How Sébastien Claeys, CEO & Co-founder of iPaidThat has designed a mobile application for managing expense reports
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded iPaidThat
Sébastien Claeys: After a degree in computer engineering at EPITA, I moved to New York to work as a developer at 24/7 Media and then as a senior developer at Bloomberg. In 2014, after a meeting with Hugo Allary, we decided to create our first company: Trampolinn. It was during this first entrepreneurial experience that we had to deal with real accounting…
In 2017, Hugo Allary, Jean-Pierre Ocalan, and I started from the realization that regrouping invoices and sending them to our accounting firm was not only time consuming but didn’t give back any financial indicators… We had to wait until the end of the year to finally know what was missing or unpaid. We just needed more visibility and in real-time.
Therefore, we decided a new kind of service needed to be created.
How does iPaidThat innovate?
Sébastien Claeys: iPaidThat is a SaaS that automates and simplifies every task during the life of an invoice in a company and generates key financial indicators along the way.
It offers 5 main features which are:
1) Automatic suppliers invoices aggregation from various sources: professional mailboxes, supplier website (Adobe, Amazon, etc…)
2) Receipts scanner and business expense management.
3) Sales quote and Invoice editor
4) Real time & automated bank reconciliation: Know missing invoices, debts, and receivables.
5) Treasury management and forecasting
- by having these 5 features working together in an optimized way for a simpler and cost-effective solution
- by completely automating certain processes (invoice aggregation, invoice data extraction, bank reconciliation, debts, and receivable detection)
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Sébastien Claeys: With this pandemic, most of the businesses were affected financially. We had to manage a bit of uncertainty because it’s a new pandemic. But noting that accounting is a must for all kinds of companies, we did not have real difficulties in the business finances.
In times of Covid 19, when startups struggled to keep afloat, we reached out and offered our assistance: 2 months for free for all the new customers, remote work assistance, financial mentoring webinars, and more. In addition to sharing the kind of content through articles and newsletters that will help companies thrive in these challenging times.
What are the initiatives that you took with your employees during the pandemic?
Sébastien Claeys: The sudden change in work culture has brought modern challenges for human resources. In order to keep in touch with the employees, during this pandemic, we organized many events, such as :
- Internal communication: Stand up meetings for 15 minutes every morning before starting to work. Communication is a major challenge that’s on the need list.
- Virtual team building activities that consisted of quiz nights, birthday celebrations, and other games.
- A channel on slack where employees could share their activities, training, and creative ideas to do during this pandemic.
- Weekly reports: a complete overview of each employee’s work and projects during the week.
- Screens and equipment: to support the team members and to guarantee the best possible working conditions, we provided screens and all the necessary equipment in order to set up a functional telework station.
What are some of your development objectives?
Sébastien Claeys: We are now fundraising to improve our existing product, to develop new features, and to increase our commercial and marketing capabilities in order to consolidate our leader position in pre-accounting for SMBs in France.
We have 60 accounting firm partners and more than 600 that already work with iPaidThat. One of our goals is to make the accounting firm-client relationship easier and more efficient and accompany accountants in their digital transition.
We also plan to open iPaidThat in other European countries, starting with Spain, Italy, and Germany.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Sébastien Claeys: For customer relationships management, we use some tools such as Hubspot and Intercom.
We use Hubspot for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, and we use intercom in order to maintain better customer relationships through conversational, messenger-based experiences.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Sébastien Claeys: Yes, during this coronavirus pandemic, we benefited from government grants such as :
- The PGE (Prêt garanti par l’État) – the goal of this grant was to avoid bankruptcy for a company whose cash flow is severely threatened because of the Covid-19 epidemic.
- Grants for parent employees when schools are closed.
- Partial unemployment for some of the employees.
Your final thoughts?
Sébastien Claeys: I think that we learnt a lot from this coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that this crisis had some negative effects on our business and on our personal lives, but it also created a lot of opportunities, especially for innovation.
As a final thought, I would like to thank you for this interview opportunity and everybody who has been challenging and supporting us.
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