: FinTech Archives - railwaymen
costtracker application

CostTracker

AI Purchase Order Management System

web app

ABOUT PROJECT

About company:

CostTracker is a company born in Norway, which set up the goal to create an innovative cloud-based FinTech platform that helps companies save time and money through total control of costs in the organization. The software’s main functionality is an extensive purchase management system, which enables you to order items from various suppliers and plan your expenses in advance. As we at Railwaymen are growing it continuously since September 2018 in our Krakow HeadQuarters, you can find inside a catalog of over 185 000 different suppliers, and as this case study is being published (June 2023) – more than 110 000 purchase orders have been successfully registered and proceeded through this platform.

OUR WORK

Project Management

Frontend

Backend

QA

UX & UI

Business Consulting

Future Strategy

1. PROCESS

WORKSHOPS

The first design workshop was the result of the client’s initiative, who, after doing research on software houses, selected several with whom they considered working together. Railwaymen was among the companies considered. We had a chance to meet our clients in person – they visited our office and, what’s more, we organized introducing workshops for them with the whole development team to discuss all the details and organize brainstorming sessions. It was a great experience for both sides and thanks to that we were sure that we clearly understand their business needs and expectations. Our meeting focused on the technical aspects of the project. The client came to us with specific assumptions and a vision for the project, while our task was to verify the idea and propose a possible implementation. As a result, we were able to conduct a feasibility analysis and lay out optimization processes

Katarzyna, Project Manager​​

“Working on the CostTracker project has been a rewarding experience as a project manager. Taking over the project presented its fair share of challenges, but I am fortunate to work with such a talented and dedicated team. Together, we have successfully navigated complex requirements and implemented effective solutions, ensuring transparency and efficiency in our purchase order processes. The collaboration and expertise of our team members have been instrumental in overcoming obstacles and driving the project toward success.”

COMMUNICATION

At the beginning of the project, a complete understanding of the business needs was essential due to the specificity of the financial aspects in various companies. Our team had the possibility to familiarize with the product vision as well as analyze business requirements that were delivered by the client. The dedicated team consisted of several professionals specialized in different areas. Therefore, we were able to deliver the first version of the quite complex platform within 3 months and release it in September 2018. Since that date, the application is evolving very dynamically, fulfilling more and more needs coming from the FinTech market. We as Railwaymen have been responsible for 100% of the development throughout the whole time.

Over the years, the composition of the team members changed several times depending on the current needs and requirements of the project. The project’s exact Team Structure looks as follows now (June 2023): 1 x Project Manager, 1x Tech Lead, 1x Frontend Developer, 1 x Quality Assurance Engineer, and 1 x UX/UI Designer.
maciej

Maciej

QA Engineer

sylwia-747d30e7e0970ea079d127ac48bba9edf058f666d5258050e4d110834f70611e

Sylwia

UX/UI Designer

karol

Karol

Frontend Developer

piotr

Piotr

Tech Lead

katarzyna

Katarzyna

Project Manager

During the development process, we have established a communication flow that was agreed upon by both sides and still remains effective. Thanks to our client’s engagement, from the very first day and weekly calls we were sure what is needed and what might be obsolete. They came to us with a defined scope and vision of the project – that also helped us in understanding the idea and make it possible to deliver a working software product that meets our client’s as well as end-users expectations.
WORKFLOW
For ticketing purposes, we are using Jira and our clients feel comfortable tracking all the issues. Besides having the “QA” column and status for the dedicated QA specialist on our side, we also added the “Review” column in our workflow to make it visible and accessible for our clients. That was the place where they could verify completed and tested tasks on the staging environment. For daily communication, we also used another tool – Slack. Thanks to integrating Jira with Slack, all changes made on the platform and updates were transparent.
New client’s request
Verifying request by the team
Adding task to Jira
Taking care of workflow
Assigning client for task review
Completed task

Katarzyna, Project Manager​​

“Assuming responsibility for a project that has been ongoing for several months (when I took on Michał’s role in the midst of further app development) presents a significant challenge for any project manager, and I was no different. Now, reflecting on a year of working on the project, I can confidently state that the individuals involved, including the customers and developers, have formed an exceptional agile team that has successfully overcome numerous obstacles.”

2. WEB APP

costtracker web application
CREATING PURCHASE ORDER
To make it possible to create a purchase order (PO) in a seamless and user-friendly way, our development team implemented ReactJS components. Thanks to that, the user experience on the site is on a highly satisfying level and is also meeting strategic goals. One of the most interesting and complex features is a Supplier catalog, which automates the process of adding items to PO from the same supplier in the company. Company employees that have assigned specific roles are able to search for items within the supplier’s items database. Such items are automatically added to a catalog if they were previously added to the Item List.
costtracker purchase order

Tomek, Team Leader & Senior RoR Developer​

“It was very exciting from the very beginning of the project. Starting with workshops where we defined core features and the application’s main flow, and ending with its implementation. I enjoyed working on the Purchase Order form where we used ReactJS components because of the many user-friendly features. Also, the financial parts of the application were really interesting from a database perspective. Mentioning the best parts of the application, I could not miss the approval process with different user roles and privileges.


During the development of the first CostTracker version, we had to take care of the frontend cool features, privileges access and flow process, and substantial database queries. We also had to make sure that the MVP we’re building will be easy to expand in the future. And seeing how the CostTracker app has grown since the first release, I believe we did that part well!”

real time cost tracking

Piotr, Team Lead​

“Working with invoices is a demanding activity and requires a lot of focus and attention. OCR comes with help, which relieves accountants at least a little, reading data from the invoice and based on them completing the required fields. In addition, thanks to cooperation with Cradl AI, using a set of invoices that go to CostTracker, we have introduced the feedback loop function, helping AI learn to read data correctly. Feedback Loop contains data read by OCR, the percentage of the correctness of the reading, as well as the actual, final value verified by the accountant. In further stages, we plan to automate the process of document flow so that the system becomes more and more autonomous.”

REAL-TIME BUDGET PLANNING & MANAGEMENT
Thanks to the CostTracker purchase management system, you can plan your budgets and divide them into specific categories. Every Purchase Order created through the app is assigned to a specific budget – thanks to that, as a cost approver, you can easily track and plan all of your expenses! Inside the application panel, you have a clear view of your budget’s state: if any of them has been exceeded, how much has been already spent, which part of them has been blocked for your future expenses and how much money you have left for your next orders.

If you already know that there is a set amount of money you want to dedicate to your purchases, and don’t want to exceed it at any means – you can turn on the “strict” budget functionality. In this case, only the app Administrator will be able to approve the costs that exceed that set level of expenses.

