4 minute read

Quickbase Slashes 70% of Manual Expense Approvals, Saves 20% on Travel


  • 70%

    reduction in manual expense approvals

  • 20%

    savings on both flights and hotels

  • 7

    T&E platforms integrated into 1 solution

More efficient T&E management with Navan


NORAM: North America, APAC: Asia-Pacific, EMEA: Europe, Middle East, and Africa


Boston, MA

Company Size

Small and Medium-sized Business (1-800 employees)



Products Used

  • Navan Business Travel
  • Navan Corporate Cards
  • Navan Expense

Previous Solutions

American Express, Brex, CWT, SAP Concur

Before Navan

A Tangled Web

Quickbase — a dynamic work management software solution for connecting data and managing complex projects — had amassed a cobbled-together T&E management system that required manual workarounds and created obstacles for the company’s global growth ambitions.

Once a part of Intuit, Boston-based Quickbase divested in 2016 and kept using Concur. A 2019 acquisition added three more expense management platforms to the mix: Dext (UK), Nexonia (India), and a homegrown platform (Bulgaria), along with Amex for purchase cards. On the travel side, they used CWT/Concur.

This octopus-like structure caused some problems, to say the least.

For starters, a full 40% of the expenses processed through Concur required manual intervention. And Concur’s AI-driven Intelligent Audit system made frequent mistakes, requiring more manual review. “We were struggling to keep up,” said Diana Ciccolini, Sr. Manager of Accounting at Quickbase.

Workers were struggling as well. One morale-draining result of manual approvals was delayed out-of-pocket expense reimbursements; employees sometimes had to wait weeks.

Quickbase also experienced problems with Concur’s NetSuite integration, which sometimes required contacting Concur to rerun the integration on their end — a process that could take weeks. “We spent hours and hours resolving very simple issues,” said Ciccolini.

Another issue: Visibility, which came only at month’s end, and then just at a high level. “It was challenging to get details out of Concur,” said Seth Yaniv, Senior FP&A Analyst at Quickbase.

The system also proved challenging for a company expanding into other countries, which required having cash in international bank accounts to pay international employees. “If the funds come from the U.S., it causes a lot of complicated tax implications,” said Ciccolini.

“I can see any hot spots in the budget and get ahead of them. I never had that ability with Concur.”

Seth Yaniv

Sr. FP&A Analyst, Quickbase

Seth Yaniv

Traveling With Little Navigation

With the travel management program, confusion reigned. “CWT was like a black box,” said Ciccolini. “No one in accounting really knew how it worked with Concur.”

Once a quarter, Quickbase would get invoiced for bookings, but even that failed to give a complete picture, since the majority of travelers were booking trips off-platform.

“Concur didn’t make it easy to find flights our travelers wanted, and there were better prices on consumer sites,” said Ciccolini.

So the company decided to trade visibility for cost savings. But with nearly half of the employees traveling for work-related purposes, the wide-ranging invisibility proved a liability.

Quickbase needed more. “We outgrew those solutions,” said Ciccolini. “It was time to find a global, all-in-one solution that provided everyone in the company a single user experience.”

Fortunately, they were about to discover Navan.

Switching to Navan

Moving to Modern

Quickbase tried Ramp, a spend management platform that lacks a native travel solution, which worked okay. “But when I learned about Navan,” said Ciccolini, “I was floored at all it could do.”

As the company unraveled from the legacy systems, they unearthed some surprises. “We had unused flight credits sitting in CWT that we didn’t know about,” said Ciccolini. They were unable to use all of them before they expired.

The changeover to Navan involved barely any lift from Quickbase’s IT team. Navan handled all the trainings, from admins to EAs and end users, and helped set up T&E policies. “Navan had our backs,” said Ciccolini.

With Navan

Travel Gets Back On Track

The results in travel have been dramatic: 20% savings on flights, and another 20% savings on hotels. Ciccolini credits Navan’s policy controls, lower overall prices, dynamic pricing, and a high adoption rate. “Our employees love using Navan,” said Ciccolini, “and love seeing what’s in and out of policy before booking.”

Savings have also come with booking more non-refundable tickets, something Quickbase didn’t want to risk with Concur. But with Navan, credits from canceled flights are automatically applied to the next booking. “That's been extremely helpful,” said Ciccolini.

Group travel, too, has proven to be much easier to book and manage. “Navan has made that very easy. Not like with Concur.”

"Instead of worrying about the administrative burden that expense reports can bring, employees are focusing on their work."

Diana Ciccolini

Sr. Manager of Accounting, Quickbase

Diana Ciccolini

The Era of Visibility

Navan was a game-changer for Yaniv, who has gained X-ray vision with real-time visibility into spend. Now, he can tell when the company is straying off-budget, and which teams or departments are contributing to the problem.

With Navan, “I can see any hot spots in the budget and get ahead of them,” said Yaniv. “I never had that ability with Concur.”

There’s also been a “major decrease” in manual approvals, said Ciccolini. “Since Navan automatically approves everything that’s within policy, we only have to look at a small percentage of exceptions.” And employee reimbursements, which now happen the next day, have turned the morale problem around.

To Ciccolini, “The improvements are not only measured in dollars, but also time and energy. With Navan, instead of worrying about the administrative burden that expense reports can bring, employees are focusing on their work.”

“That’s made us more productive as an organization,” she said. “And it’s really meant a lot to the company.”


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