Togetherwork integrates software and financial solutions to provide communities and organizations all of the business operations tools they need in one place. Presenting a built-in payment solution, powered by Stripe, is core to the business’s ability to offer its customers (and its customers’ customers) a smooth transaction experience.
With a payment solution in place, Togetherwork wanted to better understand the costs associated with payments to optimize its costs and identify ways to save its customers money. But it was difficult for the Togetherwork finance team to clearly understand network and interchange costs—fees passed through by card providers—as well as other payment fees.
“As an operator or customer, understanding cost levers has traditionally been a black hole. The information is typically reserved and resides in card brand networks,” said Paul Koelkebeck, vice president of finance at Togetherwork. “We wanted to better understand changes that card networks make to these costs because they have a material impact on our customers.”
Togetherwork uses the network cost insight report in the Stripe Dashboard to better understand its costs and identify opportunities for cost optimizations. “Stripe provides valuable insight to our cost trends and strategic areas to optimize our costs,” said Koelkebeck. “With these cost insights, we can quickly understand key impacts on controllable versus uncontrollable factors that affect our margins.” With this new level of granularity, Togetherwork’s finance team can distill complex financial information into easily understandable management-level reports and provide recommendations to its product team.
Using this newfound data in combination with Data Pipeline gives Togetherwork more flexibility in reviewing financial reports across multiple products. Rather than relying on monthly PDF or Excel statements for payments activity, the team can access daily reports broken down by customer and payment types to identify clear payment trends.
The business partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deploy Data Pipeline to help scale its reporting infrastructure as it grows. With Data Pipeline, Togetherwork can aggregate reporting on its growing number of businesses to gain new insights into payments across the business. “You need a scalable solution when you're working with hundreds of millions of rows of transactional data. We retooled the way that we're pulling the data and started using Stripe's Data Pipeline,” added Koelkebeck. “Now, in lieu of an extensive extract, load, transform process via multiple data vendors, Data Pipeline feeds directly into our AWS Redshift data warehouse and data marts. We can operate more efficiently at scale and better leverage deep business intelligence for reporting and analysis.”
Reduced transactions downgraded to <1% to save costs
Optimizing costs supports both Togetherwork’s internal goals and its customers. One way the business can help reduce costs is by reducing downgraded transactions—credit or debit card charges assigned to the wrong processing category that incur additional fees. “A higher degree of certainty about interchange rates can have a significant financial impact for us and our customers,” Koelkebeck added. With Stripe, the business has been able to reduce downgraded transactions to below 1% of transactions conducted through its platform to save thousands of dollars.
Reduced 40 hours per month of manual calculation and data processing
Togetherwork has been able to save a full week per month on data processing using reports in the Stripe Dashboard, allowing the team to focus on analyzing data rather than processing it. “Because our Stripe payments reporting is now automated and near real-time, we can spend more time analyzing the data instead of creating and curating reports,” said Koelkebeck. With this time back, Togetherwork can more regularly report on business changes and use that data to inform new decisions.
Identified new opportunities for growth
Having quickly accessible data has empowered Togetherwork to become a more data-driven organization. With a deeper understanding of the business’s network costs, the team has clearer insight into how it can promote growth. “We can use our insights to focus on synergies between our growth and our customers’ growth. We can help them optimize costs so they can offer the most competitive pricing. That helps our customers and their customers,” said Koelkebeck.
Changes to transaction fees have a huge impact on our bottom line, so we need to know what impacts to expect and use that information to forecast, inform pricing, and adapt our go-to-market strategy. With our Stripe Dashboard, we can forecast changes at the business or product level to understand precisely what those cost impacts will be.