Soldo pioneers spend management toolbox
VC-backed fintech developer Soldo sees itself as a market disruptor and is looking to establish a new “spend control” category of financial software.
According to Soldo vice president for small business Europe Darren Upson, “There’s a better way of doing things.”
Part of the challenge of spend management is that multiple solutions deal with point issues related to company spending, he told AccountingWEB. Expense capture in isolation doesn’t solve the problems of motivating employees to report expenses properly.
Traditional expense management solutions don’t exert control over the way company money is spent by employees and doesn’t link back to the transaction to ensure employees are correctly reimbursed for out of pocket expenses.
“We believe employees should be empowered to spend company money in a responsible way,” said Upson. “We can integrate with existing expense management solutions and accounting software to provide a complete view of how money is spent in the organisation”.
Soldo’s solution to these problems is a multi-user business spending account that combines multi-user corporate payment cards with cloud management software to both make and control the way company money is spent across a business.
This hybrid “spend engine” is more comprehensive than separate payment or expense management systems, and empowers employees to spend in a more responsible way, according to Darren Upson. While the main users will be business owners and employees, Soldo also gives the finance team insight and control over what people are spending.
How Soldo works
The Soldo card and app combination lets employees categorise spending at the point of purchase and asks them to tag the receipt to enrich the information collected, which will then generate an alert within the management system.
“Once you do that, don’t have to do an expense report. You have full visibility of expense history, know what you’ve spent and where and the finance team can look at each transaction with receipt and coding information to see what they are spending money on. It removes month-end reconciliation from the expense management process,” said Upson.
“You can control when certain employees spend company money and limit the categories or amounts they can spend on, such as sales people who can spend on fuel and hotels. This gives finance a level of pre-emptive control over spend management they have never had before.”
Soldo is up and running in the UK, with more than 1,600 customers. It is priced at £11/month for a single card, and the multi-user solution starts at £21 per month including up to three cards, with additional cards charged at £7 per card per month.
One of Soldo’s objectives is to build a network of accountant partners in the UK based on a similar model to the one pioneered first by Sage and latterly Xero.
“We’re trying to make Soldo a key part of the toolkit accountants use internally, and deploy to their client base,” Upson said. “Many firms have an existing 'app stack' they promote and are looking at deploying certain expense management solutions to help automate the expense management process within their client base”.
“We’re working with early adopters so we can build add-ons for accounting firms to support existing workflows and build a portfolio solution that will let them manage all their clients on Soldo - potentially alongside the Xero HQ app platform,” said Upson.
“While we can integrate with any accounting platform, the Xero integration is completely seamless. We’re testing this integration with a select number of accountants at the moment to ensure Soldo is optimised to support the workflows in accounting firms. We will seek to continually develop this integration which could potentially let accountants manage their clients within Soldo via the Xero HQ app platform. We’re keen to share more of our plans at Xerocon London in November.”
The timing of Soldo’s UK launch to the accountant and bookkeeper audience is linked in part to the “really interesting opportunity” around Making Tax Digital, Upson said: “It’s a real challenge how accounting firms will cope with the additional admin to serve their lower cost clients in a cost-effective manner. If we can help streamline the expense management process and capture the figures at that point of purchase, that would be a huge benefit to accountants and clients.”
“We think the opportunity is enormous for a solution like Soldo,” said Upson.
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