May 11, 2023

Episode 269: Amy Spurling, Founder & CEO of Compt

Amy Spurling is the Founder and CEO of Compt, HR software that enables companies to offer truly personalized employee perks while being fully tax-compliant and inclusive for global teams. Amy's experience as a former three-time CFO and two-time COO managing Finance and HR drives her belief that companies and employees can achieve much more together when employees are fully supported. A seasoned executive with nearly 20 years of experience in leadership roles at venture-backed companies, Amy has also closed over ten rounds of financing totaling more than $200M and managed two acquisitions to close. Amy received her Master of Business Administration from the Simmons School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester.

Julian:everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast. Todaywe have Amy Spurling, founder and CEO of Compt. Compt is an HR software companythat enables companies to offer truly personalized employee perks while beingfully tasked, compliant, and inclusive for global teams. Amy, I'm so excited tochat with you, not only because of.

Your career andwhat your experience has been, and we'll talk about it a little bit more interms of, your career in, in finance and what you've seen kind of in markets.And I won't spoil it too much, but we'll obviously dive into, what you've gonethrough in, in terms of not only the past, but how is it relevant today, butalso this whole interesting industry around HR where companies are reallytrying to shift their model.

From what I've seenat least, and, and I'd love. For you to share into, investing more in theiremployees, whether it's rewards, whether it's stipends and different kind ofbenefits. Cuz they, I think they see the value in keeping people long term. AndI'm curious on which, new and creative ways are starting to do that.

But before we getinto Compt and what you're working on now, what were you doing before youstarted the company?  

Amy:So I've been in tech for, I mean, long time, over 20 years. I've landed in ITcoming out of business school and have spent all of my time in finance and HRroles. So man, mostly managing finance and hr, so cfo, COO type roles.

So spending a longtime. Growing, scaling companies, raising money for companies, spending a lotof time in BC offices and figuring that out. So I spent a lot of time just kindof in, in and around the tech space.  

Julian:Yeah. And, and when, one thing I always think about, with a lot of founders,they talk about move fast and break things and, don't really kind of care forthe intricacies of Yeah.

Intricacies of likeoperations and fundamentals. I'm, I'm curious in your experience, How has thatkind of philosophy or ideology kind of, gone to, bite the founder in the buttand, and and as they kind of grow and skill and what are some ways founders cankind of preemptively prepare themselves so that they don't have to do a lot of,back work?

Amy: Imean, it depends on philosophy, right? I do not like to go fast and break things.I want to go fast, but I don't want things to break. So it's a measured growthfrom my perspective. Yeah. And it depends on what you're building. Like if youtake a very measured approach at building like a generative AI company rightnow, you're gonna get smoked in the market.

You have to movefast and just figure things out on the fly. So there, there's a lot of nuancein answering that. But you know, the CFO and me, Does not like a lack ofcompliance. Yeah. And so my companies, they started out at a certain size and Ikept going earlier and earlier to figure out where there was no more mess forme to clean up.

Yeah. And thensuddenly I was standing in a room by myself and I was like, all right, guessthis is what we're gonna do. So, I like from day one here, client complianceand kind of building for scale has been our backbone. So we. In my opinion, ithelps you scale more quickly when you put in the right process at the righttime.

Yeah. But if youhaven't done it before, Then it's also like that's a lot of heavy lift when youreally need to go and build things.  

Julian:Yeah. And is it dependent on the type of product? Like if you're, say ahealthcare tech company and there's a lot of HIPAA and compliance there andbuilding very strategically like what com, what, what industry would you sayneed to rely heavy on building those processes early versus others who you knowcan kind of afford to do it later on?

Amy:Right. I think, I mean, anytime you're dealing with compliance, yeah. You'vegotta be very careful about how you build, we're in the compensation space ifwe were not very, very thoughtful in what we released and when people don't getpaid correctly. Yeah. And if people don't get paid correctly, you are breakingthe law.

And so, You can't,you can't afford to mess with that same, like you mentioned healthcare, HIPAAcompliance. Like you cannot mess with people's, private data, that you have tothink about things like that. Whereas if you're something like a chat bot,yeah. Or some sort of like, a generative tool to help sales perform better.

Yeah. There's a lotless regulation, compliance that you need to focus on. Then it's just build andship and, figure things out as they break and fix 'em.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And I, I always wonder, when is the right time to bring in like aCFO or a fractional CFO while you're building a company?

Mm-hmm. Is it, whenyou're preparing for your next round of funding, is it. In the kind of genesisof your product, once you've got, your mvp, you've got some adoption in themarket, now you're looking to build another version. You're bringing on morepeople. When is the right time for founders who are really considering how tonot only, identify their operating model, but also how and where they can expandand, and invest more resources.

Amy:Well, I think it depends on the skillset of the founder. Like are, do theyknow? Are they comfortable with building a financial model to show that this isa business? So it's not just a cool thing I wanna build, but it's people willwanna buy it. Here's how we think about the market. Like are they able to dothat?

