“One of the reasons I love BILL Spend & Expense is because I believe in the power of the application. When you connect the underlying card with software to manage your expenses, magic happens.” - Caleb L. Jenkins, EA, CQP, Leader of Client Accounting Services
RLJ Financial Services is a tax, accounting, and financial advisory firm in California’s Central Valley. Always striving to learn about new accounting apps, Caleb Jenkins helped implement BILL Spend & Expense, for a client. He realized it was different because—unlike other fintech apps that “don’t know what they don’t know”—the BILL Spend & Expense solution has front- and back-end data for deeper insights about incomplete transactions.
Before BILL Spend & Expense, RLJ had several challenges with their clients’ financials. Clients wanted to be more organized, but it didn’t always work out that way—their reimbursement and expense reporting processes were often messy.
There were many duplicate or missing transactions, time wasted tracking down receipts, and no controls over expenses. Staff accountants wasted time trying to figure out the details of every individual transaction. Sometimes they had to wait 30 or even 60 days for concrete spending details. And it didn’t help that their clients were using several different apps and software services to track spending, all with mediocre results.
Ultimately, this process wasted time and money, and it just wasn’t sustainable in the long run. “The problem with traditional credit card statements is that they’re so far delayed,” explained Caleb L. Jenkins, Leader of Client Accounting Services at RLJ and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. “In the modern era, we need to be able to complete things in real time to help clients make real-time, accurate business decisions—BILL Spend & Expense allows us to do that.”
“In the modern era, we need to be able to complete things in real time to help clients make real-time, accurate business decisions—BILL Spend & Expense allows us to do that.”
Early in 2017, Caleb heard about BILL Spend & Expense, a new platform for spend and expense management. At the time, he was recommending Bento for Business, a prepaid debit card, to clients who wanted corporate cards with spending limits. He said, “I added Spend & Expense to my repertoire of apps that I keep in the back of my mind for specific client needs.”
Later that year, one of Caleb’s church clients was looking for a way to simplify reimbursements. Their process involved capturing receipts with Receipt Bank, creating expense reports, publishing to BILL, getting approvals, then actually reimbursing employees and volunteers.
Caleb realized “this was a great opportunity to try Spend & Expense.” He said Spend & Expense was easy to recommend because the platform was free, and the client could issue BILL Divvy Corporate Cards to everyone who spends. Once implemented, Spend & Expense not only simplified reimbursements and expense reporting, it eliminated the need for both. As Caleb said, “That’s the beauty of Spend & Expense in a nutshell.”
Soon after his first successful client implementation of Spend & Expense, Caleb attended Scaling New Heights, an in-depth training conference for accountants, bookkeepers, and business advisors. While there, he visited the Spend & Expense booth to report his client’s success.
“They showed me what they were doing with the platform,” Caleb said, “and I just had a lightbulb. I thought, this is amazing because you own the data from beginning to end and you can do powerful things with your software. It’s like Receipt Bank combined with American Express on steroids.”
Caleb had long been looking for a solution that could make incomplete transactions visible. “The problem with an app like Receipt Bank,” he said, “is that it doesn’t know what it doesn’t know. But with Spend & Expense, the data is there on the front end because you set up your budgets and categories first and have a dashboard for immediate visibility of all spending. Then, all you need to complete the transaction is a receipt—and that’s powerful.”
Since seeing Spend & Expense in action at the conference, Caleb has become a member of the Spend & Expense Advisory Council, providing expert guidance on the product roadmap. And, in addition to using Spend & Expense to manage their own spending and expenses, RLJ has become a member of the Spend & Expense Accountant Advisor Program. “We’re working to bring clients onto the platform,” Caleb said, “because we believe Spend & Expense is a good tool for every business.”
“We’re working to bring clients on the platform because we believe BILL Spend & Expense is a good tool for every business.”
When asked about his favorite Spend & Expense feature, Caleb said, “I love automatic notifications because they immediately push the workload out to people with knowledge of each expense rather than leaving people in the back office to figure everything out. It’s now much more difficult for cardholders to make excuses about not having a receipt or details because of automatic notifications on their device.”
“The Spend & Expense app provides complete and accurate data rather than incomplete, inaccurate data that we have to spend additional time fixing.”
Another timesaver for RLJ and their clients are Spend & Expense virtual cards. When traditional credit cards are compromised, Caleb said banks sometimes allow recurring payments to continue on canceled cards. That leaves businesses with old account numbers they don’t know and can’t find. “The beautiful thing with a Spend & Expense virtual card,” he said, “is that if it gets compromised, who cares? You turn it off and get a new one. It’s a streamlined process, which saves tremendous amounts of time.”
Touting the benefits the Spend & Expense + QuickBooks Online integration, Caleb said that instead of dealing with duplicate transactions created by multiple credit card and receipt apps all publishing separately to QuickBooks, he now has a dashboard of incomplete, unsynced transactions, “so I know exactly what I need to work on.”
Beyond streamlining processes for clients, Spend & Expense has also increased awareness at RLJ about internal spending. “Because we now require receipts, we’re actively making sure transactions are legitimate,” Caleb said. “We’re also watching what we spend, which has led to conversations about what we really need to spend.”
“I love automatic notifications because they immediately push the workload out to people with knowledge of each expense rather than leaving people in the back office to figure everything out.”