Penny-pinching: App tames wasteful spending in SMEs


Solomon Maithya, Co-founder Zemo. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Business growth can come with drawbacks, especially if there is no sufficient level of financial management in place. Profits may not necessarily grow with turnover and the organisation will become harder to manage.

In a bid to provide a streamlined and efficient solution to simplify expense management processes, Davis Nyamari, Solomon Maithya, and Washington Okungu identified a gap, developing an ‘all-in-one’ financial solution for growing small businesses known as Zemo.

Barely two years after its launch, the start-up is gaining traction, enabling employees to buy items on behalf of a business while keeping owners in full control with total visibility on all spending while seamlessly connecting this to a company’s accounting software.

“The idea for Zemo was conceived as a response to the growing challenges businesses face in managing their expenses effectively. This was based on research that said one in two businesses launched in Africa ended up failing, partly attributed to inadequate accounting and tracking of business expenses, the cost of payment transactions, and a lack of access to credit,” said Mr Nyamari, Zemo CEO.

“Zemo is a financial management solution for growing businesses that enables them to eliminate wasteful spending, tedious expense reports and employee out-of-pocket spend, as well as providing access to working capital loans. It is a software application available both as a mobile app and a web-based platform.”

He says Zemo simplifies and automates the expense management process, saving businesses time and resources.

“Zemo offers a comprehensive expense management solution encompassing various stages of the expense lifecycle. It enables users to capture expense information, such as receipts and invoices, through multiple methods, including photo uploads or direct integrations with banking systems. The software then automatically extracts relevant data, categorises expenses, and generates detailed expense reports. It also allows for customisable approval workflows and integrates with accounting systems for seamless reconciliation and reporting,” says Mr Nyamari.

Poor decisions

With the rising number of startups, many young entrepreneurs face challenges, especially in financial management.

This has, in turn, led to unhealthy competition as managers make poor decisions, which result in losses. This, he says, is where Zemo comes in.

The growth phase will initially feel like ‘good times’ as you reward yourself and enjoy ‘payback’ from the business in its move towards ‘fast growth’.

However, maintaining the expansion rate, servicing customers, and fulfilling financial commitments will create time constraints that can result in frustration and stress.

“Zemo targets businesses of all sizes across various industries that deal with expense management challenges. Whether it is tracking employee expenses, managing travel and entertainment expenses, or handling supplier invoices, Zemo caters to a wide range of business needs. It makes their work easier by providing a centralised platform for managing expenses, eliminating manual data entry, reducing errors, improving compliance, and providing real-time visibility into expenses,” says Mr Nyamari.

With many other business management apps and software, Mr Nyamari says Zemo comes with varieties of features that make it different from others.

Zemo utilises advanced optical character recognition technology to extract and categorise expense data from receipts, eliminating manual data entry.

Zemo allows businesses to configure approval hierarchies and workflows based on their structure and policies, ensuring compliance and efficient approval processes.

The app seamlessly integrates with various accounting and ERP systems, enabling smooth data synchronisation and streamlining the expense reconciliation and reporting processes.

Zemo provides users with actionable insights through customisable reports, dashboards and analytics to make data-driven decisions.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.