If they can dothat. I mean, that's the early days. It's really, I mean, there's not that manybills you're paying. There's not many financials you need to close. Like you'renot as worried about that. Sure. So you don't need to hire somebody if you cando that, if you don't know how to do that. And it's, I wanna build this reallycool thing and I think people will want it.

Yeah. You probablywanna get somebody to help you think through the modeling. Sure. That doesn'tmean a full-time hire though. Sure by any stretch you can, do fractional work,things like that to help somebody think about it. Where I usually got broughtin as CFO was usually after the first big round, so depending on the year itwas called, anything from a seed to an A to a B, like.

All the numbersmean the same thing over time. And it would be a board appointed position whereit's like, Hey, this group just raised 10 million. Make sure they don't spendit in three months. And so then we'd start building and growing for scale. Andit's really looking at, all right, what processes are in place?

How do we deploythis capital? Looking at that financial modeling and the projections mm-hmm.And things like that.  

Julian:What are some of the, the common ways you see, founders deploying capital andis it, is it in hiring, is it in technology, is it in, microservices? What inparticular do you see them kind of really investing in the dollars it productpeople, cu customer acquisition, what is in particular?

Amy:It depends on the stage. I mean, when you are just starting out, it's, gettingthe, there's a lot of really cool tools out there that can help you get goingwhere you don't have to hire headcount, which is great. Think about like, Therewears a day and a time when CRMs were done by hand.

Like the fact thatCRMs are a thing is amazing. Yeah. So there's a lot of tools. So early on it'sgonna be tools to help you move faster. Yeah. Then you start adding headcount.Typically in a tech company, anywhere from 70% to 80%. Of your costs areusually around your people. So it's a pretty sizable chunk of what you'respending on.

And then over time,it may end up being bigger marketing budgets, things like that for customeracquisition. But that's not until much later when you've got product market fitand are really able to say, all right, $1 in equals, $5 of sales.  

Julian:Yeah. And what trends do you, being that you've had such a lengthy experience,with startups and seeing the different ways that.

They've scaled andgrowed, what have you seen change in terms of whether it's hiring benefits whenI'm bringing on employees? How has the ecosystem changed? Especially also, nowVC dollars have become a little bit more scarce and less investing, I think in,in, eyeballs and consumers.

And users and moreso investing in profitable, scalable businesses with product market fit, with,all these processes in place. Yeah. I feel like these are kind of turning intoprivate equity. In a lot of ways it's funny that it  

does feel likethat, right?  

Amy:Yeah. Yeah. But what trends are you seeing, when do you deploy that capitalinto hiring people?

That is justdifferent, than, than when we were seeing, obviously remote work is one thingto consider and all these other things, but what have you seen that's, that'ssignificantly different and, and how have it, has it, have it impacted thestartups?  

So, I mean, 15 plusyears ago, it was all about negotiating your salary.

So every candidate,it was like every process was a process of one because nobody knew. Like it'sjust what do you want? And it's a dance to figure out like what you're gonnapay for somebody. Because there was no transparency about what roles werenobody was comparing across. There wasn't even a way to compare your salary,like if you were a product manager in one company versus another, until you gotsomebody on the phone to find out what they were paying.

You had no idea.Yeah. That's totally different now. Yeah. Like, which is kind of mind boggling,right? Like now if I wanna know what a product manager makes at, a certain typeof company, like you can find it out in a couple of seconds, right? And sothere's a lot of consistency in pay scale across different roles, differentsizes and stages of companies, which is great.

I think that, and,and with the pay transparency laws, that means that people go into it. With alot more power candidates go into it with a lot more power, which hopefullyshrinks that wage gap a lot more. Yeah. But that means that it's not a tool forcompanies to compete against each other anymore either.

So they have tothink about it differently. Right. So you've got health insurance, especiallyin tech table stakes. They, people expect a competitive salary. They expecthealth insurance. So it's all right if the company needs to hire more people orretain the people they have. How are they gonna stay competitive?

How are againstwhatever their competitive set is? Like? I'm not competing against Amazon.Yeah. Yes. My team could all go to Amazon and make a lot more money. They'renot going to, that's not, they, they want something different. And so it'scompeting against your, competitive set of companies. And so that's wherecompanies have gotten into personalization.

Yeah. How do we.Take a step back, like employee perks went crazy for a long time and there wasa perk for everything and an app for everything. And you could get like bananastuff out there. Yeah, yeah. People saw like low utilization of that stuff start.They cut it in a down market. Now we're getting to a point of, all right, howdo you do personalization?

Every person wantssomething different. How do you do that at scale? Mm-hmm. How do you do that towhere people are actually happy? How do you do that? On our budget budgets arenot unlimited, and that's where we're seeing like this movement. Yeah. Towardsthat, that personalization concept.  

Julian:Yeah. And just to give the audience more context, describe kind of the, thegenesis or the inspiration, the light bulb moment for a Compt and what inparticular were you seeing in your experience where you needed to reallytackle, the, the problem that you were seeing?

Was it, it, was it,lack of transparency, benefits? Was it a standardization of it? Was itcompanies looking for, ways to actually impact their employees? What inparticular did you see that made you so confident in, in, working on somethingthat's gonna be. Touching a lot of, I think a really, a lot of differentimportant undervalued aspects of a company, which are, what employees get outof, that relationship.

