Women in Fintech: Beanworks CEO Catherine Dahl

Dahl led her company to 77% growth in 2020, and is executing a global expansion strategy in 2021

Although accounts payable automation software company Beanworks saw a decline in revenue in Q2 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was then able to persevere through the tough quarter to see its best sales year ever, Beanworks CEO Catherine Dahl said in an interview with Finledger.

After muscling through Q2, the company saw sales accelerate and 2020 revenue grew 77% year-over-year, Dahl said.

Canada-based Beanworks is a cloud-based company that helps businesses with their purchase-to-payment processes by getting rid of paperwork and manual processes and reducing invoice processing costs. The company claims it can reduce invoice processing costs by 86%. 19% of all manual expense reports include an error, according to the GBTA Foundation.

In November 2020, Beanworks launched its expense reimbursements feature that aims to help companies automate how they receive and process employee expenses.

Going forward, Beanworks expects to ramp up its hiring as well. The company currently has about 90 employees, but in the next three years Dahl expects the company to grow to 200 people, hiring folks across its revenue team along with their R&D department.

Dahl spoke with FinLedger about strategy ahead, Beanworks expanding geographically and advice for women in the field.

FL: How was the year 2020 for Beanworks?
: We had our best sales year ever, and it sets us up for success in 2021, the trend is continuing. So in 2021 was very sure off ahead of plan. We ended up ahead of the revised plan for 2020 from a financial perspective, which was phenomenal, we still had strong growth here. We were able to keep all of our team and actually grow the team throughout the year. That was really exciting and [we] worked on building new partnerships.

FL: What is your strategy for the company this year?
: After we added a new module called expense management that we launched in December part of our strategy for 2021 is to continue launching that in the marketplace, so you get an all things AP in one place. We are launching a new user interface. We are also moving to a global strategy in 2021. We’re in North America and very lightly outside of North America, but we will be working with a new partner and moving into a much more global footprint in 2021.

FL: When you say you’re doing a global expansion, where outside of North America are you expanding into?
: We’ve just started to put a footprint in Asia Pacific into the Australia, New Zealand markets. We’re going to continue there and we’re looking at moving more strongly in the UK and European markets.

FL: What is your advice for Women in Fintech?
: The biggest problem is we women tend to be more cautious, which makes us good leaders and makes our companies more successful. Because we take more calculated risk vs. our male counterparts at times. But sometimes that can also lead to a woman being more more cautious about self promotion, more cautious about their own confidence level — that they can or can’t do something which can lead to the wrong impression at a board level. For example, from a CEOs perspective, I know I brought myself through a transition to get away from feeling like I underplay everything, and the imposter syndrome, etc. to [then] bring myself to a place of confidence, where I can stand in front of my board and say, ‘This is the right strategy. This is what we need to be doing’ and have full confidence.

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