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So Far Sounds Shaved Off Hours of Their Invoice Process. Now, They Can Focus on Revolutionizing Live Music

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Built for the companies of the future.

The SoFar Sounds business model is very different, but it’s working. Sofar Sounds is a for-profit company who has disrupted the live music business in recent years, and is funded by several venture capital firms—including Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

SoFar books musicians for intimate concerts in unconventional venues, and leans on a network of volunteer ambassadors and remote teams worldwide to run the shows, making sure each one goes as smoothly as possible.

SoFar’s revolutionary global model isn’t an easy one to sustain, and while Clare Goodwin and her team had worked out an impressive amount of operational kinks along the way, Clare recalls the moment she realized their invoice workflow was the next hurdle before them.

“We just needed a way to streamline the process from receiving an invoice from an artist or a contractor, to actually being able to get it approved and reviewed, and then get it like pushed into our accounting system. That seemed impossible at the time,” Clare admitted.

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SoFar’s prior budgeting process lived in Google Sheets, exclusively. As versatile and new-school as Google Sheets gets, Clare explains to me that spreadsheets are still spreadsheets. “It was quite clunky and manual, and very time consuming.” 

Improving budgets and invoices was key to keep SoFar growing at their impressive rate, without losing key dollars to rogue spending and lost invoices. This is what made real time budgets so appealing to SoFar, and Clare’s workflow specifically. 

“We’d have to update individual columns to keep up with purchases, whereas now, we’re able to see snap pictures of receipts and do those things as they happen. Our real time budgets update in the system and match the invoices that come through Procurify against our budget easily, and that’s just a much better workflow for everyone,” Clare said. 

Prior to Procurify, there was no software for invoices - just a standard accounting system and a spreadsheet for budgets. “For project management, uploading invoices would take up to an hour. Then we’d have to go and mark every invoice manually that was ready to be paid. You can imagine how much quicker things are now.” 

Managing events and concerts with a distributed, remote workforce is a very new idea, and one that’s beginning to be emulated and copied across the music industry. The model is similar to pop-up shops that have taken fashion and streetwear by storm, and there is clearly demand for transient, locational experiences in music too. 

However, to build and scale that idea means that you have to stay on the artists good side, and keep your reputation in check with creative communities. A large component of that is getting artists paid on time, and that seems to be a key tenant of SoFar’s business model. 

“Now, things are ordered, and once the show has actually occurred, that's when they will receive the item and then put the invoice attached to that. My part in all of this is to extract those invoices and put them into our accounting system through the payment side of it. Artists want to receive payment as quickly as possible for that time that they've given us, and we’ve worked really hard on compensating them as efficiently as possible.”

While Procurify has changed some major processes for SoFar, there are still possibilities to expand and utilize Procurify’s full platform beyond invoices and budgets. “We’re working on getting all of our spend routed through Procurify,” Clare said. “Right now it’s central expenses and costs. But having that higher level of approvals and higher level of controls is a gamechanger for our business, and something we’re exploring.”

Clare explains that her team is eager to collaborate with Procurify’s professional services team once again, following a positive experience with onboarding and setup. 


“Procurify took care of everything. They always made us feel like we could ask any questions or bring up any issues, and were very responsive to our feedback. They continually followed up with us about different points that we had because without some sort of customized approach, there were quite a few bits and pieces that we needed to make sure that we were very clear on before we began the implementation,” she explains.

“The customer service and everything and the sales team and everyone was super helpful for us in those beginning phases and continually even to this day. So yeah, it was really a painless experience.”


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“As we keep progressing and keep expanding, there's going to be many more opportunities when it comes to artists and their development with us. Just being able to accommodate those payments, everything is seamless but also compliant - we couldn’t do it without Procurify.”

CLARE GOODWIN, FINANCIAL ASSISTANT SOFAR SOUNDS

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OVERVIEW

Company: SoFar Sounds reimagines the live event experience through curated, secret performances in more than 400 cities around the world.
Headquarters: 
London, GB 
Industry: 
Music
Type: 
Events

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