Amy:Yeah, for me it was just an extreme and mounting degree of frustration thatdrove me to this point because we were, there were two sides to this, right?I'm an employee in all these companies, you know myself and I'm seeing all thismoney going to compensation cause we were trying to compete. So you're offeringall these different perks and benefits and most of it didn't relate to me.

There was somegreat stuff, but it just didn't relate to my life. And so I'm like, well, thatkind of sucks. Like why? Why is that person getting so much more compensationthrough these benefits that I don't have access to? Because it's not somethingrelevant to me. I don't have a dog. I don't need pet insurance.

Like I don't have,like I don't have kids. I don't need fertility benefits. Yeah. I'm like, it'snot that that stuff's not good and relevant, but it doesn't apply to my life.And so on the employee side, I was frustrated and so were all the employees inall of my companies. And then on the administrator side, I had, this was backwhen there were offices.

I had an officewhere it was like, felt like a revolving door of people saying the same thingthat I was feeling. I don't want that. Why can't I have something else? Whycan't we do this other benefit? I saw this cool thing online. It's just like,get out. Like I can't manage that. Like there's no way we can just keep addingthings for people.

Like we don't havean infinite budget. So I tried to get, I talked to engineering friends. I'mlike, can't you just go build like a thing? I'm sure it's not that hard. Like,just build me a thing. And everybody's like, no. Yeah. But talking to other HRleaders and finance folks, we were all having the same issue.

And so finally Ihit the point where it was like, look, this is a really important component ofcompensation and it's also a way to make sure that we can support diverseteams, across. All demographics, so it's not just, a racial or ethnic or genderdiversity. It can be a, age range.

I'm sitting in adifferent, part of my life than you are, for instance. Yeah. We, we need andwant different things, that's okay and should be expected. How do we supportthat? But how do I also do it in a compliant way and sticking with a budget andall of that. Yeah. And I was like, this has to exist and nobody's building it.

Cuz you really haveto understand both finance and HR to understand the compliance angle of whatyou gotta build. Yeah. And so I turned 40 and said, Tech with it, I'm gonna gobuild the thing.  

Julian: Ilove that. And, and also, thinking about, in the building process on, on whatthe limitations were at the time, because I'm assuming that, that, a lot oftimes things aren't built because there's a lot to consider and there's a lotto incorporate and there's a big knowledge gap.

And seeing that youcome from a, come from a world where you have that knowledge. So the knowledgegap's out of there. But in, in, in thinking about. What are the limitations forcompanies to actually add benefits? I'm curious, as, as a founder myself, is itrestricted on geo? Is it restricted on income level?

Is it restrictedon, all other things that I will end up finding out later, later on in thecompliant process and, and have invested all this time and now I don't evenwant to go through that again. What are the limitations for employers that,that you've kind of had to work through and, and even, I don't know if, ifCompt has a solution for that, but need and solve.

Amy:Well, so part of it there, there is geographical stuff you gotta think about,especially when you're thinking about tax compliance. So we did find that a lotof companies and Covid accelerated this, started having employees in othercountries very early in their life cycle. Like when I started my career, all ofmy prayer companies have had some international component, multiple countries,but they were way later.

You have productmarket fit. Yeah. And then you're like, okay, and now we're gonna launch in theUK or in China. That's not the way things work anymore. It's, Hey, I've gotemployees everywhere. That's where they're working. So it's less of a go tomarket and much more of a, this is where my staff is. Yeah, so we saw thatearlier.

You start having alot of localization, you gotta figure out early on, how are you making,employees in all these different countries feel like part of the same company.Hey, we support your wellness. Yeah. But not telling them, Hey, we support yourwellness, but it's only with Planet Fitness and you got somebody in India goingthanks.

Like amazingbenefit doesn't really to me. Thanks so much. Right. So making sure that yourteam feels that that level of personalization and support. Yeah, and then thetax piece of it, because in some countries some of this is taxed and some it'snot. In the US there's different things that are taxed or not.

And as an employeryou're never gonna know that, like to be, to be blood like tax code is not fun.You don't know payroll tax codes, quite frankly, I don't know, payroll taxcodes, like when I'm figuring out like, okay, I've got, I'm setting it up inADP and my people are in this state, in that state. ADP calculates that for mebecause it's changing all the time.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Whenyou look at this part of Calcula compensation, it's making sure you know whatneeds to be taxed and what doesn't. That's where we automate that. Got it.Because otherwise, You start handing things to people, you may as well givethem a bag of cash under the table. Very illegal, by the way.

Don't do that. Butthat's essentially what companies have done for a long time and now they're introuble with the irs.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah. And thinking about, obviously, I'm curious about kind of domesticand how policy and, affects certain, labor and, and labor laws and things likethat. But sticking on the topic of offshore or even nearshore, right?

Even if it's. Southof the border from us, which, I run a company that we connect engineers from SouthAmerica to startups in the us and a lot of questions we have is around thosebenefits. And if I'm an employer, we offer PTO in the states, but how can we dothat right across country?

