Recharge chooses Airbase’s Guided Procurement.
Controller at Recharge
AP Manager at Recharge
After using Airbase for several years, Recharge moved their procurement process from their CMS to Airbase by implementing Guided Procurement—Airbase’s new procurement workflow module.
Recharge quickly saw benefits from more efficient functional and departmental approvals, more streamlined workflows, enhanced spend controls, and an overall improved user experience for their employees.
Employees had to create spend requests in two separate platforms (Airbase and their CMS) to achieve the required steps and capture information for various stakeholders.
Key stakeholder groups had to manually transfer data from the CMS and Airbase to their internal tools and monitor requests to update status.
Leverage Guided Procurement so employees can submit spend requests in a single platform.
Set up integrations with various tools used by other departments (IT and InfoSec ticketing and Legal contract management) to automatically transfer data to and from Guided Procurement and dynamically update request status.
Removed duplicative efforts and manual data transfer which reduced the “human touch” required for monitoring and updating requests.
Improved the partnership between Finance and key stakeholder teams by creating efficiencies for all parties.
Leverage Guided Procurement and integrate requests with the CMS so all key data can be captured up front in Airbase by the requester.
The integration then allows for critical request and contract data to be sent across automatically to the CMS, removing the burden from the smaller CMS user group.
Employees submit their own spend requests and capture information that various key stakeholder teams require up front as they initiate the request.
The integration between Airbase and the CMS ensures that both tools will contain the critical information.
As all employees have access to Airbase, all requesters are now able to directly enter key information.
An initial solution fell short.
In early 2022, Recharge’s Accounting and Legal teams collaborated to create a procurement process within their contract management system (CMS) as a way to document requests and approvals on contract-based spend.
At the time, approvals from the FP&A, Legal, IT, and InfoSec teams were gathered through a mix of emails and Slack and were recorded in a Google Sheet. Spend owners and approvers met monthly to share knowledge about upcoming software renewals and various other planned spend.
While the process worked to monitor and control spend, the Accounting and Legal teams and the spend requesters spent a lot of time following up with various teams for approvals and tracking down contracts. Full and consistent data wasn’t always captured across all the key tools.
After several months of running this process, there continued to be inefficiencies and lots of “chasing” for approvals and documentation. Users, including the various key approvers, were not satisfied with the overall procurement experience.
The Legal and Accounting teams continued to brainstorm and implement revisions to the process but the larger issues of inefficiency and manual work remained. Requests were still slow to approve, and documentation and information capture were still being duplicated in multiple tools by multiple teams. Feedback from stakeholders continued to lean negative, and there was too much ongoing manual work by a small group of people.
The Guided Procurement solution.
“Once I saw Airbase Guided Procurement in action I realized yes, this is the process we need.”
Around this time, Airbase was rolling out its new Guided Procurement Module, and the Airbase team reached out to Erin to share information about the new features. While the Recharge team saw the potential benefits of moving the majority of the procurement process over to Airbase, Recharge had just recently rolled out their new process, and the thought of making another change so quickly was daunting.
As frequent early adopters, the Recharge team was interested in learning more and requested a detailed demo of Guided Procurement. After a deeper dive, the Recharge team saw that Airbase’s Guided Procurement would address the major pain points they were still experiencing in their current process, and Erin and Joe shared the proposed solution with the broader Recharge team.
The team agreed that implementing Guided Procurement would “greatly improve efficiency and the overall user experience for our employees.”
A straightforward setup process.
While the Recharge team knew implementing Guided Procurement was the way to go, after just spending a year rolling out a new procurement process, the thought of another process change project was overwhelming. Erin and her team were surprised, however, with how straightforward it was to add Guided Procurement to their existing Airbase setup. Erin shared feedback that Airbase’s customer service team members “were really great at helping us set everything up. I liked that they let me drive the process even though they could have done the setup so much faster. They were very patient.”
Not only was the original setup of Guided Procurement straightforward but the Recharge team is now able to quickly make revisions and additional enhancements to their processes as business needs change.
Feedback from key stakeholders has been very positive now, as Recharge can quickly incorporate suggestions and requests from other teams. Erin noted that she has led other teams in building procurement processes in three different systems, and previously, she’s had difficulty revising the process.
