How Burkland cut 25% from month-end close with Ramp and Puzzle

Luke Frye, CPA

Originally posted on Ramp

The problem

In the dynamic and fast-paced world of venture-backed startups, accounting and financial professionals like Megan Reid, Accounting Manager of the SaaS Division at Burkland, are constantly looking for ways to save time and for scalable processes in their work. 

Burkland is one of the leading accounting and advisory firms for startups in the U.S. With over 50 venture capital partners and 700+ startup clients, Burkland is experiencing rapid growth across all divisions–especially their SaaS division. 

With this rapid growth and a fully remote team, increasing the efficiency and scalability of routine accounting and bookkeeping tasks represented a major opportunity for the firm. 

This involved reassessing and optimizing existing processes, particularly the traditionally time-consuming bookkeeping and accounting tasks during the month-end close for certain clients. 

Burkland’s clientele included fast-growing venture-capital-funded startups with growing expenses who increasingly chose to use modern fintech tools like Mercury, Puzzle, Stripe, Gusto, Rippling, and Ramp. 

Managing numerous employee reimbursements and growing operating expenses put pressure on Megan and her team, demanding a solution that could make their accounting operations more efficient. 

As both a division manager and bookkeeper managing clients, Megan wanted to find a way to empower her teams to thrive and find more efficiencies.

The solution: Puzzle and Ramp

When Burkland sought to focus on the most optimal expense management and reimbursement system to optimize its accounting operations, Ramp emerged as the clear choice. 

Ramp offered Burkland the opportunity to streamline their client’s accounting workflows and accounting efficiencies, particularly when used in combination with accounting software partner Puzzle. 

Megan decided to test the combination of Ramp’s Accounting API and Puzzle’s Bill Pay API on one of her startup clients with a growing number of expenses, particularly employee reimbursements. 

During the month-end process, Megan had two processes that were particularly time-consuming for this client. 

1. Spend and reimbursement categorization

Categorizing all of her client’s financial transactions, including non-payroll spend and employee reimbursements, typically took Megan over 1 hour. Megan historically categorized expenses and reimbursements in a standalone expense management system before often duplicating her efforts and re-categorizing expenses in the core accounting system too. This created inefficiencies.

2. Uncategorized transaction investigation 

For transactions that required more context and supporting documentation, Megan typically made a list of outstanding questions for her client. Communicating back and forth with clients on uncategorized transactions would take several days. 

To address these challenges, Burkland leveraged Ramp's new API with Puzzle, the first integration of its kind between Ramp and any accounting software.

First, this integration allowed the chart of accounts in the client’s core accounting system, Puzzle, to seamlessly sync with Ramp. Consequently, when expenses were coded in Ramp on corporate cards, Ramp’s API automatically synced all spend data directly into Puzzle’s general ledger, including memos and copies of receipts or invoices. 

Tackling the challenge of categorizing the high volume of expense reimbursements with her client, Megan found another win with Ramp. Ramp’s integration with Puzzle enabled detailed metadata and copies of receipts from single-line employee reimbursement items to flow seamlessly into Puzzle. Now, Megan could access comprehensive context for each stand-alone expense reimbursement just by looking at the transaction. Ramp’s memo field and PDF copies of receipts synced over, which also allowed Puzzle to auto-categorize the transaction. This was a complete game-changer. Ramp’s API eliminated the need for time-consuming investigations and communication with Megan’s client, as she had all the details directly in the accounting system. This automation saved Megan a substantial amount of time and reduced her categorization process by 50%. 

Finally, taking efficiency to the next level, Megan also eliminated 100% of her back-and-forth investigation into uncategorized expenses with the client. All the data, context, supporting documentation, and receipts she needed were synced over by Ramp’s API into Puzzle. “The bank, credit card, and Ramp integrations in Puzzle saved time and days by removing the need to ask the client to review categorizations, and then making those corrections in the accounting software. It can take several days to get the requested information from clients, otherwise,” said Megan.

By harnessing the combined power of Ramp's Accounting API and Bill Pay API with Puzzle, Megan's workload around month-end close was reduced by 25%.

Benefits after using Puzzle

The implementation of Ramp's Accounting API and Bill Pay API produced incredible outcomes: significant time savings, enhanced efficiencies, and faster month-end close for Megan’s client. 

  • Megan's experience with the Ramp platform and its integration with Puzzle translated into transaction categorization that was 2x faster. 
  • The manual task of creating an outstanding list and chasing her client for supporting documentation and questions was also gone. What used to consume 2+ days was now 100% eliminated. 
  • The overall impact was equally remarkable in streamlining the month-end close process. With Ramp's APIs in play, Megan achieved a 25% reduction in the time needed to close the books for this client thanks to faster coding, faster expense accruals, and faster reconciliations. These time efficiencies will cascade to benefit her other clients as well, enabling Megan to provide them with faster monthly reporting.

“Puzzle is an accounting software that is great, particularly for startups. Puzzle really leverages AI, automations, and Ramp integrations to help us as accountants code transactions faster, reconcile accounts more easily, and then in the long run, provide accurate and detailed reports as well as dashboards to our clients,” said Megan. 

The benefits extended to Megan’s client, too, who reaped the rewards of a faster month-end close. The timely reporting facilitated more agile decision-making, helping the client gain deeper insights into their operations, spend, and burn trends. 

In the words of Megan, "the Ramp integration is my favorite and the largest time saver. The Ramp integration worked extremely well in Puzzle. This made the reimbursement, credit card, and accounts payable month-end processes much quicker and easier .”

As Megan and Burkland continue to embrace the power of Ramp and Puzzle’s solutions, they hope to achieve even greater efficiencies.

Check out Puzzle to experience a faster month-end close.

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Luke Frye, CPA
Recovering CPA a.k.a Head of Customer Success

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