At Nexonia, we are in the business of delighting customers and ensuring that our unbeatable integrations are easy for you to navigate. This is where our Product Education Team steps up to the plate, ensuring that every customer is confident in using their Nexonia products and services. When it comes to the Product Education team: no question goes unanswered! With almost zero turnover since our company started selling products in 2004, this is largely due to the hard work and dedication from this energetic team. Leading this talented group of Product Education Specialists is Jason Carlin, Nexonia’s Product Education Manager, and a veteran of the company. In between calls on a busy afternoon (which is every afternoon for someone on the Product Education Team!), I had the opportunity to sit with Jason and pick his brain about Nexonia, his role and his life outside of work:
MADELEINE: Let’s start at the top: tell me about yourself and your role at Nexonia!
JASON: I manage Nexonia’s Product Education Team, which is a customer-facing department that delivers product demonstrations for prospective customers. We learn what their problems and pain points are, what challenges they face and then we show them how Nexonia solutions can solve these issues. We also deliver all the training efforts for our customers; from planning the training, to the content, to the delivery – we cover it all.
MADELEINE: What was your role like on Day 1 versus now, and how has your career at Nexonia evolved over time?
JASON: I started with Nexonia almost two years ago, in March 2014. My first role was as a product trainer, and I was only the second trainer we had at that point in time. I quickly became the go-to person for most of our product demonstrations and training sessions company-wide. We have developed our team since then; presently there are four of us including myself and we're definitely looking to expand.My career with Nexonia is constantly developing and evolving. Before starting here I had a lot of different job experiences, and many of these positions were at companies with thick organizational “red tape”. Responsibilities, policies and procedures were already set in stone. Whereas here at Nexonia, it’s a rise-to-the-occasion type of position. This hands-on, take action mentality was really exciting because it has allowed me to identify areas where we need to start doing something or try something differently, and immediately deliver on these needs. I would say the best word to describe the evolution of my career at Nexonia is organic – it’s been very empowering.
MADELEINE: I imagine there is no "typical day" for you, but generally what would a day in the life of a Product Education team member involve?
JASON: During a typical day, I could be doing six one-hour sessions at any given time, so it’s safe to say that 80% of our days are usually spent on calls with customers or prospective customers, identifying their needs and presenting solutions to them.
MADELEINE: What do you enjoy the most about your role as Product Education Manager?
JASON: I really enjoy receiving feedback from customers about how our solutions have affected them and made their lives easier. When we deliver the product to the customer and can hear them be “wowed” by it, it’s confirmation of a job well done. It’s fantastic hearing the relief in their voice, and them telling us, "Oh, we don't have to stay the way we are? This can actually make our jobs a lot easier!" We’ve even heard cheers in the background of a training session or demo every so often. Another great instance is when we hear from someone who's been in finance for ages, having to use Excel spreadsheets to manually key things in. Within five minutes of showing them how our products work, we can literally hear gasping on the call, which is pretty awesome.
MADELEINE: What, in your opinion, are some of the best aspects about working at Nexonia? What would you say differentiates Nexonia the most from other companies you’ve worked for?
JASON: I would say that one of the best aspects about working at Nexonia is accessibility. You can approach anyone, managers or team members in Toronto or Montreal, and ask for their advice or opinion at any given time. Another great aspect about working here is that everyone’s very engaged, and we are all working towards the same goal – to delight our customers and help build an amazing company. The best part is that the company is open to new ideas and new processes, and that we're not locked into a static, set way of doing things. At most companies, people don’t question why certain policies, procedures and goals are in place. Here, we are always asking,“Why are we doing this? What can we do better?” We're constantly evolving and growing.
MADELEINE: When you're not working at Nexonia, what are you up to?
JASON: I wear a few different hats. In addition to working at Nexonia, I'm also a part-time instructor at George Brown College’s School of Continuing Education. I teach an introductory course to social media marketing, giving students the foundational tools to navigate the social media world. Other than that, in my quiet time I can often be found singing karaoke on a regular basis with friends.
MADELEINE: What is your go-to karaoke song?
JASON: “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen is definitely my go-to.
MADELEINE: What karaoke song best describes Nexonia (or) working on the Product Education team?
JASON: That’s a good question, I’d have to think about that a little bit. “With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles would probably be the most fitting.
MADELEINE: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?
