How Pleo uses Pleo

Since day one at Pleo, we were aiming to solve problems with company spending and expensing. And that started with solving the problems we discovered ourselves.

Naturally, it helped that our founders both had experience from building finance products and having been in financial roles before.

But it’s the growing pains that our small team went through, when buying things for work, that established the first challenges we wanted to solve.

Today, we are growing much faster and hiring a lot more people (join us!). But we remain the biggest fans of Pleo.

We come to work every day to make the product better, not just for our customers, but for our fast-evolving organisation as well.

Interestingly, since we went out of beta, we’ve seen a variety of ways to use Pleo. That holds true across countries, industries, companies, teams.

It’s the same here at Pleo, where our remote engineering team in Canada uses our product differently compared to our fast-growing sales team in London, who are often on the road visiting our current and future customers.

That’s why we’ve decided to ask some of our Pleo employees about their favourite features and unique workflows they might have.

Hopefully, this might give you a few ideas to get the best out of Pleo.

 was the first employee
(and the first Québécois!) at Pleo. He’s been instrumental to growing our team and our product to where it is today. Today, he is overlooking and growing our great and partly-remote engineering team across Denmark, Canada and Slovenia as our Engineering Director.

How do you use Pleo today as opposed to two years ago when the team was much smaller?

We’ve grown our product team from two people to over 30 since I’ve started at Pleo. There have also been tons of new functionalities added in the meanwhile, but in principle it hasn’t changed much, and that’s the best thing about Pleo.

When we need something for the the team, we just use our Pleo cards and that’s it. It’s a huge change to how company spending is done elsewhere.

As you hire a lot of new people, how do you make sure to control all their company spending?

I’m a team manager for Engineering in Pleo, where I can stay on top of all my team spending. We enable and encourage our new hires to buy their own equipment they need for work with their new Pleo card as soon as they start.

That way they can get the “Pleo experience” of not doing expense reports right away.

As a team manager, I can set budgets, but more importantly, see all company spending.

This transparency is definitely a lot more powerful than any limit I could set. We have no strict guidelines or policies within our team, our employees use their instinct and if a purchase is bigger, like a new computer, they of course run it by me first.

As of today, we haven’t seen any out-of-policy behaviour, as nobody is here trying to screw over our company.

Your team probably has a bunch of software subscriptions, how do you keep track of those with Pleo?

This is probably one of the best features of using Pleo for our team.

When we introduce a new service, the employee that needs it, just subscribes with their own Pleo virtual card. We can then see easily see what services we are using as team, who is using them and how much we are are paying for that.

As the team grows, this is crucial, since having the overview over all expenses and invoices makes us a whole lot more organised.

With experience working in bigger companies, even super-tech-savvy ones, Marie-Louise has tried a lot of platforms for expense reporting, but none of them come close to Pleo, she says. One of the first account managers at Pleo, she’s now head of sales enablement.

You’ve talked with a lot of potential Pleo clients, what feature do they find most impressive?

There are quite a few of those, so not sure where to start! It depends a bit of industry and the customer we are talking to.

If it’s a company that has a lot of people out of office, like an event or video agency, they really love the simple way they can issue and control cards, set the limits and just catch receipts on the go. They don’t get that feature with any other commercial cards elsewhere.

Tech-savvy companies, digital agencies and consultancies on the other hand love the way they can go fully receipt-less with Pleo and empower their employees.

They know everyone hates expense reports and moving to Pleo makes their company more agile and their staff a lot happier.

And then, whatever the industry is, we have the finance people.

They are just in love with our accounting integration and the easiness to access and sync all data, including project codes and receipts to their accounting software. It saves them a lot of manual work.

What about your team, what do they like most about using Pleo cards?

As we are visiting our new and existing clients around the whole UK, our team is often on the road.

Storing receipts or filling out forms to claim your money back for tickets or expenses is normally one of the biggest hassles for sales people. It can eat up a few days in a year.

Our team just uses their Pleo company cards, snap their receipts and they’re done.

