Athennian is a SaaS startup with a mission to make work easier for paralegals, law clerks, lawyers, tax professionals, and finance teams – with software that manages documents and legal entities all in the cloud. With a lean finance team and rapid employee growth this past year, Athennian knew they needed to level up their internal spend and expense management process; that’s when they found Float. We sat down with Athennian’s Director of Finance, Zach Hill and Junior Accountant, Trevor Aasen to learn how Float is changing things at their startup for the better. 

Q1: How long have you been using Float and why did you decide to choose us? 

We’ve been using Float since September 2021. We had always been interested in virtual cards as a way to manage spend but there weren’t really any solutions available in Canada. We found Float and it was everything we needed and more. Prior to Float, we had difficulties categorising purchases and identifying spenders on many of the expenses coming through our corporate card. As the company continued to grow and the volume of transactions continued to increase, old processes were no longer sustainable. 

“Float’s functionality met all of our needs for a spending software. They make it easy to set up and issue cards, automate approvals and manage transactions across all departments.”

Our global headquarters is in Calgary and we have employees scattered across North America. We believe it’s important for everyone to be able to travel and come together as one team and this is a major reason why we were so eager to partner with Float to help manage that category of expenses.

Q2: What did company spending and expense management look like at your company before Float? 

Super manual is the best way to describe our old way of doing things. Our processes lacked structure and expenses didn’t always have a clear paper trail. With a fast-growing team, it became increasingly difficult to categorize our transactions and identify spenders.

Managing expenses became more onerous as our team grew, particularly as a company that has folks travelling from different parts of the continent. We had credit cards from traditional Canadian banks and different employees would use those cards to make business purchases. The problem was that it wasn’t always crystal clear where to code those purchases and our finance team had to move mountains to figure everything out, while getting a hold of receipts at the same time. 

Working with Float has changed things immensely for us. Today over 50% of our SaaS subscriptions have their own designated Float card; we know exactly what the subscription is for and which department owns the subscription. We can also issue corporate cards easily for individual employees so they can make business purchases directly on their own card, whether they’re travelling or not. 

Q3: What were your biggest pain points?

Zach: A significant portion of our month-end process used to involve the finance team tracking down receipts and trying to understand the nature of the expenses. Without a scaleable way to accurately code expenses, putting together departmental forecasts required a significant lift. Float has unlocked so much additional time for the team around month-end. Even as the company has nearly doubled in size since we engaged with Float, Trevor can now independently process the company’s expenses in less time, while I have significantly more visibility and insight into departmental expenses which drives an effective forecasting function.

In March 2022, Athennian closed its Series B funding round to secure $42 million of funding to take the company to its next growth stage. Due diligence for the funding round required us to provide potential investors with SaaS financial metrics and other detailed financial reporting.  Float allows us to easily capture these metrics with accuracy, while giving us the confidence to share them with potential investors to accelerate our growth.

Q4: What particular features were the most useful to your team? 

“The receipt capture feature has played a big role in improving receipt compliance to close to 100% and enhancing the overall accuracy of our accounting.”

Before Float, we maintained all of our merchant, account and department relationships in an Excel spreadsheet that we had to refer back to everytime we posted a transaction. We also had people sending JPEG files of their receipts – not a scalable process to say the least. When team members found out they could automatically submit receipts by sending in pictures, it was such a game changer! Float also automatically codes our receipts by merchants, accounts and tax codes, making the process even more efficient and significantly improving the employee experience.

“We’ve been able to reduce our number of manual expense reports by 80% even with our company headcount growing nearly 40%.”

Being able to issue individual cards for specific spend categories has also been a huge success for us. As mentioned, business travel is a big one for us. Now that travel restrictions are easing and people are out and about, we have had employees venturing off site and attending conferences in Las Vegas and New York. With Float, we were able to issue our employees physical cards to book their accommodations and flight tickets, as well as any other business-related purchases during their trip. 

Our team also loves the flexibility of having SaaS subscriptions on separate cards. It provides visibility on categorisation and is much cleaner to wind up one card when we want to close off a particular software subscription. Previously, we had all of our SaaS subscriptions on two credit cards which was difficult to manage, and it wasn’t always clear which employee owned the software relationship. Because so many vendors were mapped to only two cards, simply cancelling a card after terminating a specific vendor contract wasn’t possible. 

Q5: What is the best part about working with Float?

Athennian prides itself on being a company of builders, learners, and creatives, and working with Float has unlocked so much more capacity for us to do those things as a team. 

About Athennian Athennian is a modern, cloud-based business entity management platform that powers legal, finance, and tax professionals to seamlessly manage and automate corporate entities. As an innovative business solution disrupting one segment of the business world, Athennian is helping clients reduce expenses and increase efficiency while enabling them to be transaction, audit, and compliance-ready at a moment’s notice. Business professionals use Athennian to automate workflows for ownership, governance, tax, and corporate compliance. Athennian’s headquarters is based in Calgary and has a second office in Toronto, with additional team members across the U.S. To learn more, please visit www.Athennian.com.

Written by

Amrita Gurney

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