JASON: I use OpenTable quite frequently which is a restaurant reservation app. Restaurants use it as their booking system, and for the user you can indicate how big your group will be, what time you are looking for, and it will generate restaurant suggestions, ratings, and menus for you. I also regularly use Instagram, Facebook, Uber, and GameTime to get tickets for Blue Jays games. Aside from that, Downcast is a great app for listening to podcasts, which I frequently do in my downtime and on my commutes. Nexonia Employee Spotlight: Product Education ManagerVIEW VIDEOGallery
At Nexonia, we are in the business of delighting customers and ensuring that our unbeatable integrations are easy for you to navigate. This is where our Product Education Team steps up to the plate, ensuring that every customer is confident in using their Nexonia products and services.
There’s no doubt about it: global business travel presents some unique challenges for expense reporting. In one trip, a road warrior can visit a few different countries—each with their own currency.And while there’s no doubt that this is a glorious opportunity for new business (and a chance for the traveler to have some fun!), it can add up to a lot of headaches for the travel administrator. But when you’re working with Nexonia Expenses to manage multi-currency expense reports, headaches become a thing of the past. At least those associated with multi-currency expense reports. You simply won’t hear yourself sighing aloud…
“Oh, no, not another international business trip!”
Multiple currencies complicate an already complex expense reporting process. Fluctuating currency values, multiple taxes and country-specific mileage rates are just a few of the sticky issues administrators have to contend with when reviewing documentation, matching expenses and reconciling payments.Nexonia’s answer: “More than one currency? No Problem!” Nexonia Expenses does the heavy lifting for you. The software’s multi-currency support allows travelers to submit their reports in an unlimited number of currencies—and it automatically calculates the amount in their home currency using daily rates. Since Nexonia Expenses supports all the VATs in the world, this powerful system calculates taxes accurately no matter how the payment was made.
“Another miscalculated expense!”
The potential for human error on manually created and processed expense reports can be significant. Factor in multiple currencies, and you can spend a lot of time and energy trying to get the numbers to work out just right: accurately, balanced, and on-budget.Nexonia says, “Eliminate hand calculations altogether!” Nexonia Expensesis highly intuitive. It uses the currency exchange rate on the day of the expense. Nexonia also automates personal, business and corporate credit cards, so that each report is aligned with the transaction.
“It’ll take weeks to get that expense report submitted!”
A business traveler crossing borders is a busy traveler, passport in-hand and business matters on their mind. They’re potentially dealing in more than one language, and as we know all too well, they’re probably dealing with multiple currencies. When they’re home from their trip, the first thing they’ll want to do is get reacquainted with their time zone—not create their expense report. Nexonia says, “Creating an expense report on-the-go is easy.”With cloud-based Nexonia Expenses and our mobile app, travelers can track expense reporting at every level. They can create a report before their trip (or on the plane ride) or at the time of their first expense and enter transactions as they go. They can even submit their report before you see them back at their desk. And system integrations mean the home office (wherever in the world your company calls home) has access to their report. You end up with a single currency report—one that just might arrive ahead of schedule. 3 Things International Corporate Travel Managers Never Have To SayVIEW VIDEOGallery
There’s no doubt about it: global business travel presents some unique challenges for expense reporting. In one trip, a road warrior can visit a few different countries—each with their own currency. And while there’s no doubt that this is a glorious opportunity for new business (and a chance for the traveler to have some fun!), it can add up to a lot of headaches for the travel administrator.
If your New Year’s Resolution is to take expense management to the next level, it makes perfect sense to consider a cloud-based solution. Sure, you can purchase and install new hardware and software and engage your IT team elbow-deep in deploying a traditional in-house system, but when “plugging-in” to web-hosted software is so easy, why not give it a try? Here are 5 reasons the cloud might be the best place to manage your expense reports:
1) You’ll get up and running quickly
When subscribing to a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, there’s nothing to install or maintain on your internal servers. Users simply connect to the Internet to access a shared web-based infrastructure, hosted by your expense management service provider. This means a fast implementation, comprised of configuring a handful of settings to meet your company’s needs, and training users so that your administrators and travelers can get to work. Plus, since your SaaS vendor handles all system administration behind-the-scenes, everyone can keep working without surprises and with virtually no unscheduled downtime (maybe five minutes, tops!).
