Squared Away is a team of remote Chief Executive Assistants, powered mainly by highly-educated military spouses. The company supports a wide range of clients, from venture capital funds and startup CEOs to individual consultants and small business owners. Squared Away assistants handle much more than the typical virtual assistant and serve more as a Chief of Staff for an executive or organization. A fully remote company, Squared Away operates 24/7, with 200 employees located in multiple time zones around the world.
Since launching in 2017, Squared Away had paid for all corporate expenses with Founder and CEO Michelle Penczak’s personal credit card. “We had never done all the research we needed to on corporate cards,” explains Michelle. “We started putting everything on [my personal card] because it was easy.”
What began as a temporary quick fix solution became a persistent headache. Because the company’s finances were personally tied to her, Michelle couldn’t easily delegate expense management. Each month, she spent countless hours managing expenses manually and working with her accountants to reconcile expenditure and chase up discrepancies. The system wasn’t working—Michelle was wasting her own time, and the entire company suffered from a lack of transparent spend oversight.
In early 2021, Squared Away shifted from managing expenses on Michelle’s personal card to deploying Ramp’s expense management platform across the company. “Within a week, I was wondering how I lived without Ramp for my entire three and a half years as a CEO,” says Michelle.
Now, rather than share a single credit card, every member of Michelle’s core team is empowered to spend via the Ramp platform. Michelle can much more easily delegate expense management, and Ramp’s automated controls allow her to set limits, terms, and expiration dates to keep spending in check. When a team member needs a rate increase, adjusting the limit is as simple as clicking a few buttons.
“Setting limits has been very helpful, especially as we’ve moved our entire company over from independent contractors to W2s [employees],” says Michelle. “Having different entities in different states with card limits and expirations has been very helpful.”
Ramp has allowed Squared Away to easily shift from one shared card to multiple virtual cards across the entire team. “Nobody on the team has a physical card,” says Michelle. “The security is incredible, because you don’t have to worry about a team member losing a card and the headaches that come along with that.”
Ramp has made end-of-month accounting much easier, too. “Sending receipts is incredibly easy, and Ramp will even send reminders when something needs a receipt,” says Michelle. “It’s made my life 10,000 times easier, and it’s made my core team’s lives 10,000 times easier.”
"Within a week, I was wondering how I lived without Ramp for my entire three and a half years as a CEO"
- Michelle Penczak, CEO, Squared Away
Ramp’s ease of use and automated features have regained hours of lost time for Michelle and her team. “We’re huge on giving our clients their time back, so we’re absolutely going to advocate for any service that does that for us,” says Michelle. She estimates that Ramp has returned at least 50 hours per month to the team, as they no longer need to navigate multiple finance- and credit card-related issues.
Though Ramp has certainly made Michelle and her team more efficient and has streamlined the company’s accounting process, its ability to find extra savings has been the most appealing benefit of the platform for Michelle. Michelle estimates Ramp has saved the company over $15k in savings.
“Ramp constantly sends me reminders to change certain plans in order to save money for the business,” says Michelle. “For example, I know that I need to go in and change our Asana plan, because I’ve gotten 15 reminders from Ramp that doing so can save us $1,000.” Michelle loves that Ramp’s user-friendly interface puts those reminders front and center, so she never needs to search for opportunities to save.
“It’s like [Ramp] is looking out for me,” says Michelle. “It’s constantly in my face about how I’m going to save money, and it’s constantly updating and searching for lower prices.” Proactively searching for savings opportunities was something Michelle and her team weren’t doing prior to using Ramp. “I didn’t have the time to search, and I didn’t delegate it to my team, because they honestly had bigger and better things [to do],” says Michelle. “This stuff was always hidden but needed to be done, and Ramp pulls out all the things I forget about that are super important for my company.”
"Ramp pulls out all the things I forget about that are super important for my company"
- Michelle Penczak, CEO, Squared Away