Rentals United is a platform for property managers that lets them distribute their rental listings on all the most popular channels, including Airbnb, Vrbo, and booking.com. The platform also lets users place ads on the best channels, analyse data and trends, and increase revenue. From listings to ads, property managers can stay agile and take control of their rentals – all in one place.
"Before Payhawk? The procedures were manual, and there was little visibility in terms of spending or budget," Javier Gorena, CFO at Rentals United, explained. "The processes were slow and complicated, and employees had to send all their receipts to the finance department. From there, the finance team manually checked the information, entered it into the systems, and reimbursed the employees."
Founded in 2015, Rentals United had grown fast, but its suite of spend management tools just couldn't keep up.
"Rentals United was growing at a rate that exceeded all our expectations. The growth was x 20 per year. In a scenario like this, relying on good management tools isn't an option; it's a necessity," Javier said. "With previous tools, we had frequent errors and low card acceptance — and we couldn't afford these delays."
Javier and the team knew they needed better control over spending and wanted to update their spend management solution and processes to support the growing business.
"A lack of internal control over spend can unleash a series of chain events that put the company's numbers at risk. Missing visibility at the transactional level generates failures in the report," Javier told us. "If there are errors in the report, there will be errors in the treasury forecasts. Having inefficient financial processes has a direct impact on business growth. It's a high risk."
"Having a plan and business growth strategy is essential," Javier continued. And with a career that includes growing three scaleups, Javier understands what makes processes and solutions scalable and, more importantly, a good investment.
"Going from a team of 17 to hundreds of employees changes things. Manual processes (making manual expense reports, manually inserting data into various software, reimbursing employees, etc.) aren't compatible with exponential growth. It's just not scalable," Javier explained. "Companies that want to grow fast need to implement expense management tools to help them stick to the established budgets, have visibility over the company's treasury, and control over expenses."
With a long career in digital and international companies, Javier has had his finger on the pulse of financial innovation for a while – especially when it comes to scaling. He explains that he was one of the first finance leaders to try Spendesk (seven years ago) and has continued to use these types of spend management tools throughout his professional career before switching to us.
"Yes, other tools can manage expenses. But nobody does it like Payhawk. Apart from being more comprehensive, it's also more visual," Javier explained. "With other spend management solutions, I felt blind about expenses. But Payhawk gives me all the control and visibility I need to carry out my work and make the best decisions."
Our multi-entity management and group dashboard were also crucial for Rentals United when it came to choosing their spend management solution. As an international team, they wanted to track spend across their entities, standardise expense management, and check seasonal performance depending on geographical location.
“Payhawk’s multi-entity management functionality is key for us,” Javier said. “We’re growing fast and have offices in many different countries. Being able to track spending across all of them on one screen is perfect for me as a CFO.”
“In other tools, you have to open different accounts and enter details into each one; it’s not straightforward or agile,” Javier continued. “With Payhawk, you see everything on the same screen and with very clear graphics.”
“Payhawk’s multi-entity management functionality is key for us. We’re growing fast, and we have offices in many different countries. Being able to track spending across all of them on one screen is perfect for me as a CFO.”
With our multi-entity management features, Javier and the team at Rentals United can:
Custom workflows, categories, and rules were also important to the team at Rentals United. They wanted a spend management solution that would adapt to their needs and help remove manual admin and any mystery over spend and expense categorisation.
“We love Payhawk as it adapts to our rules and needs. We can create departments or teams and implement a personalised spending approval process with various levels of approval depending on the amount we want to spend”
“We love Payhawk as it adapts to our rules and needs. We can create departments or teams and implement a personalised spending approval process with various levels of approval depending on the amount we want to spend,” Javier explained. “This makes it much easier for us to stick to budgets and carry out our business strategy.”
“The customer success team is first class, too,” Javier continued. “If we’ve ever needed help, the issue has been resolved in less than 24 hours. Very few companies provide such exceptional customer service.”
CFOs can sometimes feel concerned about putting company money in employees' hands via company cards. They worry that employees will take advantage of the freedom and spend out of policy.
With cards and controls from Payhawk, we can ensure that employees not only stay compliant but feel empowered as all of the rules and controls are built into the same card and app they use to pay.
"At Rentals United, we have established budgets and implemented card usage with predefined limits to ensure compliance with our spend policy. If someone wants to go outside the budget, they have to submit a request through the app and explain the reason," said Javier. "Then, thanks to personalised approval flows, the designated people can either accept or reject those extraordinary funds (and they get a reminder to do so)."
"The same goes for travel. If an employee has a card solely to make a work trip, as soon as the trip is over, we can freeze the card until the next trip," explained Javier. "That's the beauty of Payhawk. Everything is kept under control, and we can make decisions at the click of a button, both to request funds and to freeze cards fast."
With an international workforce and multiple entities, Rentals United needed to ensure that whatever solution they chose would be user-friendly for busy cardholders and the finance team.
“If you have to teach 100 employees how to use a new app, it had better be easy to use. Everyone has a lot of work to do and no time for lengthy processes,” Javier said. “The learning curve must be easy for everyone, and the financial processes must be automated.”
“With Payhawk, you can do whatever you want in a matter of clicks. Some of their competitors are potentially good too, but if you have to spend an hour looking for where the button is, it stops being agile,” Javier continued. “At Payhawk, all the information, both on expenses and configuration, is accessible and organised. It’s really easy to use.”
Since switching to Payhawk, Rentals United has saved tonnes of time on their previously manual finance tasks. Our corporate cards, receipt-chasing automation, easy uploads and OCR data capture, spend workflows, and seamless integrations mean they save hours every day.
"The fact that Payhawk automates and digitises everything saves a lot of time in the finance department. You don't have to chase anyone for receipts, you don't have to reimburse employees manually, you don't have to enter data manually, and the month's closing is much faster," Javier explained. "Now, we dedicate that time to more strategic tasks for the business. Without Payhawk, my department would have to spend at least a third of their time doing these kinds of manual and operational tasks."
“Without Payhawk, my department would have to spend at least a third of their time doing manual and operational tasks."
"Regarding functionality and usability, Payhawk is way ahead of other solutions I've tried. And, with many other tools, we find that as the volume of cards and transactions increases, the prices of the tool skyrockets. This can generate a huge cost as we carry out practically 10,000 transactions a month and move between 4-5 million," Javier continued. "With Payhawk, this isn't an issue. Thanks to cashback, the price stays very attractive."
During its fast growth, Rentals United had also picked up plenty of subscriptions to tools and services to support them along the way. The problem? These subscriptions gradually became overwhelming to manage without one source of truth.
"It was especially complicated to manage the subscriptions. All of our employees used the same company card, so we never knew the status of a recurring payment, if the tool was still being used, or who had signed up for it," Javier said. "We had no visibility and no control over our subscriptions."
Are you a fellow scaleup looking to overcome expense challenges and better control spending? Book a demo to learn more about our benefits and see how smart spend management can help supercharge your growth.