How Pizza Pilgrims made expenses easier with Pleo

Pizza Pilgrims is not just another pizza place. Named as one of the must-eat places to get pizza around the world, their founding story was covered in biggest news outlets like Financial Times and Business Insider. They even published their own book about pizza recipes.

The reason they attracted all this attention is their inspiring founding story. Two brothers, James and Thom Elliot, decided to give up their ‘proper’ jobs to follow a dream to open a pizza chain out of 2 credit cards and a van, travelling around Italy, learning from the best pizza makers. A pizza pilgrimage.

Back in 2012 they’ve set up their first shop on a market stall on Berwick Street market in Soho selling takeaway pizzas at a reasonable price and people loved it immediately. Since then, 6 years later, Pizza Pilgrims has opened 10 different pizzerias across London and Oxford.

Market stall or a big company – everyone hates expense reports

Growing a company from market stall to a growing pizzeria chain with hundreds of employees in just a few years changes a lot of things. But one of the thing that still needs to be done is: expense reports. And as Thom, one of the co-founders puts it: “It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of Mega Corp Ltd. or running your tiny little market stall, everyone hates doing expense reports.”

He knows this as it was the same at Pizza Pilgrims. As they grew rapidly, their pain with expenses just become bigger as the receipts kept pilling up and the finance team had to reconcile a growing number of expenses manually.

Nofil, who works as a Financial Controller, tells us their company card reconciliation happened at the end of each month and the process of adding all transactions along with the receipts to an expense journal, which they later imported to Xero, their accounting software was a very strenuous task.

At one point Thom even decided to build a solution himself, to try and make at least storing the receipts in the photo stream for himself a bit easier, keeping expenses a bit more organised. But that didn’t help too much, as he found that he never got time to get around to actually do the expense reports properly.

Making expense processes easier with Pleo

Thom stumbled upon Pleo while browsing on the Xero Partner page to find tools to streamline their processes. He thought to himself: “Why has no one done this before?” and sent it over to his finance department.

The feeling was mutual (or as Nofil said: “It was like godsent”). After a quick trial with 2 of their employees, Pizza Pilgrims rolled Pleo out across the entire organisation, meaning that nobody at the company has to ever do expense reports again.

While the premise of eliminating expense reports initially excites the employees especially, it’s the finance departments that actually saves a lot more time and manual work by implementing Pleo.

It was the same in Pizza Pilgrims case. Switching to Pleo cards for expensing meant saying goodbye to downloading credit card statement, chasing people for receipts, creating a manual journal, uploading it to the account software.

With Pleo, their finance department now have the this whole process fully automated. From the point of sale, employees are instantly reminded to add the receipts and categorise it, to having everything integrated directly with Xero, their accounting software.

This way they can also track all transactions data in real-time and allocate expense properly. Thom describes Pleo as a clear and obvious solution that just makes life, without the expense reports, better.