For example – if you are running a marketing department, you can create separate budgets for ordering Items for your events, recording equipment (cameras, microphones) or else. Thanks to that, you can easily track and see in a visually appealing way how much money you have spent on your department’s procurement needs, look for the most cost-efficient suppliers and analyze the price-quality ratio of the Items that you receive from them. No more making financial decisions based on hunches or competitors’ activities – thanks to CostTracker, you’ll be able to make much more educated decisions based on hard data!
costtracker categories
CASHFLOW & MILESTONE
The CashFlow module is used for expense planning. It provides the functionality of breaking down payments, where, by default, a single payment is treated as a one-time payment. However, there is also the option to divide payments into stages (milestones) and spread them over time, according to expected transfer deadlines. CashFlow divides budgets into various categories such as pending payments, current payments, overdue payments, etc. Users can browse through these categories to track the status of payments. This module also allows checking payment data within the budget. Users can view information about planned expenses, current payments, overdue payments, etc. This provides users with a comprehensive view of their finances and enables them to monitor expected payments and take action in case of payment delays.
PLANNING PURCHASE ORDER (PPO)
You know that feeling when your company Christmas Eve’s dinner is approaching, and you are starting to stress out whether you have enough funds to make it truly exceptional? With this CostTracker Planning Purchase Order functionality, you won’t get so easily surprised by unforeseen costs! You can pick a budget (for example employer branding or HR) from which you want to “block” resources for your specific goal within seconds.

What’s also great about this functionality, that you can create a Planned Purchase Order inside the app, but you don’t have to execute it. Thanks to that, as a manager or department director, you can plan your Purchase Order for the future and then delegate the execution to your employees. This solution eliminates the risk of several people ordering the same Items independently – thanks to CostTracker, they can work on the same Planned Purchase Order and make sure they will avoid any frictions along the process.

The CostTracker purchase order management system will notify you that the time when you’ll be needing the funds for your Planned Purchase Order is getting closer. It will also warn you that you may exceed your budget, because of the POs you’ve planned in the past, but will be executed very soon. In plain words: this functionality helps you to plan and overlook your business purchase orders long before they will reach out to your suppliers.
ADVANCED USERS & ROLE MANAGEMENT
One of the biggest challenges when building a FinTech app is to ensure your money flow stays entirely under your control. After all, you don’t want one of your employees to accidentally order 1000 mouse pads that you don’t really need. So to make the whole purchase order process maximally safe and intuitive, we’ve introduced several roles inside the CostTracker purchase order software. The approval flow looks like on the graphic below, and ensures that only company-designated decision-makers can approve or reject purchase orders created by other employees.
There is also an Administrator role, which of course has got total control over everything that’s happening inside the purchasing software. This person can assign roles to specific users anytime it’s needed.
MULTI COMPANY MODULE
Inside the CostTracker purchase order management system, it is possible to have users with multiple roles assigned. For example, Jack is “just” a Purchaser in the XYZ company. But in the ZYX one, he is an Approver. As an Administrator, you can assign Jack a specific role in the chosen company and have a clear view of which kind of roles are assigned to him at the moment.

When you do this, Jack will be able to create POs as a Purchaser by typing XYZ.costtracker.com in one organization (yes, CostTracker will create a separate subdomain for your business) and then move to ZYX.costtracker.com and accept purchase orders created by other users as an Approver in another company. As an Administrator, you’ll be able to see all of that and make sure that some roles don’t interfere with each other.
THE AI ACCOUNTING MODULE
As the CostTracker aims to be so much more than “just” a purchasing system, we’ve introduced two different types of integrations with the most popular accounting systems on the financial market. So if you are using apps like QuickBooks (interesting fact – you can find CostTracker on the official list of apps that are integrated with this software), Tripletex, Sage Accounting, Xero, PowerOffice or 24SevenOffice – you can easily process the data you already store inside them when using CostTracker!

Mateusz, Senior RoR Developer​

“The biggest challenge here for me was to understand the financial and business flow inside the apps that we wanted to integrate with. All of Accounting Systems mentioned above present their data differently – the goal was to display them all in a unified way inside the CostTracker.


For example, 24Seven Office uses Soap API, when all of other Accounting Systems work on Rest API. Their interfaces also differ greatly. Yet we’ve managed to accomplish this goal, to integrate them well, thanks to the solid basics we’ve built at the very beginning of the app development process. Thanks to that approach, we’re fully prepared for introducing new integrations in the future and develop the CostTracker further!”

We’ve called this functionality the Accounting Module, and it enables you to:

1. Enlist invoices data from your chosen accounting system inside the CostTracker and match it together with the specific purchase orders. The system matches invoices with POs based on variables like the same supplier name, the transaction value, the order number, or else. It enables you to save tons of time you would waste, by doing this manually! It happens automatically each day, so you don’t even have to think about it.

2. Process invoices inside the CostTracker and then send them to your chosen Accounting System. To achieve this goal, we use the OCR system – more about it below! Yet what’s special about CostTracker, is that if somehow, the OCR matching system fails, we’ve developed a set of internal logical rules (built by our Senior Ruby on Rails Developer Tomek) to make sure that the invoices data was processed correctly nevertheless. The app tries to achieve that goal by automatically filling the required invoice pools based on historical data (gathered from previous documents processed from the same provider or other types of infos).

Tomek, Team Leader & Senior RoR Developer​

“Have you ever had a situation where the OCR system didn’t read your invoice data correctly? Even if this happens only occasionally, in the case of FinTech software – each of those situations can cost you lots of troubles! That’s why inside the CostTracker purchasing software, we’ve developed an original Artificial Intelligence script that double-checks the invoice data read by Lucidtech.


It works by identifying places in your invoice that OCR system could not proceed correctly and trying to fill up those gaps based on infos inside your CostTracker database – those can be variables like Supplier, Purchase Order, TAX code etc. In case it’s not able to do it – the software asks the user to do it manually, yet it saves that action in its memory, to fill it up automatically in the future when the same case occurs. In short words: this script makes your work of implementing the invoices much easier and free of errors!”

costtracker invoices
OCR INVOICES PROCESSING
Accounting systems typically require manual entry of invoice information, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. However, CostTracker purchasing software offers a solution by incorporating Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Thanks to this, invoices can be sent directly to the system in PDF format, and the OCR algorithm recognizes and enters the appropriate data fields, streamlining the processes of accounting and implementing invoices into the system.

Using artificial intelligence algorithms, the invoice file is scanned and automatically filled with the necessary information. To ensure accuracy, the software provides a confidence percentage, indicating how confident the algorithm is in the input data. This double-checking feature increases the speed and reliability of invoice scanning and processing, surpassing manual processing by humans. Once scanned and processed, the invoice can be matched to a specific order (with the option of automatic confirmation) and modified accordingly (e.g. adding a tax code) before sending it to the designated accounting program.

The CostTracker purchasing system offers the convenience of creating a dedicated email address for sending invoices. Any invoices sent to this address will be automatically processed by the application. In addition, the OCR technology includes a comprehensive feedback function, allowing the system (Lucidtech) to learn from any mistakes made. Every time an invoice is processed and approved by the customer, updated data and current statuses are sent for comparison so that the system has the data test for later development of AI.
costtracker ocr invoices
PURCHASE ORDER DELIVERY MODULE
When ordering lots of items from different suppliers, you need to retain full control over your deliveries. Thanks to the CostTracker purchasing software delivery module, you can control your orders in real-time. Inside the app panel, you can select the items that you’ve already received and those that you are still waiting for to come.