We have a way thatwe've solved that kind of a, a roundabout way, but also we, we've suggestedother things around stipends and things like that. But if I'm somebody whowants to hire. Build a team out, what are the different things I can considerif, if I do want to give somebody extra benefits, like a stipend, like equity,can I do that right?

And how can I dothat without getting in trouble?  

Amy:Yeah, exactly. I mean that, it depends on the, the size and scope. If you'rehiring one person in another country, Are you technically compliant? Probablynot. But is the government in either country gonna find you? Probably not. It'sa risk analysis, right?

Sure. When I wouldgo into other countries, you're weighing that, am I gonna set up a whole legalentity because I've got one employee in a country? Probably not. Yeah. Theother way to manage that is to go through a third party. I've done that many,many times where it's like, Hey, I wanna, I've had engineers in Costa Rica andArgentina and the Ukraine.

I'm not directlyhiring them because then you're getting into. Money transfers and cross borderstuff and yuck. Using a third party that is the gate who is dealing with that?Fantastic. Then the question is, how do I make these people feel like they'repart of my team? To your point of like PTO and all of that, if they're actuallyyour employees, like one, don't just assume the US is the standard andeverybody gets what the US has.

You're gonna makesuch a mess like. Look at maternity leave, for instance. If you try and applyour absolutely horrific maternity leave policy to the rest of the world, you'renot gonna hire a lot of people like our parental leave policies are like, Awfulhere. Right? Right. And so you have to think about what is required in othercountries and that's where a third party can be really good.

Sure. To thinkabout that. So there's great companies out there obviously that do that, likeyou folks as well to help you be able to scale quickly in other countries.  

Julian:Yeah. Well, in regards to like, taxes in particular, like if I do offer astipend as a placeholder for another benefit, what are some things.

Even for thefounders out there, what are, what is, what's the form I need to file to makesure that all of that is accounted for? Typically a lot of companies will 10 99people and so that, the employees will have to deal with their own kind oflocal tax laws. At least that's how a lot of our clients do it.

But the stipendcomponent is a little bit of a gray area because it can kind of fall underincome, but it can kind of, Fall under a benefit tree  

Amy:kind definitely falls under income. Okay. Let's be clear. It kind of definitelyfalls under income, like Yeah, well there's not really a lot of gray area.Yeah.

The way stipendswork is definitely, so it's not that there's necessarily a form. It's the sameif you're 10 99 in people and you're hiring people in other countries ascontractors. Yeah. Then it's the same from a tax perspective as if you werepaying them an extra whatever, dollars. So there's, there's a lot of, They filed,they can add it to their invoice that they sent you every month.

Yeah. So it istaxable income to them and then you're paying that, that fee. Yeah. The biggerquestion is, should they be 10 90 nines? Is that, are you still complying withlocal tax law when you're hiring these people as 10 90 nines? And I mean, cuzdifferent countries have different rules of what a contractor actually is.

Yeah. And that'swhere third parties can be very helpful in kind of navigating and managingthat.  

Julian:Yeah. So on the subject of, of just like, obviously I want to get on localdomestic hiring, but in terms of distributing benefits and, and not justbecause every time she doesn't just have, dollars to dollars, right.

It's beso, at leastin Argentina and in other places. Right. Or a lot of companies are kind ofthinking about involving cryptocurrency and so how, how has that kind of been.How have you kind of tackled the, the nuances of, of that industry being? Well,nuances is, I think it's getting bucketed as, as a certain category under whatwe already know, but there's still some of the the different, there's differentmechanics in tracking the, the, the the exchange of Yeah, there definitely are.

Yeah. How have youbeen able to kind of go along with that change? Do you see a lot of companiesoffering those benefits?  

Amy:So what we see, like most companies that we work with, like all the companieswe work with have a US presence. About 30% of them have people in othercountries as well and may have a lot of other countries.

I think our, one ofour customers has like 30 other countries. So people can be really scattered.Yeah. The, what that was part of what we wanted to build here was to allowcompanies to say, Hey, for instance, we support your wellness, but in the USyou get a hundred dollars. And the uk maybe it's 75 pounds.

In India, it'showever many Rupi in Argentina, it's a different number. It's not necessarilyall pegged to the US dollar. It can be a different amount because. Cost ofliving can be different and companies are doing localization and depending onthe countries, it could be vastly different. Yeah.

So allowing forthat local currency and that local payroll is really, really important. And sothat's something that we've built in and automated here. Partly because it justdidn't exist. Like even payroll systems. There is no one payroll system Yeah.That you can use, that can manage all of your countries.

That is mindboggling to me in this day and age. Like how have these big behemoth payrollsystems that are, yeah. Decent platforms. Why is it that I have to use 10different systems for different 10 different countries? It's so frustrating.  

Julian:As an employer, is it a knowledge gap, do you think? Just with, with everycountry being slightly different, it's just tax country.

Amy:Yeah. Yeah. It's so much tax. Like there isn't a single accounting firm thatknows global tax compliance. Yeah. Like no one does that. It's just not athing. So the services haven't caught up with the way we do business. Mm-hmm.Like a lot of companies are truly global. That's just not a thing yet. So I'mhoping this next evolution of.

