“BILL Spend & Expense is a win-win on both sides: accounting and the end user.”
Before Maverick Helicopters became one of the largest tourism-based companies in the nation, it was a husband-and-wife-run company at their kitchen table. Greg and Brenda Rochna started Maverick Helicopters in 1995 with only one helicopter and a vision. Greg, a former military pilot, flew helicopters in the Vietnam war, and saw an opportunity in the aviation tourism industry—creating a VIP experience for everyone.
“Our pilots are not just pilots, they’re entertainers, they’re tour guides, they’re concierge, they’re all of this stuff,” explains Bryan Kroten, the VP of Marketing at Maverick Helicopters. “Greg wanted that connection between the pilot and the guests,” says Kroten, “And I think what he did was change our industry to become more customer service oriented.”
The company has since grown into one of the world’s largest tourism-based companies with 46 helicopters traveling throughout Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. From tours through the Grand Canyon to flying over volcanoes in Maui, Maverick Helicopters is a unique company with a unique way of managing their finances.
When Jessica Zoanni, Controller at Maverick Helicopters, joined the company back in 2013, she immediately realized how much their accounting process needed help. “As a controller, I have to be in so many different areas,” Zoanni describes, “So I can’t always just zero in and focus on one particular aspect of accounting, right?”
Spend management was particularly challenging. “We did not have one way to manage our expenses,” Kroten says. “We had many different ways, which I know was a pain point for accounting.” Every employee had their own preference when it came to managing their expenses. Details Kroten, “We had some people that used their personal cards and expensed it back. We had some people that had business credit cards.”
Kroten, who manages different departments across locations, used an Excel spreadsheet to track every expense and then attached the corresponding receipts. That is, if they still had the receipts. “It was really a loss of labor,” Kroten explains, ”Because it was manual for me as a user, and it was manual for accounting to enter the data.”
That’s when Maverick Helicopters knew it was time to find a more streamlined and modern way to manage all their spending and expenses. They welcomed BILL Spend & Expense on board in 2022.
“BILL Spend & Expense has revolutionized and modernized our flow.”
“I oversee multiple locations on different budgets,” Kroten says, “So the visual narrative of seeing what other people are doing has really helped me.” BILL Spend & Expense not only gives insights into real-time spending, but can help gauge future trends when cash flow may not be high.
“ BILL Spend & Expense has helped me understand the amount going out,”Kroten describes, “One department is our gift shop, and we do a lot of ordering, and the ordering is not on a regular basis. So I’ve been able to understand the flow more by seeing every vendor transaction as it hits our account.”
Kroten’s marketing budget has many recurring monthly charges. The ability to create BILL virtual cards for every vendor has vastly simplified recurring spend. And it’s easy to set virtual cards to draw from the right department budget with the right expense code. Explains Kroten, “We’re advertising in Sports Illustrated every month and we have a 12 month contract. I create a unique number for that client and that way we always know what is spent.”
“My team just loves BILL Spend & Expense. We used to wait until the end of each month to gather the charges because it took so much time gathering the spreadsheets, charges, and receipts. Now they have the process down.”
Thanks to BILL Spend & Expense, Zoanni and her accounting team no longer have to worry about time wasting processes. Before BILL Spend & Expense, they were waiting for all the expenses to trickle in each month from the credit cards and personal expenses. “Before BILL Spend & Expense, we were waiting for the receipts, we were waiting on people who were late sending invoices,” Zoanni describes. She said that most often, employees just wouldn’t send in their expenses because they were never notified to do so.
Because of this, Zoanni’s team would spend around 50 hours a week trying to reconcile and track down all the expenses that came in. Now with BILL Spend & Expense on board, they’ve taken their reconciliation process down to 8 hours a week—getting financials in faster and helicopters off the ground. “Everything is flowing,” she says, “The users seem happy.”
Best of all, with BILL Spend & Expense’s automated text and email messages, employees never miss a chance to get their expenses and receipts in. “It’s so dummy proof,” said Kroten. “You don’t forget. You are at lunch taking out a client, you take a picture of the receipt, you get back to the office, you put it in in 12 seconds, and you’re done.”
“Ultimately, what made us switch to BILL Spend & Expense was you guys did offer the best reward percentage. You don’t realize how much you can gain a month just by managing your spending!”
Zoanni’s favorite part of BILL Spend & Expense? The rewards. She said their old credit card would give some benefits in terms of spending, but there was nothing worth the headaches it caused. If you ask Kroten, “BILL Spend & Expense is a win-win on both sides: accounting and the end user.” As Zoanni explains, “We all have jobs to do and everyone is constantly trying to meet a deadline. BILL Spend & Expense is the tool we need to streamline spend across the company.”
Thanks to BILL Spend & Expense, everyone at the company can focus on their customers—ensuring that every customer feels like VIPs on every Maverick Helicopters flight.