In today’s disruptive markets, companies need innovators. But as they scramble to hire the best and the brightest, research shows that might not be the right approach. In study after study, grit wins out over talent and IQ when it comes to innovation and solving tough problems.
That’s exactly what Galileo Learning is out to teach America’s kids one summer at a time: how to innovate — successfully and sustainably — by collaborating, overcoming setbacks, and sticking with it.
The results from a study conducted by the AAALab at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education showed that kids who attended Galileo camps tend to respond better in the face of failure, sharing their ideas, and persevering when they encounter tough design tasks.
When Galileo Learning needed some innovation of its own to overhaul a time-consuming accounts payable (AP) system, Accounting Specialist Amy Bennett and the team turned to BILL.
Today, Galileo Learning runs summer camps across more than 70 sites in Northern and Southern California, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and Washington D.C. That translates into thousands of summer staffers and enough supplies — from saw horses to paint brushes — to serve over 225,000 campers since the program was founded in 2002.
The procurement happens all year in preparation for the summer programming, and the Finance team has to pay for it all without missing a beat. They manage an average of over 50 invoices per week during peak times.
According to Bennett, “When we were dealing with a lower volume of payments, we had a ‘digital process,’ but really there was still a lot of manual work. It was manageable, but tedious.” She goes on to describe two iterations of this process. “We would fill out an Excel form, print it, then walk it over to the Finance team. The second iteration was that employees would fill out a Google form that submitted the request electronically for Finance to process.”
Bennett says, “Before BILL we were spending more than 20-25 hours a week just writing checks and managing our essential AP functions. We needed a way to pay vendors faster."
“Before BILL, we were spending 20-25 hours a week just writing checks and managing our essential AP functions. We needed a way to pay vendors faster.” — Amy Bennett, Accounting Specialist, Galileo Learning
“Manual back-office systems just aren’t scalable,” she says. “But when you’re growing, it’s amazing how quickly that reality can sneak up on you. That’s why we went looking for BILL.”
When the Galileo Learning Finance team went “on the road” to evaluate AP automation vendors, the BILL interface stood out. Bennett says, “BILL was the most user-friendly AP solution we encountered. We could see that BILL was going to meet our needs, and it synced with our accounting software, Sage Intacct.”
But the team wasn’t about to make their final decision without taking a closer look at each of the AP automation systems they were considering. When they did, Bennett says, the choice was even clearer.
“BILL really delivered. Other software claimed to make invoices easy to enter, but when we dug into the processes and looked at them, they were outdated and more manual. Especially for some of the areas we were trying to make more efficient.”
“BILL really delivered. Other software claimed to make invoices easy to enter, but when we dug into the processes and looked at them, they were outdated and more manual.” — Amy Bennett, Accounting Specialist, Galileo Learning
When Galileo Learning implemented BILL, the time savings were immediate.
According to Bennett, “BILL’s invoice entry has been great. The smart entry provided by BILL’s AI has been a huge time saver. When I think about what I used to do—converting data from a spreadsheet, double-checking everything manually, importing it into Intacct… Now, I just look at the bill data for a few seconds, click a few places, and I’m done. And the whole process is in one system.”
Because Galileo Learning has such a wide range of invoices, from crayon purchases to advertising agency retainers, the Finance team assigns approval rules for different levels of spending. But that made the manual system even more complicated.
“A huge push for moving to AP automation was our need to gather approvals,” says Bennett. “With BILL, invoices are routed to the right people automatically. I can even tag people with questions. I really like that everything’s in one record. And it’s all documented in an audit trail. Between entry and approvals, the time savings from BILL have been significant.”
“Between entry and approvals, the time savings from BILL have been significant.” — Amy Bennett, Accounting Specialist, Galileo Learning
As Galileo Learning continues to expand into new territories, it is also extending its reach with the mission of making these innovation programs accessible to as many students as possible.
“It’s exciting to see all the initiatives we have bundled under our mission of ‘Innovation for All,’” Bennett says. “Scholarships. Nonprofit partnerships. School collaborations to provide aid-based enrichment for low-income students. DEI initiatives for the company and for our campers. I love seeing it all come together.”
Bennett is thrilled by the programs, she says, but not at all surprised.
“Galileo just has that kind of working environment. That kind of culture. We have a really caring, interesting, open work environment where you actually talk to everyone. People are genuinely friendly.”
And BILL is walking that walk right alongside Galileo Learning. Bennett says, “Looking to the future and how we want to continue to grow, we knew we needed a long-term AP solution. BILL is that solution.”