By Christina Del Villar, Senior Director Marketing
CourseSmart, LLC is doing very well today – even though CFO Patti Randall’s dog loves eating books. “When we first launched in 2007, we were a bit concerned,” she says. However, her dog’s strange appetite was the least of the founders’ worries back then.
The iPhone was brand new, Twitter was only a year old, and no one yet foresaw how established processes and revenue models in virtually every business were about to be slammed by the rapidly oncoming shift away from paper-based, manual processes to the new digital and mobile technologies.
For many traditional publishers, the impact has been devastating, but for CourseSmart the shift has meant a rapid rise to the top. Now the world’s largest provider of digital course materials for college students, CourseSmart offers nearly 40,000 titles from more than 50 publishers, selling over 90% of the top-selling textbooks – at up to 60% off the paper version prices.
“Our real concern back then was that adoption might be slow,” says Randall. “We thought it might take longer for students’ behavior to change. But as it turns out, eTextbooks are the fastest growing part of the textbook industry, growing at five times the rate of print textbooks. College students today work, think and operate in a digital world. They even read their textbooks on their smartphones.”
Despite the company’s vision to transition textbooks from print to pixels, ironically, CourseSmart’s own offices were awash in cash flow management paperwork at first, until Bill.com came to the rescue.
"Bill.com has done for us what we do for our customers – eliminated the paper." Patti Randall, CFO of CourseSmart
“I used to dread coming in on the days when a two-inch thick blue folder would be waiting on my desk, full of checks to sign. I had to go through each one, make sure the back-up was there and match the check, sign the checks, and then, because we were small, I’d pass the folder on to our CEO, who also had to go through and sign them all.
“It probably took me eight to 12 hours a month, and that’s just for my own time. Now that we do it all online, it’s down to a half-hour per week, if that.
“Bill.com has done for us what we do for our customers – eliminated the paper. No shuffling paperwork or making copies, no printing out emails, no filing, no filing cabinets. We have only two printers for 40 people, and we don’t have a copier at all.
“The mobile aspect is exciting because of our travel schedules. We like to pay our bills on time, and that used to be challenging if the CEO or a department head was out of the office. Now we can do everything from our smartphones.
“But what stands out the most for me is the time savings. I’ve had time to put in a whole new budgeting package, more time to work on strategic issues, talent acquisition, and all of the high-level decisions that keep us competitive in a rapidly-changing marketplace. In a fast-growing company like CourseSmart, there are so many opportunities to change entire industries and “put a dent in the Universe,” as Steve Jobs said – but that’s only possible if you create efficiencies, and increase productivity – so you have more time for the big ideas.” As for her book-loving pet, Randall laughs, “That’s just one more reason CourseSmart is the ideal solution.”
Interested in going paperless? We’re presenting a free webinar on the topic with Patti Randall as the featured speaker, April 17th. Click here to sign-up.