Government, CivicTech, AI, Machine Learning
New York City, New York, USA
Zencity uses AI and big data to reinvent the way local governments make decisions. The platform helps cities, counties, and other government agencies understand their residents’ real needs and priorities, eliminating the guesswork from policymaking. Together with government partners, Zencity is setting a new standard for performance. We sat down with Zencity’s VP Finance and Operations Jacob Silber, to ask him about his experience with Mesh, and how his team and the company has benefited from integrating Mesh into their payment system.
Jacob categorizes the challenges they faced into 3 main buckets. The first issue they were dealing with was having all their payments relying on the one credit card.
“We didn’t know where payments were coming from, or who they were being made to. This made the month-end very confusing and time consuming”
All payments being made from Zencity, whether it was a small one-time expense, a recurring subscription, or an extremely critical payment, were attached to the one card and the finance team had to wait till the end of the month to review the credit card statement to try and make sense of everything.
“The statements we get every month can be really cryptic. Even if the merchants are listed on the statement, it’s not always easy to decipher since they often use codes or abbreviations that don’t clearly describe who the merchant is”.
Not only are these statements hard to decode, they don’t provide any information about which employee from which department made the payment and cost attribution became time consuming and sometimes impossible.
The second challenge was more related to security and lack of control. One credit card was being passed around the company, there was no system in place for approval requests and no control over who was using the card. Having the corporate card information shared between employees also meant that there was a risk of exposure, as many people were using the one card.
Finally, for any employees who no longer worked at Zencity, it was difficult to track which subscriptions were being paid by them, and there was no simple way of identifying these payments and cancelling or transferring them to the new owner.
In the time that Jacob introduced Mesh to his team and gradually to more and more members of the company en route to a full rollout, it has rapidly become an integral tool in all their payment processes.
“Our subscription payment management has become noticeably better and more importantly, simpler.”
Jacob has also noticed that no longer relying on a corporate credit card has helped them reduce costs and improve budget planning. Approval requests from employees are efficient and easy and there is less strain on the finance team to sit with each employee at the end of the month to try and figure out which payments they are making and reconcile this against the credit card statement.
“Before Mesh, we were doing all the work manually, so this has been a significant improvement for everyone involved in payments – which is essentially the whole company”.
Jacob finds the spend management platform to be very convenient.“It’s simple, there aren’t too many steps, set up is quick and we all got the hang of it straight away. The Mesh team is always available and helpful if we ever have any questions.”
For many companies, adopting a new software can be daunting or time consuming. It usually can take a few weeks or months until employees finally learn how to use the system. Zencity were delighted to find that it only took a few minutes to get set up with Mesh and a couple of days for the staff to feel comfortable using the platform.
Finally, Jacob stresses the sense of control he and his team have since introducing Mesh.“We are able to review expenses before they are incurred as opposed to a credit card which we learn about after the fact.”
Jacob feels that any finance teams going through the same challenges he was facing a few months ago should definitely introduce Mesh to their company.
“Anyone that finds the end-of-month stressful (which finance team doesn’t!), deals with multiple subscription payments or dreads that monthly credit card statement will find Mesh to be the perfect solution.”
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