Construction One is a national construction management and general contracting company that operates in all 50 states, supporting many customers who are launching commercial building projects. The company comprises 50 employees who work in its Columbus, Ohio office, four who work from home, 25 who work on job sites, and a slate of subcontractors in various locations. Construction One’s main priorities include working as efficiently as possible, staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and automation, and giving its finance team the flexibility it needs to maintain close oversight over each job.
As a national provider with multiple concurrent jobs and subcontractors across state lines, Construction One’s expense management system was complicated, manual, and paperwork-heavy. Corralling employees and subcontractors to take care of their administrative duties each month was challenging and stressful.
“The only way we can close our books at the end of the month is to have everyone finish their coding, because that’s going to affect our expenses for our financial statement,” explains Chris Moberger, Controller at Construction One. “Chasing everyone to get their paperwork done is a painful process.”
The nature of Construction One’s business adds layers of complexity to the expense management process. Historically, employees needed to upload receipts, code those receipts to identify the overarching project, and enter another code to categorize the type of charge. The company’s legacy credit card provider didn’t offer expense management software, so Construction One decided to create its own system.
“It was terrible,” says Chris. “We’d send out everyone’s individual statements weekly. Then, we’d have our employees go into Google Docs, where we’d created spreadsheets for each individual user. We told them to match their statement, type it into Google Docs, make sure the dollar amounts and vendors match, add a description, and code it.” That system resulted in extra work for employees, who had to manually retype and code their receipts, and for Accounts Payable, which was tasked with reviewing and maintaining this assorted collection of Google Docs.
“Our AP person would go into 75 different Google docs, make one giant report, turn it into an Excel spreadsheet, and import it into our software,” says Chris. This required a time commitment of approximately 10 hours each week, or 40 hours per month.
Chris and his team knew this system wasn’t sustainable. Construction One needed an expense management platform that would support its overarching objectives of driving efficiency, automating processes where possible, and freeing up valuable time for the finance team.
Construction One partnered with Ramp to streamline and automate its cumbersome expense management process. With Ramp, Chris was able to quickly and easily set up customized codes that would help reduce pressure on both employees and the finance team.
“The whole process was smooth,” says Chris. “We were able to customize everything, and Ramp has been able to capture all of our needs.”
Ramp has relieved some of the manual burden employees had previously faced. “The coding has been a huge help,” says Chris. Now, when employees submit expenses, they receive an instant text message or email that reminds them to enter the appropriate code. “A lot of times, people don’t do it right away, so getting that immediate reminder has been huge,” says Chris.
In addition to the streamlined system and easier receipt tracking that Ramp provided, Construction One was also drawn to Ramp’s 1.5% cashback rewards, which was materially higher than the rewards its legacy system had offered.
“When Ramp came with 1.5%, that was enough because we have about $2 million to $2.5 million to spend in a year,” says Chris. “Even going from 1.25% to 1.5% was a big enough percentage increase.”
Implementing Ramp has revolutionized Construction One’s expense management system and allowed the company to shift from a highly manual process to a streamlined, highly automated one. The new platform has imparted greater real-time visibility over employee spend and enabled better controls that ultimately result in cost-savings.
“We’ve been able to control specific categories of spend,” explains Chris. “Our field guys get a per diem with their travel, so we’ve gone in [to Ramp] and disallowed travel. We’ve turned off categories like flights, hotels, restaurants, bars, because those employees are getting a per diem and shouldn’t be spending on their credit cards. That’s been helpful for those cases.”
In addition to helping cut costs, Ramp has also saved substantial time for the entire team.
“The whole process is much easier,” says Chris. “We don’t have to worry about that reconciliation process. We just capture everything in real-time.” That cuts Accounts Payable’s expense management process down by about 75%, from 40 hours per month to 10 hours per month.
“We’re definitely planning on staying with Ramp,” says Chris. “There’s no reason to leave, and we’re happy.”