Brooks Running used Soldo to replace their paper-based expense system, empowering their people on the road while giving their finance team more control and visibility over spending.
Digital receipt management
Mobile-first travel & entertainment solution
In 1914, when Brooks got started, they made ballet slippers and bathing shoes in the US. Today, they’re known as Brooks Running, and their running gear is enjoyed in more than 50 countries. They run their EMEA operations from their Amsterdam headquarters, and have offices in seven European countries – all using Soldo. Here’s how Soldo helps them stay ahead.
The finance team at Brooks’ Amsterdam HQ were looking for a way to simplify their employee spending and claims processes. They needed to move away from outdated paper-based systems, out-of-pocket payments, and the shackles of company credit cards. Since 2019, Soldo has done much more than save them time: it’s become part of their company culture. ‘Everyone gets a card as soon as they join,’ Vernon, Accounting Manager at Brooks Running, says. He shared with us how this came to be.
‘Soldo has given us control over what is being spent. It’s saving us lots of time, and making life easier for employees out in the field.’ – Vernon, Accounting Manager
Before Vernon and his team came across Soldo, they agonised over their paper-based expense claim process, the vast amounts of admin their accounts payable team had to do, and the lack of control over employee spending.
The payment methods they used were partly at fault for this. Office coordinators were given company credit cards, but Brooks’ people in the field paid for expenses using personal funds.
To submit an expense claim, they had to scan invoices and complete an Excel form. They then had to access Brooks’ expense management system through a VPN – not ideal for employees that spend a lot of time out of office.
With people always on the road, spending and submitting expense claims, Vernon’s team was simply wasting too much time – unproductive time at that – and employees weren’t exactly happy to wait.
This also meant that the finance team could only see the spend when people sent in their receipts – so financial insights were always out of date and difficult to analyse.
It was time to start looking around.
‘We wanted people not to have to spend their own money. And we were trying to find a mobile-first solution, so that it was easier for people in the field,’ Vernon says.
When they came across Soldo, it was clear that it could easily fix these two problems, and more.
According to Vernon, ‘the whole implementation was super easy.’ Soldo even customised some features to make it more suitable to Brooks. They wanted to run seven legal entities in one instance of Soldo through different wallets – usually, one company has one wallet – and we made it happen. Now, they have over 300 cards issued.
Brooks ran a trial with someone from each country to get a feel for the product. They only did this for a month or two, but participants ‘kept telling other people how cool it was’ so they had to roll it out to the rest of the company quicker than planned. ‘Everyone kept contacting us trying to get into the test phase. People were super, super happy when they started using Soldo’ says Vernon.
The day-to-day of the expense management process is handled by the accounts payable team, and two admins create cards and users as they see fit. It’s easy to manage wallets and cards depending on the country, using filters to work on one country at a time.
The team has also taken advantage of Soldo’s anonymised ‘company cards’: they have one for all office spend, and the marketing teams use virtual cards to keep track of social media ad spend. It’s also a great way to pay for software subscriptions such as Adobe and Shutterstock.
The frequent travellers make the most use of Soldo, so their cards get automatic weekly top-ups. But everyone has a card, making it easy to transfer cash for one-off purchases when needed.
Soldo has eliminated headaches all around Brooks.
Employees don’t have to spend their own money now they have prepaid cards, and they don’t need to hold on to receipts and go through the trouble of filling out expense claim forms. Through the Soldo mobile app, they snap a photo of the receipt and upload it directly to the system – on the spot.
Soldo has simplified how they do things across the business. In fact, going paperless before COVID-19 hit made switching to remote working a lot easier. ‘From the finance side we were completely paperless, so we could pivot quickly when Covid-19 happened’. It also made it much easier to get money to employees fast to make work-related purchases.
Lists – the Soldo way of organising users depending on specific projects or categories – help the finance team to organise all this spend data. They can line up spending with regions, accounts, cost centres – you name it. ‘Lists definitely make everything a lot easier and quicker. Every time we have a new product launch, for instance, we can activate a spend group just for the launch event.’
They began moving all fuel cards through Soldo, to solve the messy issue of using different providers for different car lease companies. ‘We can track the mileage better, and ask people to record their mileage.’
Most importantly, the finance team can see transactions in real time, and have access to crucial data – this simplifies reporting. Before, they would only see a person’s name and an amount. Now, Vernon sees what the money was spent on, merchant information, user notes, and more. Huge improvement.
‘There’s a lot less chasing for the finance team. Basically, all we do now is check for non-compliant spend or out-of-policy spend.’
Soldo has helped Brooks evolve: their employees have been more eager to adopt new technology to modernise other parts of the business, and move away from manual systems.
They have also recently signed the Amazon Climate Pledge. Without Soldo, they would have had to call every employee on the road to keep track of their mileage and fuel use. Instead, they can now pull all this information from Soldo – without using paper.
‘It just made it much easier for us because it’s all consolidated in one place. Our sustainability team use this data for their reporting – we’re able to provide it to them, which was a big hassle before’.
Finally, Vernon shared with us an anecdote which is better than any endorsement we could ever ask for:
‘There was a company event where the finance team won an award. When I went on stage to accept the award, people were chanting “Soldo! Soldo! Soldo!” Almost two years later, people are still super amped’.