Modernizing Finance With Fandom & TuneIn
Over the past decade, the role of finance has evolved. Beyond the core responsibilities of accounting, bookkeeping, financial reporting, FP&A, and closing the books, finance leaders are playing a much more prominent role in strategic activities across the company.
Today, CFOs are now one of the most influential voices with investors and the board—their strategic insight increasingly matters.
But the finance function is ever-changing. Now, financial professionals must continuously manage the growing gig economy, differing business models, vendors and suppliers, global payments, and frequent changes in tax, compliance, rules, and regulations. All while managing tedious back-end processes that are still manual.
The modern finance leader realizes that the first step towards implementing a higher standard of work is to tackle the most time-consuming function in finance—accounts payable. And the only way to effectively elevate this process is to lean into the current technology that’s available.
At Tipalti’s virtual Elevate Finance Summit, we heard from two financial leaders, Laura Wensley, Corporate Controller at FANDOM, and Julia Farquharson, Corporate Controller at TuneIn. By automating the AP process, both Wensley and Farquharson completely transformed their financial operations and optimized their businesses for success.
A global entertainment media brand powered by fan passion, FANDOM has pop culture curiosities covered through fan expert knowledge and curated content. FANDOM’s global audience of 200 million monthly unique visitors encompasses over 400,000 fan communities and features over 55 million pages of content.
For Laura Wensley, FANDOM’s Corporate Controller, the most significant financial challenge was the management of its 12 worldwide entities.
Previously, FANDOM had an AP system that worked for the company, but it was entirely manual. There was a lot of organization that was needed to manage the process. Plus, it relied heavily on people as opposed to systems when it came to efficiency. The heavy manual burden convinced FANDOM to find a more permanent, automated solution. And with 12 worldwide entities, their number one priority was international payments and management with an emphasis on centralizing all payments globally.
With AP automation, FANDOM was able to achieve this goal. In looking for the right technology, Wensley’s process involved analyzing a solution’s core competency and then looking at configuration rather than customization—she wanted to find a solution that fit FANDOM. With Tipalti, she succeeded and implemented a partnership that encouraged their team to operate under best financial practices.
Finance provides the underlying data for the business when it comes to making financial decisions. Through treasury, accounting, and FP&A, we’re able to maintain the financial health of the organization.
—Laura Wensley, Corporate Controller, FANDOM
Plus, FANDOM discovered an added benefit of AP automation—happy users. By streamlining their processes, FANDOM was able to vastly cut down on miscellaneous inquiries from vendors and their own organization. With the added consistency and new-found reliance, the team created a deeper level of trust within the finance and accounting department. Now, finance is a strategic function at FANDOM.
One of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world, TuneIn has garnered millions of monthly active users. Broadcasting over 100,000 radio stations globally, TuneIn has 5.7 million podcasts on their platform and is available for free across 200 platforms and connected devices.
For Julia Farquharson, Corporate Controller at TuneIn, the most significant financial challenge was effectively streamlining their AP process.
TuneIn was using three different systems—one for domestic payments, ACH, and check, one to send international wires, and one that ran manual payments to radio station partners. They needed to find an automated solution that could fully integrate with their ERP, NetSuite, and tackle one of their biggest financial challenges—paying international radio stations, publishers, and broadcasters.
With AP automation, TuneIn accomplished that goal. By implementing Tipalti, they were able to bring all their payments under one umbrella—saving their team an exponential amount of time. Plus, they added a critical compliance component to their operations. Farquharson now has peace of mind that their single, compliant system provides all the necessary reporting to stay on top of their cash flow.
We’re tasked with providing the business with financial transparency—they need to understand the data. We provide the context and the analysis around the numbers. And the speed at which we can present that information, in a clear way to decision-makers, is absolutely critical.
—Julia Farquharson, Corporate Controller, TuneIn
For Farquharson, finance has the ability to protect the profitability and sustainability of the business. For TuneIn, the only way to successfully accomplish that was by optimizing their tools and processes to provide accurate, timely forecasts. Now, that’s the core, strategic function of their team.