ATU is Germany’s number one professional chain of auto retail stores and workshops.
ATU is Germany's number one professional chain of auto retail stores and workshops. Founded in 1985, ATU now has over 10,000 employees and operates around 550 branches around Germany and Austria, averaging annual sales of €1.3B.
We had the opportunity to talk with ATU's CFO, Sebastian Jarankowski, and Senior Project Manager, Mathias Goetz, to hear why ATU chose Payhawk to help pump the brakes on their tricky financial challenges and create a smoother ride for the road ahead.
"Digital Transformation is an important challenge for us. A couple of years ago, we used to transport our paper invoices through Germany with two of our trucks," Jarankowski explained. "A big problem was dealing with so-called external purchases, especially with over 500 branches and individual cash systems on-site. When buying parts from other companies in the sector, our branch managers would historically always reach for cash, generating a massive amount of paperwork. With Payhawk, we have a solution that lets us streamline processes and save on overhead costs."
"We looked intensively for a solution that would offer us the flexibility to simultaneously have a card and retain full transparency and control," Jarankowski said.
Our biggest challenge is to reduce cash expenses. We do not have any other means of payment available, but we need that flexibility in the individual branches. At the same time, we have to control budgets and allow for a certain level of liquidity. In Payhawk, we have found a solution that solves all those problems in our company.
With corporate Visa cards and expense management software from Payhawk, ATU doesn't need to worry about overspending on cards (or waiting until month-end to see what's been spent). Payhawk cards have in-built controls which are set up by finance in collaboration with budget owners and reflected in the card users' app. From stand-alone or company-wide card limits, funds requests and multi-step approval workflows, card freezes, blocks, and deletions, vendor, location, and expense-type rules, transaction limits, daily limits, ATM withdrawal caps, and more.
"Manual receipt reconciliations were a big burden pre-Payhawk," Goetz said. The ATU team had to gather the paper receipts, manually reconcile them, and waste countless hours chasing missing documents. Now, thanks to spend management from Payhawk, payment reconciliation is a breeze. Card users simply make payments via the Payhawk card, snap a picture of their receipt, add to the app, and select the right category (coding) and job done.
"We no longer have to chase receipts. Since using Payhawk, managers must simply take a picture of their receipt — thus digitizing it — and enter it into the automated finance system. In the first year, this change resulted in ATU recouping €2 million from the tax office that would have otherwise been lost."
ATU have made undeniably huge savings thanks to real-time reconciliation. The spend shows up instantly for the finance team, too, so they have a view over what's being spent in real-time and can budget, forecast, and make up-to-the-minute decisions with the right information at their fingertips.
If your growing business operates across both the US and Europe, this is exactly the kind of easy-win saving you don't want to miss.
"ATU operates a chain of auto retail stores and workshops, and our branch managers are not necessarily the most familiar with financial tools. Initially, we were worried about how our colleagues would cope with the new digital means of payment, receipt uploads, and the portal. We wondered if adopting the product would mean a lot of training and educational materials," Jarankowski told us. "But when we collected the cards at the end of the first test phase, we got the best feedback ever – "Why are you taking our cards away? We don't want to give them back!"
With Payhawk, businesses can bulk manage budgets, card controls, card issuance, and more, meaning big companies can save vital time and resources.
Payhawk is the solution we have been looking for. We are reducing cash expenses to zero and creating a highly flexible, secure, and transparent working environment. Now we can quickly scale our spend processes among hundreds of branch managers.
Thanks to Payhawk, ATU was able to reduce the use of cash, get full transparency of company spend, and save millions via correctly coded and captured receipts for VAT reclaims. Ready to take control of spend at your business? Book a demo today.