How Schoters Gets Indonesian Students Accepted In Top Universities, Powered By Aspire’s Multi-Currency Account

Company Size
Radyum Ikono, M Dzarnuji Aziz
Case study focus
Business Account

The Company: Jakarta based ed-tech company with international ambitions

Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Jakarta, Schoters was built to fulfill a dream一to help students from Indonesia gain acceptance into their dream universities, anywhere in the world. To prepare their students, they offer language courses, college registration services as well as overseas student accommodation.

Since then, this ed-tech startup has helped thousands of Indonesian students clinch coveted admission spots to 400 universities in 43 countries, including Harvard University, Cornell University and Nanyang Technological University.

The Challenges: Hampered by finance tools that are expensive for borderless companies

#1 Corporate card lacked flexibility for Schoters’s borderless, remote team

Despite being over 500-strong, the team at Schoters is very much remote-first. Team members are located all over Indonesia and even halfway across the world. This created problems when it came to making employee purchases as it was hard to keep track of everyone’s spending activities as it happens. The finance team needed a card that could scale as fast as their headcount growth.

However, the corporate card they used was limited as it did not allow instant usage and multiple card-holders. Without multiple cards to manage spends, employees had to use their personal funds and make a claim later on, adding to the finance team’s workload.

#2 Difficulty assigning and managing Budgets across departments

One of the common growing pains of managing the business finance of a rapidly growing team is having to oversee budgets for each department. Based on Schoters’s unique business model, their marketing and operations teams are the biggest spenders.

However, there is little visibility on how much both teams were spending due to their manual claim workflows. On top of that, there was a distinct lack of control. The finance team was notable to catch or prevent overspending until after it had happened.

#3 Racked up expensive FX fees

Part of Schoters’s business model is to make regular payments with student housing providers abroad to arrange accommodation for their students. Due to the high volume of FX transactions made, Schoters soon felt the pinch of accumulating rising FX fees. The team needed a cost-saving alternative that would enable them to make international payments without the high fees in order to protect their bottom line.

A very helpful feature of Aspire is the availability of virtual credit cards that can be accessed at any time with large limits. A web portal that is user friendly and easily accessible by anyone. The ease of payment with the 21-day tenor scheme greatly eased us in managing the allocation of funds. Our business conditions are greatly helped by the presence of Aspire. All domestic and foreign financial transactions become easier and more transparent.

- Rizki Nugraha Saputra, Finance Officer at Schoters

The Solution: Aspire Multi-Currency Account, Budgets, Virtual Cards and more

In July 2022, Schoters was acquired by a fellow Indonesian ed-tech company, Ruangguru. The acquisition marked a turning point in growth for Schoters who could now target a wider pool of students through Ruangguru’s ecosystem.

That said, entering the growth stage increased the need for an all-in-one business account that’s designed to make borderless payments and give them complete control over their finance operations. For that and more, they turned to Aspire.

#1 Empower Schoters’s team members with controlled spending power

Since getting their hands on Aspire Cards, the team is now able to make spend decisions right from the get-go. The experience has been night and day for Schoter’s Marketing and Ops teams. For example, the Marketing department is now able to go live with paid ads on multiple platforms such as LinkedIn, Google and TikTok with zero hiccups.

On the other hand, the Ops team could also expedite their student’s accommodation and pay registration costs without waiting on delayed approvals. Even with delegated spending, Aspire’s customizable features such as spend limits and merchant locks ensure that the Schoters team would never miss a beat when it comes to their spend management.

#2 Utilise Aspire Budgets to set and customize spend limits easily

Since onboarding multiple users with varying access to Aspire, Schoters is able to maintain a full picture view of their business finances as everything (eg. employee cards, budgets, forex transactions, etc.) is seamlessly connected via Aspire’s dashboard. The team also found the multi-user access helpful in assigning the respective head of departments as budget owners and approvers.

Team members are able to access Aspire too, albeit in a more limited capacity, according to the level of access given to them. This unlocked a level of transparency they didn’t have before. With multiple user access and approval workflows in place, the finance team’s workload is effectively lightened to dedicate more time on growth areas, given that they were fresh off an acquisition.

#3 Leverage Aspire’s competitive FX fees for higher savings

By making international transactions with Aspire’s competitive FX rates, the Schoters team is now spending much less on FX fees and are no longer worried about how it would affect their bottom line. What worked for them was opening separate Aspire accounts in SGD and IDR to better organize the finances of their Indonesia and Singapore based subsidiaries respectively.

This opened up a previously under-utilized cost saving opportunity for the company. These savings earned can be reinvested back into the business to further their next phase of growth: serving the approximately 5.1 million high-school students in Indonesia.

“Aspire really helped us with processing our financial transactions. In addition to easy access, we can make remittance transactions abroad effectively. Aspire provides a payment scheme with a relatively long tenor. All forms of payment that cannot be handled by other payment systems are apparently able to be completed by Aspire.”

- Rizki Nugraha Saputra, Finance Officer at Schoters
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