Tamara Mellon Steps Up to Strong Demand with BILL
Mongabay is a U.S.-based nonprofit conservation and environmental science news platform.
Mongabay was processing payables from three different platforms to over 90 different countries which was increasingly time consuming and difficult to manage. The nonprofit was also incurring significant international wire fees.
Mongabay implemented BILL to centralize all aspects of the accounts payable process.
Mongabay estimates it has saved 50% on international wire fees by switching to BILL and has saved about 15 hours per month due to improved operational efficiencies.
“With BILL, we are seeing savings of about 50% on international wire fees. We also save about 15 hours per month due to automation, significantly increasing our productivity and allowing us to focus on more value add and pressing accounting tasks.”
Mongabay’s 30 million+ global readers eagerly visit the nonprofit’s site for timely environmental news, photos and real-world impact stories on topics including climate change, indigenous land rights and COVID-19. Mongabay is also favored by mainstream media including The Economist, Bloomberg and the Associated Press for its accurate and trustworthy information thanks to its far-reaching contributors. In addition to full time employees, the award-winning site has expanded rapidly, relying on 500 contributors and 60 volunteer translators around the world so that news can be disseminated in nine languages.
With the increase in the number of contributors, the scale and size of the nonprofit also increased, along with financial complexity due to an increase in donations and donor reporting requirements. The logistics of processing payments to over 90 countries was staggering, with countless hours spent disbursing payments through a hodgepodge of online payment systems and banks including PayPal, Western Union and multiple bank accounts.
Salman Ghani, Financial Controller, recalls one very frustrating incident when a bank rejected urgent international payment requests as the team had reached their daily limit, leaving the nonprofit to resume processing critical payment requests the next business day.
In addition to the time-consuming management of the diverse payment platforms, the approval of the invoices was housed in a different system, and the approved or disbursed vouchers were manually entered into a third system, the accounting system. This became even more complex when processing emergency payments for field contributors on sensitive assignments. It was time to find a better solution.
Salman had a vision of centralizing the accounts payable system with the ability to process international payments, integrate with the accounting system and grow with the nonprofit’s operational needs, and implemented BILL in the summer of 2019. The nonprofit uses BILL for all aspects of the accounts payable process including onboarding, processing, entering, approving and disbursing payables. The accounting team set up approval queues–critically important for the nonprofit as they provide accountability–and also uses the mobile app to access data and make payments on the fly. They also use BILL for document storage, and provide auditors online access, another significant time saver as employees are not slowed down by answering mundane payment history questions.
As Salman had hoped, BILL international payments would be a game changer, and he quickly saw significant cost savings of 50% on wire and transaction fees. He was also able to save about 15 hours a month through operational efficiencies related to vendor management and data entry by syncing BILL with his tech stack including Sage Intacct and Expensify. With this extra time and increased productivity, Salman and his team are able to focus on more value-add and pressing accounting tasks.
“BILL was an eye opener, especially the international payments capability which has resulted in significant time savings. We can process payments with confidence and reliability in U.S. dollars and local currencies. The seamless sync with Sage Intacct is another value-add,” said Salman. “The BILL team has a wonderful customer-first approach, and is attentive, supportive and receptive of our needs. We recommended a product enhancement related to International payments and it was included in a recent BILL release.”
Salman continued, “Beyond a doubt, BILL has helped me and my team focus on more strategic work and it is very difficult to imagine an accounting office without BILL!”