Walther Farms is a family-operated farming business headquartered in Three Rivers, Michigan. For 75 years, the company has grown potatoes and other crops for customers across the country. With operations in 14 different states, Walther Farms employs 581 full-time employees and remains committed to offering high-quality service, solving problems for customers, and remaining a low-cost producer.
Walther Farms plans its operations on an 18-month cycle, which means data accuracy, transparent spend oversight, and the ability to plan ahead for increased costs are crucial. On the finance team, manual, error-prone tasks interfere with each of those objectives.
“We try to reduce monotonous, mundane tasks as much as possible,” says CFO Josh Reeves. “We try to reduce either keying errors in the accounting system or mis-bucketed expenses. We try to bring the data to light as quickly as possible to solve those issues.”
The company’s legacy expense management system didn’t optimize the pursuit of these goals. “Back in the day, it was all manual—all one spreadsheet,” says Josh. The finance team gave credit cards to just 30 or 40 people, because the manual process was so difficult to manage.
“We shifted to Expensify back in 2014, but then they deprecated some features that we were reliant on, that made the credit card cycle reconciliation very difficult,” says Josh. For example, Josh and his team couldn’t auto-generate reports or make simple edits before going through the approval process. “For the last four or five months, I was having to do it personally because it was so complicated,” he says. “I had to create pivot tables and do crazy stuff to try to identify a handful of missing transactions out of thousands. It was like finding a needle in a haystack each month.”
Once Josh did find that proverbial needle, he didn’t have the ability to delete the transaction himself; rather, he’d have to ask the card holder to resubmit their report and send it through the chain of approvals once more. “I just added all this overhead where I’d identify the transactions after all that work,” says Josh.
Walther Farms needed a reliable, all-in-one credit card and expense management platform that would reduce the need for manual reconciliation each month.
Ramp’s all-in-one credit card and expense management platform removed the need for Josh to conduct manual reconciliation, which created a more efficient process and reduced potential errors. Historically, much of the duplication Josh saw each month originated from mis-scanned and duplicated receipts when they were uploaded to the expense management platform from a separate credit card platform.
“Ramp’s being all-in-one helped resolve those [issues] for us,” says Josh. “There’s really not much reconciliation that has to happen, because all direct expenses get exported into the accounting system.” Now, Josh and his team simply need to manage the approval process and confirm accurate coding rather than conduct a full-on reconciliation of the credit card statement. With Ramp, the finance team can easily export a .CSV file of expenses directly into the company’s accounting system. “We have a lot more confidence in the office managers being able to look closely and see stuff in real-time,” says Josh.
Getting started was easy, with minimal training required. “It’s pretty self-explanatory for people to get in and start working with it,” says Josh. “There was not much of an onboarding process, which is a good thing.”
Since implementing Ramp, Walther Farms has recognized material time savings for both card users and the finance team.
“Because Ramp is the actual [card] processor, employees get texts when they swipe the card, so they can respond with the receipt,” says Josh. “That workflow works a lot better than saving all the receipts and uploading them to Expensify at the end of the month.”
The ability for employees to easily upload receipts in real time has resulted in real-time insights and information for the finance team. “We can start exporting those transactions as soon as they’re cleared on the Ramp side of things,” says Josh. “They can go right into our GL reports versus having to wait until the end of the month. That actually helps the speed of information too, so I can run our P&L and see a receipt from two days ago as long as it’s been posted into Ramp.” Those insights allow the company to maintain a real-time understanding of its spend, which is helpful for long-term planning and oversight. It also saves time for the finance team.
“From the system side of things, if all the users were done [uploading and coding their receipts], it would take us two days to close [the books], compared to the approximately 20 days it took after the end of the cycle to be able to close things up with Chase and with Expensify,” says Josh.
Automating these processes has allowed Josh to invest in higher-value employees for the finance team. “It allows me to build a team of highly skilled people who have better thought processes and who can tackle lots of other things,” he says. Since implementing Ramp, Josh has seen an improvement in forecasting, thanks to a greater focus from his team on this important task. “They’re able to spend more time digging into it, because they’re not behind on all this manual stuff,” he says.
This, in turn, removes some highly manual work from Josh’s plate—and allows him to focus on more strategic initiatives. Since deploying Ramp, Josh has been able to hand off sending the bank a monthly balance sheet and validating CapEx project numbers. The latter task previously took Josh 10-20 hours each month.
“Through Ramp, we added a pick list for our CapEx project numbers, to validate those before they come out of the system instead of happening after the fact,” he says. “Now we’re able to balance that on a monthly basis, which has increased accuracy.”
In addition to saving time, Ramp has also resulted in better rewards for the company. “A big [bonus] is the rebate,” says Josh. “We’re actually seeing a pretty positive net gain from dropping the [Expensify] subscription cost and getting Ramp’s full 1.5% cashback rebate [...]” That has resulted in a net gain of more than $80,000.
Ramp has also helped Walther Farms find cost-saving opportunities in other ways. “We’re able to put utilities for $40,000 a month onto the credit card and get the 1.5% back without any fees to the utility provider,” says Josh. Additionally, Ramp has automatically alerted the team to duplicate or excessive subscription costs. “I saw one just the other day with Adobe subscriptions,” says Josh. “I ran a report in Ramp and saw that we probably have too many subscriptions.” That kind of knowledge ultimately helps Walther Farms reduce unnecessary or redundant costs.
Those cost-savings are existentially important for the business. “We’re shifting to where it feels like potatoes are more of a commodity, which traditionally they haven’t been,” says Josh. “We need to maintain that advantage of being a low-cost producer. At the end of the day, for us to thrive as a business and still be a family business, we need to maintain that cost control to provide growth in all these different things.”