ExpenseMatters : The Source for Expense Management

Interview with Exspend

By on October 15, 2009 in Interviews with 0 Comments

Expense Interview Series by Cary Strange: Interview #5 – Exspend

Today we will be joined by Larry Cease, President & CEO of Exspend. Larry, thank you for joining me in our interview series and taking the time to discuss these questions with ExpenseMatters.com. To get started, could you provide some basic information about your company?
Our eXspend Expense Management Solution is one of the leading spend management products available in the market. Exspend has been in business for nine years under the “Exspend” umbrella. However, our management team has been together for over twenty years providing technology solutions to an international marketplace. Our team is very process-focused utilizing its development and solution delivery methodology to ensure the ability to repeat successes to our client base. For over two decades we have specialized in providing products and consulting services that contribute measurably to the bottom-line of our clients.

During our series thus far, we have seen an emphasis on the SMB markets. What do you recognize as your primary and secondary target markets, and why?
Our primary market is focused on mid-size to enterprise-size companies who file T&E and/or Purchase expense reports manually and need the efficiencies inherent in an automated solution. Typically these customers see the most benefit from an automated solution if they expect to file in excess of 100 expense reports a month. However, our product has been deployed by small to large companies alike including companies categorized as VSB, SMB & SME.

We have found success in reaching our primary market by enabling channel partners who desire to “bundle” our solution with their complementary products and/or services.

It appears that there are quite a few players offering expense technology solutions. What separates your company from other companies providing similar products & services?
The reality is that most of the companies that you will speak with throughout your interview series will have much of the same functionality, vision and story. And yes…we do all of that too! Our firm is very distinctive in that the members of our management team have all been executives in large firms with responsibilities for making very difficult decisions related to automation, management efficiencies and managing the procurement & financial infrastructure within those companies. However, to summarize how we are different, our customers have said they selected us because of:

Our obvious experience in understanding the IT solution business; we knew how to help our customer integrate the application into their environment.
1. The design of the expense management solution seemed to be designed exclusively for every position in the workflow which is very unique.
2. The “consultative-nature” of our staff; every customer is important; not just a number!
3. Our ability to listen and understand our customer’s business needs.
4. Our support staff is always professional, helpful and able to communicate in an understandable way.

What are some specific key product differentiators that provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors?
Again, I think our customer comments speak for themselves. They tell us that:

1. The eXspend solution is “very clean” and “user friendly”
2. The cash advance / pre-approval module is something they needed and had not seen in many competitors
3. The combination of T&E processing as well as Purchase Card processing within the same system is very useful
4. The system seems to be designed exclusively for every position in the workflow
5. The rules engine is extremely robust, blowing away our competitors and allowing clients endless ways to configure the system to enforce policies exactly as intended
6. Unlike our largest competitors who force their customers into long term contracts with little recourse should they be unhappy with the service, we provide options that don’t require a long term contract or commitment

What are the most important questions that a company (looking for a solution) should ask before selecting an expense management provider?
A couple of questions come to mind that are very important. Many companies reviewing expense products look at the selection process in a matrix-type format…not taking into consideration some of the less-quantifiable reasons to select a vendor. We also see those same companies calling us as their contracts are ending wishing they would have asked more questions.
1. Make sure you take a look at the total cost of ownership? How much will it cost to implement, resources to maintain, up-front & monthly/transaction fees, and annual maintenance
2. Will the provider consider developing something “custom” on my behalf
3. Does the provider seem to be interested in really “partnering” with my company rather than just selling me something and moving on to the next customer
4. Will I be locked into a long term contract?

One of the most frequent questions we receive involve how the products are licensed and installed. What are your thoughts regarding the traditional licensing model versus the software as a service model (SaaS)? Which does your company provide and recommend?
We believe the SaaS model is the best approach for the majority of customers. However, we also recognize that there are some environments that might demand that a solution be kept on premise. There are some international and government-based public institutions that are good examples of this demand. Our Dynamic Deployment options will accommodate virtually any deployment and licensing scenario.

Do you have any new customer or partner wins that you want to share with our audience? If so, why did they select your company or product?
Many of our customers are delivered through our channel partners such as HSBC or BankTel, therefore we typically do not provide the names of those customers. However, the reasons they selected us as a provider rather than one of our competitors are generally a result of one of the highlights I mentioned in the previous two questions. In addition to one of the most robust products, we provide a level of attention and support not found with most of our competitors.

This industry has been in a high growth mode for a couple of year now. What do you see happening with the industry, and the need for these types of solutions, over the next 12-18 months?
We believe this industry has not yet peaked and that the demand will increase over the next 12-18 months. There are several factors that lead to this belief including the current economic pressures, the growing frustration with expensive “modules” and ERP “add-ons” and the continued adoption of technology to manage employee spend.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Is there anything that we have not talked about that you would like to discuss with our readers?
Yes, I believe it is important to emphasize that Exspend has developed a product that reflects the full-life-cycle experience of the management team. It is delivered very professionally with great care and concern for the client-environment. The eXspend expense management solution (EMS) provides the marketplace with a world-class SaaS solution, delivered with the professionalism of an expensive-ERP-solution but at an unbelievable price-point! Our very feature-rich functionality, user-friendly interface, cost-effective pricing and flexible delivery options provide executives with a win-win solution that exceeds expectations every time!

Thanks again Larry and I wish you the best as you continue your explosive growth this year!

To all of our readers out there, if you have any additional questions or would like to speak with Exspend about your T&E needs, please send me an email or contact Exspend directly:

Heath Viner
Director of Sales & Business Development
(205) 313-9254
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