2) Works the way you work, only better
Thanks to flexible APIs enabling highly configurable (and seamless) integrations, cloud-based solutions put everything in one place. Your team will have full web services integration with your other cloud financial management and accounting applications, ERP systems, travel management systems, payroll systems and other pieces that enhance your expense program, such as Google maps, corporate credit card feeds and direct deposit systems. With a process this synced and automated, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save without many of the manual tasks you used to perform, like making multiple entries.See also: 4 Steps to a Successful System Integration and 3 Reasons to Automate Your Expense Reporting Process
3) It’s always available with anytime, anywhere accessibility
Cloud-based systems run 24/7, and since they’re web-based, road warriors can access their tools and reports from their hotel room, car or customer site. And if they’re working offline (e.g. mid-flight), their updates will sync with he SaaS servers once they’re re-connected to the Internet. Even administrators can take advantage of on-demand availability to stay productive when they work from home, or are otherwise on the go. You might also enjoy: Automated Expense Report Processing Soothes Pain Points for Business Travelers and AP Administrators
4) You’ll be ready to mobilize
That’s right—all of this on-the-go functionality is made possible through mobile apps that make your expense management software available at your fingertips. Cloud-based services “live” on the Internet, so any web-enabled device becomes a productivity tool. Consider the process bottlenecks you’ll eliminate (stacks of paper expense reports sitting on desks waiting to be signed, for one) when everyone in the approvals chain can keep the process moving along using the devices they carry in their pockets around the clock.
5) It keeps getting better.
As we’ve said, your expense management SaaS vendor is in charge of the system’s technology, keeping everything up and running, up-to-date and offering the latest and greatest. Their commitment to the continuous improvement of their software results in frequent enhancements to existing features, and the introduction of brand new features. A good SaaS provider knows what customers want and need and their development teams are in constant pursuit of delivering a comfortable and successful user experience.
Nexonia Expenses: A Mature, Agile, SaaS Platform
Our goal is to make Nexonia Expenses and its mobile app everything that you need a cloud-based expense management solution to be: reliable, functional, easy-to-use, and always improving. Is our SaaS solution a good fit for your organization? Let’s see if we can help you get 2016 off to a great start. 5 Reasons to Take Expense Report Management to the Cloud in 2016VIEW VIDEOGallery
If your New Year’s Resolution is to take expense management to the next level, it makes perfect sense to consider a cloud-based solution. Sure, you can purchase and install new hardware and software and engage your IT team elbow-deep in deploying a traditional in-house system, but when “plugging-in” to web-hosted software is so easy, why not give it a try?
Taking advantage of supplier credit terms—paying invoices as close to their due dates as possible—is one strategy accounts payable departments employ to help manage cash flow. But when it comes to reimbursing employees for T&E expenses, this practice might not be the best policy. In fact, there are clear arguments supporting the transition from manual to automatic expense report processing and payments. These arguments can give hope to AP administrators who want to provide better internal customer service while simplifying their workflow.
Facing Down the Consequences
Weaknesses in a company’s travel expense reporting processes can affect timely reimbursement of expenses and lead to employee dissatisfaction and decreased productivity. Unwanted “side effects” of an inefficient expense reimbursement process may include:
Employees waiting for reimbursements have to delay paying personal bills
Employees miss out on professional development opportunities because of payment bottlenecks
Valuable employees who frequently travel for work may search for greener pastures if their unpaid expense reports consistently pile up
Company image and employee morale can suffer, dragging corporate culture down with it
It’s undeniable: an inefficient expense reporting process and the late payments that ensue pose significant problems for everyone. When an employee’s effectiveness and productivity take a hit, both inside and outside of the office, so can their company’s bottom-line.
The Manual Hold-Up
When working with a manual expense reporting process, preparing a report for submission is painstaking and time-consuming. Employees need to collect receipts and piece them together, enter expense information into a spreadsheet or other software program, and most likely scan, print, mail or fax a stack of documents to their Finance department.
Once the expense report makes it to accounts payable, it undergoes its next set of manual logjams. Someone in AP has to check the materials for accuracy, make sure the necessary receipts and documents are attached, chase after any missing items, and send it through the approvals pipeline. Here, the paperwork can sit on managers’ desks for as long as it takes to get reviewed and signed. Eventually, the report is manually entered into the accounts payable system for final payment processing.
Automate for Faster Payments and Happier Employees
An automated expense reporting system like Nexonia Expenses streamlines the entire process, enabling business travelers, their managers and back office team to digitize virtually every step of expense reporting. Reports can be created, approved and processed through a web interface or mobile app. From the get-go, all documentation is automatically loaded into the report—image-captures of receipts and even credit card transactions that are synced through system integration. Employee reports are submitted sooner, with the required supporting documentation intact. Approvals and back-end processing run more smoothly and quickly, and payments are issued significantly sooner.
AP departments are busy enough processing supplier payments and doing their part to keep the financial wheels of the company turning. Employee T&E expense reimbursements don’t need to stand in the way or take the backseat to an organization’s mission-critical B2B payments. When there are tools available to automate the process, there’s no reason to struggle with manual inefficiencies, or dissatisfied employees—and that includes the AP team.