For example, you can create one order called “Austin SXSW Trade Shows” and create separate deliveries inside, like banners, leaflets, gadgets, etc. from various suppliers. When the banners come – you tick the box that this specific delivery has finished. But you are still waiting for gadgets – so you don’t close the order in general, as long as you will have the “full package”. Thanks to this module, purchase order management becomes much more under your control, as it helps you to maintain your business operations smoother and more immune to human error. It also helps you to react faster in case of stock shortages or run your inventory management better (similarly to Unleashed Software solutions).
purchase order delivery module
NLP ITEM MODULE
When choosing the right procurement software for your business, you want to make sure, that it will be working best in YOUR case. All business needs are different, and the goal is, to build a purchasing software flexible enough, to adapt to those needs. In the previous CostTracker MVP version, the adding Item functionality stayed pretty basic. You could once again order Items, that you’ve ordered before (the system found it inside the previous purchase orders) or add them manually. But in the new version, the Item Module enables you to send the items you want to order inside the software as an Excel file. The CostTracker artificial intelligence algorithms scan your file and ask you, which column of your file means what. And then – they automatically assign those Items to a specific Purchase Order, and then add it to your database, to make your procurement processes much faster and easier!

Tomek, Team Leader & Senior RoR Developer​

“Our inspiration for developing this functionality was the solution used by Mailchimp, a very popular e-mail marketing software. We’ve made it using React.js, and it works like this: you can open your Excel file, mark the data you want to import inside the CostTracker, paste it inside the app and we’re matching that data automatically with the right columns. And what’s great here, that the columns names don’t have to be named exactly the same: thanks to Artificial Intelligence scripts, the software can figure out by itself, that the column labelled “cost” in your Excel file, should be assigned to the one labelled “price” in our CostTracker system. In the future, we want to make it even smarter, as financial applications are a great example of software that can benefit a lot from implementing AI solutions!”

VARIOUS LOGIN OPTIONS

One of the most important things when building FinTech software is to ensure the maximum level of security. CostTracker purchasing software enables you to get inside the app using login options a follow:

TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

According to statistics from a CompTIA study, “Human error accounts for 52 percent of the root causes of security breaches.” Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to make our passwords maximally safe – and this is where two-factor authentication comes in handy. You can log in to the CostTracker purchase order management system by downloading the Google App Authenticator app, scanning the QR code at the first login attempt, and then – by simply typing up the password and the code, the Google App will send straight to your phone! Thanks to this solution, the login process becomes easier yet maximally secure.

SINGLE SIGN-ON (SSO) LOGIN

Are you using the option to “log in through your Google account” sometimes? Most of us do – this type of solution is called Single Sign-On. You can configure the CostTracker app of your choice, supporting SSO software (for example – Azure) and then, log in within an easy and secure way with your previously created account. This solution is especially important for bigger organizations, where creating a separate account for each user would be a highly complicated and time-consuming process. The benefits of this solution go as follows:

Tomek, Team Leader & Senior RoR Developer​

“Our inspiration for developing this functionality was the solution used by Mailchimp, a very popular e-mail marketing software. We’ve made it using React.js, and it works like this: you can open your Excel file, mark the data you want to import inside the CostTracker, paste it inside the app and we’re matching that data automatically with the right columns. And what’s great here, that the columns names don’t have to be named exactly the same: thanks to Artificial Intelligence scripts, the software can figure out by itself, that the column labelled “cost” in your Excel file, should be assigned to the one labelled “price” in our CostTracker system. In the future, we want to make it even smarter, as financial applications are a great example of software that can benefit a lot from implementing AI solutions!”

THE POSSIBILITY TO USE THE COSTTRACKER APP API

Lots of the solutions described above wouldn’t be possible if we haven’t created the CostTracker API. Thanks to this, various types of software can integrate with this purchase order software, download stored inside purchase orders, and proceed with the Cost Tracker data inside their systems. Having their own API developed and open to use for other software is like the quality stamp that only truly advanced and professional applications can pride themselves on.

SYSTEM MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY

Due to developing the application from scratch, our client wanted to keep the system fully flexible and manageable by the company administrators. They can have their own database of suppliers and their contacts as well as provide more information about their company to create POs in PDF format and be able to send it through the email directly from the system with an appropriate note. Moreover, they have full access to manage the company employees, system users, and assign them to specific roles, based on the company structure. In the PO approval process, the most important factor is to have the determined budget limit for each user with an accessible role. You can also decide to hide specific Accounts, adjust the order view, create your projects list, and much more!

DASHBOARD

The dashboard presents the most important statistics and system information in a clear and organized manner. It serves as a user interface that enables easy monitoring and analysis of system data in real-time or based on historical information.
costtracker dashboard

3. UX / UI

ux ui design

MOBILE VIEWS AND TABLES

Displaying big data on a small screen is a challenge. On small screens, users can only see a small portion of a large data table. Using specific signposts orient users when they scroll through the data, and tools that narrow down content according to user-specified criteria allow them to view the data in a meaningful way. To achieve that, we used specific tools and features, such as locked headers or columns, expandable rows, sorting, and filtering.

QUICK ACCESS FOR THE APPROVER

Quick access to data on mobile devices was necessary for users with the approver role. In this case, we needed to let them view and edit purchase orders on their phones or tablets easily and fast. The approval view is available on a smaller screen only at this particular moment because CostTracker is a successively larger FinTech system that has more and more tables or data.

 We decided to serve data that is split into small portions and bring out the main actions. One of the special features, in this case, was to swipe columns in the mobile table view. It helps users to follow the data on their devices without missing any important information. In the same view, we locked the column with main actions and made it anchored to the view, so users can use them at any time. For the purchase order view, we came up with a different approach and prepared a completely separated view for mobile devices. In this case, we decided to display tables’ rows as classic form fields, which helps the user to see the whole information about purchasing an item at once and edit it quickly if needed. To avoid a lot of scrolling, we also added expandable rows that make it easier for mobile users to focus on the selected section of data and jump between different views of other sections without scrolling.

DESIGN SYSTEM

Displaying big data on a small screen is a challenge. On small screens, users can only see a small portion of a large data table. Using specific signposts orient users when they scroll through the data, and tools that narrow down content according to user-specified criteria allow them to view the data in a meaningful way. To achieve that, we used specific tools and features, such as locked headers or columns, expandable rows, sorting, and filtering.
design system costtracker

VISUALIZATION OF FINANCIAL DATA

During the first stage of our Railwaymen’s teamwork on the project (MVP) was focused mostly on fast and accessible communication. This included features such as quick view, mobile tabular data display, notifications and automatic data flow between users. In the next stage, our goal was to create a comprehensive system for the flow of data and financial documents between CostTracker and external accounting programs.

In this case, we focused on precise data presentation and process automation. An essential challenge at this point was to enable implementing a large amount of data at once and approving the tasks that have been automated through the software fast. To make it possible, we decided to introduce micro charts to provide a concise representation of statistical information without overwhelming the user with too much detail, as well as tooltips to offer additional information if needed.

We implemented the colored values to draw attention to aberrations or overruns, as well as distinction between errors in the form and data to read them automatically with a certain accuracy.

The created interface provides easy access to key actions, ensuring efficient management of large views of data through flexible filtering, search box and sorting by columns. An important aspect of the development was the distinction between automatic and manual activities. By implementing the identification feature, users can easily distinguish automated processes from tasks that require manual intervention.

FURTHER APP DEVELOPMENT NEW CHALLENGES RESPONDING: STREAMLINING THE GENERAL APP WORKFLOW

Another step in the product development process was to analyze the specific types of users and tasks that are assigned to them in the system. While analyzing each module, we combine UX knowledge and the industry (financial) knowledge provided by the client in the form of materials and general feedback. We focus on the analysis of financial rules, the current process that we want to include in our software and the priorities of the user who will use this module. We choose the data which is already in the system and is important for the users and combine them with the new functions which are necessary for them.

