Pleo Hero of the Month: Sarah Ashworth, DeadHappy
We love alternative job titles at Pleo – so when Sarah Ashworth asked if we could refer to her as “The Money”, we were there for it.
It’s a cool job title at a very cool company.
Tell us about DeadHappy.
DeadHappy’s mission is to change attitudes to death. We’ve designed, developed and bought to market a new pay-as-you-go life insurance product.
The life insurance market can seem really static. Applications are really complicated, with lots of questions that can feel quite intrusive.
Our life insurance policy asks just four questions and it should take only one minute to apply. We ask our customers to create a “Deathwish” that details what they want to happen when they die.
We’ve had some really interesting ones – ranging from “shoot my ashes into space” to “create a life-sized bronze statue of me”.
Talking about death can’t be easy.
It’s still a bit of a taboo subject, in some cultures at least… but actually, it’s really important, what you want to happen when you die.
If you haven’t had that conversation with your next-of-kin or your partner or your friends, it might mean your legacy isn’t what you’d like.
For example, I’m not too bothered about a funeral. So I certainly wouldn’t want my family to spend thousands of pounds on a really elaborate funeral. Especially when that could go to something that I think is really important, like an animal sanctuary.
What are some unique challenges DeadHappy face when it comes to spending?
We expanded really quickly over the past year.
So until September or October, there was a team of five people. We’re up to 25 now.
So the main challenge I found is that everything in the company was set up for a very, very small business.
This meant our expenses process was very manual and it was difficult to keep track of invoices and receipts.
A lot to catch up on then!
Trying to get people to record what they’re buying, to keep their expenses and to link them together… It’s quite a simple concept. But actually, in real life, it can be challenging to get everyone to do that!
Using Pleo has made it a lot easier for me to keep on top of everything because so much of the work is already done.
Has Pleo changed the way your company works?
DeadHappy give a lot of freedom to people in the business to make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes. Pleo helps us do that.
I completely support that freedom of course – but it does mean people have a lot of responsibility for their own cost control.
Empowered is a good word. We’re trying to empower people to make their own decisions.
So guiding spending culture must be important.
It is – and it’s not an easy thing to do, but we’ve gotten much better at it.
The more people understand our financial position and budget, the better that method of cost control works.
It’s all about educating everyone in the business to understand what we’re targeting and what’s an acceptable cost now – and what might need to wait for our next funding round.
Can you remember an “aha” moment your team had with Pleo?
I probably see the biggest benefit of it.
Rather than having a backlog of 80 transactions to match, I maybe have 10 or 15. It’s just made reconciling so much easier – so it’s myself and my assistant who probably have the “aha” moments!
So you get more time back with Pleo – what does that help you to do?
It frees me up to work on the more important strategic questions facing DeadHappy.
We’re looking at diversifying into different revenue streams and there’ll be a lot of financial information that will be important in decisions around that.
So the less time I spend on the end-of-month matching of invoices, the better for everyone.
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