How Long Meadow Ranch got on top of its multi-entity spend
Long Meadow Ranch is a collection of properties and associated hospitality and leisure companies in California’s wine country. The various entities in the Long Meadow Ranch family include a wine business, a farm-to-table restaurant and general store, a high-end hotel, and a cattle ranch. Underpinning each is Long Meadow’s services company, which provides back office services across the Long Meadow portfolio.
A decentralized spend management system made planning and end-of-month accounting difficult
Managing spend across Long Meadow Ranch’s multiple entities was a complex, unwieldy task. “It’s really five different companies,” explains CFO Forrest Chandler. “They all have to have their own cards and their own expenses—you don’t want someone making a charge to one company when it really belongs in another company.”
With multiple employees who needed to make purchases across multiple businesses, spend management for Long Meadow had become burdensome. Forrest and his team had to navigate multiple card systems, including Chase and American Express, and a combination of personal and company cards made cashflow planning difficult.
“You get to the end of the month, and you’re waiting for everyone to get their expenses in, and you can’t close your books because you have no idea what people have purchased,” says Forrest. “We had a combination of people using company cards and using their own personal cards, so we didn’t know if we were going to get a bill for $5,000 or $100,000. From a cashflow planning standpoint, that was a big deal.”
Card management was cumbersome, cash flow planning was challenging, and monthly accounting was time-consuming. Long Meadow Ranch needed a better system.
A centralized spend management platform that offered flexibility and simplicity
Long Meadow Ranch partnered with Ramp to roll out a centralized spend management platform that could streamline workflows while maintaining separation across entities.
“I can log into one entity and log those transactions, then easily flip to another entity,” says Forrest, who appreciates the simplicity Ramp has offered. That simplicity has extended to card management, which has become much easier given Ramp’s ability to issue unlimited one-time virtual cards with controlled uses and spending limits.
“As a company our size, we don’t want to issue cards to everyone,” explains Forrest. “It’s easier for us to issue someone a one-time virtual card with a quick approval when something comes up. It’s been awesome.” Given the nature of Long Meadow’s business, this ability has become a game-changer. “With events, you end up with a lot of little things to take care of,” says Forrest. “We can now issue a virtual card to someone we wouldn’t normally give a card to. We’ve been able to take advantage of that, to make it easier to pay vendors.”
Likewise, the ease of card distribution has allowed Long Meadow to get creative about vendor payment and reduce the number of checks it issues. “All that automation [has allowed us to give people the ability to pay for things that normally we would have to cut a check for,” says Forrest. “We’ve really taken that out of the process.”
Ramp’s intuitive, cloud-based interface has made getting started easier. “That’s part of what made [Ramp] attractive for us,” says Forrest. “All our systems are cloud-based. Our people have to know a lot of different systems, so being simple and out-of-the-box is pretty important, too.”
Faster accounting, greater flexibility, and reduced chaos across the business
Shifting to Ramp’s central platform expedited the historically time-consuming monthly accounting process and offered real-time transparency into corporate spend.
“I think the biggest advantage of Ramp is having a card integrated with the expense system, and having it be in real-time,” says Forrest. “I can go right in [to Ramp] and it’s all there, versus having to wait for a credit card fee the next day or however long it will take to pop over. It’s a real savings in time, and it’s huge for us.”
That simplicity has enabled Long Meadow to close its books one to two days faster than before and gain immediate transparency into employee spend, so Forrest and his team can better plan cash flow. What’s more, the simplicity of issuing virtual cards made it easier for the company to pay certain vendors and ingrained flexibility into Long Meadow’s spend management process.
Implementing Ramp has also delivered monetary value to Long Meadow. “Obviously the cash back is helpful,” says Forrest. “We’re actually getting money back out of the platform, and we really didn’t get that with the company cards we had before.”
Ramp has already become an important central fixture of Long Meadow’s operations. “Our employees appreciate that if they have a need for something…they know they can just ask their manager, and all of a sudden they can take care of it. It’s already kind of ingrained in us, and we’re still optimizing it.”
That simplicity and speed has alleviated burdens and reduced confusion across the company. “It’s really helpful in our operations, where we have so many different vendors and so many different payment methods,” says Forrest. “There’s a savings there in just taking away the chaos of the business.”