While the first stage of our Railwaymen teamwork on the project (MVP) was focused mostly on fast and accessible communication (fast preview, mobile display of tabular data, notifications, automatic data flow between users), the next stage was to provide complete financial data and document flow between Cost Tracker and external accounting programs. In this case we focused on precise data presentation and process automation. From the interface point of view, our goal was to optimize the work of the accountant and people supervising the processes in the company. A very important challenge at this point was to enable implementing a large amount of data at once and approving the tasks that have been automated through the software fast. To make it possible as a Cost Tracker you couldn’t have any issue with navigating through the software itself.

To achieve that goal, we improved the visual presentation of data, e.g. in the budget’s module, where we present current budget allocation and burning. We also show simplified charts in tables to present the user with the best possible knowledge about the task in a minimal form.

Sylwia, UX/UI Designer

“Efficient communication and design process conducted from the beginning of the application’s development allowed us to smoothly move on to designing more complex modules and taking into account feedback from customers. Thanks to the fact that we work together from the start of the project it is easier for us to analyze new processes, incorporate them into the existing structure of the program and find places where inconsistencies may appear already at the stage of idea analysis. From the design point of view, it’s extremely valuable to learn how the process we’re going to automate is currently implemented for potential customers. This allows us to take a closer look at the needs and, as a result, create an optimal and user-friendly interface.”

4. FRONTEND

FLUID DESIGN (RWD)

In view of today’s usage of mobile devices and its high development pace, we decided to apply the most flexible solution while building the CostTracker platform. The widely used Responsive Web Design approach requires additional effort and sometimes might not be enough when it comes to viewing processed data on devices with different screen sizes such as desktop, tablet, and smartphones. In our projects, we stick to using techniques based on Fluid Design, so applications created by our team support the actual screen’s width and height, despite changing that once using the software. In a nutshell, the UI of the web application is always fully adjusted to the workspace of the current device.

Formir

Customized CSS3/HTML5 framework which is using a pure CSS approach to be completely integrated with the application. This framework is based on the comprehensive Grid module system, which allows to easily adjust Responsive Web Design technique to complex layouts.
formir costtracker

Karol, Front-end Developer​

Keeping new components in Storybook helped us a lot during redesign works and will have much impact on frontend improvements in the future. Interactive and accurate documentation of components could help in understanding how they work, which speeds up our work.

5. QA

CostTracker purchasing software is a great example of an application that is most efficient to test using automation, but manual tests during the development of the application also take place. With automated testing, you as a customer pay the same amount of money while getting higher Quality Assurance protection and more confidence that your app will work in multiple scenarios!

However, it should be remembered that we recommend automated tests mainly in the case of highly developed software that processes large amounts of data. As for the MVP application – it’s not the most efficient solution because manual testing usually works for simple applications. Anyway, we are proud to say that we can do both: start with the MVP app, test it manually, and then move to automated testing as it grows. Not every software company can do that!

Maciej, Quality Assurance Engineer​

“The biggest challenge in testing CostTracker is its continuous development and the creation of interconnections between elements of the application. Each of these connections should be checked for any changes to the surrounding systems. In this case, good communication with developers is very helpful in understanding many of such connections and provides the opportunity to adjust test cases and the testing approach to ensure that everything is in the best state possible. An additional level of complexity is introduced by the numerous integrations with external systems, which are tested with every functional change or update to our system.”

6. TECHNOLOGIES & INTEGRATIONS

As Railwaymen, we take pride in achieving Xero certification, which means that we meet the requirements and standards for software integration and customization. This enables us to offer our clients services that seamlessly connect with this accounting system. We can also assist in fully leveraging the potential of Xero and automating accounting processes, ultimately contributing to increased operational efficiency.

We have also obtained QuickBooks authorization, which grants us the privilege to work with this popular accounting and financial management system. With QuickBooks authorization, our clients can rest assured that we possess the necessary qualifications and experience to deliver solutions that optimize their financial processes and aid in effective financial management.

These achievements demonstrate our professionalism and commitment to providing high-quality services related to integration and software development for online accounting systems.

FINAL PRODUCT

costtracker final application

RESULTS & FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The first version of the platform was successfully released at the beginning of September 2018 and is constantly gathering positive feedback from the very first users. As we're writing these words in June 2023, over 1 400 company accounts have been created inside the software, almost 10 000 budgets have been currently managed through CostTracker and over 212 accounts are actively using integrations mentioned above. That's a really great score in such a narrow business sector as purchase order management is! In the near future, we plan to improve the invoice module, redesign the whole app, and add another integration, this time with Sage50. As the demand for custom FinTech apps is constantly growing, and more and more tasks you can automate through the right software - we're sure that the development possibilities are constantly growing!

Testimonial:

“The team’s ability to align with our goals is outstanding. We needed a full-stack development partner and Railwaymen has delivered up to our expectations. They understand the product and what we want to achieve for our clients.”

Tore Andreas Hansen & Torstein Floden,

CostTracker Founders

We are real!

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Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales

Createcoin

THE WORLD’S FIRST

BLOCKCHAIN

IDEA PLATFORM

WEB APP

ABOUT PROJECT

create coin logo

CreateCoin is a revolutionary platform that allows people to get paid in cryptocurrency for their best business ideas and feedback. Main features include leaderboard gamify the experience for the most active people, token distribution, and the discovery page.

OUR WORK

Project Management

Backend

Frontend

UX/UI

QA

1. PROCESS

Our cross-functional team, at the peak point, consisted of seven dedicated tech professionals. We’ve put a lot of energy to make the processes goes smoothly and established the communication flow that works well for both parties. CreateCoin is named the world’s first blockchain idea platform, so it was a great challenge for us to meet all current needs and understand their revolutionary vision. At the moment, we provided our clients with the first version of the platform, so we are still in the exploratory mode and waiting for more features to come.

Weronika, Project Manager

“Ivan and Jeffrey from CrowdCreate are amazing entrepreneurs with heads full of new ideas. They are participating in almost every international blockchain conference, which makes them know the industry inside out. They’re working with a lot of startups, so they also know where the innovation comes from. It’s a great pleasure and a challenge to work with them on the CreateCoin platform.”

2. WEB APP

The activity on the platform is based on the gamification. The CreateCoin community has a chance to be a part of the cutting-edge projects worldwide and – what’s most important – be rewarded for that. On the other side, authors of the projects have a possibility to gain valuable feedback from people that want their ideas to be noticed and considered by the famous brands.

create coin web app

WAYS OF GIVING THE FEEDBACK

IDEAS – To increase the chance of winning the contest, users can always submit their idea, give their feedback in the different project sections as well as use sharing options to encourage friends to vote on already submitted ideas.

PHOTO RATING – This section is dedicated to choosing the best option and adding users’ own if they have any. The ‘heart’ icon is the easy way to vote and gain more coins.

FEEDBACK SURVEY – The CreateCoin platform is a place where innovative ideas evolve. The third section that is optional for project authors is a feedback survey. We included 5 specific types of questions such as 1 to 10 voting, star rating, text answer, single and multiple choices.

