Survios: How virtual cards are helping fuel virtual realities
At Survios — a virtual reality company that creates groundbreaking interactive content powered by cutting-edge immersive technology — two highly experienced ex-PWC auditors (Ryan Hermelyn, Assistant Controller, and Mike Ewald, Corporate Controller) are committed to using automation to build efficiencies when and where they can have a meaningful impact on their operations. Now, they’re creating better spend management processes with American Express virtual cards and better AP processing.
- Traditional, physical corporate card program.
- Had to switch between systems and process transaction details through NetSuite.
- Changing consultants meant lengthy and manual changing of card details.
- Modernized card program with virtual cards and built-in pre-approvals.
- All spend managed from one platform that flows directly to ERP.
- Easy modification of spend, user, and approval details.
- 75% reduction in AP processing time (releasing and applying of payments to open invoices that automatically syncs to the GL).
Cutting down AP processing time by 75% with Airbase.
At Survios, an internal accounting team of three relies on Airbase to support its lean operation. Before Airbase, the team was processing all spend through NetSuite, which often involved redundancies and system switching. Ryan Hermelyn, Assistant Controller, tells us that being able to move everything through the unified Airbase platform has been the “biggest time saver.” Ryan shared that this is cutting his weekly AP processing time by 75% when it comes to releasing and applying payments to open invoices with direct syncing to the GL.
“The automation around day-to-day processing of invoices is where we see the greatest time savings. Approvals happen automatically, and we can see when they are complete so that we can confidently make payments.”
Consultants, employees, and plenty of moving parts.
Survios operates using a mix of external consultant software engineers in Canada and full-time employees based in the U.S. The game development sector is subject to ongoing turnover of these resources. As a result, Survios requires a flexible payment system that can process invoices and adapt to change quickly and easily. That’s exactly what they’ve found with Airbase, Ryan tells us.
“One thing I really like is when I go to delete a user, I can then assign another user to pick up all of their reports, expenses, or workflows. When someone does leave, I don’t have to go to four different places to make sure it’s all updated — I’m super happy with that.”
Beyond operations, Ryan also shared that compliance is easily maintained thanks to Airbase’s customizable workflows. These workflows allow multiple people to cater to transactional oversight while being flexible enough to adapt as teams change.
“The ability to build custom workflows that touch multiple people, and are customizable based on the transaction type, is a really good feature and extremely valuable. Being able to add in those who want to see every detail, but not necessarily approve, as observers has been extremely helpful.”
Employees love reimbursements.
At Survios, employees love the Airbase mobile app, easy UI, and receipt upload for reimbursements. Previously, Survios had been using Expensify to manage reimbursements. The process was similar, which made the transition to Airbase easy, but Ryan highlights the benefits he now feels with all spend and reimbursements living in one consolidated platform.
“Overall, the user interface is super friendly for reimbursements. That’s one thing that our employees really like — that they can take a picture of the receipt and then upload it to Airbase on their phone.”
Ryan shares that even employees without any particular technical knowledge find Airbase reimbursements intuitive and that one group call was enough to train everybody on how to use the platform.
Virtual cards supporting approvals.
Survios uses AMEX virtual cards via the Airbase platform — an improvement compared to their previous, traditional card program. Transactions on these cards now automatically sync to NetSuite. From an accounting perspective, Ryan finds virtual cards helpful in seeing requests, approvals, and all other spend details grouped together in one place. Ryan labels this consolidation as “super convenient,” as he no longer has to dig through emails to see who approved something or when they did so.
“From my accounting perspective, having that virtual card and seeing someone request spend, spend getting approved, and all of that living in Airbase is super convenient. Before it would mean digging through emails to see who approved it, when they approved it, and so on.”
The spend limits and locks have given Ryan and his team “more control over the cash out and reduced risk.” The automated matching of card spend details has been “super helpful” and ensures the GL for virtual card spend is always up to date.
The benefits of consolidation in spotting unusual spend.
Managing and processing vendors and spend in one place is easier and more efficient, and it’s also providing a path to greater efficiency.
“From a consolidation perspective, having everything in one spot to identify unusual trends and unusual spend is really helpful. Previously, there were no effective tools providing visualization of consolidated spend.”
Beyond consolidation, the automation and OCR capabilities Airbase provide has been helping the Survios accounting team avoid errors and enjoy more efficient data entry.
“Automated data entry is super helpful because it reduces the time spent inputting details and also reduces the human error potential when inputting the information.”
Survios’ search for “efficiency, consolidation, and modernization” is over.
When considering the ROI on spend management solutions, Ryan and Mike were searching for control and efficiency. As self-professed “auditors to the bone,” and with an eye toward building a financial operation that is IPO-ready, establishing the robust internal controls that Airbase facilitates was a key consideration.
“From a control standpoint, being able to implement upfront controls was an important part to us. Before, we saw upfront approval and spend review being requested after the spend was already completed. Now, approval is required before anyone can actually spend.”
Optimizing for cashback benefits was also on Ryan and Mike’s radar as they searched for a spend management solution. They were aware of the cashback benefits of spending with virtual cards. Now, with Airbase, Survios is generating better cash back than before. While Ryan and Mike enjoy the spend benefits of using Airbase, they also reflect on the fact that where issues do arise, Airbase is always there to help, meaning spend management is under control — always.
Both offered an unsolicited compliment to the Airbase Customer Service team. Mike added to our conversation, “They’ve been great by the way. Everyone on the Airbase team has been fantastic.” And Ryan concurred: “Definitely.”