I don't know,companies of knowledge of all the things gets us to a place where you do haveglobal accounting firms, global p like payroll systems where it's like, look,yes, my people are everywhere. Yeah, they're in all kinds of countries andthat's okay. Yeah. And I can pay taxes in those countries and that's fine.

And do all thethings that are doing it right. Yeah. But give me what I need to be able to, dothat accurately. Cuz right now it's really difficult to do.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah. Do you think it becomes less, more or less complicated? And, andwhat I mean by complicated is, I, I, I define complicated as, having to be veryspecific about certain situations and categorize them, you know accuratelyamongst those situations.

Especially like I'ma sole proprietor and. There's a lot of, lot, a lot of things I have consideredas a tech.  

Amy:Like even the nomenclature is different. You've got like gm, B h legal entitiesin Germany versus an LLC in the US versus like, it's been a while since I'vedone China, but they've got another one.

Yeah. Likeeverybody has their own different classifications and may have three or four ina country. Yeah. And they don't all line up cleanly. Like this is verycomplicated stuff, which is where I typically use third parties to helpnavigate that when I start going and putting people internationally. Becauseit's just, it's complicated stuff.

Yeah. Because theydon't always line up in different countries, you've got different compulsorybenefits, so things you have to offer people. A lot of countries you're gettinghealth insurance. Yeah. Like you're paying taxes isn't as employer, butemployees are not paying for health insurance like they do in the us.

So then you'relooking at, all right, well fine, I've got Canadians, they're getting health insurance.I'm paying into the system, but how do I make that seem fair when I'm paying,like when Americans are having to pay for health insurance? How do I thinkabout compensation in these two countries? Like it's very complicated.

Julian:Yeah. Shifting gears and thinking about domestic, there's obviously been a lotof changes in labor laws in certain states and, even including, another sectorof, of, labor that wasn't necessarily prevalent for a while. Introducing childlabor kind of practices and things like that.

How is that kindof. Those policy changes affected Compt in particular. And what are companiesasking you when those changes come about in terms of, what's the opportunitythere, what's the benefits? How do I stay compliant? What are the changesyou're seeing? How are those all, all those policy changes really affectingyour company?

And what are some,some things companies are asking you that they haven't asked before?  

Amy:Sure. So when I don't see companies that wanna do child labor being like,Woohoo, compliance, like, let's get, let's get a little Tommy to work. Like,we're not seeing a lot of that happening. Like yikes on the child labor, not abig fan.

What we do see, andwhere we do see an impact on this is particularly with out-of-state care. Yeah.So with the reversal of roe, with the fact that. A lot of people lost access tobasic human healthcare, especially in our southern states where they can't getivf, they can't get treated if they are pregnant, they can't get the treatmentthey need much less if they don't wanna be pregnant, which is also a right of ahuman being to not be forced to carry another human being.

Yeah. We see a lotof companies trying to address this and make sure that they're supporting theirteam members, and this is where there's been this huge rise of out-of-statecare stipends, where employers are like, look, If you need, if you need to goto another state and get healthcare, we, where you can go through our healthinsurance.

Because some statesstill, of course, like California is a great state, they're still gonna becovering the health insurance. Massachusetts is another one. We cover it. Andso even if you're in another state, you got access. But if you're insurance isin Texas, you probably don't have access to the healthcare you need.

You may need toleave the state to go get the healthcare you need. Yeah. A lot of companies aresetting up stipends to help employees. Navigate that. Yeah. And that's beensomething where we've seen a huge shift in a huge movement. Yeah. And it'sgreat to see that employers are saying, look, We're gonna stand by what's rightand we're gonna stand by our employees.

Yeah. Like there'sa lot of nonsense that's happening out there, but healthcare is a basic humanright. And we're gonna stand up for that.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Our employers worried about, repercussions for offering thosestipends. I know people are just in terms of Yeah. Helping others getresources, but how, yeah.

If they're worried,what are some, what are some things that they can kind of alleviate, in termsof their, their worry on, on that particular, backlash.  

Amy: Imean, there, there is always that risk, right? The laws, the way they'rewritten are very far reaching overreaching. If you were the Uber driver whodrove a woman to a clinic to get an abortion in Texas, in theory, her cousincould sue you.

Yeah. Yeah. Likecraziness, right? Like none of this makes any sense. So there's always gonna berisk with these stipends. What we do is we work with companies to navigate andremove as much of that risk as possible. So you're not creating an abortionstipend, you're creating an out-of-state care stipend.

Yeah. Where anyemployee on your team, Can go to another state to get healthcare. So comps, forexample, we're in Massachusetts, we're, our team is in 12 different states.Some of them are in those exact states. Well, I do have an employee who's inNew Hampshire. If one of his children got really sick, he'd probably come toBoston.

Yeah. We've got,world-class hospitals and he's in a rural community. He could still use thatstipend. Yeah. So there's ways to do this where you're covering your entireteam without getting super hyper. Specific and prescriptive to try and makesure that everyone has access to coverage. And just giving you a little bitmore opacity Yeah.

