How Kiron uses Soldo to give their team the freedom to spend in a simple way while keeping a close eye on every penny.
Berlin, Lebanon, Jordan
Eliminate admin delays for expenses
Transparency and a detailed overview into all spending to achieve a comprehensive project budget
Trust employees to make good purchase decisions
When it was founded in 2015, Kiron Open Higher Education was run by a group of volunteers focused on helping refugees arriving in Germany get access to higher education. A year later, Kiron began offering them free access to academic, professional, and personal growth opportunities. We spoke to Lydia Briggs, Finance and Project Manager, about how Soldo empowered their staff and simplified spending for everyone.
As a non-governmental organisation, a lot of Kiron’s funding comes through donations. The people who give it to them decide where exactly it will be spent, so Kiron has to keep a close eye on it at all times. The expenses process they were using didn’t just make it difficult to track spend, it also involved a slow approvals process, and meant the staff wasn’t free to spend on what they needed, when they needed to. Soldo ticked all the boxes for them.
At the beginning of each project, Kiron draws up a detailed project budget. Part of it will go to travel, another part will go to office management, and so on – depending on what each project needs.
Keeping up with how the team was spending each part of the money was essential, yet they used a system that complicated the entire spending process for everyone involved.
Lydia Briggs, their Finance and Project Manager, explained it to us step by step: someone would make a request to spend, wait for it to get approved, then make the payment, submit an invoice that would take around 10 minutes to process.
This was a lengthy process, just to pay for one Facebook advert, for instance.
‘We were looking for something to give the teams a budget, and also hand over some trust to them.’
They didn’t like making their team feel like they had to explain every little purchase they made, and wanted to empower them with confidence that they wouldn’t use the funds unless they were necessary.
Plus, this involved a lot of paperwork, and plenty of admin headaches. Soldo showed them there was a way around that.
Everything Kiron spends needs to be approved, so that they can send a report to their donor at the end of each project – and the people funding them want to check that the project manager has approved even the small payments.
Implementing Soldo simplified the approvals process and gave them easy access to automated, and highly detailed reports.
According to Lydia, there was no resistance to Soldo internally:
‘The app is really intuitive, and is also really similar to people’s online banking, so getting them to use the app was really straightforward,’
Soldo gave employees the freedom to spend even on the smaller things without having to wait for reimbursement, and getting receipts straight into the platform cut down the admin greatly. It also saved them a lot of time at the end, simplifying piecing together all these expenses for the final reports.
Staff could spend, snap a photo of the receipt on the app, and Kiron could track it all in real time. And they wanted all those invoices.
Besides the day-to-day costs, they’ve found other ways to use Soldo, such as managing software subscriptions. Their tech team were having difficulty keeping track of the high number of subscriptions they use. With Soldo, they can give that responsibility directly to the tech team.
‘We’ve handed it over to them – they know when these costs are going out, as it’s so important to their work, and they know they have to upload the invoice. It’s only one more step and for them that’s quite easy.’
‘I think time-saving is the best benefit, as well as the teams feeling trusted that we give them a budget and that’s theirs.’
Since they’ve started using Soldo, the staff at Kiron have fully embraced the power and flexibility they now have to make the purchases they need to get their jobs done.
They like that they can do it through their phones, and that attaching and uploading a receipt takes seconds.
And they’re saving a lot of time.
‘Let’s say there are 40 transactions per month. Each transaction end to end, if we did it the old way, would take 20-30 minutes. Now, it’s taking four minutes.’
That’s up to 16 hours saved each month.
The level of detail and different types of reports they can do is also a huge gain. They can filter the information that they want and customise it. And they have full visibility over every penny.
‘It’s really easy to track all payments and see what we spent on each individual project, using the different filters in the reports.’
For many businesses, including Kiron, the changes to funding streams made it even more important to tighten budgets and have complete control over spend. The limits they set on the Soldo cards helped them with this.
‘The cards and setting these budgets internally and knowing what people spend it on was really useful.’
As for the future, they’re eagerly looking forward to being able to travel again, so they can reach more people, visit their offices in Jordan and Lebanon, and increase the scale of their operation. And Soldo will be a helpful companion when that time comes.
If you’d like to learn more about Kiron’s cause or make a donation, you can find further information on their website.