SUMMARY OF THE USER ACTIVITY

On the CreateCoin platform, we track the number of upvotes and downvotes to make it visible for users which ideas have the highest value among the community. Each action is being rewarded and users can also view the summary of their involvement in the User Dashboard.

3. REWARDS SYSTEM

CRYPTOCURRENCY​

The activity on the platform is based on the gamification. The CreateCoin community has a chance to be a part of the cutting-edge projects worldwide and – what’s most important – be rewarded for that. On the other side, authors of the projects have a possibility to gain valuable feedback from people that want their ideas to be noticed and considered by the famous brands.

 

To make it real, our development team integrated the BlockCypher API with the CreateCoin platform and thanks to that the process of transferring the Ethereum or Bitcoin rewards is a ‘no hassle’ process. We also took care of the highest security standards for making transfers in both cryptocurrencies.

create coin crypto

Piotr, Backend, Team Leader

“Our goal was to provide the greatest possible security for our clients. That’s why we decided to store the private keys of both wallets in an encrypted form, protected by the password. For this purpose, we have created a special script that allows encrypting the password on the client side, the private key of the wallet does not go beyond his computer and all transactions are authorized by his own password.”

4. UX / UI

At the beginning of the project, we provided our client with web and mobile layouts of the platform. Due to the evolution of the initial idea, we had to tailor the designs to meet all requirements and make sure that the platform is user-friendly from every angle. We tried to deliver the highest quality possible, so the project required a lot of research in the meantime.

create coin ux design
create coin ui design
create coin leaderboard

Patryk, UX Designer

“The most interesting as well as the hardest task in this project was to connect various functionalities on the project page. The CreateCoin has been divided into four main sections with the possibility to hide specific modules, which is important from the user point of view. As a result of making this happen, each user is able to view content worthy their note. The useful and intuitive platform on both web and mobile devices is an effect of detailed research and mapping out the layout”

5. QA

During the development process, our QA specialist had quite a hard nut to crack! Testing the first version of the platform was not only based on creating different accounts, adding ideas and giving feedback through different application modules. The most important case was to make sure that all rewards are being distributed in a proper and secure way as well as there is no possibility to easily add spam, invaluable content. A lot of test scenarios have been reviewed before the CreateCoin’s launch.

6. TECHNOLOGIES & INTEGRATIONS

FINAL PRODUCT

create coin official app

RESULTS

CreateCoin is available now for first users that would like to be rewarded for their ideas and shared feedback. It’s an open platform for everyone that wants to be involved in the innovative projects’ development. It’s a Reddit meets Kickstarter.​

forbes logo

Crowdcreate has been recognized as one of the best companies in prestigious blockchain rankings in USA, UAE & India. They are blockchain technology experts, participating in numerous international conferences. Publications and articles about them also appear in many well-known magazines (e.g. Forbes).

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Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales

Triple Tied Out

Verified Financial Audits For Property Managers

WEB APP

ABOUT PROJECT

About company:
The software allows users of popular property management systems to generate financial daily audits.
Audits are publicly available and could be used to confirm the property rental companies’ reliability.

 

Mission:
To clean up and keep the property management industry clean!
Triple Tied Out is leading the charge on accounting standards with property managers, property owners, tenants, and even state regulators.

Where did the idea for building TTO come from

The idea for creating TTO was born from the users themselves.
Our clients actually asked us for it! This is the best way to build a tech product when your lients are asking for it and willing to pay for it!

Taylour Hou

Chief Happiness Officer, Triple Tied Out

OUR WORK

Frontend

Backend

1. PROCESS

Work on Triple Tied Out began at the initiative of a client who approached us with the idea of developing a solution responsible for generating daily property audits for users of popular management systems. The idea itself originated from feedback from TTO’s customers, who often suggested suggestions for developing this type of tool. Thanks to a number of useful integrations and adequate accessibility, the solution we developed together gained many supporters from the real estate industry. The project team consisted of:

1 x Product
Manager

2 x Frontend Developers

1 x Backend Developer

Adam, Ruby on Rails Developer ​

“The main goal of the application (Tripletiedout) is to support users in their daily work by automating repetitive processes. The application consists of many subsystems including web scraping, handling incoming e-mails and cooperation with external apps. The most difficult thing is to maintain correct operation of all subsystems, on which users’ work depends to a large extent, and at the same time one cannot rely on the stability of external data sources.”

2. THE FEATURES

AUDIT GENERATOR

Bank reconciliations Make sure that your recs are in balance, up to date, and that there are no uncleared deposits or expired checks.

Tenant liabilities Double check that you have enough cash to cover security deposits and prepayments.

Property balances
Ensure that all of your properties are staying in the positive to prevent commingling.

triple tied out table
triple tied out badge

Badge Verified Daily Audits

After audits you can share your badge on your website to potential investors and owners.This is valuable information for people who want to do business with you. It communicates your transparency and the value of working with your company.

Marcin, Senior Ruby on Rails Developer

“Application seems to be simple but under the hood there is a complicated logic, many integrations with external apis like Google drive, Sendgrid, Plivo, Asana, Stripe and more. The most difficult part of the project was to prepare failure-free PDF parsers that will allow the system to the data we need.”

triple tied out integrations

INTEGRATIONS WITH PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND BANKS

Another way of reaching customers for subscribers is using campaigns curated by JMA staff. Responsive board allows for segmenting contacts into groups, so only the appropriate content is being sent. Thanks to robust Drip integration subscribers can be sure that the content will reach correct people.

Segmentation of the clients helps to engage them effectively by matching relevant content. The automatic email system will contact the person after adding a name and email address.

 

triple tied out pdf export

PDF EXPORT

Through the User Panel (also called Customer Portal), subscribers can view available content documents and control the sending of individual emails. Managers with proper permissions can add new customers, and by using the drag & drop method, determine in which column a particular client should be located.

James Marketing Amplifier Managers can add new subscribers and upload new files directly to the library. The Admin Panel gives them full control of uploaded content materials. They are able to add, edit, and assign documents to subscribers.

When adding new contacts for their subscribers, JMA staff can use a bulk import tool which allows for importing large amounts of data into the system. Thanks to intuitive validation and editing options, it’s easy to find any mistakes in imported data and quickly fix them – even when working with thousands of records.

Szymon, Junior Ruby on Rails Developer

“Working on ApMHELP is a constant challenge requiring from us developers a lot of attention and extensive knowledge of services with which we are integrated, and the ability to quickly adapt to changes occurring in these services. Additionally, when creating various solutions automating the auditing process we need to demonstrate our Reverse-Engineering skills in order to effectively obtain data without direct access to the API. “It is surprising how much can be found in JavaScript”

triple tied out user interface

USER INTERFACE

Thanks to the integration with management systems and banks, it is possible to control all payments. Other integrations facilitate authorisation processes, the automatic collection of e-mails in the application or even the organisation of work inside the company.

NOTIFICATIONS

Through the User Panel (also called Customer Portal), subscribers can view available content documents and control the sending of individual emails. Managers with proper permissions can add new customers, and by using the drag & drop method, determine in which column a particular client should be located.