Using Pleo when you are on the road allows you to get the product right away and immediately understand the benefits we are bringing to our clients. By doing this, it’s much easier to present those benefits we experience ourselves in all of our meetings.

Do you have a favourite Pleo feature?

I must say that the thing I find really cool and often overlooked, because of all the other features, is the Analytics view. As a team manager, I’m able to get a very detailed insight into our team spending behaviour, highlighting who and where we spend the most, who is the most diligent with receipts and so on.

It’s so good it could be a standalone product.

From his previous experience as a CFO, CEO, manager and an employee, Jeppe understands the benefits of Pleo compared to traditional expense reporting better than anyone else. Pleo is a product that scratched his own itch, but his ambition to change company spending goes far beyond a card that does your expense reports.

To start with the most obvious question, why do you think it’s a good idea for everyone to have a company card?

Corporate cards were, and still are today in a lot of places, reserved only for senior management. It was seen, for a long time, almost as a sign of prestige.

Once you would reach the certain level within a company, you would be rewarded with the trust and autonomy by getting your card.

And for a long time, it made a lot of sense.

Corporate cards are not easy to get, as banks traditionally require a lot of paperwork, and finance teams have to rely on the end-of-the month balance statement to see all the transactions that occurred.

This means that reconciling gets very messy and non-compliant spending can happen under the radar.

As a result, the process of issuing cards for purchasing is seen as decentralising control and that is something that generally concerns procurement and finance teams.

But cards coupled with a technology solution like Pleo, open doors to getting much more control and visibility than before as everything can be seen in real-time.

This fact coupled with the changes we are seeing in how companies operate today, makes spreading trust and autonomy achievable across the whole company a lot easier. And according to most research today, it is what your employees are actually motivated most by.

How do you use Pleo today as a manager of a very fast growing company? 

We have different teams set up in Pleo based on departments. Managers of those teams are then responsible for the expenses of their own team.

I still have an overview over all spending, but use the analytics view to follow the spending patterns and have better overall oversight.

Expense tags are a very valuable feature for us, as we can track not just department spending, but specific projects in more detail.

Automatic reminders within Pleo makes sure employees attach missing receipts, so we don’t have to ping them. Having all things in place is crucial for us and makes our yearly audit a lot easier.

You often say that Pleo is not just a card, care to elaborate?

Pleo is a complete business spending solution. The card is just the means of payment and the easiest way to buy things for work today as most of work-related transactions are moving from invoices to card payments. This might change in the future and Pleo will be there to accommodate it, whatever that may be.

What makes our solution really great and special is the technology behind it. The ability to control and track company spending in real-time is an unprecedented approach when it comes to company spending. It saves time on admin tasks, gives more power to the finance team to control budgets and makes things just easier for the people who matter most in your company: your employees.

The takeaway tips from how Pleo uses Pleo

As you can see, our employees use Pleo in their own ways, based on the their own needs. Hopefully, this uncovered a few ideas about what can come in handy in your company as well. 

Here’s the roundup of the tips:

1. Using virtual cards for company subscriptions.

Make it easier to stay on top and control all recurring payments within Pleo by using our virtual cards. This way, you can see who runs which subscriptions, add invoices and see how much it costs.

2. Give your new hires a card to buy their tools.

A great way to welcome a new employee to your team is to empower them to buy the things they need for work with their own card. That way, they can get in the habit of taking care of their own expenses and adding the receipts instantly.

3. Utilise analytics for better insights.

To have a better overview over all company spending, whether that is just by user, team or the whole company, use the Analytics feature. You can follow the spending patterns in detail across your different tags, teams or merchants.

4. Track projects with Tags.

Whether you have billable expenses, want to organise spending across different clients, internal or external projects, or any other dimension you prefer, we recommend using the Tags feature. We’ve written about how to use it before, but it’s a feature that can give Pleo extra powers.

5. Remember, Pleo is not just a card.

Pleo is far more than just a piece of plastic. It’s important to understand and utilise the technology to get the best out of Pleo. You can start by reading our guides on how to get started.