The next developer in the Intuit Developer Spotlight series, Tony Ferguson, is a “fintech entrepreneur specializing in the payments area.” His many years of experience in the financial technology arena lead him to become the co-founder and COO of Penny Inc, a 2018 $100K Small Business App Showdown finalist.
Today, we’ll share how Penny Inc provides an innovative solution to a growing number of SMBs and charity organizations by helping them automate and control their expenses. And Tony shares how the app itself has been positively impacted by being a member of the Intuit community.
Penny Fills a Void, Utilizes QuickBooks Online
Before Penny Inc, Tony was the founder of Emerchants, the “first non-bank payments card issuer in Australia.” The company began issuing travel and expense payment cards, gift and loyalty card programs, and emergency relief payment programs in 2001.
“After listing on the Australian share market (ASX code eml) in 2012, I retired from Emerchants having issued over 3 million cards using some of the most innovative payment technology available in the world,” Tony says.
Though he was no longer in the business, Tony watched cloud infrastructure and open source development emerge and became excited at the possibilities.
“I partnered with travel management entrepreneur John Battley to form Penny Inc in 2015. Having both worked in enterprise-level programs—mostly designed to make the CFO life easier—we identified a distinct lack of suitably-priced expense management services for small-to-medium-sized businesses,” he says. “Penny Inc was created to fill this void and to satisfy the neglected SMB with simple to use, efficient, and free application.”
The smart expense management app integrates with a prepaid debit MasterCard (plastic and virtual). Each card is overseen by the company administrator, who decides how and where the card can be used. He or she has the power to block merchants and/or set daily limits and can manage their expenses from the interactive and mobile-friendly dashboard, anywhere and anytime. Checking the company balance, adding funds, instantly sending funds to employees, and ordering cards is all possible from one location. And it seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks Online.
The real-time integration means business-related purchases appear immediately in QuickBooks. Manual data entry and spreadsheets are no longer required.
Here are some additional features and benefits:
- No maintenance or usage fees
- Fast and easy set up
- Time-saving automation
- Cash-flow management
- Increased security
More details, such as how the app prompts users to photograph and upload receipts after every transaction, are available on their QuickBooks App Store page along with customer reviews.
One 5-star review, “Great Features with all the Right Benefits!” states, “I have been using this app for over 6 months now and it has reduced my time to track, review, and approve to almost nothing. I simply issued a Prepaid Debit card and all transactions sync back to QuickBooks in real time. Thank you, Penny Inc, for giving me my weekends back!”
Penny Stands Out from the Competition
Tony says the app’s team of 12—located in California, Morocco, and Perth and Brisbane, Australia—is busy managing their expanding business and addressing industry complaints, which include the time delay for ACH fund transfers and the cost of cards.
“Penny Inc has been proactive in addressing these issues,” Tony says. “Penny Inc does not charge a monthly subscription fee or a fee for cards.”
He shares that they’ve implemented following-day settlement for ACH fund transfers from the customers’ financial institution. “This is a significant improvement on the 3-5 day wait offered by our competitors.”
Another major distinguishing factor for the app is their focus on making a social difference.
“Our core underlying focus is Social Impact, and how we can assist charitable and not-for-profit organizations in their efforts to deliver value and well-being to the community. Our partnership with Hearing the Homeless (HTH) is an example, where Penny Inc has provided a solution to help get donations to the homeless in an easy and transparent manner, at no cost to the organization,” Tony explains.
“Achieving transparency and control allows Hearing the Homeless to not only issue Penny Cards to HTH volunteers but to homeless people themselves, dramatically expanding HTH’s impact in the community.”
Penny, the Intuit Developer Community, and Customers
As Tony and his team actively participate in the community at large, they’re also involved in the more specific Intuit Developer community.
“Intuit’s ecosystem is a valuable asset for our growing fintech business, and we are pleased to be part of a community of like-minded businesses,” he says.
He feels Intuit’s desire to keep the QuickBooks’ community apprised of, as well as in front of, emerging technology is “key to adding value to businesses.” He also says it “enables optimization of business functions through educations, and sharing experiences and best practices, creating complimentary business partners.”
In addition to partnering with other businesses, the team is keen on using customer feedback to improve and strengthen their app. “We love customer feedback. It is the core of everything we do. We have close relationships with the food delivery and charity/not for profit sectors. In both sectors, we have worked in a joint collaboration to create custom solutions, gaining a deep understanding of their business and their operational pain points. This information is integrated into our product development to ensure we not only improve our offering but remain relevant in the marketplace.”
And to keep relevant, they’re planning to increase their exposure to the SMB community and grow their API partnerships.
Tony says, “Our Penny Inc API allows us to partner with innovative developers to incorporate Penny Inc’s fintech into their own solutions. We can’t wait to see how Penny Inc gets used next.”
The Intuit Developer team is looking forward to seeing that, too. Our goal is to give our community members, like Tony, the tools and resources they need to succeed, including QuickBooks’ updates, our platform, and our full-service support.
If you would like to join the Intuit community or if you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you and to bringing you another developer in our Intuit Developer Spotlight series soon.