22 years ago, Acubiz was founded on a dream about simplifying administrative processes in companies. I simply wanted to make it easier to be an employee. In addition to that, I’ve always been fascinated by automation and digitization – probably because I find administrative tasks boring.
Originally, we developed solutions for several business processes. Eventually, we chose to specialize within the process related to employee expenses, or more specific, the category that’s called “Expense Management”. We saw a great potential for digitizing this process.
It was also important for me to develop innovative, high quality solutions. However, without unlimited resources, this can be challenging to achieve when your focus is broad. My ambition was to position Acubiz as the best and most valuable vendor within our field.
This ambition still acts as a guiding principle to us.
It’s great fun to specialize and gain deep knowledge. We’re experts now. When we meet our customers, we approach them with an unparalleled level of credibility, and it’s a pleasure to experience how much our customers really value what we bring to the table. Joy and excitement are elements, that I’ve always highly appreciated. Going to work needs to be fun. That’s why I always say: “if you’re not having fun – then do something else!”. It might sound harsh, but if the fun isn’t around, then it’s hard to mobilize the right motivation.
If employees have an interesting job and at the same time feel that they make a real difference, they will have crucial impact on the success of a company. It requires that you’re willing to put in hard work and face the challenges, that will appear. However, not everyone can turn challenges and change into something positive, but it’s possible to teach yourself and your employees, that it doesn’t have to be all negative. On the contrary, challenges can help initiate a learning process and it might make you change the perception of yourself. We must never stop learning. We’re stimulating our development by questioning and rethinking our internal processes; Does the things we do make sense? Can we do smarter? Do we make too many mistakes?
Motivation is an important part of my management style. If I don’t succeed in motivating my employees, it will per logic, affect job satisfaction but also our business development and customer experience.
At Acubiz, there’s also room to spell things out. For that reason, I’ve worked closely with a business psychologist (Link: http://www.acommitment.dk/) to help us ensure that our culture follow our growth.
As a part of our recruitment process, it’s important for us to secure that new employees will fit into our culture. It might sound a little restrictive, but the thing is, that with the right “Acubiz DNA”, the business simply runs best. The employees are happy, the product development is rolling, new ideas sparkle, and our customers get more value for their money. This doesn’t mean that Acubiz is an exclusive club for the few chosen ones – in fact, it’s the opposite. But it’s important to make sure, that the right candidate is chosen for the benefit of both Acubiz and the candidate.
The offbeat ideas
“Change is the only thing that’s certain.” To all Acubiz employees, this is a well-known statement and it’s an integral part of our DNA. With change comes development. And the day where we stop developing, but only provide what’s necessary, we’ll be overtaken. Fortunately, change and development is something, that we’re good at handling. We’re constantly evolving. Not just on the product side, but across all parameters. Over the last 5 years, we’ve grown from 14 employees to almost 40 employees.
The biggest change for me personally, is that I’ve gone from being Acubiz’ best salesperson to become a full time CEO with all that it entails. Obviously, the role makes me proud. Especially when I look at our team and the milestones we’ve achieved. However, it’s very important to me, that I’m able to follow my offbeat ideas. And I must admit that these ideas emerge on a less frequent level, when I spend too much time on administrative tasks. At Acubiz, we must go with the offbeat ideas and think out of the box, as this is where the magic happens and create the foundation for new business initiatives. So now, we’ll do something about this. Our current Chairman of the Board, Henrik Malling, will leave the board and enter the role as Acubiz’ ‘COO as of today (November 1st). Henrik will soon take over several administrative activities, so that I can move more into the field again. Away from the administration and into the customer-faced activities. This is where I’m best.
