STEMCELL Technologies is on the leading edge of life sciences research. The Canadian biotechnology company creates tools that support research in cancers and other diseases in over 70 countries. Its cell separation tools, cell culture media and other products help health researchers around the world succeed.
But despite being at the forefront of its field for over 25 years – and growing dramatically each year – STEMCELL's own internal processes on the finance side weren't keeping pace.
STEMCELL has grown quickly, with total employees increasing from less than 300 in 2010 to more than 1,200 currently. The day-to-day processes, such as managing expenses and travel, that had suited a small team were no longer able to meet the demands of this large, fast-moving, global company.
"When you're growing rapidly, one of the challenges is getting people to submit expenses in a timely way," says Kirsty Legge, STEMCELL's senior manager of finance.
Before adopting Concur Expense, STEMCELL relied on spreadsheets and paper receipts. The finance team would download credit card statements and send them to the relevant employees. Then, employees would have to submit reports for their line-by-line expenses, before sending the whole package with a courier back to the head office for approval.
"I have a picture of a sales rep coming in with six months-worth of expenses," Legge says. "Our sales team is already focused on meeting ambitious targets. Expenses aren't a priority for them, and when the process is challenging, it's even less of a priority."
Now, the process is much simpler, and consistent among several markets, including Canada, the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany, with more to come. Employees can capture receipts and submit their reports on-the-go through Concur Expense, without worrying about paperwork.
Plus, STEMCELL has also streamlined travel bookings with Concur Travel to fix what Legge calls a "convoluted" process. "It was a hodgepodge in terms of how people booked," she says. Some would use a travel agency partner, but others – particularly new or younger employees – would prefer to book everything themselves.
Now, though, all STEMCELL employees can take control and manage their own travel bookings.
That's especially helpful for sales reps who tend to repeat the same trips. "They usually know which flight, car and hotel they want, so it's easier for them to book it all themselves."
These simpler processes also give STEMCELL access to timelier, more granular financial data that's letting it plan for the future. For example, better financial insights make it easier to budget for new hires and potentially even implement new policies, such as per diem limits.
Today, finally, STEMCELL's day-to-day processes are the right fit for this company on the cutting edge.