Stay tuned for more insights into the trends impacting the AP workflow.Automated Expense Report Processing Soothes Pain Points for Business Travelers and AP AdministratorsVIEW VIDEOGallery
Taking advantage of supplier credit terms—paying invoices as close to their due dates as possible—is one strategy accounts payable departments employ to help manage cash flow. But when it comes to reimbursing employees for T&E expenses, this practice might not be the best policy.
Expense report fraud is likely a problem you know exists but tend to minimize. It starts small but grows. And unless you have the right controls in place, it can cost you—a lot.According to global financial advisory firm Stout Risius Ross, an estimated $1 billion is lost each year to fraudulent expense reimbursement. Just how big of a problem is expense report fraud? Read What Expense Report Fraudsters Don’t Want You To Know.Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize this expensive form of trickery at your company. Focus on these tactics to keep employees on the same page and gain control over your expense report process…before it’s too late:Implement a Formal T&E PolicyA clear, up-to-date travel and expense policy is the backbone of fraud prevention. This document details what expenses qualify as reimbursable and what you can expect by way of expense documentation and submission deadlines. It also outlines the consequences for non-compliance and eliminates gray areas for employees and managers who are reviewing and approving expense reports. See 4 Must-Haves For A Winning Expense Report Policy for inspiration.Effectively Communicate Your Policy Keeping your T&E policy in front of employees at all levels can help you minimize oversight and even reduce unintentional policy misuse (do the weekly burrito runs really qualify for reimbursement?). It also helps build a “culture of compliance” within your organization, sending the message that integrity and honesty in all activities is expected—and that employee company-dollar spending behavior is, in fact, being monitored.Hold Managers Accountable—All of ThemThink of management as your first line of defense in the war against fraudulent disbursements. Those in the approvals chain should be discouraged from blindly OK-ing expense reports—and should be empowered to ask questions and take action if they stumble upon a suspect expense. They should also be a primary driver of frequent T&E policy reviews with employees in their charge. Keep in mind that expense reimbursement schemes are most frequent in executive/upper management, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ 2014 Global Fraud Study. It’s not that members of the C-suite are “untouchables,” but they often have the access and authority required to skirt the system. This means that careful documentation reviews need to take place—and be enforced—at all levels, and ideally, by multiple sets of eyes.Audit Past Expense ReportsOn a regular basis, especially in the beginning of your fraud-minimizing journey, review a handful of past expense reports. Take note of suspicious out of pocket expenses (i.e. those with missing receipts or categorized as “miscellaneous”), look out for duplicate transactions (two employees expensing the same client lunch, for example), and identify any flat-out fictitious transactions. Aside from giving you insight into employee spending patterns, you can gain useful intelligence on weak spots in your T&E policy and reimbursement process. Even if everything looks on the level, you might uncover opportunities to better communicate policies with your workforce.Set Limits on Corporate CardsDon’t forget that most corporate credit cards enable you to define where, when and how much a card-carrying employee can spend. If you’re not taking advantage of these controls yet, it might be time to look into it. Setting parameters can help you in with T&E budgeting and forecasting while keeping employees’ spending in-line with your policies.Automate Your Expense Reporting ProcessNot only does software take the manual hassle out of the process for both employees and administrators, but it comes with built-in controls that make enforcing policy complying easier. Solutions like Nexonia Expenses are tailored to your company’s specifications, from custom expense categories and documentation requirements to approval chains. They reduce the risk of fraudulent expenses slipping through the cracks by flagging expenses that don’t fit into configured parameters—like a charge made at a theme park, for example. Plus, corporate credit card integrations and tools like receipt image capture help streamline expense report transaction matching where manual, human errors can create snags.Learn about how Nexonia Expenses can help your company make expense fraud a concern of the past - book a customized online demo.Expense Report Rx: Steps to Stop Fraudsters In Their TracksVIEW VIDEOGallery
Expense report fraud is likely a problem you know exists but tend to minimize. It starts small but grows. And unless you have the right controls in place, it can cost you—a lot. According to global financial advisory firm Stout Risius Ross, an estimated $1 billion is lost each year to fraudulent expense reimbursement.
