An essential recipe for a successful business is passionate leadership that intends to give credit to its people by acknowledging employees’ efforts; C-level executives are inculcating the faith, loyalty, and belongingness within an organization. Inspired by this philosophy, Eric Friedrichsen, CEO and Board Director of Emburse, is leading businesses and exemplifying the significant role of CEOs in an organization.
Let us dive deep into Eric’s inspiring journey!
Eric has spent his whole career in software and technology, working for some of the best companies in the industry. But to get there, it wasn’t easy for Eric. While he had it better than many, his family had food on the table, a roof overhead, and two loving parents, but still struggled mightily to make it – living paycheck to paycheck. He understood early on that if he wanted to get anywhere, he would need to work hard for it.
Starting as a consultant for Arthur Andersen, Eric had his hands-on leadership positions in Business Objects, Information Builders, and SAP Concur. Moving ahead, he had been SVP for Midmarket and ecosystem, SAP, and Global Head for Marketo, an extension of Adobe.
Eric is passionate about a new charitable community initiative. He notes, “I was talking to two other senior Emburse leaders one day, and we discovered that each of us had a child with dyslexia. We’re fortunate that we were able to get our kids privately tested at an early age and put on an educational path that gives them the best chance of success. The tests can be expensive, so for many lower-income kids, nobody is aware of their learning differences until too late in their schooling to have a huge impact on the outcome.”
Eric aims to use technology that provides free dyslexia testing for kids, enabling them to get the type of schooling that will help them get the best possible educational resources. This will impact getting kids the support they need and give them a better chance at success.
Emburse at a Glance
Emburse is on a mission to humanize work. Eric expresses, “If you ask 100 employees what they hate most about their job, probably 50 would say doing my expenses. It’s either something that they have to do on a Saturday morning after getting back from a trip on Friday night or something that takes them away from actual work during the day and creates value for the organization.“
The company develops software that automates and streamlines expense and invoice approvals as payments. It has solutions for travel booking tools, automating purchases, streamlining payments, data-driven insights on smart dashboards and reports, along with technology-mediated human audit. The company has tailored solutions for various industries such as accounting firms, banking and Finance, Construction and Engineering, Legal, Higher Education, and Healthcare. Along with providing cutting-edge API and custom integration technology, Emburse is devoted to its core values of sincerity, empathy, empowerment, individuality, and teamwork.
Eric is always surrounded by talented people assisting him with technological innovation. He believes that success is a collective endeavor. Talking about his contribution to the industry, Eric says, “While I’d love to be able to take the personal credit for all of the innovation, the reality is that it takes a village. Emburse has an incredibly smart team of experts that identifies emerging trends and technologies, listens to our customers, and works tirelessly to bring innovations to the market. I’m not trying to discount what I do – I work very hard to be a hands-on CEO – but I’m also surrounded by many people who are good at what they do.”
Usurping Technology Advantage
Eric is focused on advancing Emburse with technological innovation. He is keen on leveraging technology to lead a digital transformation of expense management. Eric puts, “As a cloud software company, maintaining technology leadership is everything for us. That means creating an incredibly powerful platform to base our solutions off, ensuring we have the robust, secure infrastructure to deliver these solutions, or building integrations that allow our customers to use Emburse alongside their other enterprise solutions. It’s all critical for our success. We have incredibly talented product development, design, and engineering teams that ensure we’re constantly innovating.”
Eric is committed to transforming expense management in companies. We asked Eric if given a chance, what change he would like to bring to the industry, to which he answered, “The big thing I’d love to change through Emburse and our solutions is a common perception that doing expenses is a long, tedious process. It shouldn’t be any harder than ordering an Uber if you do it right. The technology is out there to turn and make it a quick and pain-free process, regardless of whether you’re the road warrior who is always on the go. The office worker that may only submit a couple of expenses a year, or the manager that needs to approve all of their team’s expenses at the end of the month.”
Integrating Payments Efficiency
Eric is focused on integrating the payments systems in the company expense process. “A big change we’re seeing is integrating payments and the expense process. Typically, you bought something on your corporate card, submitted the receipt, and someone in the finance team had to reconcile the two, often weeks later manually. It was a hugely inefficient process. Employees can now submit a request for $2,000 for a trip to New York. The department head can then go into the expense solution and immediately issue a virtual card booking the travel. They can then put that card in their phone’s wallet and make purchases on the road. After each purchase, they’ll be prompted to capture a picture of the image, and everything is matched and reconciled automatically. It’s so efficient and easy to use,” marks Eric.
The CEOs Vision
Eric takes a different perspective on the competition. “Many CEOs will say their goal is “to be the biggest company in the industry. I prefer to be the number one choice. The solution that people prefer to use. If you have the financial backing, you can quickly become the biggest – eliminate all the competition.”
“I’d much rather be in the situation when I meet someone in a social situation, mention I’m the CEO of Emburse, and they say ‘oh, I use your company’s software at work’ – it makes my life so much easier. And I want to lead a company that people love to work for, as well as using its solutions,“ concludes Eric.