Industry insider: Sit down with Extend’s Jonathan Bailey

Sit down with Jonathan Bailey
We spoke to Extend’s CTO, Jonathan Bailey, about their goals for 2024, the latest trends in the spend management space, and how their partnership with Codat has allowed them to offer greater value to their customers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Extend?

Hi, my name is Jonathan Bailey, and I’m the CTO at Extend. We provide a platform for our users to take the existing credit card that they have with their bank, register that with Extend, and use that to create and share virtual credit cards with the members of their team, and then manage the expenses associated with that spending.

Who is your target market?

We primarily cater to mid-tier businesses, typically around 200 employees, though we do serve smaller businesses and are expanding to larger enterprises as well. Our clients span various industries, with examples like marketing agencies, especially those handling political campaigns during election seasons.

What are some of the goals you and your team are working towards?

Our team is investing in three core pillars of product strategy over the course of the next 12 months. The first is virtual card creation and distribution, which is what we are known for and where Extend started. We partner with banks to deliver better experiences for their clients when it comes to virtual card capabilities. We are constantly developing this functionality and product, and we plan to partner with even more banks, including some big names that we’ll be announcing soon.

The second is expense management. We’ve started to move more into this realm, and our partnership with Codat has helped us deliver the functionality our customers need to integrate their virtual card transactions into their accounting processes.

The third is a new area for us: a partnership with SAP Concur and their invoice product. If you are an SAP Concur invoice user, you can make payments directly and pay invoices from the product. The technology behind this process is Extend’s technology. We’re super excited to dive into this new area.

What challenges were you experiencing before Codat, and what led you to seek a solution?

We heard from our customers that they loved the virtual card capabilities that Extend offered, but they needed to connect Extend to their accounting system. Codat provided the solution by giving us connectivity to accounting systems, such as QuickBooks, NetSuite or other ERP systems. This allowed our customers to reconcile the spending they did on virtual cards created within the Extend platform with their accounting system of choice.

Interoperating with the other products within the finance professional ecosystem is critical for the customers we’re targeting. That’s why our relationship with Codat is so important to us.

We first heard about Codat when we approached NetSuite about enabling Extend customers to connect their NetSuite accounts. They recommended that we reach out to Codat as one of their preferred partners and a leader in the space.

Our relationship with Codat has since expanded. We now support QuickBooks and are excited to roll out support for more ERP systems in the future.

Had you previously built any accounting integrations in-house? What was that experience like?

We previously built an accounting integration for QuickBooks, but we replaced it with an easier-to-maintain integration from Codat. This integration allows us to offer our clients access to a wider range of solutions. 

Our core business at Extend is integrating with other products, services, and APIs. We offer virtual card capabilities to our clients from banks or credit card networks. We focus on developing these core integrations and partnering with experts who can maintain the other integrations, allowing us to move quickly and support our customers’ diverse financial needs.

How has your partnership with Codat benefited Extend’s business?

The partnership with Codat has been really important to Extend in several ways. We’ve learned that it’s really critical for our clients to be able to use Extend in partnership with the accounting system.

Beyond that, we’ve found that connectivity between accounting systems and the Extend solution leads to even happier customers who are likely to rely on our platform for the long term.

At the end of the day, our main goal is to provide a great solution to our customers that can be easily integrated into their business processes. Codat plays an important role in fulfilling this promise to customers.

For our customers, choosing Extend often boils down to selecting a banking partner because we’re an extension of the bank’s relationship with their clients. So, Codat is helping two different groups here.

Codat helps our clients by allowing them to keep their existing banking relationships while giving them access to modern technologies and experiences offered by other fintechs like neobanks. 

Secondly, Codat provides a solution for the banks that partner with Extend to compete with fintech companies that are trying to steal business from them, particularly early-stage startups or mid-tier businesses. 

By integrating into the customer’s financial ecosystem, Codat helps create a more valuable and engaging experience that encourages the customer to stay with their current bank for longer. This gives banks a competitive edge over these new players.

What trends are you seeing in the spend management space?

It’s an interesting time for spend management, particularly when it comes to AI. At Extend, we’re thinking a lot about how it can be used to automate expenses and receipt management.

We’re working hard to give our clients more insights into their spending. We’ve actually just launched new features in this direction and we’re committed to making our services even more convenient and efficient for our clients.

The data that moves between different products and systems is really valuable, and we’re exploring ways to share that with customers so they can better understand their spending habits and save some cash. I’m personally excited about these developments, and we’re paying close attention to what we should be doing in these areas, too.

What’s next for Extend?

We’re really excited about some automation and assistive technology that we’re developing that will make it easier for people to spend on virtual cards created on the Extend platform. This technology will work in the background to help users manage their expenses more efficiently.

That’s just one part of Extend’s product roadmap. The other area is embedded payments or those API solutions that I mentioned. We’ve already announced that we have this partnership with SAP Concur, which we’re really excited about.

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