Foursquare Automates Accounts Payable Operations

  • Monthly close process accelerated by 16 days
  • Eliminated duplicate payments and payment errors
  • Invoice processing and payment reconciliation automatically synced to NetSuite

HQ New York, NY
Customer Since 2017
Industry Online Services

“We can report on our balances a lot sooner because we’ve closed our AP sooner. We used to close just AP around business day 20; now we do it on business day 4.”
—Michio McGrath, Finance and Accounting Manager, Foursquare

Foursquare helps you find places you’ll love, anywhere in the world. A growing community of 50 million-plus users of its apps provide helpful tips for everyone to tap into the experience and exploration of 105 million places around the globe. And based on all this rich location intelligence, Foursquare powers location data for Apple, Uber, Twitter, Microsoft, Samsung, and 100,000 other developers.

The culture of innovation at Foursquare permeates across all departments, including the finance team.

“We’re a finance team of five that supports 300 employees, so we’re definitely a culture that looks to scale
and do things more efficiently through technology and innovation,”
says finance and accounting manager Michio McGrath.

Paying bills became one such financial operation that needed technology and innovation. According to McGrath, “We were getting invoices and having to track down colleagues who managed these vendors, to get approvals—it was very informal. Then we had to type the invoice details into our NetSuite ERP. And to get the bill paid, we physically printed off checks and waited for the CFO to sign those checks before mailing them out.” It was no wonder that closing the books each month was taking up to 20 days.

As the number of bills began to grow, the Foursquare finance team was faced with either hiring more people or applying modern software technology to automate accounts payable operations. The team chose the latter option.

Today with Tipalti, Foursquare pays all of its 500 vendors in a streamlined workflow that includes automated vendor onboarding, invoice processing, payments, and reconciliation with its NetSuite ERP. Vendors become payable once they input their preferred payment methods and tax information using a branded online web portal, and when they send invoices to Foursquare, they receive automated messages concerning when and how their payment will be sent, with access to the history of their payments any time.

One immediate benefit for Foursquare was the automatic flagging of potential duplicate payments and payment errors.

“With Tipalti, duplicate invoices are automatically flagged and double payments are averted, as opposed to relying on human eyes catching such potential problems when we were doing everything manually,” explains McGrath.

Processing invoices has been streamlined with Tipalti’s OCR (optical character recognition) software, which helps input invoices into NetSuite automatically. The system also learns invoice rules that pertain to specific vendors, so once a particularly tricky invoice has been processed, the next time a similar invoice is submitted, it will be identified as such and automatically read into NetSuite. “All we have to do is double-check the information as opposed to inputting everything manually,” McGrath says.

Another major benefit is being able to put the time saved by using Tipalti back into its financial operations, including the monthly close process that is critical for measuring performance and strategic decision-making. “We can report on our balances a lot sooner because we’ve closed our AP sooner. We used to close just AP around business day 20; now we do it on business day 4,” says McGrath. “Automated reminders have sped up invoice approvals. And then payments are automatically processed and reconciled to NetSuite with an audit trail.”

It’s been a win-win for both Foursquare and its vendors, as Tipalti has eliminated the challenges that can leave vendors worried when their invoices aren’t paid on time or are forgotten altogether. As McGrath sums up:

“It’s a big improvement from how we used to pay vendors, and the timeliness of payments leads to better relationships.”