 

3. TECHNOLOGIES & INTEGRATIONS

FINAL PRODUCT

tto final application

RESULTS & FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The result of our work with Triple Tied Out representatives is the creation of a tool that allows for convenient verification of financial audits among property managers. With this app, you can stay up to date with your financial records every day. Thanks to integration with bank accounts you can check through AppFolio if everything is correct. The idea behind TTO is to make it possible to obtain company documentation automatically, without the need for a physical visit to the company premises.

Testimonial:

“I have been personally working with Railwaymen since 2012. I’ve brought them multiple projects and have had multiple companies using them. I love the company and I bring projects to them whenever I can.”

 

Taylor Hou,

Chief Happiness Officer, Triple Tied Out

Check interview with Taylor and review

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Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales

freshpay header photo

FreshPay

Developing comprehensive software for automating payroll processing for accountants, employers and employees in the UK

web app

FreshPay is a payroll management system that allows to settle payslips more efficiently than
before, in full compliance with UK legislation.

ABOUT PROJECT

About the company

FreshPay is a UK company founded with the goal of streamlining Cloud Payroll Software. Founded by three experienced accountants, the company was created to make payroll operations easier by automating the process. FreshPay offers its clients a solution that streamlines standard payroll activities while providing the necessary support.

FreshPay’s mission

The mission of FreshPay is to empower accountants with the tools they need to run their business better and scale easily. FreshPay aims to provide innovative payroll management software that is easy to use and helps companies run payroll in a simpler, more efficient manner. FreshPay helps companies reduce the time required to run payroll through automating processes and eliminating manual steps. It makes life easier for less experienced accountants by capturing and correctly processing edge cases that might otherwise have been missed.

OUR WORK

Project Management

UX & UI

Frontend

Backend

QA

Discovery Phase

PURPOSE OF COOPERATION

Automation of the existing employee payroll processes for companies operating under UK law

THE CHALLENGE

Developing comprehensive software for automating payroll processing for accountants, employers and employees in the UK

1. PROCESS

The beginning of the cooperation between Railwaymen and FreshPay dates back to 2021, when the client approached us to develop payroll software that would enable them to quickly and conveniently calculate employees' wages based on UK laws. Because the current payroll process is very detailed, and competing software was developed several years ago, there was a need at FreshPay to create a solution that would meet the business needs. The project was created with the idea of reorganizing the existing procedure and at the same time making the existing work of accountants, employers and employees themselves as easy as possible. The FreshPay project, due to its size and complexity, was created by a relatively large team. Depending on the intensity of tasks, the team composition included 1 Product Manager, 1-2 Front-end Developers, 3-6 Back-end Developers, 1-2 QA Specialists, 1-2 UX/UI Designers.

TIMELINE

The cooperation on the Freshpay project began in March/April 2021. After learning about the client's expectations and conducting an initial workshop, we began work on developing the payroll management solution. However, before we undertook any activities we set their direction based on the Discovery Phase. Exactly one year after the start of joint activities, we were able to release version 1.0 of the application to the world.

April 2021

workshops 0

with the client

July 2021

start of development

(Discovery Phase)

March 2021

obtaining HMRC

certification

April 2021

product release

April 2021

workshops 0

with the client

July 2021

start of development

(Discovery Phase)

March 2022

obtaining HMRC

certification

April 2022

product

release

Workshops 0

We conducted an initial workshop with Freshpay clients before the official cooperation began. During this phase, we focused mainly on mapping the idea and systematizing the various stages of project work. Using the Miro tool, we were able to lay out everything in detail and set the goals and objectives for the first activities of the project. As a result, we compiled a list of accounting-related documents that were necessary to work on this project and visualized the dream vision of the payroll management software according to our clients.

The crucial goal of the clients was to develop a tool that would be more composable than the payroll software available on the market at the time. An additional motivation was to prepare a solution that would not only affect office accountants, but also be of use to other types of users like employers and employees. These activities were aimed at digitizing the existing workflow entirely.

Initial plan

According to the initial plan, the client wanted to create a payroll solution tailored to different types of users, which would allow convenient access and exchange of all payroll data online. The purpose of moving elements of the process online was to streamline it and at the same time facilitate the existing work of accountants. An equally important aspect of the development was to work on the flow of data to the relevant offices so that any manual data could be easily delivered to the designated institutions. The initial plan also included integration with external APIs in order to maximally automate the flow of information.

Milena, QA Team Lead​

“From my point of view, FreshPay was a challenging project in terms of legalities. In order to be able to work on any part of it, we had to be constantly up to date with the legislation, especially since the data posted in the software is directed to institutions such as the HMRC, and any mistake could be costly.”

DISCOVERY PHASE

User Profiles

In the Discovery Phase process, we established user-profiles and analyzed the needs of each of these personas. While doing audience analysis together with the client it turned out that the automation of work on payroll included not only HR/accountants and offices but also communication with company owners (who approve payroll and provide information to them) and employees (who can see the data and download the documents).

user profiles

Product Value Canvas

After considering the users we moved on to analyzing the client’s ideas for improvements to the current process. To this end, we prepared a Product Value Canvas to review the problems of each user and evaluate our options for solving them.

As a part of competitor analysis, we conducted an in-depth screening of processes using competing tools, during which the client set payruns in software from other vendors. By learning more about the tools available on the market, we were able to detail positive functionalities, as well as shortcomings that software from FreshPay could solve.

product value canvas

Processes Mapping

The most labor-intensive part of the Discovery Phase was certainly the mapping of processes to better understand relationships between data, their arrangement on the timeline, points of contact with authorities, and the need to process or generate specific documents and employee data at a specific time. We paid a lot of attention to the communication aspect, so Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) proved to be a useful tool, which allowed us to analyze each path in detail and do a lot of data analysis from HMRC documentation, letters, etc. This kind of modeling showed us how complex the system under development is and how difficult the form of payroll billing itself can get.

processing mapping

Functionalities Prioritizing

The information gained during the Discovery Phase allowed us to divide the functionality by priority and systemize knowledge including even the rarest scenarios. Together with the clients we analyzed each work item and developed a project backlog. The Discovery Phase, due to its sophistication, took about 3 months.

Functionalities Prioritizing

MVP

Working on the MVP was no small challenge due to complexity of the project. Even the most basic version of it will need to provide a lot of functionality. For us, this meant that the set of bottom-line minimally essential features, which was large at the beginning of software development, grew as we gained more insights into the operations necessary to perform payroll calculations correctly.

The creation of the MVP was limited by a deadline of April 6, 2022, when the next tax year began in the UK. By then, our task was to develop a system that is capable of generating a payroll document and handling basic payroll. During the preparation of the MVP, in addition to providing the necessary functionality, our attention was consumed

Clare Haynes, Co-Founder, FreshPay​

“During the discovery phase when we gave the brief of what we were looking for, RWM came back with a wireframe that immediately realised our vision. A step by step wireframe showing what each step should potentially be was shown in a way that really demonstrated their understanding of what we required the software to do. This and our initial conversations were of a much higher standard than other developers we spoke with.”

2. The Features

HMRC Certification

A very important step throughout the project was to integrate the posted data into the payroll software and be able to share it between the relevant institutions, and in particular to HM Revenue and Customs. In March 2022, FreshPay received the certification granted by the aforementioned authority. This document confirms that the software created is fully compliant with the current pension program. This is particularly important for entities providing pension processes. 

