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East-West Seed

Case study

Vikas Sharma

Zoho Expense
had a solution

The customer

East-West Seed produces high-quality tropical vegetable seeds through market-oriented plant breeding to improve the income of smallholder farmers.

The challenge

East-West Seed was finding it complicated to reimburse employees in their local currency when they were working in different locations. This delayed the reimbursement process.

The solution

Zoho Expense helped East-West Seed manage their expense reporting and accelerate the reimbursement process, with location-based per diem and policies.

The benefits

Using Zoho Expense reduced manual paperwork. Every employee expense could be monitored by multiple approvers through a custom, criteria-based approval function.

About East-West Seed

East-West Seed introduced market-oriented plant breeding in Southeast Asia in 1982 with the mission to improve the income of farmers through high-quality vegetable seeds. Smallholder farmers, who ensure 85% of the world’s food production, are their main clients. Headquartered in Thailand, East-West Seed played an important role in the improvement of tropical vegetable varieties that were adapted to local markets and growing conditions. This privately-owned company produces and markets a wide portfolio of hybrids and open-pollinated seeds. East-West Seed is actively involved in training farmers and supporting them with knowledge and skills for profitable vegetable production.

Today, East-West Seed is one of the 10 largest vegetable seed companies in the world, with a leading position in many Southeast Asian countries and rapid expansion into India, Africa, and South America. East-West Seed is a fast-growing, multicultural organization with around 5,000 employees.

East-West Seed Serve

19M Farmers

R&D Setups

12 Worldwide

Global Team

5k Employees

Export Across

60 Countries

Source: https://eastwestseed.com

The growing challenges

The company has many employees, and manually managing their expenses was becoming a difficult task for their finance team. The employees had to travel to different locations to help provide the smallholder farmers with high quality vegetable seeds and resources which needed to become profitable and competitive in the farming market. This also meant making frequent travel arrangements to different countries. Manually tracking, managing and filing the expense receipts turned out to be an extremely tedious and time-consuming task. The company has entities in multiple locations, the employee’s reimbursement had to be made in their local currency. Employees weren't receiving their reimbursements until 30-45 days even after the approved reimbursements. Also, the lack of an ERP integration to manage their expense and their books of accounts was a task for their existing financial system.

The growing challenges

A streamlined expense approval workflow was also introduced so that the expense report submitted by the employees can be approved by multiple approvers in order to avoid any fake or repetitive receipts.

The solutions

With more than 1000 employees constantly travelling for business needs, the finance department wanted to streamline the expense policies across their multiple branches so that the expense report approval and reimbursement could be standardized. Zoho Expense helped them set up hierarchical and location-based policies for their employees making the expense submission and approval an easy process. Setting up a location-based policy was to help the employees to follow certain set of rules for expenses, created by the company according to where they were located. Zoho Expense also introduced trip requests, wherein the employee can request for an upcoming trip, and a list of flight or bus options are provided for the traveller. A streamlined expense approval workflow was also introduced so that the expense report submitted by the employees can be approved by multiple approvers in order to avoid any fake or repetitive receipts. This came with automated emails which sped up the routine tasks and reduced errors. The direct feed integration from corporate credit cards was also an extensive help for the company as well as the employees.

The benefits

Zoho Expense helped the East-West Seed streamline their expense reporting process. The user-friendly nature of Zoho Expense helped them to plan their travel in advance by raising travel requests and recording their expenses, satisfying their needs towards an expense management software. This process reduced their paperwork, and employee expenses were monitored by multi-level approvers, which was a custom, a criteria-based approval process. The custom status of each trip request raised by employees could be tracked. The approval flow made it much easier for employees working in different locations but under the same manager because they did not have to wait so long for their expenses to be approved. This approval flow let the managers have a closer look on the employee’s expenses and also approve their expenses without much delay, making the reimbursement process faster. There was a transparency in the report approval by the managers, helping the employees track their expense reports and the approval status of their reports.

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