Nexonia’s mobile team is a well-oiled machine, consistently being challenged to develop refined versions of Nexonia’s Expenses and Timesheets apps, on top of seeking new mobile opportunities. When the Apple App Store opened its doors on July 10th, 2008, Nexonia Expenses was one of only 552 apps immediately available for download. Now, the five-star Nexonia Expenses app is among 1.5 million apps offered on the iTunes App Store, continuing to provide users with an efficient portal for expense report creation, submission and approvals. Using feedback from our regular customer surveys, the mobile team works hard to build great software that directly addresses the suggestions provided by our mobile users. While on a recent visit the Nexonia Montreal office (which will soon be at a newly-renovated 14,000 square foot office in the downtown location of Square Victoria) I sat down for lunch with Nexonia’s Senior Mobile Development Manager, Ioana Negrean, to discuss her career in mobile development and her insights for the industry at large.
JILL: First of all, tell us about yourself!
IOANA: I was born and raised in a small town in the region of Transylvania, Romania. Many people hear the word “Transylvania” and think Dracula, but it’s also well-known for its medieval towns and mountainous borders and castles, which are quite beautiful. For university studies, I moved to Cluj-Napoca, a Transylvanian city with many universities and a big focus on IT. Even during the early years of my studies, I began thinking about moving to Canada. I suppose I fell in love with this country’s culture, diversity and amazing landscapes that I was eager to explore. I moved to Canada in February 2010 and just a few months later, I started to work for Nexonia.
JILL: What did you know about the technology industry before you decided to pursue a career in it?
IOANA: When I was 7 years old, most kids were dreaming of becoming doctors and police officers. Instead, my dream was to become a software developer! As far as I remember, my knowledge about the tech industry back then was that, if you are a person with good logic and math skills, you can do amazing things with a few keystrokes. When I was young, I used to go to an IT club for children, where I discovered that it takes only a few lines of code on a HC 90 to make a teddy bear and an antenna drawing appear on the screen. It was amazing for me as a kid. I still cherish that wonderful memory.
JILL: Why did you decide to study Computer Science in university? What about that program appealed to you?
IOANA: After a brief introduction to Computer Science in my early education, I followed an IT program in high school. I’m passionate about problem-solving, so after learning the basics of programming, data structures and algorithms, I became even more curious and felt compelled to dig deeper into this line of work.
JILL: Why did you pursue mobile development over other aspects of Computer Science?
IOANA: It was definitely not a linear decision. I began by developing desktop applications, migrated towards building security software for USB flash drives and then started work on mobile applications. Out of the three, mobile development made me feel more complete because I could combine my knowledge of software development with my passion for UI and UX, resulting in applications you literally hold in your hand.
Knowing that Nexonia’s mobile products are in the hands many of our customers and that our apps are making their lives a little easier, feels amazing.
JILL: Less than 30% of people working in tech in America are women, and the numbers are similar in Canada. Why do you think there are generally less women working in tech?
IOANA: Did you know that the first person to ever write an algorithm (which was intended to be implemented by a machine) was a woman, Ada Lovelace? She is commonly considered to be the world’s first computer programmer, and was a brilliant mathematician. Considering her work was published in the height of the Victorian age, she was definitely ahead of her time. It’s hard for me to speculate why the statistics currently look that way, but these numbers should not discourage anyone pursuing a career in IT. If something seems difficult, learn as much as you can, show everyone that you can do it and that you can do it well. This is a challenge for anyone, regardless of gender!We can encourage more women to pursue careers in tech by stimulating their interest and curiosity in this industry from an early age, and by making them aware of the great achievements, personal satisfactions and perks that come along with it.
JILL: What would you say to people who are considering a career in technology?
IOANA: I’m always excited when I hear that someone is passionate about technology and decides to follow a career in this field. My advice would probably be to follow their dreams, be confident, remain true to their values and never stop learning new things.
JILL: What appealed to you about working at Nexonia? What do you enjoy most about working here?
IOANA: The company’s culture and strong leaders were certainly a factors in my decision to join Nexonia. The cofounders’ passion for technology, for always doing everything the best way and producing good quality software while exceeding customers’ expectations are inspiring traits to have, and I can see these values in all of my colleagues.Every day, I have the chance to work with fun and skilful people in what I would consider the perfect environment for developing my skills, where the leaders are open to new ideas and new perspectives. I often say Nexonia is a company with a heart, there’s a human element to everything we do here, and management truly cares about its employees.
JILL: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?
IOANA: I love to try new apps as often as I can. Some of my favourites would be:
RunKeeper (so that I can track my outdoor fitness)
Nexonia’s mobile team is a well-oiled machine, consistently being challenged to develop refined versions of Nexonia’s Expenses and Timesheets apps, on top of seeking new mobile opportunities. When the Apple App Store opened its doors on July 10th, 2008, Nexonia Expenses was one of only 552 apps immediately available for download.