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 vendor base (i.e.the teachers) and automate their expense management process.

In this case study, we will discuss how UpGrad was able to streamline its vendor expenses, save 100s of hours of manual work every month, and improve accounting efficiency with the help of Refrens.

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 teachers, tutors, and other vendors.

Before Refrens

As UpGrad is an online education platform, the main source of expense for them was the teachers they hired to deliver the courses. And at the scale at which UpGrad operates, they have to work with 1000s of teachers 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 teachers were their major source of expense, UpGrad needed to document these expenses properly. For that, the teachers 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 teachers did not have any accounting software that they can create invoices.
  2. When UpGrad depended on the teachers to create & send Invoices, it was causing a lot of chaos.
  • First, due to all the teachers 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 the teachers, 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. 

Check out how to create an invoice online.

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 teachers, payment amounts, and all other necessary information. Once the file is uploaded, Refrens automatically creates separate expense records for each of these teachers.

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

Also, any time a teacher makes any changes to an online 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.

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 teachers.

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.

2. Increased transparency

With Refrens, UpGrad could quickly and easily access all of its 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 teacher.

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.

Check out the best time to send invoices to your clients.

4. Time savings

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

Also Read: Top tools to increase productivity

5. Greater visibility into financial performance

With all expense data in one place and easily accessible through Refrens, UpGrad gained better visibility into their financial performance, which helped them make better decisions, identify cost savings opportunities, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Check out the factors to consider for selecting invoicing software as a freelancer.

6. Improved cash flow

As all the invoicing and payments are tracked, UpGrad improved their cash flow as they are able to see when they are expecting to get paid, and when they have to pay the teachers. This ensures that they are not short on cash or running out of cash unexpectedly.

Check out how to collect payments faster and improve your cash flow.

7. Better collaboration with teachers

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


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 a variety of benefits that have improved the overall efficiency and effectiveness of their business. UpGrad is extremely satisfied with the benefits that Refrens has brought to their business, and they’re thrilled with the convenience of using the platform.

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