“I had to create a support ticket when I wanted to make a change and wait for them to get back to me. I love that we have the ability to go in and create how we want the flows to work and customize it to our needs. We make our own revisions as needed. Airbase customer support is always there to help when we need an expert or best practice opinions but I feel empowered to know that we have the ability to customize and revise as we go without Airbase’s support, if it’s not needed. They really did an excellent job of training us on how to create and update the process to meet our needs.”
Transparency and efficiency for multiple stakeholders.
The challenge of multi-stakeholder approval in the procurement process is one that many companies face. Until Airbase Guided Procurement, there have been limited options for a procurement intake process that integrates with other key stakeholder systems and also allows for simultaneous approvals.
Recharge Controller, Joe Gibbons, pointed out that this new approach saves the company time because approval workflows are no longer sequential. Once manager, budget owner, and finance reviews are complete, other key functional reviewers (Legal, IT, and InfoSec) can review and approve spend requests simultaneously and in their own systems, with integration between those systems and Airbase.
He also noted that more thorough, documented purchase requests provide better visibility and control and help streamline FP&A and cash management activities. Joe explained that once Recharge began using Guided Procurement,
“Teams can see where things stand in the request pipeline and can get a head start on reviews if they see something big or unique is coming. Legal, IT, and InfoSec no longer need to manually create a ticket in their own tools. Airbase does this automatically when a request is made. This saves the Recharge team’s time and frees up resources from manual tasks. It’s also very easy to see the status of requests all in one place.”
Great UI leads to great UX.
Joe appreciates the clean UI and great visibility into where requests stand in the process.
“It’s very intuitive and easy to follow a process through. It’s a huge improvement from where we were several months back, and our employees and key stakeholders have positive things to say about the process now.”
Erin echoed the same sentiments about usability.
“With the click of a button, the Accounting team can easily and simultaneously see the status of approvals on every spend request.”
Greater control with purchase orders.
With Guided Procurement, the Recharge team is now leveraging purchase orders, which are simple to generate and match when invoices come through. This enhances the control environment and gives invoice approvers increased confidence that amounts are correct. Erin emphasized how much easier it is to implement controls with POs.
“We generally won’t process invoices where the spend owner has skipped the procurement process. We have increased confidence issuing a payment when the spend request has been approved in Guided Procurement by all key stakeholders and we can match an invoice we receive to a PO.”
Erin explained that when incoming invoices are automatically matched to POs in Airbase, the teams save an enormous amount of time not having to track down approvals and manually review original contract details. The PO process ensures approvals are obtained up front, before a purchase commitment is made, and it reduces the scramble for teams to review and approve something at the last minute. Airbase automatically matches the PO and invoice for a full audit trail.
Improved oversight, safer payments.
Having more transparent, streamlined, and user-friendly procurement processes helps Recharge enforce a strong control environment. Joe called out the added protections that Airbase’s Risk team provides by monitoring payments moving through the platform. The Airbase team helps monitor certain invoice details and payment activities to help mitigate the risk of fraudulent payments.
“It’s good to know that on the payments side, Airbase is behind the scenes helping keep our payments safe.”
After using Guided Procurement for a couple of months, Joe, Erin, and team met with key procurement stakeholders at Recharge to get feedback. Users shared both positive feedback and suggestions for improvements. The ease of making updates to Guided Procurement allowed Erin to turn stakeholder feedback into actionable change, and within a two-week period, she was able to roll out an updated version of the process, addressing most of the suggestions from the team. Once these updates were made, feedback from all stakeholders has continued to be positive, and users are extremely happy with the efficiency, transparency, and control Guided Procurement has given them.
|Visibility on upcoming reviews.
|Easy intake process — familiar with the UI.
|Ability to review in their own platform through integrated processes (IT, InfoSec, and Legal).
|Easy to comment to approvers within the workflow.
|Simultaneous approvals improve overall request turnaround.
|One workflow in one platform resulting in a virtual card or PO.
|Automatic project management system ticket creation.
|Option to sign the contract in the CMS (if they have a license).
|Ease of tracking where the request is in the process.
|Payments to vendors are processed faster with less approvals.
Erin shared a favorite piece of feedback that came from one of the key stakeholders who submitted the second spend request through the new Guided Procurement workflow in Airbase. The spend owner proclaimed,
“This is 150,000 times easier than the previous process!”
And that’s when you know you’re heading in the right direction.