Are you currently running a small-to-medium business that has a need to make work-related purchases? If so, then you’ll know that keeping tabs of who has spent what can be a cumbersome task that is fraught with paperwork.
Not only do your employees need access to a corporate credit card to make a purchase, but they then to pass on the respective receipt to your accounts department. Then you’ve got the hassle of reconciling the expense via your accounting software program.
However, a new FinTech startup – Pleo, believes that it has a ready-made service that alleviates the woes of staff expenses. Through its virtual and physical Pleo debit cards, company expenses can now be streamlined at the click of a button.
If this sounds like something that could benefit you and your business, then be sure to read our in-depth Pleo review. We cover the ins and outs of how Pleo works, who it is suitable for, what problems it solves, and more!
Please Note: Pleo is only available to businesses that are based in the UK, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark.
What is Pleo?
Founded in 2015, Pleo is a Danish FinTech company with offices in the UK, that aims to solve the woes of company expenses. In a nutshell, the company does this through its innovative app-based expense software. The software allows you to streamline your company expenses at the click of a button, with everything reconciled as soon as the employee takes a snapshot of the receipt.
This is fully supported by a MasterCard debit card that can be distributed to your employees – both in virtual and physical form. The former is targeted for online purchases, while the physical card is for purchases made in the real-world.
Although Pleo allows companies to distribute debit cards to multiple employees, everything can be controlled from a centralized portal. This means that you can set spending limits on an employee-by-employee basis, and see exactly what is being purchased as soon as the sale has been made.
Moreover, employees will be able to assign the purchase to a specific spending category as soon as the purchase goes through, subsequently making it a breeze to reconcile the transaction at a later date. Pleo also comes with a useful integration system that allows you to merge your expenses with well-known accounting software programs. This includes the likes of Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, Xero, and Quickbooks.
How Does Pleo Work?
In order to highlight why Pleo might be beneficial to you and your business, it is worth looking at a quick example of how the platform typically works in practice.
First and foremost, you need to assess which of your employees has a requirement to make purchases on behalf of your company. This could be an employee responsible for ordering stationery, or a sales executive that has a requirement to travel to clients. Either way, there is no limit to the number of cards that you can assign to your employees.
Topping up Your Pleo Account
As Pleo cards operate in a similar nature to debit cards, you will need to ensure that they are funded. In order to do this, you will need to wire funds to your dedicated Pleo account. Regardless of how many cards you have in operation, purchases will then be funded by the money you have in your account balance.
It is wise to install specific spending limits on your employee’s Pleo cards. The account portal offers great flexibility in this respect, as you can set individual spending limits on an employee-by-employee basis. For example, if you have a monthly stationery budget of £300 per quarter, then you can implement this on a specific Pleo card. Don’t worry, you can increase or decrease your spending limits as and when you see fit via your Pleo account.
Using the Card
Your employees will be able to use their Pleo card anywhere that MasterCard is accepted. As such, this permits purchases both online and instore, as well as at an ATM. To further explain how the transaction process works, let’s say that a member of staff purchases a £75 train ticket to visit a potential client.
As soon as the purchase is made, a notification will pop up on the employee’s mobile phone asking for the individual to assign the expense to a predefined spending category. In this example, the employee might decide to assign the train ticket purchase to ‘Travel’.
Once the employee has assigned the transaction to a specific spending category, they will then be asked to take a photo of the receipt. They can do this with their mobile phone camera, with the receipt subsequently being uploaded to your Pleo account. This essentially removes the need for the employee to keep hold of the receipt and hand it to the accounts department at a later date.
One of the overarching benefits of using Pleo is the ease at which company expenses are reconciled. Ordinarily, the accounting department would need to wait for a physical receipt, and then manually reconcile the expense within their respective accounting software program. Not only is the process cumbersome, but it also requires unnecessary paperwork.
On the contrary, Pleo automates the entire reconciliation process for you. In fact, as soon as the employee has assigned the purchase a spending category and taken a snapshot of the receipt, the process is effectively taken care of. Moreover, Pleo allows you to connect your expense reports with well-known accounting software packages, so there is no need to manually enter the expense.
Who is Pleo Suitable for?
Pleo is suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes that wish to streamline the company expense process. Whether you are a sole trader or a fully-fledged business with heaps of employees, Pleo is potentially useful for your company.
At the time of writing, Pleo is only available to businesses that are based in the UK, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark.
How Much Does Pleo Cost?
Pleo is a paid-for service that offers three individual pricing plans.
The specific plan that you go for will likely depend on the needs of your business, so we’ve outlined some of the key differentiators of each plan below.