Cooperation with HMRC is not limited to sending documentation. The institution also provides useful information related to the change of tax codes, or data on users’ financial obligations in the form of a loan. This integration makes the exchange of information between HMRC and the company seamless and structured.

hmrc logo

Employer and Employee Services

This functionality allows both employers and employees themselves to view the system and access necessary payroll data. Users can log in to the system as well as invite more people to use the system. After each closed accounting cycle, those with access to the platform can view a large number of useful reports generated based on key guidelines. In the case of employees, these include payslips and pension letters, which indicate eligibility for pension contributions. Accountants and employers, in turn, receive documentation and statements that are sent to the tax office.

employer portal

Publishing documents to Xero

Thanks to the integration with Xero we are currently working on (Xero is a piece of accounting software that streamlines client verification), publishing documents will not be a problem. Systematic reporting in Xero, which is an accounting system, we send payroll cost data. This goes to Payroll Journals, so we send the payroll data, and thus streamline their accounting. Reporting in Xero allows us to quickly catch any irregularities in the accounting process and make the necessary corrections. We want both payroll accounting and all payments to be available to FreshPay software users in the near future.

xero logo

Integration with PensionSync

Due to conditions in the UK related to pension, there are multiple pension providers in that area. Each has individual rules for reporting (e.g., by sharing APIs, sending CSVs) what an employee contributes to his or her pension. That’s why, in the case of FreshPay, we partnered with pension systems integrator PensionSync. Its job is to deliver information about an entity’s pension contributions to the appropriate places in no-time.

pensionsync logo

CIS Module

CIS module (Construction Industry Scheme) is responsible for accounting for counter contract employees, companies that work with other companies on the basis of invoices. This functionality was created for permanent personnel, who are affected by additional, more specialized billing guidelines.

cis module

CREATING PAYROLLS

This feature is responsible for the ability to simply attach new employees to the system based on data collected in another system. Thanks to data automation, it only takes a small amount of work to import information about each employee, without having to complete everything manually, which can take even several days to make it work properly.

payrolls feature freshpay

Holidays and Absence Calculator

This option allows users to calculate their leaves according to the applicable criteria. In addition, any leave issues take into account not only the type of leave, but also the possibility of state funding depending on the qualification processes in place in the UK.

holidays calculator

Piotr, Senior Ruby on Rails Developer​

“From my perspective, FreshPay is a project that requires a lot of accuracy. Together with the entire project team, we had to supplement our knowledge so that everything was implemented according to the law. An additional challenge was working on all (even the least likely) payroll calculation scenarios. As a result, we were able to create software with no limitations.”

3. TECHNOLOGIES & TOOLS

4. UX / UI

Professional Approach to the Interface

While analyzing the solutions offered by competitors together with the client, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to distinguish ourselves by the speed of moving through the application and to develop solutions tailored to both standard users and those with large amounts of data. We have paid a lot of attention to streamlining the communication process between the various users of the system so that it runs as smoothly as possible without any speed bumps or choke points.

ux interface

Language for Design Process

Due to the nature of the project, we had to learn how to use a language for process design, as the interface does not necessarily show all the data, time and sequence dependencies of the process. Therefore, to better understand the process we used BPMN. We analyzed the available data on the official sites in the UK government, and then tried to order it all taking into account the necessary conditions.

design process

Preparation of elements for the interface

At this stage, the key issue was to prepare the right flow in terms of UX. In addition, we collected useful information on how this interface should look like. After analyzing the collected materials, we moved on to creating the UI. To this end, we developed a suitable design system, which includes useful elements like archetype forms, table templates, navigation, etc. This allowed us to work in parallel in the UX/UI area.

ui elements
sylwia-747d30e7e0970ea079d127ac48bba9edf058f666d5258050e4d110834f70611e

Sylwia, UX/UI Designer Team Lead​

“The challenge in the project was to understand the process we support and translate it into a complete interface. Through simplified process modeling, we were able to understand their time and data dependencies. The next step was to overlay the legal dependencies. Then we were able to group and present the data so that it was easily accessible at the right times.”

5. QA

Testing FreshPay turned out to be a big challenge, because in addition to the huge amount of data and the dependencies between these data (which cause a huge number of test cases to be covered), we also had to keep in mind the user, who should move through the application with ease and understanding. The whole team was involved in testing: functional and non-functional tests were performed by the testers, the UX department carried out usability tests, while the clients were involved in acceptance tests.

From the beginning, we also relied on solid documentation. Preparing a test strategy and test plan paid off as the project grew. It was also essential to prepare test cases and prioritize them. Documentation guaranteed us an orderly testing process.

All these activities allowed us to be sure that we offer users a stable and well-functioning application. The next step we are planning is to implement automated testing, which will improve and speed up regression testing and thus optimize the testing process.

FINAL PRODUCT

freshpay application

RESULTS & FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The collaboration with FreshPay resulted in the development of payroll software that significantly simplifies existing payroll solutions. Automation and digitization mean that data can be accessed by each stakeholder, be it the accounting office, employers or employees. FreshPay is a tool that addresses all needs unmet by competing accounting solutions.

Testimonial:

We are very happy with the application and its overall look. We had a vision of what we wanted the payroll application to perform but not really a vision as to how it would or should look.

 

Railwaymen have really brought our vision to life in a way we were not able to visualise.

 

 

Clare Haynes,

Co-Founder, FreshPay

Check Jennie Gillam, FreshPay Co-founder full review

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Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales

Hydr

How to improve invoicing

process for a company

operating in the UK market?

WEB APP

By implementing a decision engine, as well as transforming the traditional signup process, winning customers and verifying their invoices was reduced from several weeks to just 24 hours.

ABOUT PROJECT

About company:

Hydr’s technology enables 100% of invoice values to be funded within 24 hours. The company enables fast and stress-free payment under transparent conditions. Customers don’t encounter hidden costs – fees are fixed, the invoice process is transparent and simple to understand.

 

All thanks to invoicing software that verifies the customer, aggregates necessary data in one place and improves decision-making. In addition, the risks associated with funding open invoices are significantly reduced.

Mission of Hydr:

Hydr wants to eliminate payment terms for small businesses in the UK by providing them access to the cash tied up in unpaid invoices on their balance sheets, by getting them paid for those invoices within 24 hours of creation.

OUR WORK

Project Management

Frontend

Backend

QA

UX & UI

Product Design Workshops

PURPOSE OF COOPERATION

Development of a platform to facilitate signup, data aggregation and to streamline the invoice processing steps and payments.

THE CHALLENGE

Factoring services in the UK are considered expensive and unprofitable.

Nicola Weedall, Hydr co-founder

“Within the context of some rather old-fashioned suppliers out there, HYDR eliminates that requirement of paperwork to streamline the entire process end to end. Not just from the point of onboarding and receiving your money, but also for updating your accounting software. So the business owner who’s benefiting from the service has very little to do and therefore the saving of time as well as improvement of working capital is very significant for them.”

1. PROCESS

WORKSHOPS

The collaboration with Hydr was preceded by a joint workshop in October 2020. The aim of that meeting was to develop actions to improve the process on the customer side and save time as much as possible. Equally important was to prepare the MVP and develop an onboarding scheme that would enable accurate verification of customers. The culmination of the agreed objectives was to automate the process using a special decision engine. After the MVP was successfully launched in June 2021, a second Railwaymen and Hydr workshop was held in October 2021 to clarify further objectives for the mutual collaboration.

