Case Studies / Why Finance Teams Are Reconsidering Bill
As finance teams look to the future, they’re seeking ways to achieve not just operational efficiencies, but also faster, more accurate, and more strategic insights that can drive better decision making. Rather than relying on traditional automation solutions, they’re building dynamic tech stacks that increase functionality while increasing visibility and providing additional analytical features that add strategic value.
Recently, we talked to two companies that made the switch from Bill.com (recently rebranded to BILL) to Glean.ai for accounts payable. We asked their finance team members about their experiences with both solutions and how each product did or didn’t benefit them. Here’s what they had to say.
Time reduction in manual AP tasks by switching away from Bill.
Per year cost savings by switching away from Bill.
“From my perspective, It feels like there's this new wave of emerging financial cloud-based technology that's best-in-breed.”
Today’s finance teams face several challenges, from talent shortages and doing more with fewer people to navigating through economic uncertainty. Teams are alleviating some of the difficulty through tech and automation.
Founded in 2006, BILL is a highly-used accounts payable solution. Despite its popularity, it doesn’t always fit modern financial teams' vision for software. For Mosaic and LeagueApps, BILL created additional challenges, motivating them to look for a new type of solution. “BILL has always felt very dated,” said Joe Garafalo, co-founder of Mosaic.tech. “The interface leaves a lot to be desired, integrations syncs were a pretty common problem, and I haven’t seen any major innovations in the product.”
Garafalo expanded, “More importantly, I wanted a tool that could leverage all the rich data flowing through AP. Invoices and receipts contain such valuable information on our vendor relationships, what we’re purchasing, the prices we’re paying, renewal dates, etc. It was important for me to empower my finance team with this type of context in an AP system before they hit Approve to pay a bill.”
Ryan Hickey, Senior Director of Finance at LeagueApps, added, “BILL wasn’t very user-friendly or intuitive” he said. “By the time we were looking at Glean, I was kind of allergic to BILL.”
Both Mosaic and LeagueApps wanted to find a highly functional solution for accounts payable. They were looking for something more innovative that offered value and could provide underlying detail. They found both in Glean.
Hickey and Garafalo immediately noticed the difference and could tell that Glean was founded by a former CFO. “I could clearly see Glean was designed by Howard and a team that knew finance. And they had experienced these very specific common pain points, like prepaid amortizations, accruals, and the Wild West of non-compensation expenses,” said Hickey. “Glean was a slam dunk from day one.”
Glean offered both companies more. And gave them a next-level accounts payable solution they were looking for.
“I feel like Glean is the first tool I've seen that gives real accounts payable visibility. Now I can go to every department, every invoice — and I can see what they're spending and they can see what they're spending. And it’s intuitive with easily readable charts and bars.”
The choice to switch from BILL wasn’t without solid reasons. Garafalo found BILL slow and basic, with a very corporate feel. He ran into issues with consistency. And BILL was providing false confidence around approvals which didn’t provide context to the approvers. Anne Meier, Mosaic’s Assistant of Financial Operations, also felt the approval process was lacking — and constantly changing. Meier also saw a lot of time spent on prepaid amortizations with BILL.
For Hickey, BILL required hiring a full-time accountant to manage AP. The processing time after entering a bill wasn’t intuitive or quick. The solution lacked good collaboration features, hindering communication around any issues discovered on bills.
Garafalo, Meier, and Hickey all described Glean.ai as a game changer. It made AP workflows more efficient and strategic. Hickey said, “The two things I like the most about Glean are the FP&A insights and also the speed of processing.” Glean made it so that when the invoices came in, they got read, routed to the approver, and pushed into NetSuite much faster.
Mosaic praised Glean’s customer success team and increased visibility into AP. “Glean helps me catch things and reach out to the team,” Meier said. “I have the information about gaps and what’s happened, and am able to see patterns with recurring vendors.”
Garafalo says that Glean enforces good financial hygiene. “Glean lets us understand the money that we’re spending and whether we’re using it in the right places.”
Mosaic and LeagueApps saw the transition to Glean pay off in numerous ways — some small and some big. Both observed that they didn’t feel any traditional “switching costs” in making the change from BILL to Glean. The ROI was more than worth it, and other than a few minor startup tasks, the process was seamless.
Hickey talked about the accountant they hired for AP. After switching to Glean, his manual AP tasks were reduced by 80%, and he served as more of a staff accountant overall.
Meier has seen ample time savings because of how Glean automates prepaid amortizations, by lifting dates off of an invoice, creating a schedule, and auto syncing entries to their general ledger. She also noted how Glean helped Mosaic manage its ongoing subscriptions more efficiently, which she described as a huge advantage.
Garafalo loved Glean’s upcoming renewal alerts. Getting a head’s up helped Mosaic save money. They were able to renegotiate contracts. He remembered a bill they felt was way too much — they couldn’t spend that amount in the upcoming year. But by having enough lead time, they could plan and strategize ahead of the renewal and were able to negotiate $30,000 off their annual cost.
Hickey says Glean offers powerful collaboration features and provides the details he wants. LeagueApps has a good adoption of people using Glean. And the team can correspond with people within the finance team as well as company decision-makers. He likes the commenting function. “It’s useful having it all in one place as proof of work. Budget owners love to communicate back and forth, and it acts as an audit log,” Hickey says.
That level of transparency is incredibly useful on the approval side of things as well. All approvals in BILL are a binary Yes/No report, while Glean offers all relevant historical data. "For me, an approver, if we're using Bill.com I don't get any of the insights that Glean is providing,” says Garafalo. “To get an invoice that's ready for approval and says, ‘By the way, this Bill is 50% higher than it was this time last year and it's driven by an increase in this line item?’ As an approver, this is like a punch in the gut"
For Garafalo, knowledge is power, and it helps him immediately make informed choices for his team. "With Glean, I'm getting context where an invoice has exceeded the entire spend of what we spent on that vendor last year. And those are the conversations that I can then have about reducing spend going forward."
Finally, the difference between the ongoing customer support offered by Glean compared to the more traditional help solutions found with BILL made a huge difference when Mosaic’s Anne Meier was getting used to the new platform. “The personal approach,” as Meier calls it. “Whenever I’ve needed help over the past 12 months, there has always been someone there to help.”
“When I think of Glean, I see it as a mission critical piece of software. We can't really operate the business without it. It's a core piece of the software stack that we absolutely need to have. And I think everyone should have it.”
Today’s finance teams experience pressure to manage cash and be efficient with spend. And Glean is the perfect tool for that. Using a combination of AI insights, streamlined workflows, and communication tools, Glean nurtures stronger vendor management and bill pay processes. In a world where modern teams are looking for an exceptional UI and a solution that pays dividends down the road, Glean.ai is the clear winner.