Tell us about you and your company
My name is Karim Ben-Jaafar and I’m the president at Beanworks. We are an AP automation platform, so what we do is we take the worst part of accounting in general which is AP accounts payable and we make it simple and delightful. So, we’ve been around for about six years, however, we refactored an old platform, so we kept a small contingency of customers on an old product which we sunsetted, and then we build a new product, the one we have today called Bean Works. As a full forced company, we’ve been here for two years doing this.
What was the company’s journey like to get to where it is now?
The company’s journey to getting from where we were to where we are has been interesting, challenging, at times painful but ultimately extremely fulfilling for ourselves and our customers. If I can distil it down to just one nutshell: it was putting the customer first, solving the problems that were relevant to them, listening, and then listening, and then listening some more and giving them exactly what would make their lives simpler, and that became our “moto”. To take the worst thing about an accountant’s life and say “we’re gonna make that the best thing.”
The main thing is to resolve problems relevant to their lives, to say to our customers: “Great! You’re an accountant, you have a wealth of skills. You went to school, you’re an absolute force in your office, however, what’s taking away your time? What are the things that if you could, you would delegate or eliminate or automate? What is that?” It’s unanimously, across the board: accounts payable. These are painful, paper-based processes that nobody went to school for, nobody wants to do. That is exactly how we got to where we got today, we said: “look we’re going to solve for that and only that.” Not only will we give you the best solution, but we are gonna make that solution again… as simple as we can and you know, God help us, even delightful.
What is it about your company’s culture that drives success?
Our company’s success is our culture. From our hiring to our decision making rubrics, all go through our culture. People often confuse culture as ping pong tables and beer Fridays, those are mere affectations of culture. When you hire according to a set of core values, the culture then is an offshoot of those core values. So, everything at Beanworks is around our core values.
How do you as a leader ensure that your culture, is a culture, that creates success?
As a leader, your main responsibility is to be a custodian of your culture and making that the factor that drives your success. At Beanworks, we have never accepted a status quo, but, we want to hire people who want to challenge a status quo who say to their managers, “Hey, this is good but I think we can do better. Or why did we do A instead of B? I’m on board but I need to understand and you know what, now that I understand, here’s C and C are so much better.”
What’s next for Bean Works?
At our highest aspirations, Beanworks wants to be the essential tool for half the world’s accounting teams. Just like an accountant uses excel, we want accounting teams to use Bean Works.