Arex is on a mission to level the playing field for SME financing. The startup uses an algorithm-based trading mechanism to open up capital for SMEs and lets professionals invest without transaction costs. And they’re doing very well.
The company has doubled headcount since Tuuli joined a little more than a year ago and has raised a $10 million Series A this year, to strengthen their innovative approach to invoice factoring.
Tuuli has been doing a bit of everything on the administration level: from office management to accounting and operations, and we discuss with her what it's like to manage a tech stack from the trenches.
“In general, the Cledara user experience is excellent.”
Arex uses more than 40 subscriptions that need to be actively managed, and that comes with a long list of tedious manual tasks.
And before Cledara, they didn’t have any process in place.
“We settled everything with the company credit cards. It was a nightmare. Controlling access, the costs, the receipts, everything. It was something we had to do every day. Not to speak about the month-end.”
How Cledara helped
Arex replaced their company cards with Cledara’s virtual cards, one for every subscription. A switch that has given Tuuli’s team a reliable process that has finally gotten them out of the weeds.
“We recently calculated how much time Cledara saves us. We estimated between 10 to 15 administration hours per month.”
And it’s not just the manual tasks, it’s about the control too. “Since day one, Cledara has been a huge help because we now have everything in one place - including the receipts. We feel in control now and users can get going with the apps they need.”
“We work in Europe but most of our subscriptions are in dollars,” Tuuli says.
While that’s perfectly normal and fairly standard for European startups, it can result in getting hit hard with FX fees on a regular basis. And that’s exactly what was happening to Tuuli’s team.
“Our bank was charging us FX fees every single time. And if the overcharge wasn’t enough, I also had to add 40 different lines manually, one for every app, and then another extra 40 lines for every FX fee into our accounting software,” she remembers.
How Cledara helped
At Cledara, we believe that the tools that save you money shouldn’t be costing you money. And one way we express that is through our zero FX fees policy.
“Just with the savings on FX fees, our Cledara account pays for itself”
And that’s not all. Cledara is integrated to Arex’s accounting software, which means that adding lines manually is over. Not for the applications nor the FX fees.
Company cards may seem like a convenient way to pay for software subscriptions, but soon things can get out of hand. Visibility and control can be non-existent, and only at month-end do finance teams actually learn what has been spent, where and by whom. And then the invoice chase begins.
Furthermore, if the card fails for any reason (fraud, limits, loss), all subscriptions that sit on that single card are at risk.
How Cledara helped
Cledara makes these stories look like a problem of the past.
“With Cledara we can see how much available balance there is on each virtual card and we receive notifications that prevent us from running out of funds,” Tuuli says in relief.
“Plus, if something fails today, we notice it right away and it’s in our control. We don't need to get in touch with the bank or anything like that. And in case that happens, it only affects that particular subscription, not all of our software stack, which is great.”
“The integration with our accounting software has been really smooth and easy so far. Just like the rest of the platform, I think it's great. In general, the Cledara user experience is excellent.”