Our customers prioritize us
This year, we’re hosting our annual customer seminar for the 13th or 14th time – and it’s never boring. Every event is overwhelming and clearly shows, that Acubiz is more than just a product. This is the whole point with Acubiz. It’s not only about solving a problem or a given task. It’s all about LIFTING a process to the next level while adding those unexpected twists, that’ll help our customers and users to work in ways they didn’t even knew was possible. We must constantly be one step ahead and sometimes this means that our customers give us push-back, when we propose a process change, but eventually, they realize that the change only leaves them with benefits. The attendance to our seminars is fantastic. This year, 400 people have signed up. It’s a new record. The funny thing is, that many participants keeps coming back. We’ve built a community around Acubiz, and it tells us that our customers prioritize us.
Often, we experience that a CFO brings Acubiz along when he or she changes job. It’s the best recognition a business can achieve. Also, this can be seen at our seminars, when the same person reappears, but as a representative of another company.
Customer relations and development go hand in hand
When we host our seminars, there’s a great dialogue with our customers. They’re our primary source to new ideas. Meeting customers face-to-face creates a foundation for strong customer relationships, and customer relations and development go hand in hand. We must have a close relation to our customers, in order to be on top of things and add more value. At Acubiz, we are good at finding new ways and further develop on the ideas, we gather from our customers. It’s important to us, that we manage to scale the ideas, so that they’ll benefit more than just one customer. In fact, this was what we did with our Fast Track feature. We looked at the traditional way of thinking expense reports, i.e. “the brown envelope” approach and the idea of consolidating all expenses in one expense report. Why not just let the user process and finish each expense when it occurs? It only takes a few seconds. If it’s necessary to validate data from the expenses, then it’s better to use our Business Intelligence tool.
Our rapid developments also mean that competitors reflect themselves in us. I’m proud that we have such an impact on the market. It’s a huge compliment to what we’re capable of, and at the same time, it confirms that we’re realizing our goal of being a frontrunner within the expense management category.
Trends, process-knowledge and new strategic partnerships
Over the last few years, where steep development within technology and digitization has made significant impact on the way businesses is run, we’ve obviously kept the pace. I believe that we, as a fintech company, is obliged to follow new trends and keep putting our own technological solutions into play. Particularly, when it’s our goal to be the preferred supplier within our category.
After many years in business, we’ve become more than just a provider of an expense management solution. With a huge baggage of experience and knowledge within this field, we are providing our customers with advisory, education and guidance related to their process. We lead the way toward a true digital transformation, where it’s not just a matter of digitizing on 1:1 basis, but on the contrary, it’s about thinking the processes as digital to the core. As mentioned before, this approach makes it possible to identify how process efficiency can be achieved – or put in another way, how the process can be lifted to the next performance level.
We are channeling all our knowledge and experience into the development of our software, which is comprised by a mobile app for the user and a web app for the finance department. It’s Acubiz’ answer to a fintech solution, that handles employee-related expense transactions. In contrast to other solutions in the market, Acubiz is loaded with experience from several cases, knowledge about various nuances of customer needs and requirements as well as two decades of customer and user feedback and innovation.
Acubiz has evolved to be relevant for many types of organizations. Recently, we announced our latest strategic partnership with the largest financial group in the Nordics – Nordea. Some of the largest companies in Scandinavia choose us – not just as a supplier, but as close strategic partner. We’ve gained respect from very large organizations, which has been evident on the customer side for a long time. Now, this is also displayed in our partnerships. Our partnership with Nordea is a great milestone for Acubiz – and it shows, that we run Acubiz in the right way.
Number 1 in the Nordics
I will continue with Acubiz for many years, based on the premise, that it should remain fun and that we’ll continue to make a difference. The day that going to work isn’t fun to me anymore, we must do something else. The pace we’re keeping is a good basis for continuing, because every day is exciting. New doors open all the time. This is because, in a quite old-fashioned way, we’ve been able to invest in the development, that we’re are currently experiencing. A development with growth, a larger organization, new partnerships, international expansion, etc. We stand as a strong and leading player on the pitch, and we must continue to do so.
When I started more than 20 years ago, I was extremely curious about what I could achieve with Acubiz in the future. That hasn’t changed. The next step with Acubiz is that we cement our position as the largest expense management vendor in the Nordic region.