Doximity and Airbase: Reimagining card payments at scale
‍In Airbase, Doximity's finance team found more than a platform—a partner—to help streamline card payments, drive spend accountability, and free them up for high-value work.
Industry
Healthcare
Size
350 - 400 Employees
Takeaways

1. 2x faster close cycles

2. 15% cutback in invoice-based payments

3. 60 hours/month saved in manual tasks

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Doximity is the largest professional medical network—with over 70% of all U.S. physicians and over one million verified clinicians as members. The company continues to be one of the fastest-growing in Silicon Valley, as recognized by Deloitte for the last three consecutive years.

One of Doximity's core values is “Get Stuff Done” or GSD. It's an attitude more than it is a principle, at this point. GSD means being creative, persistent, and resourceful. Even when it comes to identifying and implementing financial systems.

Doximity Controller, David Coffman, and Accounting Manager, Alex Schlick, have the challenging task of GSDing while maintaining responsible financial practices. They have to make sure that accurate books don’t come at the cost of slowing the company down. This was easier when Doximity was only a hundred-person team. It’s a bit more of a challenge today, with 350 employees and growing.

David Coffman, Controller at Doximity
David Coffman, Controller at Doximity

Credit cards: Doximity's double-edged sword

How do you make it easy for employees to pay a vendor as quickly as possible and still keep the books together? The short answer—with credit cards and a whole lot of effort.

Credit cards were a double-edged sword for Doximity: They were convenient, quick, and perfect for recurring or one-time payments, but David’s team didn’t know when a card was being used, or who was using it.

“Once you've handed out a card,” David says,“you have to trust your colleagues. All you can do is wait to see what charges flow in and then try to figure out how to code the charges and whether they were in budget.”

The lack of control and visibility had painful business consequences.

Anna Bryson, who handles Doximity’s FP&A, found budgeting increasingly difficult because she heard about expenses after they had been paid. Alex Schlick, Doximity’s Accounting Manager, often had to follow up with teams on old charges because the credit card statements were so difficult to decipher. The pain of late expense reports, long audits, labor-heavy reconciliation, and a lack of accountability only became more intense with scale.

The only reason Doximity continued to use cards, David explains, is “because it's always been who we are, which is to put our employees first. I’d rather have our finance team do the extra work than slow down the rest of the company."

‘Extra work’ is putting it mildly. The cycle of manual work resulted in a delayed close almost every month. And it got to a point where David began to take the operational difficulty for granted – the cost of an uncomplicated spending experience.

The Doximity network as used by over 70% of U.S. physicians
Over 70% all U.S. physicians use the Doximity network

The promised land: Control without complexity

When David discovered the Airbase spend management platform in 2018, he realized he’d found something he didn’t know he’d been looking for—a platform that balanced control with ease.

New systems for modern spend

Alex, who was responsible for the system roll out, started by replacing corporate cards with physical and virtual cards from Airbase.

Alex estimates that over 90% of Doximity’s card-based spend is from online subscriptions, infrastructure, and marketing. His finance team used Airbase to issue individual Visa-branded virtual cards for each service, making spend easier to pre-approve and subscriptions easier to manage.

“Virtual cards have eliminated Doximity’s operational problems—Airbase’s lightweight pre-approvals keep Anna in the loop of every dollar before it leaves the bank.”

Owners are automatically assigned to every subscription the company uses. And the finance team has said goodbye to opaque credit card statements—spend is now automatically recorded in the GL.

Virtual cards have eliminated Doximity’s operational problems—Airbase’s lightweight pre-approvals keep Anna in the loop of every dollar before it leaves the bank.

Virtual cards have addressed structural problems too. The days of following up on expense reports for online payments are over. And David worries less about fraud because virtual cards give him that extra layer of security. Today, for example, Doximity keeps each vendor on a different card, David can cancel a card for a disputed vendor charge without affecting the cards dedicated to AWS and Slack. And he has a history of transactions for each vendor at his fingertips.

The biggest benefit, David says, is that virtual cards have put him ahead of spend, where AmEx had him chasing after it.

“Tomorrow, if a new employee requests card details for a Slack subscription, she’ll be notified that Doximity already uses it, with zero intervention from my team.”

Virtual cards have saved David’s team dozens of hours in follow-ups every month, and days in manual reconciliation during the monthly close.

The Doximity office in San Francisco
The Doximity office in San Francisco

Better automation for POS expenses

David rolled out controls like these on the physical cards he provides to company employees as well. Like virtual cards, the benefits of Airbase are stark in comparison to the way things used to be.

Take accounting for POS spend. In the past, swiping a card set off a long and painful process that involved downloading statements from American Express, syncing them up with charges in Expensify, working with a cardholder to put together an expense report and manually reviewing every transaction before it could be coded into the GL. Of course, the whole process usually happened halfway through the monthly close when David and his team had the least amount of time to spare. Murphy’s law.

Airbase was in the unique position, as the first system to unify pre-approvals and payments, to automate critical parts of this process.

“We’re reporting on expenses without expense reports,” David laughs. “My team is thrilled and our cardholders couldn’t be happier.”

Airbase eliminated the three-way sync between American Express, Expensify, and Doximity’s GL, Netsuite. It automatically filled in the meta information David’s team needed to book a POS transaction, and followed up with cardholders just seconds after they’d swiped a card, via a nifty mobile app, to collect receipts.

“I wanted a process that would balance a controlled process with our core value of ‘Getting Stuff Done’. What I didn’t expect was to roll out a process that was so easy it actually pushed GSD a little further. With cardholders freed up from expense reports, they have that much more time to focus on their core duties.”

Airbase has given us time back

Over two days knocked off the monthly close, 15% of invoice-based payments back on cards, and about 60 hours worth of manual work saved every month—when we asked David and Alex about the impact that Airbase has had on Doximity and the finance team, their response was “Airbase has given us time back to focus on higher value tasks.”

And the journey is just beginning. As we’re writing this, David is planning to move Doximity’s ACH spend onto the Airbase platform to track the last major payment channel that the company uses. He’s confident that Airbase will be more than a platform, a partner, as they scale new heights for healthcare professionals across the country.