As you're dealingand navigating with some completely draconian, state Yeah. Laws,  

Julian:yeah, yeah. Shifting gears and thinking about comp, what's particularly beenexcited about, your growth up at this point. How many companies are you workingwith? What have, what have been some really exciting kind of.

Case studies orstories that you've heard in terms of the benefits that your, companies are,are giving your employees and the success of that. And also what's next on theagenda. What, what's next in the next stage of growth. So talk about thetraction up till now and, and and the future.

Amy:It's been a, it's been a pretty wild ride. And so we got very much acceleratedwith the, complete push to remote as companies were trying to navigate that. Sothat was a huge growth push for us for the last, two, three years. Yeah. Wherecompanies were like, oh shoot, nobody's in the office.

We still have tofigure out how to compete. What are we gonna do? Stipends is the way to do itto where we can do this personalization. So that's been a big tail. Wind forus. What's been really interesting, now that everybody's kind of going back tonormal and there is more of a push to go back to offices for better or worse inmy opinion is that we're seeing movement in other industries.

And that's beenreally exciting. You've got the coastal tech companies who put the slide in theoffice and started with foosball and did all the wild and crazy perks, right?But you didn't have like manufacturing and construction and hospitals going,woo-hoo, let's put a slide in. That's not a thing.

Yeah. Now we'reseeing where these, more nascent industries are sitting there going, okay, wehave to, we're struggling to retain employees and be competitive. There's ahuge labor shortage in this country. Mm-hmm. Across industries. Our unemploymentis, sitting less than 3% right now, I believe.

Yeah. Maybe aboutthree and a half percent. There's virtually no one employment, and this isacross industries. So people are trying to figure out, I gotta retain people, Igotta hire people. I don't wanna make the mask that I've seen other people do,but how do I compete and how do we do this in a way that really supports, mydemographic yeah, my, my people in a way that's relevant to us.

And that's wherepersonalization becomes really key. And that's been really cool to see whereyou can see this this movement where companies are now saying, Hey, yeah, I dowanna support wellness. And it's not just a smoking cessation seminar. Sure.Like in the 1980s. Yeah. It's that a recognition that if you do work inmanufacturing or you are a nurse on the floor, you also care about yourwellness.

Yeah. But maybe youwanna drive it in a way that matters to you. Maybe it's, running shoes, maybeit's yoga, maybe it's a mental health app. Maybe it's, but letting the employeebe empowered to do that in their own way. It's been really cool to see thepersonalization angle.  

Julian:Yeah. Whether it's externally or internally.

What are some ofthe biggest risks that your company faces today?  

Amy: Imean, external risk, I guess. I mean, Does the bottom completely fall out ofthe market? Does anybody know? Like, are banks going to exist tomorrow? Likethose types of things, right? The big existential crisis. Yeah. I don't thinkany of that's gonna happen, by the way.

But that'ssomething that is, is always a risk. I was a CFO in 2008. I got to go throughthat delightful little downturn, recession and figure out how to navigate it.This one's very different. But it's, it's figuring out how you navigate that.You have to be very agile in this moment.

For instance, ifour entire customer base was just. Small tech companies in San Francisco, wewould be in a lot of trouble. Yeah. Like that is a group that is probably notgetting their next round of funding. Mm-hmm. They're struggling with wheremoney's gonna come from. They're doing layoffs. They're not spending money onpeople because they're like, shoot, yeah, maybe we aren't competitive, but wegotta keep the lights on.

Yeah. If that wasour whole customer base, that would be a huge risk. It's not. Yeah. Like we'rediversified across 17 different industries, and so that gives us a lot ofability to figure out. All right. Which one is moving fastest right now, andhow do we focus on that? Mm-hmm. While tech kind of gets its stuff backtogether because it's going to come back.

Yeah. I meanthat's, I mean, this is a, this is a little blip in time Sure. Of like, shootwhat's going on, and then we're gonna go right back to building things.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. If everything goes though, what's the long-term vision for Compt inlong term?  

Amy:It's our ability to support people is. People everywhere, right?

Yeah. Ultimatelywhat I wanna see is that employees get access to all of their compensation.That companies are building more diverse teams and able to support them. And Iwanna see lots of companies being able to do that, not just, tech companies.This is a way and a path to do that. So the more reach.

The more reach.Yeah. Like that's what's really exciting to me is just, just keep building andgrowing and supporting more and more and more people. Yeah. And then, workingwith our partners to make sure that that happens. Yeah. And so, Just keepgetting bigger.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I love this next section.

I'll call it myfounder faq. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll seewhat we get. Okay. All right. I always like to open up with a softball. What'sparticularly hard about your day? Day to, or your job? Day-to-day?  

Amy:My job. Day-to-day. Honestly, like the hardest part is I do get hit withmigraines.

Yeah. And that, andnavigating that Yeah. Can be a real. Like it, it just is a frustrating timesuck. So the hardest thing for me isn't even actually anything about our job. It'sjust managing migraines.  

Julian:Yeah. What, What in particular are you, are you a, are you yes or no to theblue light glasses craze?

