Glasgow, 9:38pm

The Glow up of the Partner Experience

To build intuitive experiences that effectively solves manual expense management, so that every accounting partner feels empowered to do their best work for all their clients.

Pleo is an expense management solution for forward thinking teams. Employees make expenses, admins review them and bookkeepers handle the rest. As for accounting partners, they empower their own clients with Pleo's smart company cards.

Created in 2020, the partner portal served as a tool for accounting partners to manage all their clients and expenses. It was built as an MVP that only served as a gateway for partners to access their clients' Pleo accounts. Then it had a glow up. This is the story of how that came about.

Photo of a bookkeeper handling paper receipts

The team consisted of 1 product manager, 3 FE engineers and 1 BE engineer. My role as a product designer included initial discovery, user research, ideation, validation testing and visual design.

Defining the Problem

The partner portal did not provide much value to accounting partners other than being a gateway to access their clients' accounts. Commercial insights from the partnerships team led to the definition of the MVP of the partner portal 2.0.

When partners log in, they should have one main page where they can see the following:

  • Easier client and task management
  • Overview of missing receipts and expenses ready to be exported
  • Nudges on pending tasks (email notifications)

Abstract diagram illustrating the partner portal and opportunities

Process

There were two main objectives:

  • To understand how to enhance the user experience of the client page to increase engagement amongst partners
  • To better understand the roles of an admin and employee in an accounting practice.

Working together with the User Research team, interviews with partners from various markets were carried out to identify pain points, current usage patterns as well as differences between admins and employees. All of this was then collected and broken down into tags and insights.

After some initial ideas and prototypes were created, two additional rounds of user testings were ran for validation testing. This was to ensure that the right thing was being built, and that the new features were intuitive and easy enough for the partners to use.

UI elements with note annotations Abstract diagram illustrating insights and key data points

Challenges

There was a huge amount of new information and data being introduced into the portal. One of the biggest challenges was simplicity to ensure that the partner could focus on one thing at a time, without feeling overwhelmed.

Every partner had their own ideas of what would be great to have on the main client page. The product manager and I decided to review the interview transcripts, analyse and identify the most common requests, and then prioritised them accordingly based on the priority of actions we wanted to encourage on a specific page.

For example, detailed overviews of a client's account could live in a drawer which partners could easily access from the client page. By having it in a drawer, the partners are able to see key data points in the right sidebar, without navigating away from the main client page. The introduction of opt-in email notifications meant that the partner could always stay updated with their clients' accounts and take care of any pending actions.

UI of the partner portal client page UI of the partner portal detailed drawer

Outcomes

Following the two user testing sessions, there were some small tweaks made and the client page was ready for development and release in gradual stages. The next steps will be following up with feedback, improvements and event trackingy to measure the success of the partner portal 2.0.

There will also be plenty more useful features on the way that will help further optimise the workflow of the accounting partners. All so that they are empowered to do their best work for their clients in the most efficient manner possible.

 

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