We interviewed Grace Wildsmith from mental well-being scaleup Unmind to learn why Cledara has allowed their finance team to maintain their size while the company scaled from 50 to 106 employees.
Grace is currently Management Accountant at Unmind. She joined the company back in April 2020 as a financial assistant and then as the needs of the business grew, she changed roles to management accountant. Today, she manages the reporting and as well as transactional accounting.
In Grace’s words, Cledara is “an easy way to give your employees autonomy whilst maintaining control.”
Grace, we'd love to hear from you about Unmind. Tell us about the company and who you help and why you're great.
Yes, we are a mental wellbeing platform. We seek to improve the mental well-being of as many people as possible. So it's an application both online and on mobile. And yes, we have various different clients in lots of different sectors at the moment, growing, growing fast. It's very exciting here!
And especially right now with what's going on with Covid and a lot of folks having to adjust their lifestyles and ways of working, which brings with it all-new stresses. Definitely, we're hoping to help as many people as we possibly can through all the challenges that they face.
And if I remember correctly, you joined in the months when Unmind was joining Cledara. I'd like to take you back to those months, how were you managing SaaS before Cledara came into your life?
So all of our spending was going to a centralised court and it was very much a manual process of evaluating what to spend. It was very much going to the accounting software and seeing what was going out, where it was going out sometimes, why it was going out. And it was very much a process that sat in finance that was very ad hoc.
Prior to Cledara, there wasn't really a procurement process in place. So in terms of procurement, that was the way it went. It was all done very ad hoc, and our spend was done on a centralised bank card with one provider.
OK, great. And so you were doing all this manually. And at the same time, I guess you were probably already doing the transaction or accounting reporting as well as the management reporting. What were the challenges that doing it this way caused?
I guess it was prone to error in terms of moving it from excel. We often lost transactions in the move and. Yes, it was very post instead of pre. In terms of analysing our spend, it was a lot harder to pinpoint what was spent on software and where the licenses sat. We had a lot of trouble locating the email addresses that were associated with certain accounts, something which Cledara has made easy.
That's a great segue. So how has Cledara helped Unmind specifically?
It’s given us the ability to not put a rigid procurement process in place. I think one of the main reasons people don't like to speak with finance is because they see it as this behemoth where it's very rigid and bureaucratic and unable to help in a lot of ways. Whereas the Cledara process is giving them access to the payment method, it gives employees autonomy and it makes them feel that the controls within their hands still, despite we're in control of the budget still.
Oh, and in terms of procurement, it's enabled us to give budgets for certain things that we didn't actually expect Cledara to help us within the first place. So in terms of it managing SaaS, it's been wonderful, but in terms of giving people (or a certain department) a budget for an event we've been able to do that and set still have control whilst giving them autonomy, really, which I think is the main was the main driver we were looking for.
How about management reporting? Have you found it useful there in any particular way?
Yes. So in terms of modelling and forecasting, I've used it quite a lot to see how the spending on certain software has increased over time. Plus, it has allowed us to put more malleable assumptions of future spending. And we've not gone over budget in terms of our reporting yet this year! So I think it's been pretty helpful in many ways.
And is there one particular feature that you like the most wanted? Is there any particular one which you can’t live without?
I couldn't live without Cledara’s virtual cards, they have been a godsend. I've seen the other tail end of not having control over the payment method and it’s really inefficient. You can have everything from magazine subscriptions that have never been read to subscriptions to an energy supplier, that you're not sure what building even supplies the energy to and having control over the payment method is one of the main benefits that I see from Cledara looking towards the future.
Have you seen any changes in the interactions with your team before and after implementing Cledara?
Yes, there's a lot less back and forth in general, because in terms of finding the best payment method for X, Y or Z, there's always a different answer. And if we were doing a reimbursement method, as it would be a much longer process. In fact, I really don't think we'd still be a two-person finance team without Cledara, I think we would be a much bigger finance team. A lot bigger.
OK, so you haven't changed your finance team. Are you still the same number of people?
Yes. I am only coming up to a year, but we've seen growth in every department essentially - except in finance because of how Cledara has helped automate so much of what we do! When I joined, Unmind was at 50 employees and now we're at 106.
Have there been changes in your role in terms of day to day?
Yes, well, I mean, for sure, definitely the day to day in terms of. It's a lot easier. And I can compare to my previous experiences in finance departments elsewhere, which were a lot more archaic and a lot more rigid. And yes, it's been a very smooth ride since.
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Thank you for reading through Unmind's story. Do Grace's thoughts resonate with you? Feel free to book a demo and we can talk. Meanwhile, if you want to get regular updates on the latest trends in the SaaS industry, subscribe to our newsletter below.