United Engineers and Constructors
5 minute read

United E&C Harnesses Navan for Expense Management Overhaul


  • <1 hour

    reconciliation process

  • $260K+

    savings over 2 years

  • 30 hours

    saved monthly on expenses

United Engineers and Constructors delivers nuclear energy and manages energy generation and energy delivery construction projects. It regularly collaborates with companies on projects that last months to years across the United States and Canada.

Before Navan, United E&C did not have any expense management tool. Jason Randall, director of shared services, has been at the company for three years and has had a front-row seat to the widespread transformation since onboarding Navan.

Challenges United E&C Faced Before Navan

The top three issues before Navan were:

  • The time it took to submit expense reports and the tedious information gathering required
  • The time required to reconcile company credit cards
  • The lack of spend visibility

“Expense management was all manual,” said Randall. “Expense reports had to be created and scanned in PDF format, submitted, and manually entered into a system for reimbursement. After approval, team members were paid through our accounts payable process. It took a lot of time.” Project leaders were left in the dark about what was being spent and sometimes even closed out projects before team members had submitted their expenses.

“It’s never fun when you have to reopen a project or account for additional, unexpected expenses,” said Randall. “Most of the expenses were recognized or seen once they were submitted, not before, which is completely different from what we do with Navan.”

Each team member was responsible for managing their expense process, and it took valuable hours to ensure everything was submitted correctly in the mandated format.

“It was tedious and not user-friendly, and the travel was completely separate from the expense pieces,” said Randall. “Admins who processed expense reports on behalf of executive leaders shared that it would take hours to assemble the expense reports.

Travel management and expense management were entirely siloed. United E&C leveraged Costpoint for employees to submit expense reports, and there was no managed travel platform. It wasn’t enough to handle the volume of trips and expenses.

Some team members travel for projects and stay for months at a time, while executive leaders travel more frequently to visit different project locations and offices. Sales leaders also travel to meet new clients and scope new opportunities.

“Travel management was an arduous, antiquated process,” said Randall.

There was minimal oversight by Finance prior to the expense submission. Managers and Finance needed visibility into how or where team members traveled, and there was very limited possibility for duty of care or policy implementation and control before travel occurred.

Why Navan

When United E&C became independent from its parent company in 2020, it needed to find a cost-effective platform to help team members travel and submit expenses, without requiring extensive hand-holding or admin support.

Several factors solidified United E&C’s selection of Navan, including:

  • Integration of travel and expense
  • Easy expense upload to existing ERP
  • Real-time visibility into expenses
  • Duty of care around business travel

“Navan provides everything we need and more through its integrated, all-in-one travel and expense management platform,” said Randall. “We didn't look at any other options after looking at Navan and what they offered. It was a pretty easy decision. Having Navan as a partner changed everything for us.”

Implementation was a smooth and straightforward process. Navan team members worked with Randall and the United E&C team to set up policies, understand the tools, and roll it out to all team members.

Onboarding, training, and roll-out was very quick. We signed the agreement in December 2021, went live in January 2022, and generated our first statement in February 2022. 

Jason Randall

Director Shared Services

Results with Navan

Navan has revolutionized expense management at United E&C. The reimbursement process shrunk from hours to mere minutes, and the finance team has real-time visibility into the project costs, which they can see as an accrual in the same month when the expense occurs. The team created a mandatory custom field for project codes, so every transaction for travel booking and expenses must have a project code listed.

Navan’s month-end statement is a single file that can be quickly and easily accrued and posted with all pertinent details needed by both the projects and accounting teams.

“The custom project field saves significant time when reconciling and posting expenses each month. Team members can help clients instead of doing paperwork. It’s a really important piece of what we can provide for our company,” said Randall, who estimates that Navan saves the company at least 30 hours a month that were previously spent on expense management.

Employees frequently share how much time they’ve saved by not having to compile expense reports, and admins are free from tracking expenses for executives, which means they can focus on more valuable and strategic work.

Additionally, reimbursements that once took weeks are now completed within days.

On the travel side, United E&C managers can now see — for the first time — where and when their team members are traveling. The streamlined, simple booking process for all hotels, flights, and rental cars in a single place has resulted in time savings and fewer headaches for everyone involved.

Other benefits have proved to be just as important. With proactive policy controls in place, managers receive an alert if one of their employees books travel outside the policy, so changes can be made immediately instead of long after the travel occurs.

Also, with Navan, United E&C offers its team members the perks of the Navan Rewards program. In this program, employees can earn points for every eligible hotel booking. Employees also enjoy the ability to book personal travel through the Navan platform.

On one of Randall’s family trips, their airline canceled multiple flights, resulting in long lines at the airport. But Randall connected with a Navan agent, who rebooked him and his family in less than 10 minutes.

“The airport was a disaster, but I was a hero because I booked through Navan. I could get my kids back home without any problems,” he said.

Crafting the Future with Navan

United E&C team members regularly praise Navan for its ease of use and speed of reimbursement. Employees also rated Navan’s support chat a 4.5/5.

“Navan is an all-in-one platform that saves time and money while consolidating all real-time data in one place,” said Randall. “It not only streamlines corporate travel management and expenses, but it’s a perk for team members who can use it to earn rewards and book personal travel.”

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