A few years ago, we set out to solve a real and pressing problem—an aggregate one—comprising many smaller problems with payments management in a business context. The issues were clear: problems with payment and expense management were having a chilling effect on business and, in fact, creating internal conflicts between different parts of the organization. The business was bottlenecked by accounting and operations, while the latter were struggling to integrate, reconcile and govern.
Policies were seen as straitjackets and finance was seen as the “Department of No.” Organizations had to tie-up a ton of capital that they needed for growth, and the energy spent in the whole process dissipated the passions required to generate success.
We saw something deeper, too.
Despite all the innovations in technology and other sectors, payments management continued in a frame of inertia and disparate systems, not adapting to the complex needs of growing organizations.
The problem was not just one of technology but also of business-design. We felt both sides needed innovation simultaneously—and then needed to be joined. This marriage was the genesis of the “One Employee Card” (Zact 1EC), which we are excited to finally share as a solution to these issues.
Our first design principle is what we call “managed autonomy,” which simply put enforces an expense policy before the spend happens, and allows employees the autonomy of decentralized purchasing as long as it is within policy. This prevents the downstream adverse effects of out-of-policy spend. The second design principle is “continuous reconciliation.” To implement this we did away with the notion of expense reporting completely. Instead, every transaction is a granular expense report, mapped to an expense type, cost center and project code. This is mapped to the appropriate GL code and continuously reflected in the accounting systems without delays.
We appreciate our team and clients for helping us make an idea into a useful reality for companies of all sizes. And we welcome you to join us on this journey.