A construction firm modernizes its expense process with Center, saving time, streamlining approvals, and increasing visibility into costs.
About SDV Construction
SDV Construction is an award-winning, veteran-owned construction firm based in Albuquerque, NM. The company handles large-scale projects for schools, hospitals, industrial manufacturers, high-tech R&D facilities, military bases, laboratories, and aviation and aerospace facilities throughout the Southwest.
Before Center: Time-Consuming and Labor-Intensive
In an attempt to centralize its expenses, SDV had turned to an unusual tool—Microsoft OneNote, an app intended for digital note-taking, not expense management. Employees would take photos of receipts and upload them into a shared OneNote document. Accounting would then go in to add any missing job codes before transferring the data to Excel, and then into Foundation, the company’s accounting software.
Although this home-grown solution allowed multiple people to collaborate on the expense process, it introduced other issues with version control, workflows, and document organization. The process was also still time-consuming and labor-intensive—if a receipt was over $200, accounting would have to manually send it to the project manager, since it simply wasn’t feasible to have management look at every expense. The finance team also had to spend a significant amount of time tracking down missing receipts and codes.
CFO Colleen Seeley knew the team needed a more efficient system that could also help the company’s projects be more profitable, but the other expense management programs she had evaluated were too expensive. Fortunately, she found Center.
A Customized Center Solution
SDV distributed CenterCard® corporate credit cards to around 35 company employees including drivers, superintendents, project managers, and office staff, and everyone got up to speed on the system quickly. The Center team worked with SDV to customize its workflows in Center® Expense so that superintendent expenses would be approved by the field operations manager, project manager expenses by the COO, and management expenses by the CFO.
The Results: Time Savings and Real-Time Visibility
The crew in the field finds Center’s spend and expense solution easy to use, and they’re saving time because they can now code expenses immediately when they make a purchase instead of waiting a week or two and then having to backtrack to find the right information. They also like that they can choose the correct account numbers and cost codes right from the app instead of hunting for them. SDV uses numbers instead of names for projects, so having them built into the app helps prevent errors.
“Crews like the app. They like that they have account numbers and cost codes right there to pick from.” Colleen Seeley, CFO
Center Expense also minimizes mistakes by linking codes. For example, if you are in a certain GL account, you have to use a specific cost class, so Center Expense automatically ties the two together for increased accuracy. Fuel is one of the largest expense categories at SDV, and they have set up Center’s mobile app so that team members must enter their vehicle information and mileage whenever they enter a fuel expense.
Management has appreciated getting real-time visibility into costs as they occur instead of waiting until the end of the month. And project managers can now easily see exactly how much is being spent and whether they’re within budget.
“It’s been very enlightening for management to see what is being spent and how many times the guys go to a supply store in a day. It’s been eye opening.”
The accounting team finds they are spending much less time coding transactions and nagging employees to turn expenses in. Center’s automated reminders make it easy to collect any missing information. Before switching to Center, accounting would have to manually highlight each receipt that was missing documentation. Now they can send out a quick automated reminder to everyone with outstanding transactions or missing codes.
“Center has really been a time saver. It frees the team to do our other important work.”
The SDV team is excited to keep fine-tuning the workflows and identify additional opportunities to automate the process.