How Dragonfly Pond Works leveled up expense management with Ramp

1 week faster
“Creating efficiency is an important part of an effective finance team. To scale you can’t only increase the size of the team. You have to complement with technology.”
Austin Mcilwain, CFO, Dragonfly Pond Works
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The problem
A fast-growing company had outgrown their traditional card system

After being acquired in 2019, Dragonfly quickly accelerated growth, increasing the size and revenue of the overall operation. With this growth, leadership prioritized hiring for positions to help optimize processes and guide the company as they scaled. In 2023, Dragonfly focused on growing the finance team, including hiring CFO Austin Mcilwain to oversee the finance function and structure it for scale both from a process and technology perspective. 

“We were quickly outpacing the processes that had worked for us at a certain level of company structure,”  explains CFO Austin Mcilwain. “There’s a big difference between 50 people and 150 people.”

One such process was Dragonfly’s credit card system and associated reimbursement, reconciliation, and bill pay processes. The company’s legacy system supported approximately 50 card holders, who each had their own card statement. “We were looking to shift to a more automated system for a few reasons,” says Austin. First: the team wanted easier access to more data. “It took several additional steps in order to understand trends around data within the old system,” Austin recalls. “Now we have that information almost instantaneously with Ramp.”

Second: Austin and his team were interested in improving compliance. “We wanted to ensure that we were always audit ready, with receipts and coding for all of our spend,” says Austin. “When the team is in the field it’s especially burdensome to keep track of receipts…the fact that they can just snap a photo with Ramp makes that process much smoother and easier for everyone to comply with our policies.”

Third: the month-end close process had become overly long and cumbersome. “The longest part of the month-end close was the credit card closing process,” Austin explains. “We had to move 50 different bank feeds over to our legacy accounting system (QuickBooks Desktop), and it took over a week at the start of each month to reconcile all that.” The combination of multiple individual credit cards and with an ERP that didn’t integrate made for an outdated system that caused frustrating delays. Reimbursements, too, were clunky -- they were tied to payroll and necessitated manual data entry into the payroll system, which resulted in a delay of potentially weeks before employees were reimbursed for expenses they’d paid for out-of-pocket.

The solution
A centralized automated platform

Dragonfly Pond Works partnered with Ramp to streamline its outdated credit card system. Since partnering with Ramp, the company has reduced much of the administrative burden that had previously plagued the finance team. Now, rather than conduct manual data entry to reconcile each of 50+ unique cards, the finance team can track spend in one central platform, gain real-time visibility into cash flow and spend activity, reconcile spend more efficiently, and reimburse employees more quickly.

Ramp has replaced the lengthy manual reimbursement process with an automated one that ensures employees get their money back faster. “Before Ramp, reimbursement was a highly manual process for our AP person,” says Austin. “She’d have to run payroll, go in one by one, look at the Excel file, look at the receipts, and enter the amount as a direct line item in the payroll. Now, it’s two clicks to approve and reimburse.” That not only saves the finance team time -- it also reduces human error. 

Ramp has also enabled Dragonfly to establish automated rules regarding spend and has enabled the team to issue various levels of credit cards to employees at different levels of the company. “We now have the oversight and ability to issue credit cards to various roles and functions within the organization.” says Austin, specifically noting the ease and practicality of Ramp’s virtual cards. 

The company also leverages Ramp’s Bill Pay solution, which adds a strategic element to payment remittance. “Before Ramp, we had a bill pay scheduling function through our bank. The solution worked well, but we simply outgrew the system,” says Austin. “We wanted to find ways to improve our process, optimize our days payable outstanding, and allow visibility for our vendors on payments. We also wanted a more scalable way to pay vendors via ACH.” Implementing Ramp Bill Pay ticked all those boxes. “Our staff accountant enters all the information through Ramp Bill Pay and can easily schedule, whether via ACH or a check, in a way that we weren’t able to before,” says Austin. 

The result
A modern, scalable expense management platform that offers real-time visibility, improved compliance, and faster month-end close

One of Dragonfly Pond Works’ most pressing goals was to shorten its lengthy month-end close process. So far, implementing Ramp has shaved a week off the process each month. 

“We’re able to sync more often, so everything just works more seamlessly throughout the month instead of doing a lot at the end of the month,” says Austin. 

Ramp has also enabled the finance team to better monitor spend in real-time throughout the month as it happens. “I can go into Ramp and see what our spending looks like versus the prior month, and that’s been helpful from a job costing standpoint,” Austin says. 

The ability to conduct deep dives into the data Ramp automatically collects has enabled new levels of insight for the company. 

“For example, right now we’re seeing that we’re tracking slightly over budget on our auto and equipment expenses, and Ramp is helping us figure out why,” says Austin. “Is it certain credit card users? Is it related to certain equipment, a particular vehicle or certain location? We can now conduct those next-level analytics via Ramp. As we continue to become a more sophisticated company and continue to grow, those are the insights that will help us.”

As the company scales, it’s equally important to maintain compliance with spend policies -- and Ramp has facilitated better compliance, too. “We just finalized our 2023 audit, and sharing information was a lot easier with Ramp,” says Austin. “I feel a lot better about where we are from a compliance and oversight standpoint than where we were before,” he says.

“Creating efficiency is an important part of an effective finance team,” says Austin. “We were set up for a 50-person organization, and now we’re a 150-people organization. To scale effectively, you can’t only increase the size of the team. You have to complement with technology.” 

Ramp’s technology has helped solve some of those problems, which both positions the company for further growth and alleviates the mental load on Dragonfly’s leadership. “We not only have more oversight with Ramp, we have more real-time insights and a system where we can easily research and find answers,” says Austin. “From a CFO standpoint, I’m constantly thinking about the risk side of things: is somebody defrauding us? Are we reporting things correctly? Are people spending appropriately? Ramp has freed up a certain amount of brain space for those types of keep-you-up-at-night worries.” 

Company name
Dragonfly Pond Works
Environmental Services
About the company

Founded in 2006, Dragonfly Pond Works is an environmental service company that specializes in stormwater management. The company, which is based in Raleigh, NC, has offices throughout the southeast and provides maintenance and repair services on lakes, ponds, wetlands, sand filters, stormwater basins, bioretention devices, and other stormwater systems. 

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