COMMUNICATION & WORKFLOW

Communication with the client at each stage to date has been effective. We communicated via Slack messenger and held a project call together once a week. Additionally, along with each milestone, we presented a demo of the system.

Olgierd, Product Owner

“Integration with 7 external and different APIs can be really challenging, from the Project Management perspective. Thanks to meeting all of the requirements, we were able to create a scalable product that automizes many usually time-consuming manual actions and makes Hydr a competitive solution in the finance market.”

2. THE FEATURES

ONBOARDING

Customer verification is required to start the invoicing process. For this, a thorough onboarding process is required, which allows Hydr to make the final decision regarding invoice payment.

 

The onboarding we worked on together consists of 15 steps. The customer entrusts us with their bank and account details (Xero at launch, now QuickBooks, FreeAgent, Kashflow and Sage 200 Cloud)*. On the other hand, Hydr is responsible for verifying the client’s creditworthiness, verifying the accounts payable, the identity of the decision makers and ensuring that documents can be signed electronically.

 

Once the relevant data has been collected, the system carries out verifications, resulting in the final decision. The invoicing stage ensures ongoing checking of data, funding of invoices and insight into whether receivables are paid by the vendor invoice debtor.

 

* Customer data is protected against any outside interference. Only a limited number of people have access to it in order to ensure the highest security standards.

onboarding process

Konrad, Front-end Developer

“Despite my extensive experience, Hydr taught me a lot. Extensive, interactive forms as components in the Vue framework were quite a challenge. However, despite the complex business logic, working in such a nice team and with such great graphics was a pure pleasure for me.”

DECISION ENGINE

The decision engine collects the necessary customer data. Based on this data, it makes funding decisions. However, the final word belongs to the analyst, who checks the solution proposed by the system. This is an innovative approach compared to Hydr's competitors. In their case, analysts are responsible for most of the verification invoice approval process. Our approach allows us to offer far greater automation, leading to lower cost to serve and higher margins on the service. Individual reports are made for each client.

The decision-making system makes it possible to determine whether the customer meets all the conditions for cooperation. What's more, the engine makes it possible to check debtors individually.

Szymon, Back-end Developer

“New projects are an excellent opportunity to use edge-cutting tools and technologies. It was no different this time, as Hydr is one of our newest projects where we started using Vue.js as the main frontend technology, and personally I am really impressed with what we have achieved. Another aspect is a bigger than usual number of services which we need to integrate and keep active connection every day. That’s why this project is so engaging and gives us the possibility to present our skills.”

INTEGRATIONS

The implemented project contains as many as 7 integrations. One of them is cooperation with the Xero accounting software, which streamlines customer verification and the entire invoice automation process. The large number of integrations makes it possible to ensure the highest standards of customer security, verification and assessment of creditworthiness and identity.

 
hydr integrations

Piotr, Back-end Developer

“From the very beginning, Hydr was a very challenging and exciting project – starting from workshops and understanding the mechanics of invoice financing, through designing user workflow to implementation. The biggest challenge was to synchronize information from all the external services. By taking advantage of technology innovations like open banking, connecting with accounting software etc. we manage to create a smooth onboarding process for end user and admin panel that provides a meaningful summary of collected data for administrators.”

3. TECHNOLOGIES & INTEGRATIONS

4. UX / UI

ONBOARDING

During the onboarding stage, we faced several challenges. One of them was the use of proven external integrations that allow for the secure transfer of sensitive data. In addition, we developed a solution whose role is to verify the company. Also important was the integration of the tool with the bank account and the accounting system. In the case of the accounting system, the company has the possibility of verifying the client, but also its customers, which has a great impact on the final funding decision. One element of the onboarding we created for Hydr is KYC (Know Your Customer), which allows us to verify a customer’s identity before signing a contract. This tool helps to rule out any potential fraud attempts. An important part of this process is the integration with HelloSign, which makes it possible to generate contracts to be signed by all directors. Contract generation limits existing manual data entry.

onboarding ux hydr

Sylwia, UX/UI Designer

“We started the project with intensive workshops that helped us understand the need to collect and analyze specific information, choose the best methods for capturing and presenting it, and define the goals and needs of the service users. The biggest challenge from a UX point of view in this project was to guide the user through the thorough registration and verification process, involving a number of integrations, handling feedback, and participation of additional users. Modeling this process was key to the first iteration of the project.”

SIMPLE AND INFORMATIVE DASHBOARD

After the onboarding process, the customer is given access to the dashboard. The main features are the ability to select customers for factoring and to view processed invoices. This is the customer’s command center, where they can observe the various processes carried out by Hydr. In addition to access to current information, the business owner has the possibility to edit data in the dashboard.

hydr dashboard

Ania, UI Designer

“The project involved adapting the branding provided by the client to wireframes. The user has a few simple views, the most important of which is Dashboard. Dashboard is an Overview of key performance indicators. For example, users can see quickly how much invoices could be funded through Hydr’s technology, see the list of additional debtors and recent paid invoices. An additional feature we have added is a sidebar which can be shown and hidden. If the user wants to focus on the analysis of invoice tables, he can hide the menu and have more space to display table. Due to the growing role of mobile devices among British people, I also focused on making the product easy to use on mobile devices too.”

ADMIN PANEL

The first version of the system included an initial admin panel, which is now being extended with new functionalities. To this end, together with Hydr representatives during the workshop, we have established an action plan that includes further development. When the invoice, after verification, enters the payment process, a transfer basket is created. These are created by the system together with the managers. In future, this process will be subject to automation.

admin panel hydr

5. QA

The Quality Assurance process was as time-consuming as the front-end activities. Due to the handling of sensitive data on the customer side, we took care to ensure that it was properly secured at every stage. Equally important for us were integrations with e.g. banking automated invoice processing and accounting systems, which also required appropriate testing. The next stage of work will be actions connected with streamlining work in the admin panel.

Joanna, Quality Assurance

“Hydr testing was and still is, because the application is developing, divided into 3 parts: client onboarding, which required a lot of cooperation with the frontend developer, so that the user could feel trust in the product and security, because the application is related to finances and working on a large amount of sensitive information. The second part is testing the integration with several external services that require focus and detail due to the proper verification of the client and his debtors. The third part is the admin panel – the heart of the project, supervising the correct flow of decisions.”

FINAL PRODUCT

hydr final application

RESULTS & FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The result of our efforts has been to shorten the standard factoring process, which for other companies is 14 days and longer. Hydr’s technology enables this to be completed in just 24 hours. Hydr's offering is much more competitive thanks to our joint efforts. By automated invoice processing, the number of analysts previously involved has been reduced. As a result, costs on the customer side have decreased. It's a real time and money saver that small businesses will especially feel.

Testimonial:

Well we went through a competitive tender process with three software development houses, all of whom were recommended to us from within our network. We chose Railwaymen because we feel like the projects that these guys had worked on before are very much in line with what we are trying to deliver. We’ve built a great rapport with the team, so Łukasz (Railwaymen CEO) was the person that we spoke to initially, and yet we just felt the right fit for us as a business of what we were trying to achieve.

 
 
Nicola Weedall, ,
Co-Founder, Hydr

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Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda - Head of Sales

Joanna Brzezińska-Wajda

Head of Sales