Essential Plan – £5 per user, per month
The lowest cost plan available at Pleo is the Essential Plan, and it costs £5 per user, per month. A user is defined as an employee that will have a card of their own, so if you’ve got 5 employees that require Pleo cards, you’ll pay £25 per month.
The Essential Plans gives you access to both plastic and virtual MasterCards, and you’ll be able to instantly capture the name of the merchant, size of the transaction, and spending category every time a purchase is made. Moreover, the Essential Plan also offers automated receipts, integration with key accounting software, and human support.
As such, you’ll have access to the vast majority of features offered by Pleo.
Pro Plan – £10 per user, per month
If your business has since grown in size and thus – you require additional features, then you might want to consider the Pro Plan at £10 per user, per month. You will, of course, have access to all the features available with the Essential Plan, plus more. This includes the ability to install limits and reviews on each of your users, as well as receive notifications when a user goes over a predefined limit.
You also get real-time insights into what each employee or department is spending, with the capacity to download reports at the click of a button. The Pro Plan also offers more in the form of customization, such as the ability to import VAT codes.
Premium Plan – Customized Pricing Plan
Known as a ‘Very Important Pleo’er’, the Premium Plan is suited to businesses that are larger in size, with greater needs when it comes to making and reconciling company expenses. There is no one-size-fits-all pricing structure with the Premium Plan, as this needs to be negotiated directly with the team at Pleo.
Nevertheless, the Premium Plan offers everything that comes with both the Essential and Pro plans, plus a dedicated account manager. You can also utilize the platform’s custom onboarding feature, and even receive on-site training on how to use Pleo effectively.
Whichever pricing plan you do go with, Pleo will deduct your monthly subscription from your main account balance.
Other Fees at Pleo
On top of your monthly subscription fee, there are a number of other costs that you need to be made aware of. Here’s a breakdown of the main charges that you will likely experience when using your Pleo account.
- Physical Card Order: While the first Pleo card is distributed for free, each additional card will come with a one-time fee of £10. There is no charge for creating additional virtual cards, and this can be done as and when you need to via your Pleo account portal.
- ATM Withdrawals: If one of your employees has a need to withdraw cash from an ATM, you will need to pay £4 per transaction. This is the case for withdrawals domestically and abroad. There is no charge when using the card at a POS terminal.
- Foreign Transactions: If you use your Pleo card on a transaction that is processed in a currency other than that attached to your account (GBP in the UK or EUR elsewhere), then you will pay a 2% FX fee. This is also the case for foreign ATM withdrawals.
- Returning Pleo Funds: If you need to transfer funds out of Pleo and back to your business account, you will need to pay a fixed fee of £25 per transaction.
Integrating Pleo With Accounting Software
Pleo currently permits integration with 9 well-known accounting software programs, with an additional 3 in the pipe-line. We’ve listed the software programs below.
Is Pleo Safe?
The team at Pleo claims that “customer data and funds are protected by the highest industry standards and certifications.” Regarding your company data, Pleo is fully compliant with the EU’s GDPR legislation, and the platform itself is PCI Certified. Pleo also offers 24/7 fraud protection to ensure that your cards are not used for malicious purposes.
You as a Pleo user actually have the ability to temporarily block one, some, of all of your cards if you suspect illicit usage. As Pleo is also part of the MasterCard Zero Liability Policy, unauthorized transactions will be reimbursed. In terms of keeping your funds safe, all Pleo deposits are held in segregated bank accounts. This includes both JP Morgan and Danske Bank, meaning that Pleo has no access to the money.
Using Pleo: App and Web-Based Options
In order to use the features available at Pleo, your employees will need to download and install the Pleo app on their mobile phones. This ensures that they are able to assign spending categories as and when they use the card, as well as take a snapshot of the respective receipt. The app is available to download free of charge, and compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
Pleo can also be accessed on a standard desktop web browser. This is best used for account maintenance, such as reviewing transactions and installing card limits.
The team at Pleo can be contacted via a live chat facility, which is available on both the desktop and app-based platforms. You can also email the team at email@example.com for non-urgent inquiries.
If you have a Premium Account, you will get a dedicated account manager. This is likely to include a telephone support line.
Pleo Review: The Bottom Line?
While there are other startups in the market that offer similar services to that of Pleo, the platform is well worth considering if you want to simplify your company expenses.
At a starting price of just £5 per user, per month, you can remove the hassles that typically come with corporate credit cards, expense reports, and reconciliation.
Instead, everything can be executed on your behalf as soon as the employee assigns the purchase a spending category and takes a photo of the receipt.
Moreover, with the ability to integrate your Pleo expenses with well-known accounting software programs, this further removes the need for unnecessary paperwork.