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Passionate about problem solving. How to develop new products the Centtrip way

Taking a break from guiding, nurturing and mediating the evolution of the Centtrip platform, Chief Product Officer Sarah Gooding tells us about her role and Centtrip’s product philosophy.

“We are the custodians of our products, but in reality they belong to our customers, ” she says.

"Our objective is to deliver an exceptional user experience for customers and their users.  We take their needs or pain-points and combine those with the operational efficiencies that can be leveraged from technology.  We design and build solutions that work the way users expect. And, we need to consider what it takes to iterate and maintain over a long period, because people rely on these tools to run their businesses and serve their own clients.” 

Sarah’s career started in PR, moved on to managing some of the earliest content management systems for publishers like Emap and IPC, and then to e-commerce and digital payments. Along the way, she has developed a deeply customer-focused approach to products.

“I’m passionate about problems,” she explains. “There is no greater sense of achievement than knowing something we’ve invested time to analyse and assess is now delivering significant, positive results for people.”

“When we propose a solution,” she continues, “we’re gambling with customers’ goodwill. When we get it right, it quickly becomes their normality but, for us, we get a sense of achievement that stays with us while we move on to the next challenge. It means we have an opportunity for an ongoing sense of good fortune.”

Sarah is, she admits, an eternal optimist. “I’m stoical and determined and I’m continuously curious about how we do things. Is it fit for purpose? Should we be doing things differently? What would be the benefit of doing it differently?”

This is, perhaps, the essence of Centtrip’s approach to product and problem-solving.

Listening, co-creating and solving problems

“You have to listen to your customers. You have to hear their problems and spend the time to get down to the very essence of the issue. You must respect the details of the challenge.”

Continuous feedback from Centtrip’s commercial and account management teams is the starting point, followed by direct engagement with customers.

Centtrip works closely with customers to understand the specifics of any challenge. The team then looks to see if the problem – and its solution – is also applicable to other customers or markets.

“Cash Manager is a good example of our co-creation approach, and feature delivery that delivers value for all clients” Sarah explains. “The need to track, audit and reconcile cash expenditure was initially driven by our marine customers. But when we took it to our entertainment teams, there was really strong, positive feedback. The requirement hadn't been raised previously within the sector, but our music and film customers recognised Centtrip had created a much more efficient, streamlined approach for their accounting teams.

Sticking to the transactional knitting

With so many opportunities to solve problems for Centtrip’s target markets, how do we decide what to build and what to leave to others?

“It’s really important to retain clarity on what the Centtrip platform should be doing, the role that we perform within our customers’ workflow and establishing those use cases with precision. We’ve seen some of our competitors evolve into hybrid spend management and accounting services. But the problem with that approach – and the feedback we hear – is that you quickly become a generalist.  Customers’ accounting requirements are complex and broad. There are specialist accounting solutions with years of investment and expertise that simply do that better.”

“We take the complex and make it simple”

How does Centtrip differentiate what it does?

“We take the complex and we make it simple,” Sarah says.

“Our customers are internationally mobile and operate in demanding, pressurised situations. They might be managing a fleet of independently-owned yachts right across the world or they may have several artists on international tours in different countries. We manage high volumes of high value funds, managing all regulatory needs and ensuring customers have the right tools to direct those funds wherever they're required. That could be transferring funds for a new movie into a start-up company, getting money into the hands of a yacht crew in the Caribbean, hedging revenues from international ticket sales of a touring artist, running international payroll or managing the purchase of a new yacht.”

“We provide customers with multiple currencies on one card, and multiple cards for each crew or project,” she continues. “We have distributed controls and functions that allow multiple levels of users to interact and control the data. That is the sort of complexity our clients encounter every day and that’s what we solve for them. We do it efficiently and securely and we provide customers’ finance teams with the transaction data they need along with the augmented data that sits alongside it: receipts, labels, accounting codes and any notes from the cardholder.”

Centtrip features and functions you may have missed

The Centtrip platform is continuously evolving, solving more problems in better ways for our internationally mobile customers.

Here are some recent features and functions you may have missed:

·       Expense management manage expenses, in multiple currencies, on the go. Cardholders can add and tag receipts with expense codes and notes.

·       Batch FX payments load, schedule and manage hundreds of foreign currency transactions at a time.

·       Cash manager keep track of cash purchases, attaching and tagging receipts to support ATM withdrawals or other cash spend.

·       Self-service card ordering Lost cards, new crew members? No problem. Order new and replacement cards instantly from the Centtrip app.

·       User management define your own controls setting spend limits, alerts and ATM access for every card.

·       API integration Easily and dynamically extract all your transaction data from Centtrip into your chosen accounting system, including foreign exchange, payments, card expenses and cardholder receipts.

Coming soon:

·       Project expense reporting – a click-of-the-button way to generate a complete expense report for yacht charter APAs, on-location shoots or tour legs.  

Want to know more?

For more information on how Centtrip can support you and your organisation, check out our online Resources or get in touch today.

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