Shay Murtagh Precast uses Soldo to track and control their business spending on the road, and simplify their spend management process from payment to reconciliation.
Mullingar, County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland
Alternative to credit cards
Digital receipt management
€ and £ supported
Shay Murtagh Precast is a family company and market leader in the field of precast concrete solutions with over 40 years of experience in the industry. They have an across-the-board service of design, manufacture, delivery and installation for the infrastructure, utilities, and commercial sectors. All this is made possible by subsidiary businesses and a team of 350 employees. We talked to Gillian Murtagh, who triples as Owner-Shareholder, Shared Services Director, and Marketing Director about how adopting Soldo was the first step to creating an all-digital finance team.
Shay Murtagh Precast is headquartered in Ireland with a state of the art concrete production facility, a second production facility in Derby in the UK, and a specialised design office in Portugal. Some of the sophisticated projects that they have been involved in are the Thames Tunnel as part of Cross Rail, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Liverpool, and manufacturing and delivering over 1000 bridge beams to Aberdeen as part of the Aberdeen Peripheral Route. The business has grown a lot over the past decade, and the number of employees travelling across Europe has increased – giving the finance team the impossible task of managing too many credit cards and mountains of expense paperwork each month.
‘Processes that previously would have taken our finance team a week a month is now taking them half a day thanks to Soldo’ – Gillian Murtagh, Owner, Shared Services Director
Shay Murtagh Precast’s growth, and the nature of their work, have inevitably taken them across borders. Yet, before Soldo, their employee expense and spend management system wasn’t fit for the nature of their work, or how quickly they were growing.
Their staff used credit cards to pay for travelling, to book hotels and car hire, and every other necessity.
But they didn’t just have a handful of company cards to cover all these expenses; since their employees hopped from Ireland to the UK, to Portugal, Spain, and Germany, they also hopped from EUR to GBP. And because credit cards’ currency conversion fees are so high, employees had different credit cards for different currencies. On top of that, some employees worked for more than one part of the group, and would need separate expense cards for each subsidiary business they’re working for. In some cases, a single employee could have as many as four company credit cards.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to picture the pain in the neck this was for their finance team. They needed a week every month just to chase and sort through transaction receipts from different payment methods and currencies across multiple locations – and often from different banks!
Gillian and other shareholders couldn’t figure out why they had so many credit cards, why they were dealing with so many banks, and how they’d arrived at that point.
So, she looked for more modern alternatives. They wanted a solution that simplified their spending and month-end approaches, that was practical for travelling, carried multiple currencies, and quickly served staff in case of emergency.
They also wanted a way to guarantee that employees would save their receipts and upload the information in a timely fashion. They need receipts to reclaim VAT in the UK – but manually digging for them was too time-consuming and error-prone.
‘Our biggest issue was recording receipts. We can claim VAT back, but not without the receipt. Soldo’s drastically reduced the amount of time it takes to do that.’
And after gathering and organising receipts, they still had to manually create Excel sheets and input all data onto them.
Enough was enough.
Gillian found Soldo with a quick Google search. They only needed credit cards to facilitate transactions, rather than accessing credit, so a prepaid solution attached to powerful analytics hit the nail on the head. ‘The adoption of Soldo has led to greater things, with the finance team now more open to trying out new technology,’ Gillian tells us.
The decision to go from credit cards to a prepaid card solution didn’t just help Shay Murtagh Precast with issues they knew they had – it also made them rethink the role of the finance team, and modernised their spending culture.
Adopting Soldo was quick, and what used to take the finance team a week to get in order, now takes them half a day each month. They check in with Soldo once a week and run the reports to keep a closer eye on spend.
And since employees can just snap a photo of the receipt and upload it to the system at the point of purchase, chasing receipts is out of the question. As a result, they’re doing more high-value work. That can’t hurt.
At the office, they’ve embraced the security and ease of Soldo virtual cards.
‘It’s been a big breakthrough for us, realising that with Soldo we didn’t need physical cards to buy or do things online’
For instance, the three people in their purchasing department share one virtual card, since most of them are buying online or over the phone.
What surprised Gillian the most – beyond the flexibility of the prepaid cards and the receipt-tracking element – were the transparency and visibility that Soldo enables. The team can track employee spending in real time via the web console, which eliminates unwelcome surprises at the end of the month.
This has changed how they see spending: the finance team shares the spending data from every card with the rest of staff, so they can compare numbers between different teams or individuals. (Which, granted, might take them on a guilt trip, but at least they’re not overspending).
The security of using prepaid cards, which is better than what credit cards offer, also brings the possibility to buy from a wider range of suppliers: ‘We’ve started buying directly from Alibaba. But if you’re paying through a bank, there’s lots of security questions. Because Soldo is prepaid, it’s more secure, and has freed us up to engage a whole new supply chain.’
Gillian also shared with us her appreciation for our customer support. ‘One of the best functions is the customer support chat box. If I have an issue, they respond literally within a couple of minutes.’ We’re just happy to help.