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How Superhuman gained real-time control over spend while saving 40+ hours per month.

Superhuman couldn’t track its spend with providers like Expensify or Bill.com. Now, they’re proactively controlling spend and saving “multiple days per month” with Brex.


Superhuman mobile image
Superhuman mobile image

How Superhuman gained real-time control over spend while saving 40+ hours per month.

Superhuman couldn’t track its spend with providers like Expensify or Bill.com. Now, they’re proactively controlling spend and saving “multiple days per month” with Brex.


The TL;DR

Superhuman tried to control spend with disparate corporate cards, systems, and invoicing platforms.

Those solutions led to poor visibility and org-wide inefficiencies.

The “aha” moment: Superhuman could proactively provision spend and increase its org-wide efficiency with Brex’s unified solution.

The Impact

100%

Employee adoption rate

40+ hours

Saved per month

Even more efficient

Superhuman is an innovative email client that helps businesses and consumers get through their emails in record time. Founded in 2015, they now roster over 130 employees worldwide.

The company’s rapid growth pushed the finance team to reconsider its financial tech stack. Now, instead of disparate systems and a host of corporate cards, Superhuman has a truly unified spend management solution in Brex.

Brex Chief Product Officer Karandeep Anand recently sat down with Superhuman’s Head of Finance Andrew Maher to learn more about how he’s proactively managing spend, automating finance operations, and freeing his team to drive greater business impact worldwide.


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superhuman-headshots

Q&A with

Andrew Maher, Head of Finance, Superhuman

What does unified spend management mean to you? And, more importantly, why is it critical to your company?

Unified spend management enables centralized visibility and control. In other words, there’s a single system that contains the majority of our expense data that automatically maps to our QuickBooks GL [General Ledger]. Then, within that same single system, we can implement levels of control to kind of manage that overall spend.

For us, it’s critical to have insight into who is doing the spending, what they’re spending on, and the reasoning behind the spend so we can streamline our overall operations.

How was Superhuman managing spend prior to joining Brex? What systems were you using and what did the process look like?

It was a hodgepodge of different systems and multiple corporate cards. Each card was supposed to be dedicated to a different type of spend or department, but that got muddled over time.

We had Expensify for employee reimbursements and Bill.com for processing invoices. Then, when it came to receipt management, we used a Dropbox folder. We’d try to track tons of receipts, pore over statements, incorporate even more statements from our AP inbox, and try to piece them together. Trying to do all of that manually across disparate systems was a total mess.

Now, we basically put all of our spend into Brex, including employee spend like travel stipends and team events. The same goes for our departmental spend, so we’re no longer using Expensify or Bill.com. With Brex, all of our spend lives in one place. And every expense is categorized within the appropriate budget.

How has Brex improved your spend management process?

Keeping everything in Brex saves us so much time. Every time an expense goes on a Brex card instead of an employee's personal card, that's one less expense report that we have to review. Every time a vendor payment goes on a Brex card, that’s one less item in our weekly payment run that we have to go through. Or, it's one less line item in what used to be a large corporate card statement that we’d have to go through and reconcile.

With Brex, the time savings have been substantial. And, on top of that, we’ve gained real-time visibility, so we can always see how we’re trending on spend versus budget.

“With Brex, the time savings have been substantial. And, on top of that, we’ve gained real-time visibility, so we can always see how we’re trending on spend versus budget.”

Now, our financial forecast has an expected amount of spend by department. That spend ties to the departmental budgets we've created with Brex. I love the fact that Brex enables me to have a real-time pulse on how we're trending on spend versus budgets anytime I need it.

Brex also provides us with a fixed control. If we do reach the limit of a budget, we can stop, assess our next steps, and figure out whether or not to increase our investment. That sort of connectivity between what's happening — versus what we expect to happen — is awesome.

Outside of the finance team, how has Brex been received by Superhuman’s employees?

Brex has dramatically improved our end user experience. We tend to lose sight of that in finance, but it’s hugely important for any company. We’ve gotten such great feedback from our employees and internal stakeholders. They love the Brex app because it’s so user-friendly. It clearly shows them how much they’ve spent and how much they have left on any given budget. And they love the flexibility of being able to use a virtual card or a physical card.

The Brex app offers a really great experience all around. And that’s critical because a tool is only as good as its use. If my stakeholders aren’t actually using the tool, it's basically useless. Because the Brex app offers a stellar end user experience, we’re able to drive 100% adoption and take full advantage of all that Brex has to offer.

How does the quality of the end user experience tie back to the finance team?

Keeping everything in Brex saves us so much time. Every time an expense goes on a Brex card instead Andrew: Before Brex, we were trying to regain control of spend after the fact, which left us open to a lot of “ask-for-forgiveness” spend that had to be chased down.

With Brex, we can provide every end stakeholder with a budget that pushes the right control mechanism upfront. We knew that was something the end user would really enjoy. And, in turn, we knew that it would greatly reduce the amount of manual reconciliation that we would have to do.

What's been the impact of an enhanced spend management process?

Brex has been a tremendous time-saver for every team at Superhuman. The increase in transparency and insight means less time digging through expenses to understand where they came from, how they were coded, or whether they were actually approved.

Beyond that, Brex has streamlined our close process. Now it's a single push of a button to move everything straight into QuickBooks where it's already coded. We still have a review, but it’s so much faster. Brex saves us tens of hours every month on our close process alone. The finance team no longer has to waste time trying to understand each individual transaction.

“Brex saves us tens of hours every month on our close process alone.”

We’ve also seen a major efficiency gain at the manager / department lead level. With Brex, they don’t have to spend hours switching between systems to see how they’re tracking against their budget. Before, that entire process would take place after the month had closed. Now, they’re able to do it all in one click, in real time.

Plus, our employees are saving tons of time with the Brex app. Whether they’re using their physical or virtual cards, everything is in one centralized system, so their spend doesn’t creep out into other areas. And that helps the finance team — everything is in one place with all the rules are already built in, so we already know every item is coded correctly.

How much time has Brex saved your company in total?

Across the entire Superhuman org, we are saving multiple days every month with Brex. The finance team is saving so much time on reviews and closing the books so much faster. Every department is able to complete its own reviews so much faster and instantly track the employee’s usage. When you add that all up, Brex saves us multiple days in any given month.

What were you looking for in a new spend solution? Why did you ultimately choose Brex?

We loved the operational flexibility when it came to creating budgets and nested budgets. We were also impressed with the ability to spin up a thousand virtual cards instantly. Brex gave us the level of flexibility that we needed.

The other piece was more holistically thinking through our objective. We didn’t want to just replace an employee reimbursement platform or our corporate cards. We wanted to find the right provider that could subsume those different services in one unified spend management platform. We didn’t want three different platforms — we wanted one platform that could do it all with the flexibility to meet our specific needs. Ultimately, Brex was the only spend management solution that checked every box.

As you think about the future, how do you think technology will shape the future of finance? How can companies leverage technology to drive even greater business impact?

We’re looking to automate as much of our manual and transactional work as possible. With powerful time-saving automations, we can keep our focus where it belongs — thinking about new ways to ultimately enhance the business.

The right finance tech stack can help us leverage a ton of different data points to build actionable recommendations. If we see that a team is overpaying for a vendor or service, we can spot it immediately and suggest that they consider another provider. For us, I think that’s table stakes. Brex has already helped us tremendously in that area. And Brex continues to innovate, so we know that it’s a truly future-proof spend solution.

“We're saving multiple days every month with Brex. The finance team is saving so much time on reviews and closing the books so much faster. And every department is completing its own reviews so much faster.”

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