"Rho simplified our expense, procurement (procure-to-pay), and payable processes, making it easy for our brands to manage expenses and saving us hours of reconciliation time each week. With Rho, not only have I saved about 8 hours a week, but my CFO saves multiple hours per week and my executive assistant also saves an extra two to three. That's valuable time for a company focused on expansion.”
What is Willet + Cumro Innovations?
Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Willet + Cumro Innovations is a holding company with brands in the executive coaching, and youth sports industries. The holding company focuses on helping privately-owned businesses preserve their legacy and grow sustainably, offering owners a viable exit strategy that is a relationship-driven, founder-friendly alternative to traditional private equity.
The approach: Enhance longevity, sustainability, and growth while giving the leadership teams the tools, support, and room they need to grow. Managed brands include Advisor Game Plan, NXTSTAT Sports Lab, Supreme Basketball, and Omaha Sports Academy Crusaders.
By facilitating strategic partnerships and collaborations, Willet + Cumro Innovations aims to strengthen brands, allowing each to maintain its distinct identity while benefiting from shared resources and knowledge. However, as CEO Brian Willet brought more brands into its portfolio, the company began experiencing challenges with finance process standardization.
Each business could have a different corporate card provider, bank, bill payment, or expense management process – many being paper-based. Not only did this make basic operational tasks like tracking expenditures, reconciling accounts, managing corporate cards, and organizing payment data across multiple entities difficult, but it would create hours of work for the operators if not addressed.
Focused on expanding the company’s portfolio in the coming years, Brian and his leadership team needed to address these inefficiencies and save time. The traditional approach involved identifying a specific point solution to handle each operation; for example, AP automation software like Bill.com.
However, single-purpose accounts payable automation software doesn’t offer the robust, multi-entity support Willet + Cumro Innovations needs, and that’s without considering the significant fees these systems may charge.
The challenge was finding a solution to streamline their financial operations across different brands and offer simple, cost-effective management of their diverse financial transactions while integrating seamlessly with their existing systems. That’s when he first encountered Rho.
The Rho platform provided the solution Willet + Cumro Innovations' needed:
- Superior AP Automation Solution: Streamlined AP processes that eliminate manual invoice processing and bill payments across multiple entities for free – outclassing traditional point solutions like Bill.com and Tipalti that lack these capabilities.
- Better cashflow management: Employees across the various brands consolidate all spending using Rho Cards and simplify the expense submission process using the Rho Mobile App, eliminating costly delays and establishing real-time spending visibility.
- Seamless ERP and accounting system integrations: Month-end reconciliation for multiple entities is now done in minutes. Manual data entry is eliminated thanks to the Rho platform’s integration with the QuickBooks Online accounting system.
To foster future growth and cross-brand synergies, Willet + Cumro Innovations had a critical requirement: a single finance platform that can manage multiple processes like AP automation and expense management across a multi-entity business. This quickly disqualified solutions like Bill.com and Concur.
Fiscal Efficiency and Multi-Entity Support
CEO Brian Willet highlighted, "Other vendors we researched fell short in providing the multi-entity support we needed, and their cost was also substantial. Rho changed the game for us by delivering not just multi-entity support but an array of features, all at no extra cost." When evaluating different solutions, Willet quickly realized Rho presented the solution his business needed while demoing the platform.
“The comprehensive demonstration of Rho’s capabilities helped us to visualize and understand its potential, paving the way for our decision,” Willet said. With Rho, Willet + Cumro Innovations could manage corporate cards, expenses, accounts payable, transaction banking, and treasury needs in a single instance without multiple dashboards or logins.
Seamless Integration with QuickBooks Online
Willet’s experience onboarding and integrating Rho with QuickBooks Online, the company’s source of truth, mirrored the demo experience. Live transaction data now seamlessly maps to specific GL codes in QuickBooks Online.
“Rho not only outperformed other systems with its speed and integration efficiency, but we were up and running with QuickBooks Online data feeding to and from the platform accurately in minutes," exclaimed Brian.
Simplified Expense Management
Then, the transaction data began pouring in as employees used Rho Cards to pay for expenses, and Willet paid vendor bills. With the Rho Mobile app, the end-to-end expense workflow is simple. Employees now receive notifications to upload their receipts, and they can directly record essential details in the app, minimizing the finance team's workload.
"Rho simplified our expense, procurement (procure-to-pay), and payable processes, making it easy for our brands to manage expenses and saving us hours of reconciliation time each week,” Willet said. "With Rho, not only have I saved about 8 hours a week, but my CFO saves multiple hours per week and my executive assistant also saves an extra two to three. That's valuable time for a company focused on expansion.”
Benefits of AP Automation
Significant time savings come from Rho’s AP solution capabilities, allowing Willet to process the 8-10 bills for each portfolio company in a single step. This intelligent automation system helps Willet do the work of an entire AP department, reducing the burden of manual processes and streamlining the approval workflows within their accounting system (also available for ERP systems like NetSuite and Sage Intacct).
Leveraging Rho's optical character recognition (OCR) technology for invoice data eased the AP team's manual tasks, turning the typically time-consuming experience into an efficient financial operation. The transformation from paper invoices and manual payments to Rho's paperless, integrated system offered an intuitive and intelligent tool that enhanced operational efficiencies. This means more data is captured through invoice automation in significantly less time than when it takes payable departments to do this manually.
It ultimately reduces potential human error while ensuring a transparent audit trail for stakeholders and quick approval processes, significant benefits of accounts payable automation software. Another advantage is the ability to process bills using multiple payment methods, including checks, cashback-earning Rho Cards, ACH, and wires. “The most recent brand that we acquired came with a historical payment process involving cutting lots of checks; this has been streamlined with Rho,” Willet said.
As Rho adds new features like international payments and three-way match (matching purchase orders, vendor invoices, and receipts), Willet + Cumro Innovations can further automate accounts payable, driving additional time and cost savings. As the business has generated quick wins using the platform, Willet is eager to use other capabilities like Treasury Management Accounts and Prime Treasury.
A Finance Platform Built to Scale
As Willet + Cumro Innovations envision ambitious growth and adding more brands to their portfolio, Rho’s comprehensive financial solution is crucial in managing their multi-entity business complexity. Faced with the exciting challenge of strategic expansion, they are now empowered to execute their growth strategies with unparalleled efficiency.
CEO Brian Willet reflected on their growth plans and Rho's strategic role, saying, "We stay in the markets we know and have bold growth plans for the future. As we grow from 10 brands to 20 to some day over 30, Rho’s comprehensive platform will help us manage that scale."
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