finleap is Europe's leading fintech ecosystem, headquartered in Berlin with offices in Hamburg, Milan, Madrid and Paris. finleap offers fintech Saas solutions for various companies and builds standalone fintech companies. Since its founding in 2014, finleap has already developed 17 companies with its infrastructure and added more to its ecosystem through acquisitions. These include well-known companies such as solarisBank, insurer ELEMENT, and debt collection specialist PAIR Finance. For the recording and billing of its project work, finleap relies on the cloud-based software solution ZEP from the company provantis IT-Solutions.
Adina Constantin has been working for the finance team at finleap since the end of 2017. Her very first project when she joined the fintech incubator was the introduction of ZEP as a software solution for time recording and time accounting. She remembers: "In the past, colleagues had worked with the time recording solution of an American manufacturer, but were not very satisfied with it." For this reason, they looked around for an alternative, tested several tools and finally decided on ZEP. ZEP stands for Time Recording for Projects. The web-based solution has been on the market since 2000 and offers project-oriented companies a complete solution for time recording and verification, travel expenses, project management and controlling as well as invoicing.
At finleap, ZEP is used in the context of supporting new company start-ups. Since 2014, more than a dozen fintech companies have been founded. "In the context of these start-ups, finleap provides a whole range of different project and consulting services, which of course then have to be invoiced to these companies," Ms Constantin explains the use of ZEP in daily practice. In addition, finleap also provides further project services for the portfolio companies after the foundation. This also requires timely, precise and project-related invoicing.
While Ms Constantin mainly accesses ZEP from her workplace via the web-based user interface, her colleagues in the individual projects usually use the ZEP mobile apps available for all common operating systems (iOS, Android). They are thus able to record their project times to the minute already on site at the customer or while travelling and assign them to the corresponding project customer. As soon as the data is recorded, it is then available to Ms Constantin in the system for billing.
Ms Constantin uses the ZEP billing module for this. The module directly accesses the data stored in the ZEP time recording for the billing, links it with the payment modalities stored in ZEP (hourly rates, payment deadlines, etc.) and automatically creates an invoice, which then only has to be printed out or sent by e-mail. Ms Constantin confirms:
"The automatic transfer of data from time recording to invoicing is a great advantage for us: The automated workflow in ZEP is much faster than a manual transfer. In addition, input errors are avoided and the data is always up to date."
However, the automated workflow does not end with invoicing. Via an interface provided by ZEP, the invoice data can be transferred directly into Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision). The solution is used at finleap for financial accounting, which is managed by an external tax consultant.
"We record a wide range of project information and data in ZEP, such as cost centres or cost units, which we would naturally also like to transfer to financial accounting. Thanks to the ZEP interface, this is possible without any additional effort".
In terms of the operating model, ZEP can be installed in-house at the customer's premises or used by the customer as a cloud service. finleap opted for the latter and therefore accesses the cloud-based software version of ZEP via the Internet. This is operated in an ISO 27001-certified high-performance data centre in Germany. The basis for use is an online usage contract that can be terminated at any time at the end of the month as well as a contract for order processing in accordance with the German Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO). Billing is based on usage per user and month.
ZEP has been in use at finleap since the end of 2017. Currently, around 100 employees use the solution "ZEP offers a wide range of functions and is very user-friendly".Adina Constantin summarises her experience with ZEP so far.
"I particularly like the fact that you can test the individual modules and then freely decide whether to continue using them or not."