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Faces of Fintech: Zact CEO John Thomas

A Ph.D. in Engineering, Zact CEO John Thomas believes his company can be a fundamental part of finance, accounting and operations functions

Zact CEO John Thomas has built a better mousetrap. What’s more: the mouse in this case is a universally reviled part of the business world – expense and payments management.

A Ph.D. in Engineering with an incredible track record in the technology business, Thomas is something of a business polymath. Articulate and poised, he speaks very clearly about why he believes Zact can be a fundamental part of all organizations’ finance, accounting and operations plans.  

Zact’s platform allows for a sea-change in expense and payments management. Instead of cumbersome, friction-laden, and after-the-fact processes that govern expenses and payments, Zact provides a solution that aligns the spending employee, accounting, and the CFO. With corporate-approval based guardrails for spend, automatic reconciliation, and native integration into accounting systems, Zact anticipates the needs of both the spending employee and the accounting process and confers what Thomas calls “Managed Autonomy” on the spending employee so as to drive business without breaking rules.  

To deliver this user-experience for all stakeholders: employee, accounting & CFO, Thomas had to build a full-stack payments platform. Beginning at the network layer, Zact integrates directly with payment networks and manages and makes the payment. Residing on this, is a comprehensive suite of application services from card and budget management, to policy controls, approval workflows, reporting services and a connector framework for integration with accounting systems. This allows for a complete suite of applications including travel, T&E spend, subscription cards, fleet and a growing number of use-cases. 

While the technical innovation is remarkable, the business process innovation is perhaps even more profound. Put simply, the entire cost to the customer is zero, while the savings in efficiency, cost, distrust and time are bountiful.

“We knew we had to change this piece of the business world. There are many companies in the expense and payments management space – and their solutions are good from a point-perspective – but none of them aligns the energies of the company in one direction and creates an automated process for approval, rejection and reconciliation.”

Thomas has assembled an seasoned team who are driven by the mission of the company. With the help of chairman Harold Hughes, ex-CFO of Intel and CEO of Rambus, Thomas has built out a management team covering finance, legal, product management, product and business ops, deployment & delivery.  

Thomas gets philosophical about Zact, “We never wanted to build a solution to an invented problem; we wanted to solve real issues and we know, via surveys and anecdotes alike, that no one likes their current solutions.  For us, being mission-driven is everything and what a better mission than to solve a problem that is universal?”

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