Community bank adopts Center to streamline expense process
Webster Five Cents Savings Bank (Webster Five) is a $1 billion community bank with seven branches that has been serving the Central Massachusetts community for over 150 years.
Before Center: Webster Five relied on a disjointed debit card system
When Sean Buckley started as VP/Controller at Webster Five, he immediately spotted an opportunity to improve the employee expensing process. He shared, “One of the first things I saw that was lagging or could be improved upon was employee credit cards and our expense process.”
Previously, Webster Five employees used debit cards—attached to separate accounts—which would then overdraft on the bank’s account before getting replenished monthly or weekly.
“The nature of debit cards and hunting down receipts made reconciliation difficult. Before Center, our accounting coordinator spent 8–10 hours each month organizing receipts from various PDFs before we could even check for appropriate expense allocation. Then, we had to review line by line for each purchase—for 40 different cards.” —Sean Buckley, VP/Controller, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank
A trusted banking industry peer recommends Center’s integrated solution
When Buckley approached Webster Five’s CFO about improving their system, the CFO had already been researching expense management systems, and a colleague at another financial institution had recommended Center. One look at the simplistic interface and Buckley knew it would easily work for employees and the accounting team responsible for processing the expenses.
“The overall simplicity of Center caught our attention, as well as the real-time viewing of expenses and ability to change the coding. Previously, I could have spent more than an entire hour trying to adjust a single improperly coded expense.” —Sean Buckley, VP/Controller, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank
First class support makes customized deployment feel effortless
Once Center was selected, the configuration team took over to customize the export to Webster Five’s accounting solution, and within eight weeks, everything was up and running. Throughout deployment, Buckley appreciated how the Center team could always explain complex activities in plain language or respond within hours to any inquiry.
Webster Five appreciates tools and training to maximize experience
While Buckley admitted his company makes “great use of the Center support email inbox for its rapid response,” he shared that he appreciates the Center Customer Success Portal, a customer’s one-stop shop for success guides, FAQs, release notes, product and training webinars, and more.
“Many questions that card users have come directly to accounting. If we don’t have the answer, we can easily find it in the Center Customer Success Portal, take a snippet, and say, ‘Hey, this came from the Customer Success Guide, look how easy it is to look up your questions.’” —Sean Buckley, VP/Controller, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank
Center + Webster Five = “A home run”
After trading the tedious and disconnected reconciliation process that took more than 10 hours each month to complete, Buckley and his team now appreciate real-time visibility into employee spend, not to mention the time back they have each month that they can now dedicate to higher strategy projects. In his words, “It’s really been a home run with Center.”
The effects of the simplified expense process have been felt throughout Webster Five, well beyond the accounting department. On top of Buckley’s direct reports, who now find more satisfaction in their roles, the accounting team received an innovation award for implementing Center at a recent all-company meeting.
“With Center, we quickly saw the improvement and contrast between our former setup. Within days of implementation, folks were already commenting on how easy it was to use. It’s nice to have a program appreciated by everyone across the bank for the difference it makes. I love an immediate result that just makes you feel like you did the right thing.” —Sean Buckley, VP/Controller, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank
On top of their award-winning approach, Buckley and his team now experience:
- Ability to easily adjust how expenses are coded. Previously, there was no easy way to fix or change an expense that had been improperly allocated—it could take days to figure out where something went wrong. Now, with the all-in-one solution, Buckley can easily pop into Center to instantly reassign the expenses.
- Expenses that can be simply added to the general ledger. When the expense process was manual, uploading line-by-line into the core banking solution was too tedious. With Center, Webster Five can upload one working file each month to the general ledger for greater overall visibility.
- Relief from being the “receipt police”. Now that the bank uses CenterCard and the mobile app, the accounting team can automatically notify users through the app when outstanding receipts need to be submitted.
- Support for every inquiry. Whether card users have a question or the accounting team needs solution-related assistance, with Center Support help can be reached via phone or email 24/7/365 to solve issues within hours.
Overall, having Center has turned what was previously a disjointed and time-consuming employee expense experience into a simple, streamlined process that gives Buckley and his department the controls and visibility they need to ensure nothing gets lost in the shuffle (because thanks to Center, there is no more shuffle; it all happens automatically in the app).
Webster Five looks forward with Center
As Webster Five looks to expand upon its commercial lending program, Buckley is encouraged at the prospect of adding additional elements to their Center solution. His team syncs quarterly with their Center Account Manager to cover account and configuration updates, review the product roadmap and business (credit line utilization, spend, etc.), and more.
“Erica [our account manager] shares a business summary each quarter that includes updates and new capabilities, which is very helpful. As the bank grows, Center Travel could be very useful. I love that Center is a no-cost solution that is always looking around the corner for ways to improve our processes.”—Sean Buckley, VP/Controller, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank