Sam Lewis, co-founder of ExpensePlus talks to BQ about the business and why he recommends Digital Enterprise and Digital Knowledge Exchange.
What is it the company does?
We create online accounting software for Churches and Charities, enabling third sector organisations to simplify and streamline their financial processes, spend less time on administration, and save money.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
One of the key parts of my role as Co-Founder of ExpensePlus is to develop the business, and oversee the running of the company. One of the things I love most about my role, is getting to speak to customers, listen to their feedback, and work with the team to build new features that make a real difference to the Charities and Churches using ExpensePlus.
How did you come to do the work that you do?
After graduating from Warwick University, I joined the ASDA Graduate Scheme. I’ve always been interested in finding ways to make processes simpler, easier and more efficient, and during my time at ASDA I worked in the software development team, designing and testing new software.
In 2010 I left ASDA to work as the Operations Manager of Mosaic, a multi-site church in Leeds. The finance software we had was pretty terrible, so we looked at other packages which were equally not suitable - so with a small team of amazingly talented and gifted people, we decided to create our own.
It wasn’t long until other Churches and Charities found out about what we were doing, and wanted to use it too. In 2015 we set up ExpensePlus, and after further development and testing we launched the UK’s first cloud-based fund accounting package specifically designed for Churches and Charities.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Getting ExpensePlus started with really limited resources has been challenging. We’ve invested thousands of hours into creating ExpensePlus, and I even quit my job to get the company started.
With the expertise and experience in our team, we’ve managed to build not just an amazing product, but alongside we’re also able to offer brilliant customer support.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
This may sound strange, but we don’t have growth targets or profit targets, just a great product that our customers love so much that they tell others about ExpensePlus.
We plan to continue to re-invest all of our profits in the coming few years into development, support and new technology.
Our business model is sustainable and profitable, enabling us to scale our business effectively.
Why did you take part in Digital Enterprise or Digital Knowledge Exchange?
Digital Knowledge Exchange has given us access to knowledge, expertise and advice that has helped us to set up, develop and grow our business.
What has the Digital Enterprise or Digital Knowledge Exchange done for your business?
The digital audit, mentoring and workshops offered to us through Digital Knowledge Exchange have enabled us to improve the search engine and mobile optimisation of our website, create more engaging communication and social media posts, and helped us reach new customers and help them find out about the product that we’ve created.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Starting a business takes time, it involves a lot of hard work, but if what you do is based around something you genuinely believe in and are passionate about, and you always put customers first, then you can succeed.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Starting a business often takes a huge amount of work and there are always so many things that need your attention. One of these things is your family!
Setting boundaries, and prioritising time off and time with family is so important, and without investing in these things, you risk getting burnt out.
Why would you recommend Digital Enterprise or the Digital Knowledge Exchange?
Digital Knowledge Exchange will give you access to knowledge, expertise and advice to help you to set up, develop and grow your business. It will also give you the opportunity to network and learn from others.
If you liked this post, please share with your friends and followers. If you are interested in digital, why not check out the Digital Enterprise Top 100, a major initiative to identify those companies that are setting an example for others to follow within the world of digital transformation.
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