How Causal replaced Brex with Ramp and saved 10 hours/month
Causal is a business planning platform that helps customers model and visualize their data quickly and seamlessly, without the need for outdated and difficult-to-decipher spreadsheets. Founded in the UK, Causal operates globally and services approximately 200 customers. The company recently raised a $20M Series A led by Coatue and Accel and is growing quickly, with plans to expand from 20 to 50 employees by the end of the year.
Causal’s finance team is lean but effective, composed of Chris Light, Head of Business Operations, and Kruze Consulting, a national accounting consulting firm. Causal’s structure was making the accounting process time-consuming for Chris and his team.
“We operate across multiple subsidiaries, so managing that process from an accounting and finance perspective can be cumbersome,” explains Chris.
Reducing friction and expediting time to close was one of Chris’ main priorities. “Getting the books closed and allocating expenses to the right area allows us to do a lot more within the first 10 days of the month,” he says. “We can look at the past month and analyze it and start figuring out plans much more quickly.”
Chris also wanted to streamline Causal’s heavily manual process through automation. “We have multiple systems that are tracking different things,” he says. “Automating all that into the accounting process so we can reduce the time to close and have more granularity in terms of what we’re tracking is a big priority.”
Causal had been using Brex, which was not meeting the team’s need for fast, user-friendly insights. “I didn’t have a lot of visibility, and the UI wasn’t really easy to use,” says Chris. “I just found that I kept getting stuck.”
Given his past experience, Chris was confident that implementing Ramp would help Causal accomplish its goals of expediting accounting and streamlining processes through automation. “I knew I wanted to bring Ramp into the fold,” says Chris. “Ramp offers a very good way for me to create automated rules and logic versus having to tell accountants [everything piecemeal].” Chris notes that his outsourced team of accountants, while excellent, works best when provided with information about transactions from Chris and the broader Causal team. “The ability to control and automate some of that saves me time,” he says.
Ramp has facilitated a better end-to-end accounting process, both for Chris and for the accounting team.
“It saves them the hours of cross-checking vendors with specific accounts,” Chris says. “It’s easy to set all that up on the front end as it happens. Ramp makes our partnership with Kruze even more successful.”
Deploying Ramp has helped Causal close their books faster each month and returned valuable hours to Chris. End-of-month accounting previously took 15 hours; with Ramp, it now takes five.
“It’s saved me ten hours, which for me as someone doing multiple different roles is a significant amount of time,” says Chris.
Ramp’s benefits have extended beyond time-savings. Ramp’s automated features have allowed Causal to implement card programs that improve the employee experience.
“We have a remote wellness stipend card,” says Chris. “We give everyone a card that has a monthly amount on it, and they’re able to spend it as they see fit. The setup and administration of that is very easy and very easy to track.” Causal also has cards for Learning and Development, Recruitment, and Software. Delineating expenses by these categories makes the accounting process much easier for the entire team.
Causal has also benefited from increased visibility into the team’s spend since implementing Ramp. “When we have a stipend, it’s useful to see how much people are using it,” says Chris. “So, how much of a card are they spending in a given month? That’s important for me as we’re forecasting.”
Ramp automates insights like these, just as it automates paying the bills. “When we pay repeat vendors, all the stuff just pulls in, all the payment details, everything,” says Chris. “The ability to have rules on those vendors is super helpful, to make sure that every time they’re automatically synced to the right accounts and right department.” Down the road, Chris expects that Ramp will automate the process of preparing for an eventual audit. “Our accountants don’t have to download invoices and upload them to QuickBooks with their journal entries. Receipts are all attached,” he says. “One day when we want to get audited and they want to see expenses lined up with receipts or invoices, Ramp is just automating that process for us.”
Armed with Ramp’s automation tools, Chris and the accountants at Kruze are able to work together more efficiently and effectively—like a “well-oiled machine,” as Chris puts it. Ramp has helped Chris optimize his daily operations, but it’s also laid a foundation for the accomplishment of future finance goals at Causal.
“As we look to mature the company and focus on spend as we grow, I think Ramp will allow us to set up the right automation systems to provide the insights, but then also provide the tools and toolkits to efficiently manage spend,” says Chris. “We’re going to become more complex, spend management’s going to become more complex…and I feel good about Ramp’s ability to take us to the next level.”