Yes or no to that?Being that it actually affects you, I'm, I'm assuming more drastically than theaverage.  

Amy:It's, it's different. So I don't have light sensitivity and I don't get likenauseous, so none of that has any impact on me. It's a totally different kindof headache ball game, so, oh man, I, I'm a yes probably for some people, butit ain't helping me.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. What's something that you're good at now as a founder that you wishyou were better at earlier on?  

Amy:Ooh probably sales. Yeah. So coming from a CFO background, I really didn'tthink that I would ever be doing sales. And then I realized, but I'm the buyerand I know what I like, and so you just reverse the table.

Sure. If I had hadmore confidence than that earlier and recognized that, I think that would'veserved us very well here.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Is that, and that kind of experiences, that growth and maturity wasasking better questions, whether the chips. Taking the swings and figuring out,the ecosystem you're dealing with, what in particular kind of helped younavigate or grow through that?

Amy:Yeah, it, it was more of just self-confidence. Honestly. I knew the questionsthat needed to be asked because I buy this stuff like that was my job and allmy prior companies. So it was recognizing like, No, I actually do understandhow to work with people just like me and figuring out like, all right, we needto support them different.

There hasn't beenreally a book written on selling to hr. There probably should be. Maybe I'llwrite it like it's a different type of buying situation and you need to treatthem with respect as part of that, and it's just a different buying cycle. Sorecognizing that was, Realizing, okay, I'm not gonna find it in a book.

I actually need totrust myself a little bit here.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. One question I thought about, in preparation for this is what,what's one or two maybe benefits that companies should be offering now that yousee most Compt companies not offering, and how do they offer. For them.  

Amy: Ithink it's more the how than the what.

Mm-hmm. So a lot ofcompanies are trying to offer wellness to their team, which I'm all, I'm all inon. Yeah. Like, it makes sense from an employer perspective, if my people arehealthier, they're gonna get more work done. Yeah. Makes sense. From anemployee perspective, like this place where I spend, eight to 10 hours a dayshould probably be contributing to my wellness.

I'm not taking awayfrom my wellness. But it's the how that's delivered that I think is changing.Companies for a long time have been acting like a parent. And saying, oh, youwant wellness? Here is a thing that you may or may not want. And there's,there's kind of a, a change in that happening.

Recognition that,yes, we wanna support your wellness, but you're an adult. And, and what youneed for wellness is probably different from me.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. What's one way that you say, being that there's a lot of HRsoftware out there, managing different parts of the, I would say, the employeelife cycle, what makes your company different?

If you were to justgive me a 32nd kind of, pitch on, on what, what in particular are you tacklingthat you see just a lot of other companies missing on.  

Amy:So employee personalization, which drives the outcome of employees using theirbenefits. Normal employee perks, three to 5% of the team uses it with comped.

For four straightyears, it's been 91% utilization. Like you can't beat us on the market. Yeah,yeah. And so it's making sure you're getting to those outcomes. Yeah. Anddriving to that rather than focusing on. I've got a catalog of stuff nobodyuses.  

Julian:Yeah. Do you, do you, you measure, its effect on employee retention.

Are you able to getthat data from your clients? Oh, if you are, what is that, what's excitingabout?  

Amy:So some of, some of 'em you can, some of 'em you can't. There's a lot of, I,we're not the only factor, obviously in employee retention when the market goessouth, doesn't matter what you're doing on stipends, you're gonna do layoffs.

It just is thereality. Well we have found we had a recent survey where almost 70% of peoplesaid that they were more likely to stay at their employer. Because they offeredthem stipends. Mm-hmm. Like that is really, That's really, really significant.Yeah. Where employees are looking at all the things that are gonna keep 'emthere and the stipend is a big key piece.

Yeah. To what's,what's keeping 'em happy.  

Julian:Yeah. Now, how do you, thinking about, I think HR software for a lot of usdon't see it as, something that needs to be replaced or nice to have orsomething like that. But those who see the pain or feel the pain day to day,obviously have a different opinion.

How do you cutthrough the noise to get to that person? That champion or that individual who.Was you in a, in a, in a different, in a different company, how are you able tocut the, the noise to be able to actually attract their attention and, and, getthem to kind of see the value in it in a tough market that we're in, wherecompanies are just pretty much just like, I don't wanna buy anything new.

If it's not broken,don't touch it. But seeing that there's a deeper problem of a long-termproblem, how are you able to get through to that person?  

Amy:So getting through to them honestly isn't that hard. Mm-hmm. If a company hastrouble hiring people or retaining people, they have to take a differentapproach and now they have less money to do it.

Yeah. There isn't amore efficient way to spend your money than on a stipend when you're gettingreally high utilization. You can go spend a bunch of money on a bunch of thingsnobody's using. That seems pretty dumb. Or you can spend a little bit of moneyand reach everyone. Yeah. So you cut through that and it, the qualifier islike, look, if you're, if you're not hiring anybody and you're like, good onretention, You literally don't need to spend more money, don't like, but if youhave to solve for that, it's how are you gonna solve for it and how are yougonna do that in the most efficient way possible?

That's where wecome in.  

