Partnership with Futurice for digital transformation

Futurice has been using Circula for travel and expense processes since 2019. Since introducing the credit cards alone, Futurice has seen time, cost and labour savings of 80%.

  • Industry

    IT Services and Consulting

  • Motivation

    Automation and employee satisfaction

  • Products

    Expenses, credit cards, mobility benefit

  • Integrations

    Personio, DATEV

  • More than 800 employees

  • Customer since 2019

Making innovation and digitalisation projects possible

The company

The consulting firm Futurice stands for results-oriented digital transformation and supports organisations in taking their digital future into their own hands. Futurice creates the necessary conditions for its clients to solve pressing problems and have a measurable and sustainable impact on society through the interplay of strategy, design, technology and data. To achieve this, the team develops new digital business models for its customers and supports them in innovation and digitalisation projects.

The company with Nordic roots - Futurice was founded in Finland in 2000 - now has offices in three German locations: Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart, as well as others in Helsinki, Tampere and Stockholm. The team is made up of over 800 diverse design, technology and strategy experts representing more than 60 different nationalities. Global thinking is a matter of course for Futurice.

Futurice and Circula have a long-standing, trusting partnership. Just like Futurice supports its customers, Circula supports Futurice in the digital transformation of business processes. The collaboration is characterised by close cooperation: Circula cooperates closely with Futurice in the further development of the solutions and takes the company's requirements and wishes into account.

Simplifying processes, fostering the company culture

The motivation

Futurice works together with its clients to develop innovative, sustainable business models, digital products and services and to rethink the customer experience. As experts in digital transformation, they support companies with the technology and data platforms they need to optimise their business. Futurice also attaches great importance to making processes as efficient and user-friendly as possible within its own organisation and is continuously working on implementing this aspiration.

The collaboration with Circula in 2019 was kicked off by Futurice's need to find a new, modern solution for travel expense accounting and to drive forward the digital transformation. Christian Ehrling, Director Operations at Futurice, and his colleagues had identified great potential for optimisation here, as there was no standardised platform for accounting. Instead, Futurice worked with Excel sheets and self-developed wizards that guided users through a fixed sequence of processing steps. Employees found this approach a burden, as it was time-consuming and riddled with process and media breaks. This meant that valuable time was lost that the team could not invest in work for their customers. In addition, payroll accounting was still done on paper. There was no connection to the payroll accounting tool. The entire process did not meet the standard that Futurice itself would have recommended to its customers and therefore urgently needed to be replaced.

Moving away from paper receipts and towards fast, simple billing - Futurice also wanted to achieve this for credit card billing in 2022. The decisive factor in the search for a new solution was the high level of dissatisfaction among employees at the three German locations with this process. Accounting was cumbersome and, like travel expense accounting before it, took far too much time - both for those who had to submit their receipts and for the employees who processed the statements.

Convenient accounting of travel costs and expenses are building blocks for creating an optimal working environment for employees and contribute to their satisfaction. And this is a high priority at Futurice: employees should enjoy coming to work, feel welcome and at home and form a community. All of this is a fundamental part of the corporate philosophy. Accordingly, Futurice takes the wishes of the team into account when developing benefits. Both employees and applicants signalled a high level of interest in mobility offers. For Jeanette Matheis, the HR specialist responsible for benefits at Futurice, this was the deciding factor in looking for a solution that would suit both the users and the company and incentivise them to be present in the office.

Easy-to-use tools and integration into existing systems

The challenge

To make employees' work as easy as possible, Futurice wanted to implement a suitable digital end-to-end solution for the entire travel expense report process. Christian Ehrling had a clear idea of what a new tool should achieve: The aim was to complete the previously time-consuming and perceived as burdensome travel expense reports in less than five minutes. In order for the tool to fit in perfectly with the way employees work, with their high affinity for digital solutions, it had to be able to be installed as an app on a smartphone. Another requirement was to ensure an end-to-end workflow and, in particular, integration with the DATEV payroll accounting system and the mapping of tax requirements in Germany.

However, not only the solution itself, but also the company providing it, had to fit in with Futurice for a partnership-based collaboration. It had to have a start-up character, be similarly agile and lean and offer local proximity to the Futurice site in Berlin in order to provide Futurice with the best possible support in the digital transformation of its processes.

In competition with the large established providers, the decision was made in favour of Circula. The tool for travel and expense management offered the most convincing concept for mapping the requirements for a solution for the German locations defined in the selection process. In particular, the existing interface to DATEV, the intuitive operation and the availability of the solution as an app for Android and iOS devices as well as on the web spoke in favour of Circula. The same applies to the Circula team's commitment to finding and developing the best possible solution in partnership with the customer — an approach that Futurice also pursues. The desired geographical proximity is also a given: Less than ten kilometres separate the two locations in Berlin. In other words, the best conditions for a sustainable partnership that is still perceived as a valuable asset by both sides today.

