20-06-2022 10:42

Real-time e-receipts are the future of purchasing

Residential housing development company JM was struggling with the volume of paper receipts its staff processed every month. By shifting to e-receipts, provided by Kwick Expense and its partner bank Nordea, JM was able to simplify its invoice processing and minimise the risk of lost receipts. This has saved JM’s employees time and unnecessary frustration, and costs have been reduced due to more accurate VAT deductions.
Businessman examining documents at desk

In 2016, cardholders at JM were manually handling all receipts—on average, that works out as over 1,100 receipts every month. Given the volume of work created by these paper receipts, the manual process was inefficient and unsustainable. The company knew there had to be a better solution.

An opportunity arose when a new employee started at JM and suggested using e-receipts through Kwick. Representatives from JM’s IT, finance and procurement departments met with Kwick the very next month.

The origins of Kwick

Rickard Holmén, CEO and co-founder of Kwick, says the inspiration for Kwick was born from this common frustration. “Digital receipts were not our idea,” says Holmén. “We believe that at some point, almost every employee has rolled their eyes because of paper receipts and wished these could be handled digitally.”

In response to this need, Holmén co-founded Kwick with Marc McKenzie and Johan Magne. It now processes half a billion receipts each year and has some of the largest corporations in Sweden as its customers. It has also formed a strong partnership with Nordea.

E-receipts were the missing link in Nordea’s cycle of electronic payments, and with Kwick’s solution it has been able to make life easier for many of its corporate customers, including JM. “Nordea had been looking for a way to solve this problem for some time,” explains Holmén. E-receipts are now handled by Nordea’s First Card programme in conjunction with Kwick. 

“We believe that people should have the freedom to do what they’re good at, instead of struggling with paper receipts at the end of the month. Not everyone likes sitting down with figures,” Holmén says. “By leaving receipts to an automated system, employees can focus on what they do best—leaders can lead and sales reps can sell.”

“By leaving receipt handling to an automated system, employees can focus their time on what they do best – leaders can lead and sales reps can sell.”

Rickard Holmén, CEO and co-founder of Kwick

JM’s transition to e-receipts

JM’s representatives were impressed by Kwick’s proposal and agreed to trial e-receipts with some of its employees, who were already using Nordea First Card purchasing cards.

Linda Svenningsson, AP & AR Manager at JM, says the installation of Kwick at JM ran smoothly. “Getting started was fairly easy. We started a pilot in 2016 with two test users, one of them having a large amount of receipts every month. At the same time, we adjusted the Kwick app to meet JM’s specific needs.” By the first half of 2017, 65 users were happily using the e-receipt system. Today, more and more cardholders at JM understand the benefits of using Kwick and ask to be connected.

Of course, when implementing a new system at a large corporation like JM, there are challenges that need to be anticipated. Holmén says these can be divided into two areas—technical implementation and employee experience. It’s the latter which poses the biggest challenge for most companies. He explains that this is because employees can be set in their ways after doing the same thing for years—they become used to making a purchase, putting the receipt in their pocket and taking it to the office for filing.

“Presenting a new solution where they swipe the card and do nothing else—it’s fantastic,” says Holmén. “But it can also be very frightening. They worry the technology might not work.” For this reason, he believes communication is crucial in these early phases of adoption. There should be meetings held to make sure every staff member understands the new process and feels confident.

On the technical side of things, Holmén hasn’t encountered many problems. “Any modern ERP or invoicing system should be able to receive e-invoices with attachments.” This means the infrastructure to receive e-receipts is already in place and setting the system up for the customer tends to be straightforward. This doesn’t just apply to typical, off-the-shelf finance systems. JM had built their own infrastructure for handling receipts and Kwick offered them a fully customised solution.

Often the e-receipts are up and running after a few simple tests—and this was the case for JM. “Our cooperation with Kwick as well as Nordea has been good throughout this process,” says Svenningsson. “We have meetings whenever necessary and good communication.”

The benefits of e-receipts

At large corporations like JM, which has 450 cardholders, e-receipts can have a huge impact on overall efficiency. And because of the sheer amount of data they process, the analytics capabilities offered by Kwick are significant. “Many of our corporate customers look at their spending habits and discover opportunities to cut costs,” Holmén says.

By digitising the purchasing process, employees don’t have to handle paper receipts or spend time manually calculating figures. As accounting information is automatically linked to the company system, it saves time and reduces the chance of human error. The whole purchasing process becomes streamlined.

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Instant transactions, instant handling

A major gain in efficiency comes when expenses are handled immediately, at the time of purchase. Every added day is a day where receipts can be lost, or memories of the purchase can start to fade. With Nordea’s new API platform for business information, OpenCard, transactions and e-receipts are presented to the cardholders at JM in real-time.    

According to Svenningsson, JM’s current users have really noticed a difference since implementing Kwick. “We have yet to quantify the time and money saved, but we see a lot of benefits. We’re seeing less frustration from our employees. Especially because they’re not having to take care of one month’s worth of receipts all at once.”

According to Holmén, e-receipts can also help to create mutually beneficial partnerships. He says many of Kwick’s corporate customers deliberately choose to travel with taxi companies that are also using Kwick. “We’ve inadvertently created a preferred partnership program, between merchants and our corporate customers.” These ecosystems can benefit all parties involved. The cardholder benefits from efficiency, while the merchants are more likely to reach expected spend volumes and can offer special rates or rebates.

“We’re seeing less frustration from our employees. Especially because they’re not having to take care of one month’s worth of receipts all at once.”

Linda Hustveit Svenningsson, AP/AR Manager, JM

Smoothing travel arrangements

Another major benefit for corporate customers is Kwick’s ability to streamline travel processes. Many large companies organise employee travel through dedicated travel agencies, and the transactions are kept separate from normal payment accounts. This disjointed process tends to cause administrative headaches. Records can be lost when travel details are only saved in individual employees’ email accounts, rather than in a shared database.

“At the moment almost every large corporation has its delivery note sent to the individual person that has done the travel, and it’s not saved anywhere the organisation—just in that person’s email account,” explains Holmén. “So we help to create a structured archiving solution, in conjunction with the actual transaction.” Kwick works with Nordea’s First Card travel accounts to provide its corporate customers with an all-in-one travel expense solution. The service has proven so popular it’s often the first thing customers seek out when they approach Kwick.

“In Sweden alone, there are 60,000 trees chopped down to make receipts, and 4.5 million throughout Europe.”

Rickard Holmén, CEO and co-founder of Kwick

Helping the environment

Of course, when you go paperless it’s not just employees that benefit—it’s also the environment. Kwick prides itself on helping corporations to become more sustainable. “In Sweden alone, there are 60,000 trees chopped down to make receipts, and 4.5 million throughout Europe,” Holmén says. Ditching paper receipts can go a long way toward fulfilling corporate social responsibility initiatives.

This was one of the things that attracted JM to Kwick. “Personally, I believe that going digital is the future, and to stick with paper receipts is not a sustainable solution,” says Svenningsson. “Just because we have switched to digital receipts, it doesn’t mean that all paper is gone. But our intention is to work with Kwick going forward and get digital receipts from more of our suppliers.”

About JM

JM is one of the leading developers of housing and residential areas in the Nordic region. Operations focus on new production of homes
in attractive locations, with the main focus on expanding metropolitan areas and university towns in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Annual sales total approximately SEK 15 billion and the company has around 2,500 employees.
 

About JM

About Kwick

Kwick provides digital receipts for purchases made with payment cards. Its partnership with Nordea First Card is helping the company expand its offering to corporate customers throughout the Nordic region.

 

 

About Kwick