Ed Barrett works in the 10-people finance team at Butternut Box, a company that’s raised an impressive $58 million from investors to deliver healthy dog food to our doors. The business is growing rapidly and, in less than a year, has increased headcount from 100 to 150 employees.
Good finance leaders have the ability to peer into the future. Ed has showcased this talent by getting a jump on the SaaS management trend that is only set to accelerate, with software already one of the top 3 expenses in tech companies.
We talked to Ed about how Butternut Box manages their SaaS subscriptions from a financial perspective, and how scalable their processes have proven to be.
Tell us about Butternut Box. How do you take care of our dogs?
Butternut Box is all about feeding dogs healthy food, that is our main goal. We provide that food, which makes dogs happy, as well as their pet parents. And we are working hard to reach as many happy dogs as possible. Our London-based startup delivers freshly cooked pet food tailored to each dog’s needs, based on a survey owners fill out online.
It’s been over five years now since the birth of the company. I've been here for just under the past year, so I've seen the company expanding quite rapidly. In fact, our finance team has grown from six to ten people in that time.
Fantastic. And what are your current growth projections?
I think we're going to be hiring more and more people. We are around 150 people now, where we were under 100 a year ago. And we are even looking to double the next year or so. And now we're opening up a new factory too!
“We are around 150 people now, where we were under 100 a year ago. And we are even looking to double in the next year or so.”
That’s great growth. So how does a tool like Cledara help you guys in finance manage this growth?
The world before Cledara was a very manual, very labour intensive process of sorting out who was paying what and how many subscriptions we had. Even if we were actually using them, were they worth it? I don't think we were getting the maximum efficiency out of the subscriptions we had.
The world before Cledara was a very manual, very labour intensive process of sorting out who was paying what and how many subscriptions we had.
Since we started with Cledara, we now have the ability to track all that, set out the different cards and actually know who we are paying and for how much.
Communication between teams has also improved a lot. Back in the day, it was difficult to communicate with the teams that were using the subscriptions, getting the invoices from them or trying to understand what they were using even in the first place. The only info we had was buried in bank transactions and I wouldn't know who had paid for what. Now that’s all sorted with Cledara.
We're very happy to hear that! Was there any information that Cledara surfaced that surprised you?
Yes. The ability to separate subscriptions into teams helps quite a lot to see which teams are spending the most. Many of us were surprised with how much certain teams were spending, which we hadn’t realised beforehand.
Having a separate virtual card for each subscription has helped me notice when we've gone over budget or we're spending way less to indicate that we might have signed up for another service.
Also, having a separate virtual card for each subscription has helped me notice when we've gone over budget or we're spending way less to indicate that we might have signed up for another service. And that’s something that was very hard to see before. The notifications scheme within Cledara is very helpful.
And from a finance standpoint, how has Cledara helped you the most?
Reconciling all the payments that go out has been the most helpful for me. It was just getting overwhelming as we grew and I’m very happy Cledara sorts that out.
Also, as we sign up to more and more subscriptions every single day, I was constantly having people coming to me asking, “Can I have the company card to sign up for this?”. Now I actually have a record of where the money is going on a day-to-day basis instead of coming to the end of the month and realising we’ve overspent. I’m very happy about that.
Overall, Cledara saves me a lot of time and helps keep me very organised, which is helpful when I'm going between so many different tasks.
And what’s the thing you like the most about Cledara?
The user experience - it's very clean and easy to use. Being in finance, I've used quite a lot of software. Cledara is very easy to sign up, get started with and start using. That’s really helpful when I'm introducing a new member to the team or getting someone from another team trying to add their subscriptions. It makes things a lot easier.
The thing I like the most about Cledara is that it is very clean and easy to use. Being in finance, I've used quite a lot of software. Cledara is very easy to sign up, get started with and start using. That’s really helpful when I'm introducing a new member to the team or getting someone from another team trying to add their subscriptions. It makes things a lot easier.
Also, with Cledara, the integration with Xero is wonderful as it imports all the bank statements and invoices and I find that very quick and effective. With other software, it's a lot more manual, a lot slower, which introduces problems when trying to get tasks done at the end of the month.
And finally, the cashback is nice as well. The platform ends up paying for itself!