Julian:Yeah. I always like to ask this next question cuz I love how founders extractknowledge out of anything that they ingest. Whether it's only in your career ornot, what books or people have impacted or influenced you the most?  

Amy:So current, like most recent book that has had like a kind of been sticking androlling around in the back of my brain is The, it's called the how the FutureWorks.

So it was writtenby Sheila Subramanian from Slack Future Forum. I think that the research thatthey did was, absolutely incredible and groundbreaking and just looking at howcompanies are looking at, all right, what does flexibility mean as you moveinto this next phase? And that book I think is absolutely, Groundbreaking.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And any people that, that you, really kind of impacted you in apositive way or, or as a mentor or, anyone in particular that, gave you somelesson and, and you've kind of used it and, and what in particular was that?  

Amy: Imean, there's been lessons from literally every person I've ever worked with,right?

So it's not likethe days of, I know like with a lot of those mentor protege things, it's likewho's the person who guided your career? Yeah. I don't know that that's reallya thing. Like maybe it was, maybe it was at some point. I don't know if it,maybe it isn't for women as much. I get plenty of, there's always plenty ofoffers to mentor you, but, That's usually it's a different situation.

To me it's what doyou learn from each person that you interact with? And so it's everything frommy first boss when I was like 21 years old. She seemed old. She was 27 at thetime, and I thought she was ancient, which is hilarious. She really guided me.Even in that role was like, look, You're doing some good stuff.

But I was I was ina marketing role there at that company, but I was also taking on a lot ofreally menial tasks that weren't my job. And she's like, look, just because youcould vacuum the floor doesn't mean you should vacuum the floor. You need tounderstand what value you bring to the table. Mm-hmm.

And focus on thatrather than picking up all this other stuff just because you're being the, thehelper. Like you're not gonna help your career doing that. And that's somethingthat is. Stuck in the back of my brain for forever. Yeah. Because it's, she'sright. And it's something that women in particular tend to do in organizations.

Yeah. They don'traise their hand for like the, the big projects. They wanna be the helper, backin the day it was who got coffee, all of that stuff. And that just shoves youinto this menial role. Yeah. When really you have so much more to offer.  

Julian:Yeah. And just for other, female founders, even, individuals who are in otherorganizations, in other industries.

Are there anygroups or, any, any area For me, being Latino, I go to, I listen to a lot ofLatino content thinking about, Latinx and, and, and tech and things like that.So that's been very helpful for me to kind of adjust. But anything inparticular for women that you've found exceptionally helpful?

A group, butknowledge syndicate, I don't know in particular, but is there anywhere that youthink, a lot of people you've enjoyed kind of the, the community around, womenfounders and things like that?  

Amy: Iusually go micro. So I'm a, I'm an introvert by nature. I'm not a, you put mein a big room with a lot of people and one, if I'm on stage, I'm happy as aclam.

Sure. But if I'm inthe audience and supposed to be talking to everybody completely overwhelmed andcan't manage that, it doesn't work. So for me it's micro. So I am in, I don'teven know how many different Slack groups Yeah. That are four or five people.Four or five female founders or just founders in general.

Yeah. And that tome is how I actually get more of that community piece. Because that's how itspeaks to my soul. I need to get to know individuals on a little bit deeperlevel. So I think there's more than one way to tackle this. Versus the,there's, there's obviously lots of podcasts and stuff like that.

I spend less timethere and more on like the, like getting into the weeds with a couple of peopleat a time.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Last little bit is I always like to make sure, I knowwe're coming through the close of the show and I do wanna give you a chance togive us your plugs and your Twitters and all that.

But before we doall that If, is there any question that I didn't ask you that I should have oranything that we didn't talk about that I should have? Wanna make sure wedidn't leave anything on the table? Is there anything I didn't ask you?  

Amy: Idon't think so. I think you asked me just about everything.

Julian: Ilove that. Well, Amy, it's been such a pleasure. Last little thing is, wherecan we find you? Where can we support you? Where can we not only be fans of, ofyou, but also the company? Give us your LinkedIns, your websites, everything weneed to, to be a part of it.  

Amy:Sure. So we're, Compt HQ on Twitter, online?

You can follow meon LinkedIn, Amy Spurling. Same with Twitter as well. I'm, signed up in 2008,so I actually got my name Very happy about that. Yeah. Didn't use it for likefive years, but you know, I'm happy I got my name on Twitter at least for awhile, right? Yeah. But, or people can reach out to me at as wellif they want to chat.

Julian:Amazing. Amy, it's been such a pleasure learning about your early career. Whatbrought you to Compt? What's Compt really is doing not only for employees, butfor employers, running to keep people and really kind of, I think, I think thebig focus, like you mentioned it earlier, is there's a labor shortage, but youwant to retain the people that you have.

You wanna retainthe good employees, and a lot of that is just what you offer them and can theyactually use that and, and be and effect their lives. And it's amazing to seewhat comps been able to do up to this point. And I'm excited to see where yougrow from here. So I hope you enjoyed yourself, but thank you again for beingup Behind Company Lines today.

Amy:Thank you so much.  

Julian:Of course.

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