Customer Story

How Westbourne saved $100k, and reduced time spent on expenses admin by one week each month

With Westbourne, Financial Controller at Westbourne Construction




Lindfield, Australia


Trade: Residential Construction

Westbourne is a specialist residential builder of quality apartments. They specialise in coming in on budget and on schedule, and have been endorsed by Great Places to Work as a leading employer.


  • Time-consuming manual processes used to control spending

  • Inaccurate category data captured due to complex coding system

  • Employees delayed claiming reimbursements due to high friction process

  • Card sharing meant time lost on reconciling expenses

  • Lack of visibility on spend until after the event

Westbourne constructions replaced their previous expense management processes with Weel in a matter of weeks, and have been saving money ever since.


The Challenge

“We had to control spending, and these manual processes were the only way we had to control it”

With over 20 years of experience, Westbourne have cemented their name as a boutique building company that delivers large-scale, award winning residential projects.  Having expanded to over 100 staff, working across multiple projects at any one time, the expense management processes had started to become a headache for Robyn O’Reilly, Financial Controller at Westbourne, her finance team and the staff on the ground.

“Historically, our project managers were the ones given credit cards, because they were the project budget owners. But the reality was that they were just putting the little expenses on the credit card,” says Robyn. “These guys were managing projects anywhere from $50 to $150 million dollars, and that were wasting time on small expenses like the purchase of fuel for a generator.”

To track these expenses, Robyn explained that once a month her predecessor would download the Visa card statements, and send it out to the team to ask them to get all their receipts together in a spreadsheet, and code the costs.


For employees on site that did not have access to a card, it was a similarly cumbersome process claiming reimbursements back — that also created a heavy burden for Accounts Payable.

“Our AP would have to constantly chase again and again to get the team to supply the right documentation and to have the Project Manager sign off,” says Robyn. “They would email the receipts in, and sometimes the receipts were never found.”

There were also instances where either the director or CEO’s card numbers would need to be used to make a purchase, and by the end of the month there would be the mad rush to ensure that every expense could be accounted for in the statement. 

With the previous process, their defects team also didn’t have access to cards. To make a small purchase to fix a job, they would need to phone the head office, who would then phone the supplier to share card details and allow them to make a purchase, which was frustrating for everyone involved.

The Solution

“We rolled out the virtual card and reimbursement process across everyone in the business, and it’s made a big difference already”

Being able to action, track and manage expenses in a timely manner was really important for the team at Westbourne. Waiting weeks for their bank to shut down a credit card was just not good enough. With Weel, the inbuilt spend limits have helped provide comfort that spending was limited to the budgets and approval workflows set up. For anyone who exceeds the set limits they can turn off their credit card access immediately. 

“I know expense management is a problem in every company,” said Robyn. “I’d worked in a company that had used Concur, but that only gives you the information you need after the event — if there’s out of policy spending on the credit card, you don’t find out unless you’re going into the bank account every day.”

Having previously heard about Weel through an industry peer, Robyn didn’t hesitate. 

“We rolled out the virtual card and reimbursement process across everyone in the business, and it’s made a big difference to all involved already,” says Robyn.

With in-built cost controls, they were able to distribute Weel’s virtual cards to anyone who was making regular purchases. They also ensured that all employees signed the virtual card policy which was based on Weel’s template.  For infrequent spenders, they enabled access to Weel’s reimbursement tool.

“Because the team are making payments directly or able to claim more frequently through the reimbursement tool, we don’t have that big backload of cash flow,” says Robyn. “It just makes their jobs easier”.


The prompted category code selection and description has also helped the finance team get more accurate information across staff expenses, through making entering the correct code a seamless process rather than a memory game.

The approval feature for budget top ups has also helped bring the finance team closer to the day to day operations on site, with more visibility over spending.

“This morning, I had one of the guys say they needed a site fridge and a pie warmer. Because  they have to put in an approval to up their budget limit to get those things, I was able to chase up on what happened to the old fridge — there’s a lot more interaction with what’s happening on site.”

The Result

Empowering the staff to make purchases directly or knowing that they can easily be reimbursed for costs incurred has definitely had a positive impact on employee satisfaction for the team at Westbourne, according to Robyn. 

“Normally when you introduce a new system it takes a while for people to adopt it. But this has been so fast, and word is spreading,” says Robyn. “People who used to hold back their reimbursements before are now doing them as they go, which is great.”


Beyond the employee experience, Weel has also freed up time and helped identify further team efficiencies for the finance function. 

“It’s changed our AP role dramatically, and provided her [AP colleague] with a lot more job satisfaction,” says Robyn. “For example, we’d used to have to process reimbursements through all of our systems previously, and that was so time consuming to load the invoice, pay it out, all that kind of faffing around with the payment run, and now Weel does that for us — Weel is saving us at least one week per month in admin time”


Further, with the time that Weel has freed up across the whole finance team, this contributed to not having to backfill a role in their department with a savings of approximately $100,000 in annual salary expenses.  

“I think the adoption speaks for itself, we have had a number of employees tell us the new process is a big improvement.”

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