Refrens for vendor & enterprise expense management

Refrens for Vendor & Enterprise Expense Management – UpGrad Case Study


When Upgrad first reached out to Refrens, they were looking for a more efficient way to manage their large freelancer vendor base (i.e.the instructors) and automate their expense management process.

With the help of Refrens, Upgrad was able to streamline its expenses for 1000s of freelance instructors, save 100s of hours spent in manual work every month, and improve its accounting efficiency.

What does UpGrad do?

Upgrad is an online higher education platform based in India. It is a unicorn startup with 2M+ learners across 100 countries. They provide industry-related programs to help students advance their professional journeys.

As a rapidly growing organization that offers courses in multiple subjects, Upgrad was facing a challenge with managing expenses for 1000s of instructors.

Before Refrens

As Upgrad is an online education platform, the main source of expense for them was the instructors they hired to deliver the courses. And at the scale at which Upgrad operates, they have to work with 1000s of instructors every month.

To manage your finances efficiently, you need to record all the expenses your business incurs. And all these expenses must be invoiced to maintain accounting transparency and compliance.

But UpGrad had to tackle several problems here- 

  1. As the instructors were their major source of expense, Upgrad needed to document these expenses properly.  For that, the instructors had to create invoices that they can bill to Upgrad. Upgrad can then record these invoices as expenses in their system. But the problem was, these instructors did not have any accounting software that they can create invoices.

  2. When UpGrad depended on the instructors to create & send Invoices, it was causing a lot of chaos.
  • First, due to different instructors using different software, the formatting was inconsistent. This made it very difficult to maintain data consistency.
  • Second, many a time, invoices had incomplete or inaccurate data. This was causing a lot of back and forth among various teams and instructors, and wasting a lot of productive hours.

3. Also, recording all these expenses one by one took a lot of manual hard work. Which meant losing a lot of productive time, needing a larger team to do all this manual labor work, and increased costs. 

After Refrens

To overhaul and streamline their whole vendor management process, UpGrad reached out to Refrens. 

On Refrens, the Upgrad team can simply upload an Excel file with all the details of instructors, payment amounts, and all other necessary information. Once the file is uploaded, Refrens automatically creates separate expense records for each of these lectures.

Upgrad can then send these expenses to all of their Vendors (i.e.instructors) with a click of a button. With that, each instructor will automatically see an Invoice generated in their Refrens account. The instructors will also have the option to accept/reject an invoice or make changes to it.

Also, any time an instructor makes any changes to an invoice, Upgrad will get notified about what all changes were made.

This made the entire process efficient and eliminated the need for Upgrad’s accounting team to manually intervene each time.

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Efficiency unlocked

Since implementing Refrens, Upgrad has seen a significant improvement in its expense management process and has experienced additional benefits such as improved accuracy and accountability, increased transparency, cost savings, time savings, greater visibility into financial performance, improved cash flow, and better collaboration with the instructors.

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1. Improved accuracy and accountability

By automating the expense management process with Refrens, Upgrad experienced an increase in accuracy and accountability, as the platform ensures that all expenses are recorded correctly and can be easily tracked.

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2. Increased transparency

With Refrens, Upgrad could quickly and easily access all of their expense information in one place, making the process more transparent. They can see where the money is being spent, and how much is being allocated for each instructor.

3. Cost savings

By automating their expense management process, Upgrad saw a significant reduction in labor costs as they no longer have to have an accounting team intervene each and every time – resulting in substantial cost savings.

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4. Time savings

Upgrad saw a significant reduction in the time it takes to manage expenses. The process is now much faster and more efficient, allowing Upgrad to focus on other important tasks. The same team members who were handling 100s of instructors are now able to handle 1000s of instructors in lesser time – 10x productivity.

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5. Better collaboration with teachers

With Refrens, UpGrad and their instructors are able to communicate, share information, and collaborate more effectively, which can lead to more efficient and effective working relationships, and better results.

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Upgrad’s use of Refrens has demonstrated how effective Refrens’ expense management features are even for large enterprises. Refrens has been a game-changer for Upgrad’s expense management process and has provided various benefits that have improved the overall efficiency and effectiveness of their business.

If you are an ed-tech company like Upgrad, or you are required to manage expenses with multiple vendors every month, Refrens can make the entire process a breeze. To check if Refrens is the right fit for your business, you can also request a personalized one-on-one demo at

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