Each month we celebrate an app partner making a positive difference to our ecosystem community and small businesses around the world, in clever or inspiring ways.
This month we’d like to share how our app partner, Expend, is making life easier for charities and volunteer organisations. With their expense management and payment technology Expend is supporting the people who depend on them, during COVID-19. Expend is available on Xero’s app marketplace to our customers based in the UK.
Embracing new ways of operating
The day Boris Johnson declared the UK was in lockdown, in March this year, was the same day the team at Expend were having their first run-through working from home. Since then, they’ve been adapting to new working styles, while at the same time helping their customers successfully navigate new ways of operating too.
“We’ve seen the number of charities and care organisations using our Expend payment cards rise. This is because they’ve needed a contactless way to track spending, that’s also simple to reconcile,” says Kayley Hunter, Head of Partnerships at Expend.
One of those groups is Community Action Dacorum, a charity who makes positive differences to people’s lives in their local community by providing a range of support. Like so many others, their way of operating changed overnight due to COVID-19.
“Previously volunteers for the charity took the elderly shopping to buy their weekly shopping. However, when the new rules came into effect, advising certain groups to self isolate, this was no longer possible. So they switched their service around and recruited volunteers to do food shopping for vulnerable people who had no support or were unable to get a grocery delivery slot. The charity wanted to find a solution that didn’t rely on cash exchanging hands, to safeguard against spread of the disease. They also wanted to protect their users from doorstep scams, which unfortunately had increased as a result of COVID-19,” Kayley explains.
Support from the latest payment technology
Community Action Dacorum turned to Expend’s payment cards to solve this challenge. Used like a debit card by key volunteers, the payment cards provide a holistic view of spending. The organisation can keep track on how much they are spending where and on who. They can also capture the information in the Expend app in real-time.
“When trying to implement our Store2Door service, I was struggling to overcome the challenge of how clients and the volunteers would pay for their shopping without relying on physical cash,” says Deborah Fogden, Community Transport Manager at Community Action Dacorum. “The simplicity of the Expend system is impressive. It allows us to reduce the anxieties of vulnerable people and their families during a really challenging time. The system is easy for everyone to use and helps make our Store2Door service safer”.
The Expend cards provide complete transparency. The charity can see and easily share information on what is being bought for their customers. The charity also has the ability to apply smart rules to each card. This means they can set a different spend limit for someone carrying out shopping for 10 people, versus one.
“Making the most of this kind of technology is a whole new way of working for a lot of organisations. Many of who are more familiar with using cash,” says Sanjay Malkani, Business Development Manager at Expend. “But making the investment is really worth it, for how much time and effort it saves in the long run. It’s been amazing seeing Community Action Dacorum really embrace this change. We were able to help them get set up quickly. It’s been truly rewarding to help make it easier for them to continue to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Helping vulnerable people remain as independent as possible”.
Added benefits with Xero
There are even more benefits available when Expend is connected to Xero, thanks to automation.
“By connecting Expend and Xero, any changes in Expend are automatically fed into Xero. This saves time and effort when it comes to keeping accounting up-to-date. Transactions from Expend payment cards map automatically to Xero via bank feeds. This ensures everything is categorised correctly, making reconciling a breeze. By supplying the latest payments technology, and combining this with the power of Xero, we’re able to help organisations manage spending and expenses effectively, so they can focus on what matters most,” Sanjay concludes.
The Xero app marketplace features 800+ third party apps that help small businesses and their advisors seamlessly run their business. With apps that support everything from inventory and logistics to cash flow and project management, businesses have an array of options to build a customised experience.