When it came to deciding on a new credit card solution in 2022, Christian Ehrling and his team therefore included a solution from Circula in their selection process. They had defined the following criteria as requirements: The submission of paper receipts was to be abolished in order to achieve noticeable time savings and significantly simplify the process. It was also important that the management of employee-related expenses could be fully integrated into the Futurice workflow. The partner company Circula was the only provider able to offer a solution that met Futurice's requirements in all respects: the intelligent credit card, which Circula developed together with the corporate credit card specialist Pliant, enables credit card billing in the shortest possible time. The integration with DATEV significantly reduces manual work.

HR specialist Jeanette Matheis also included Circula in her search for a suitable mobility offer for employees at the locations in Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart due to the existing close cooperation. What was needed was an offer that would make travelling to the office attractive and thus contribute to the corporate culture, which focuses on exchange and community. The benefit had to be tax-efficient for employees and offer a high degree of flexibility in terms of the means of transport to be used. For Futurice, it was also important that the solution involved as little administrative effort as possible for the responsible employees in the HR department.

The frequently used Jobticket proved to be unsuitable. The need to conclude separate framework agreements at all three German locations, fixed terms and the restriction to public transport were arguments against the Jobticket. Instead, Circula's mobility offer was convincing and has been offered as a benefit since May 2022. It is available to anyone working in the offices in Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart without a fixed term. Employees can use it conveniently via the existing Circula app and choose the mode of transport that best suits their needs, from cycling to the underground — for both work and private use. The tax advantage offered by the mobility programme makes it an attractive benefit in addition to the salary. The interface to the HR management software Personio, which is used by Futurice and significantly reduces the administrative workload for the HR team, is another decisive plus point. As is the cost of the solution, which was lower than comparable offers.

Successful implementation thanks to effective collaboration

The implementierung

When searching for a tool for travel expense management, it was clear to Futurice that not only the solution had to be right, but also the partner company itself, with whom they wanted to tackle the implementation - just as agile in its working methods and in terms of communication at eye level. The fact that Futurice had chosen the right partner in Circula was already evident during the implementation phase in 2019, which went smoothly thanks to close personal dialogue. Futurice employees very actively used the opportunity to address their requirements for the solution and implement them together with Circula. From Christian Ehrling's point of view, the onboarding was so successful not least because the size, dynamics and working style of the two partner companies fit together well and Futurice always felt that its concerns were taken seriously.

The consistently positive experience with regard to the implementation and convincing performance of the Circula platform continued when Futurice expanded the collaboration in 2022 and introduced both the credit card solution and Circula's mobility offering. Like Christian Ehrling, Jeannette Matheis, who is responsible for benefits, rates the collaboration with Circula as very pleasant and effective. If employees had any questions during the introduction of the benefit, she was always able to rely on her contact at Circula. In addition, requests for optimisation are also taken up after the implementation phase and implemented quickly.

Automated processes, saved time, happy employees

The results

"Travel expense management should be fun again" - Christian Ehrling's claim as tool owner, which was the deciding factor for the introduction of a new solution in 2019, has been fully realised with Circula. Processing travel expense receipts with paper and Excel lists is history and the time required by employees has been significantly reduced. With the old, paper-based system, it sometimes took more than 30 minutes per trip to prepare the travel expense report. Today, it only takes five minutes and the time saved can now be used for working with customers. For Christian Ehrling, the biggest compliment from employees is that travel expense accounting is no longer a topic of conversation following the successful implementation. This is the best proof that the intended simplification of work has been successful and that the app is easy and intuitive to use. Employees submit between 100 and 150 receipts per month. The automated process, the connection to DATEV and the option of mapping the tax requirements in Germany significantly reduce the workload for the office managers who are responsible for billing and payment. They only need to perform a preliminary check of the receipts.

Handling the Circula credit card, which each of the 130 employees at the German locations has, is also simple and time-saving. Complaints about cumbersome processes are a thing of the past. Circula automatically generates the expenses for all payments made and automatically assigns the correct receipt from the filing system. Since introducing the credit cards, Futurice has seen time, cost and labour savings of 80%. The third solution from the Circula portfolio, the mobility budget, has also been extremely well received by employees. After the introduction was announced, they approached the HR department with many questions - a sign that a need had been met.

In Circula, Futurice has found the right partner to drive forward its own digitalisation process. What's more, the two companies now see themselves less as provider and customer, and more as a team that not only acts together, but also grows together. Futurice sees Circula as part of a larger digital transformation within its own company and therefore continues to play a key role in the further development of Circula's technology. Futurice benefits from this by constantly optimising the solutions used in line with current needs. At the same time, the close contact between the two organisations gives Circula deep insights into customer wishes and needs and allows it to expand the platform accordingly - a win-win situation for both sides.

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