Environmental Science Associates Drives Sustainable Efficiency with Center

Case Study


  • Business & Professional Services


  • 700 employees


  • Streamlined expense submission
  • Easier month-end reconciliation
  • Simplified job costing, project coding, client bill-back
  • Multi-level approvals

Before Center

  • Tedious and time-consuming reconciliation process
  • Cumbersome and frustrating user experience
  • Lost revenue from errors and delays in client billing
  • Minimal customer support

After Center

  • Thousands of hours saved
  • Fast and easy expensing through mobile app
  • On-time client billing for full cost recovery
  • First-class deployment and customer support

Environmental Science Associates (ESA) is an employee-owned consulting firm with 21 offices in California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southeast. Specializing in sustainability, community planning, environmental analysis, and regulatory compliance, ESA has delivered impactful solutions for community development, infrastructure, and restoration for more than 50 years. From ESA’s financial team, Chief Financial Officer Albert Cuisinot and Corporate Controller Swen Swenson oversee financial operations for the firm.

Challenge: Inefficient processes cause cash flow issues, frustration

Prior to adopting Center, ESA faced significant challenges with its expense management system. The firm relied on a platform that didn’t cleanly sync to its ERP, and was “cumbersome, slow, and frustrating to use; it was disliked by employees,” according to Cuisinot. Swenson added, “With an estimated 7,000–9,000 expense reports per year—each taking 30 minutes to one hour to complete—the process consumed considerable time and caused frustration.”

For ESA, the inefficiencies led to cash flow issues, delays in client reimbursements, and extra work for the accounting team. Additionally, reconciling credit card charges and tracking expenses was labor-intensive, requiring about one and a half full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the finance team. Cuisinot shared, “We knew we needed a better solution,” before clarifying, “something that would make everyone’s lives easier.”

“We work with a lot of state and local agencies. If a receipt was lost or an expense report wasn’t turned in on time, we were just eating those expenses. That equaled thousands of dollars per year we couldn’t bill for.” –Swen Swenson, Corporate Controller, Environmental Sciences Associates

Solution: A customized system with support that’s in sync

Wanting flexibility, ease of use, and streamlined reconciliation, ESA’s finance team explored several expense management systems, knowing ultimately, what the firm chose needed to sync with their ERP. After reviewing options, ESA chose Center for its seamless integration and dedicated support team, along with improved functionality, such as:

  • Multi-level approval settings
  • Customizable job costing and project coding
  • Real-time visibility into transactions
  • User-friendly interface

“We looked at the whole package, not just any one component.” ESA’s CFO explained, adding, “and Center stood out.” ESA collaborated with Center to customize the solution to function exactly how they needed it to while transitioning to CenterCards off its existing card program. The deployment was swift, taking just a few weeks, and was well-received by users.

“Center was able to tailor the solution for our business needs. They were responsive and accommodating.” –Swen Swenson, Corporate Controller, Environmental Sciences Associates

Impact: Annual savings of “a half million dollars” with Center

With Center, ESA streamlined expense reporting processes, drastically reducing the time spent per report. This has led to substantial cost savings, equating to approximately $500,000 yearly or, as Swenson put it, “a half million dollars of productivity savings on an annual basis,” and the equivalent of 3-4 employees. The improved efficiency has also enhanced cash flow by reducing the billing cycle from 45 days to immediate billing, positively impacting ESA’s financial health and client satisfaction.

Employees love the user-friendly CenterCard app because it makes submitting expenses quick, incredibly easy, and intuitive. With plans to expand the platform’s usage to include personal expenses and mileage tracking, ESA anticipates even further efficiency gains and cost savings in its expense management processes.

With Center, ESA now experiences:

  • Significant time savings. The work of 3–4 employees can be allocated to other initiatives.
  • Improved employee satisfaction. Center’s intuitive interface reduces frustration, and because employees actually use it, ESA has achieved cash flow efficiency.
  • Enhanced visibility and cash flow. Instead of taking 45 days to invoice clients, transactions are visible and billable immediately.
  • First-class customer support. Positive experiences with Center’s customer support team “every single time” further solidify ESA’s satisfaction with the platform.

“With Center, we didn’t check off one box; we checked off half a dozen. Now, cash flow is better, and employees are less frustrated. And, it’s easy for staff out in the field to use.” –Albert Cuisinot, CFO, Environmental Sciences Associates

Download this customer testimonial.