moving on to phase two to automate other internal procedures, from sales to order fulfillment, payroll, and HR. According to their Chief of Staff, “There are so many things in our day-to-day life that automation can make easier like how BILL has simplified our AP process. Now we just need to build new habits and familiarity.”

To fulfill their meaningful mission, the Aunt Flow team believes that they will only be as effective as they want to be if they’re working together, communication is strong, and they’re operating consistently with good values. In short, “Ultimately big gains come from change. Adopting BILL and transitioning to NetSuite have led to valuable learning and improvements that are going to continue to move Aunt Flow forward.”

The Aunt Flow team

Aunt Flow ensures everyone has access to period products, offering the most efficient solution to provide organic, high-quality period products for free to employees, students, and guests.




Need for a time-saving financial automation solution to streamline their AP as they scaled from QuickBooks to NetSuite.



Accounting software integration



With BILL finance automation combined with its seamless integration with NetSuite, Aunt Flow has achieved greater operational efficiencies, with less time spent on manual tasks and more time to devote to cross-functional collaboration and mission-critical tasks.

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