At Expense Robot we make it easier for companies to manage their expenses and company credit cards processes. In times of the current Corona crisis, however, our start-up has become a neighbourhood helper.
No doubt, the corona pandemic is driving digitisation at lightning speed. This is also the case with the Nachbarschafts-Hilfe Lenzburg: A community aid that brings people in need together with people who want to help in this extraordinary situation. For example, by buying food or buying medicine.
The people behind Nachbarschafts-Hilfe Lenzburg coordinate the aid operations as far as possible by digital means. “We have set up a group on WhatsApp for the flow of information. We also maintain a database with the names of people available for relief efforts, and we provide a contactless payment system for financial transactions,” says Rafael Enzler. He is the co-initiator of Nachbarschafts-Hilfe Lenzburg.
To pay for the expenses, the company has opted for our expense app since cash should not be exchanged because of the distance that needs to be maintained and the potential of transmission of the disease through cash. “Many of the people in need of help are already over 65 years old and are not familiar with Twint or other apps for cashless money transfer via smartphone. In contrast, the helpers are usually still young and used to using smartphone apps,” says Enzler. That’s why the Expense Robot is now being used for the help program. The app was downloaded more than 50 times in the first week of use.
Fully automated expense management thanks to AI
Until a few weeks ago, we could not have imagined that the technology could one day be used as a tool for neighborhood assistance. The software was actually developed for expense reporting for medium-sized and larger companies. So how was our product no adapted to the current needs in light of Corona? Helpers pay for the purchases out of their own pockets. They can photograph and upload the receipts for their expenses with their smartphone through our expense app. The rest of the data processing in the app is fully automated and takes only a few seconds thanks to artificial intelligence. The corresponding account that will reimburse the receipts is managed by the Nachbarschafts-Hilfe Lenzburg. Expense Robot transmits the payment data to the Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and the bank transfers the money to helpers within three to four working days.
The people who have taken advantage of the help of the community aid do not need an app. They will receive a final invoice by mail with a payment slip from the Städtischen Hilfsgesellschaft Lenzburg (aid organisation of the municipal Lenzburg). The aid organisation provides sufficient liquidity so that the people in need can repay the money once the situation in Switzerland has returned to normal and it is save again to go to the bank or post office.
Solidarity in the Corona Crisis
Like the initiators of the Nachbarschafts-Hilfe Lenzburg, the municipal aid association, and Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Expense Robot waives any fee for its services.
When developing our software, the goal was clear: We want to fully automate the expense- and company credit card process of companies, so they would only need to think about the outliers. To see our expense app now repurposed for the efficient management of the Corona crisis shows us that we have created a multi-purpose product. Above all, we feel honored to be one small piece of a much larger solidarity movement in times of Covid 19.
This article first appeared on the blog of Hypothekarbank Lenzburg.