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How Pleo and TravelPerk help Luno manage business travel seamlessly

Luno is a global cryptocurrency investment company whose mission is to put the power of cryptocurrency in everyone's hands. With over 11 million customers in 43 countries, a team of 1,000+ and offices in 9 countries, that’s a lot of expenses to manage. 

Luckily for Luno, Pleo and TravelPerk – the all-in-one travel platform – have teamed up to make travel spending a breeze. How? Just make a booking on TravelPerk using your Pleo card, and we’ll take care of the rest. We match the receipt to the expense to make things easier when it comes to bookkeeping. No reporting, no manual reconciliation, no being out-of-pocket. It really is plain sailing.

We spoke to Byron Cowie, Head of Reporting and Control at Luno, to learn how the magic combination of Pleo and TravelPerk has removed the headache of business trips for their finance team.

Challenges

  • Missing receipts and missing owners for receipts 
  • A period of time where one company card was shared between the whole office
  • Frequent travel meant a lot of manual expense reconciliation

Results

  • Managing the expenses for the 228 trips Luno made was easier than ever
  • Processing 400 expenses a month takes much less time
  • The finance team saves a day each month doing manual admin

Tell us about how you handled expenses before Pleo?

“My team takes care of the accounting and control and all those sorts of traditional things in a fairly untraditional business. There were only four people in the finance team when I joined, but now the team is made up of 40 people! Considering how much the company as a whole has scaled, there’s a lot of travel and a lot of expenses to process manually,” says Byron.

They came across Pleo when they launched their UK office and had that all-too-common frustrating experience where one credit card was shared between everyone – unbeknownst to the finance team! 

“There were missing receipts, and missing owners for receipts – two issues we don’t have anymore. Now we can see who’s spent what and where, and nudge them for the receipt through the app.” No more awkwardly pestering your colleagues at the coffee machine.

“I'm a huge fan of Pleo. It's really made our lives much easier. I don't say that about a lot of software we use!”

How are you using Pleo across the company?

“We’ve only given a card to people who spend or travel frequently. We’re rolling out Pleo Pocket for everyone else to help speed up the reimbursement process,” Byron tells us. Before this, it could take up to a month to reimburse employees. That’s bad news for both the finance team and employees who are left out-of-pocket. 

“We’re a global company, with hundreds of bank accounts and corporate accounts across multiple markets. This means manually uploading hundreds of bank statements into our accounting system is a very friction-filled process.” Before Pleo, the team at Luno was manually downloading CSVs and uploading them to Sage X3 to reconcile them 🥱 Now, they’ve built an integration using Pleo’s open API

“It might not sound all that much, but with a small finance team that has a lot of complex crypto recons to do, we really don’t want to spend time processing credit card transactions.” For Luno, time would be better spent looking after customer funds. So saving someone a whole day’s work makes a huge difference.

What’s the best bit about using Pleo?

For Byron, the fact that the cards are pre-funded and you don’t need to apply for credit was a real perk, allowing them to be set up virtually, quickly and seamlessly. “We can issue a virtual card in about a minute and get someone up and running just like that,” he says. The speed and flexibility of using Pleo has “been a game-changer for us. It allows people in the offices to spend, even when the finance team is not present.” What’s not to love?

But that’s not it. “We’re also big fans of Fetch, as it helps automate the kind of task that our team shouldn’t be spending their time on.” We’re all for freeing up time to help teams focus on the work that matters, so this is music to our ears ❤️ 

“Using Pleo saves about a day per month for someone in our finance team.”

Acknowledging Pleo’s impact on company culture, Byron believes that it’s “nice to be able to empower people to spend where they need to.” Being able to set adjustable spending limits keeps the finance team in control, while giving teams the freedom to buy the tools they need to get the job done.

How has the Pleo and TravelPerk integration helped you?

Byron remembers having “one credit card for all travel spend, and the travel agent we were using didn’t offer the breadth of options we needed for a global business. It was quite a messy experience and employees didn’t like it.” 

Then came the Covid pandemic and travel ground to a halt. “This was great for the finance team!” Byron laughs. “But when travel picked up again, all hell broke loose.” In the year to date, Luno has booked 228 trips, costing roughly a quarter of a million dollars. That’s a lot of expenses! “In some cases, people were spending their own money for work purposes which meant constant time-consuming reimbursements. In other cases, we advanced employees funds for travel which meant manual reconciliation when the trip was completed” says Byron. 

It wasn’t long before Luno stumbled upon TravelPerk. And it seemed the quickest way to book business trips was using their Pleo cards. “It was meant to be a temporary solution but it’s been so seamless we haven’t felt the need to change anything. Top-ups to our Pleo cards happen almost instantaneously, so there’s never any lag time where people can’t book travel – a problem we used to encounter with our previous set-up.” 

Don’t forget that Pleo automatically matches receipts from all transactions on TravelPerk. No more manual drag and drop!

With over 400 expenses to process every month, using Pleo and TravelPerk has meant it’s easy to see who’s providing receipts and who’s not. “In an extreme case, we can remove the employee’s card!” (Hopefully this doesn’t happen often…)

“Using Pleo and TravelPerk has really helped us. Without it, we would have had people travelling and spending out-of-policy, waiting for expenses to be reimbursed, having to advance funds to people for travel if they didn't have the means to do it on their own – these things are really time consuming.” But getting up and running so quickly with Pleo and TravelPerk meant a short turnaround time which saved them weeks when launching a travel solution. Happy to help 🙌

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