Five minutes with… Neil Everatt, CEO of Selenity

CityX took five minutes to speak to Neil Everatt, CEO of Selenity to find out more about his business and its plans for the future.

Tell us about the business, what is it you do?

Our mission is to make the task of claiming business expenses fun and to make HR processes smooth. Our two flagship solutions reduce costs, increase efficiency and ensure compliance to HR and Finance departments.

Firstly, Selenity Expenses is expenses management with a difference: offering dedicated mobile app, receipt scanning technology, automated driver and vehicle look-ups, and over a 120 built in management reports. Our technology maximises compliance and reduces spend.

Then we have Selenity ER Tracker which turns paper HR policies around employee relations into manageable, visible stages and steps. It improves the efficiency, visibility and compliance for HR teams but also reduces the risk of employment tribunals. A lot of our customers have used it to manage their COVID-19 related absences so they can bring employees back safely and responsibly.


When was the business formed and how has that changed over the years?

Software Europe, as it was called then, was formed in 1989 as a mainframe software reseller but the pivotal moment came just before the millennium.  This thing called the internet was taking off and we took the decision  to invest time and money to explore this new platform as a way to deliver business services.  In 2001 Expenses was launched as an online product for businesses to manage their employee expenses. In 2017 we rebranded from Software Europe to Selenity.


Tell us a bit about what the business has done in the past year?

Community wise, we’ve continued to invest time and money in supporting schools and colleges. It is pivotal for us to help develop future talent and make them aware of the exciting opportunities that are on offer in the business and technology world, whilst educating them on the skills that businesses need.   Alongside adopting a charity that we support (currently Macmillan Cancer Support), we can say with pride that we’ve also been able to support a further 17 local organisations with time as well as finance.

We’ve grown our colleague numbers, seeing growth across all disciplines of the business, particularly in the software development side where we continue to maintain our innovation.

We released a great new feature to our Expenses Mobile app. It utilises OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology where our users snap a picture of their receipt, and the information is automatically populated into an expense item. It makes the process really quick and it means they don’t need to use a computer to complete their expenses which during this challenging time, has been of great help to our customers.

And finally, we also acquired a new solution that complements our existing ones, NHS Job Evaluator. It’s in the title really, makes the recruitment process easier and quicker for the NHS.


What are your proudest moments within the business?

There have been some fantastic moments.  Watching the company grow is something the entire team are proud of after our Management Buyout in 2012.  There have been many moments, watching your first mobile app go –live in the app store, seeing colleagues thrive and completing acquisitions has been incredible. Last year we celebrated 30 years in business, with nearly 500 customers now using our solutions and that includes 67% of the NHS.  But if I had to label one moment it wouldn’t be about anything physical, it would be how Selenity is perceived locally and nationally as a company that cares and is nice to do business with.


How has the current coronavirus pandemic affected your business?

Initially we furloughed 20% of the team, mainly those impacted by the temporary pausing of the hospitality sector.  We’ve got that down to 18% now and we are anticipating that will continue to reduce in line with business returning.  It won’t be the normal we once knew of course, but we’ve learnt a lot about being productive, the work-life blend and we expect to fully embrace a new working model.


Are you doing anything to diversify your business in response to the pandemic? If so please give details.

We had no plans to diversify initially until we found a problem that we thought we could solve.  We wanted a semi-physical way of staying in touch with our colleagues, perhaps a pack of things that we could send to their homes with a personalised message to remind them that we were thinking about them.  We couldn’t find a solution, so we created Colleague Box Ltd, which does all the hard bit for companies that want to send a gift to their employees. We have now shipped 100’s of Colleague Boxes and have un-furloughed colleagues to support this.


Can you offer advice to businesses struggling during this time, whether they are in the same industry as yours or not?

I have been really impressed with Lincolnshire businesses and their innovation, and if there’s a lesson to learn here it is to support local whenever you can. After the initial shock it would seem that a lot of businesses paused and took-stock of what they had and how they could use it to trade again. I think that is the key first step. If that isn’t possible then option 2 is to look at what holes in services or products has COVID-19 created and then explore ways to fill them.


What are your future plans for the business?

We will continue to grow organically and by acquisition.  We have a proven model that means we can acquire cloud software businesses and products and integrate them effectively into our infrastructure and push through our sales and marketing channels


What do you think the future holds for your industry?

We’re fortunate to be both a digital business and an online service which is going to tick boxes for the future in terms of what our customers will want.  The digital sector has provided businesses across the world with ability to trade throughout the pandemic and we anticipate that further digital adoption will be viewed as the priority.  Every procurement exercise will now assess if that purchase offers resilience in a pandemic scenario…digital does exactly that.


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