Customer Stories

Clif Family: Sustainability for People, Products, Planet!

When you think “green” companies—those committed to creating sustainable products and eco-friendly operations—the Clif brand has earned its place at the top of the list. The company’s founders, Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, have been passionate about creating better food, produced in a better way, from the start.

The Clif story began nearly three decades ago after a long, leisurely bike ride. At the end of that ride, and after consuming a fair share of subpar energy bars, Clif’s founders decided to make their mark in the sustainable food space. The result was the popular Clif Bar, and now, years later, Clif Family Winery & Farm (Clif Family).

Still fueled with the same passion for producing quality products, Clif Family offers delicious, organically based small-batch wine and foods. In fact, the private-owned company produces wines, artisan foods, gift sets, and more. And all while maintaining a fervent dedication to land stewardship, creating a healthy work culture, and offering exceptional service to the broad community.

Linzi Gay, General Manager of Clif Family Winery & Farm, shares the same fervor for running a sustainable operation. “We live by our five aspirations, which include sustaining our business, our brand, our people, our community, and our planet. We believe that all five must always be in balance.”

Bill.com helps Clif Family maintain balance across aspirations by eliminating mundane tasks for staff and virtually eliminating paper waste for the good of all—planet, people, and the community.

Always asking: How can we do more? And how Bill.com helped…

According to Linzi Gay, the company operates within a perpetual cycle of improvement. “We are always looking for ways to do things better. This includes identifying new opportunities to support our community, enhancing the work environment for our employees, and doing our part to have a positive impact on our planet.”

In a constant quest for sustainability, the Clif Family team is always asking “How can we do more?” Among the company’s many eco-conscious initiatives, “doing more” includes encouraging employees to bike, walk, or carpool to work; sourcing more sustainable packaging; creating a better composting program; and reducing office paper waste.

While Bill.com can’t help with Clif Family’s composting program, adopting the cloud-based solution proved a big win for the company in relation to mitigating paper refuse. Before Bill.com, the accounts payable process was slow, cumbersome, and paper-waste-heavy.

Linzi Gay explained the old way of doing business: “We would print every invoice, put them in a blue folder, and then distribute them through the office to get signatures. We would even print out every bank statement, which ended up being a pretty thick stack of paper.”

Today, Clif Family follows an end-to-end digital accounts payable (AP) workflow, which has all but eliminated paper waste associated with accounting. Seamless integration with Expensify has enabled the company to fully digitize the reimbursement process as well—with everything running through Bill.com.

“One of our goals is zero waste as a business, so anything we can do to meet that goal we are going to do,” said Gay. “Bill.com turbo-boosted this initiative. It significantly reduced the amount of paper in the office immediately.”

Bill.com has also saved Gay from the tedious task of signing every check manually. In the pre-Bill.com days, she had to be in the office to sign checks or they would sit stagnant until she returned.

“If I was out of the office, checks wouldn’t get signed. And as a small business, we didn’t have the flexibility to have multiple signers on staff. Also, working remotely during the pandemic would have been impossible without Bill.com.” Gay added:

“Overall, I would estimate that Bill.com has increased efficiency in our office by 20%, and personally saved me a significant amount of time.”

Clif Family’s Senior Accountant, Debbie Bawden, agreed. She loves how the time savings help support business sustainability. Bawden stated:

“Bill.com has made every aspect of AP management significantly more efficient. These process improvements have easily freed up 2-3 hours a day, allowing us to reallocate our finite resources to other critical tasks that help take Clif Family Winery to the next level. This includes having more time to run detailed reports, review the numbers carefully, and give accurate analysis to upper management to make informed, profitable decisions.”

Bawden loves how easy Bill.com is to use because virtually anyone can get up and running quickly whether they’re an accountant or not.

And then there’s the mobile app…

The mobile app has also significantly boosted productivity and reduced paper waste. For Laura Barrett, a Clif Family winemaker, being out in the fields is a regular part of her day. The app allows her to easily approve bills and quickly look up data—no printing necessary.

“I can be in the field, the cellar, or the winery and approve a bill. It’s all so accessible from phone, tablet, or laptop. Bill.com is also a great resource for me. If I need to know how much we paid for an item last year, I can quickly pull it up.”

Reducing fraud; yet another perk…

And finally, the Bill.com platform has helped the company put proper checks and balances in place—reducing human error and safeguarding against fraud. Gay recalled the email scam that triggered the company’s transition from outdated manual processes to Bill.com.

“It was one of those situations where the email came in and appeared to be from a known source. It was only a small amount of money that was paid, but it was fraud nonetheless. We decided right then that we needed to review our entire system and put the right protocols in place,” said Gay.

Clif Family turned to their long-time accounting and finance consultant, who immediately recommended Bill.com.

“We didn’t have to mull it over. We knew we needed to make this change, and we trusted our consultant,” said Gay. “We also heard nothing but great things about Bill.com from other users.”

Sustainability now and forever

At the end of the day, it’s all about sustainability for Clif Family Winery and Farms—now and forever.

The move to a digital, real-time AP environment has not only made life easier for Clif Family team members but has also enabled them to reallocate “found” time to their ever-growing list of passion projects. And that’s everything from a better composting program and sustainable packaging to producing good, honest wine and food.

“Bill.com was central in helping us meet our goal of reducing paper waste,” said Gay. “That led to incredible time savings. And we use this time to ensure we consistently live up to our five aspirations: sustaining our business, our brand, our people, our community, and our planet.”

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