How the Culinistas streamline expense management with Furey

Furey Team

About the Culinistas

The Culinistas is an in-home private chef company operating in select cities across the country. Founded in 2017 by Jill Donenfeld and Tiana Tenet, the platform makes it easy to get a personal chef on-demand. You simply select a menu and a date, and the Culinistas will send a vetted professional to cook for you in your home. Best of all, the Culinistas takes care of the details—including scheduling, menu planning, groceries, and even cleanup— to create a seamless experience for clients and chefs alike.

A manual expense process led to inefficiencies and inaccuracies

The Culinistas works with expert chefs who go above and beyond for clients. In addition to cooking wholesome meals, they also handle grocery shopping—a core part of the Culinistas’ service. The chefs purchase groceries with a corporate credit card, and submit the receipts to the Culinistas, who manage the expense process. To add even more complexity, the Culinistas then invoices the client for the grocery charges.

Historically, the system for managing expenses and reimbursements was highly manual, inefficient, and prone to errors.

  • The chefs had to email grocery receipts to the Culinistas. There was no standardized way to submit information, leading to errors and incomplete data.
  • The Culinistas had to gather expense data from various sources, and manually match receipts to service dates and charges. This required considerable time and effort and often led to delays, duplicates, and errors.
  • To track down missing receipts, the Culinistas had to routinely reach out to the chefs on an individual basis, and manually upload missing data.
  • Invoicing the client for the groceries was the final step of the process. But without the itemized receipt, the Culinistas couldn’t charge the client and the company would have to incur the cost of the groceries. 

For a rapidly growing operation like the Culinistas, the existing expense management process was not working. Nor was it scalable. As the number of clients increased each month, so did the volume of grocery charges, which resulted in increased expense management demands on the team. On top of that, without receipts, The Culinistas couldn’t invoice clients for grocery expenses, which often mean that the company had to pay out of pocket.

Automating expense processes with Furey Tools 

We knew that the Culinistas needed a solution that would streamline expense submissions for the chefs, as well as expense processing for the internal team. To help the Culinistas adopt a more efficient and complete way to track service expenses, we built custom solutions called Furey Tools

Furey Tool 1: Service Expense Form 

The Culinistas Service Expense Form is an internal app built using NodeJS, React, and Firebase. The custom app gives the chefs a more accurate way to track expenses, thus minimizing the risk of lost receipts or incomplete data. Chefs simply fill in expense details, load receipts, and send the completed form to the Culinistas. Since it’s mobile-friendly, chefs can even submit expenses on the go!

Another important feature of the app is that it integrates with the Culinistas’ existing G-Suite domain. In fact, we intentionally designed it this way. By working within the systems the company already uses, we were able to leverage the security infrastructure without having to start from scratch. Plus, the form data stays clean, organized, and easily accessible across Culinistas team.

Furey Tool 2: Service & Expense Tracker 

Next up, we built a tool that would help the Culinistas quickly match expenses to charges and obtain outstanding receipts. The Culinistas Service & Expense Tracker sets out to achieve two goals: match receipts to charges with speed and accuracy, and automate missing receipt notifications. Here’s a closer look at how the Furey custom API solution works:

  • Automated expense matching: Furey’s custom-built reconciliation script eliminates the need for messy spreadsheets and manual expense processing. Expenses instantly line up to corresponding credit card charges and service dates. 
  • Automated missing receipt notifications: The Culinistas now have a unified view of expenses categorized by service date, chef, expenses, and receipts. From here, the team can easily identify which receipts are missing. And with a click of a button, send batch notifications to chefs who haven't submitted them. 

The implementation of custom Furey Tools has resulted in more efficient, complete, and accurate expense processing for the Culinistas. The Culinistas’ Co-Founder, CEO, and COO, Tiana Tenet, notes, “They’ve been a game changer. What amazing tools for the team!” The tools have also transformed the way Furey closes the books for the Culinistas each month. With access to reliable data, we’re able to close books with greater efficiency and accuracy, and empower the Culinistas to have a clearer view of their financial picture. 

A closer look at Furey Tools

As your business scales, your month-end close process may require additional steps. So we can close your books with maximum efficiency at every stage of your growth, we develop proprietary solutions called Furey Tools.

Furey Tools are powerful spreadsheets that quickly and accurately generate entries for your monthly financial statements. The Tools work by syncing critical data—such as orders, services, payments, shipments, and more—with accounting functions to populate your monthly financials. 

Each Tool is tailored to your business model, operations, and systems and includes hands-on support from your Furey team. Furey Tools also provide a clear trail of your transactions to give you peace of mind for audits, financial reviews, and other due diligence.      

Furey Team