The checklist for change – When should you move to an expense management system?

There is never a better time than the present to review your current systems and scrutinise your processes. Change can sometimes be daunting so very often the end benefits can feel a long way off. As business and technology are ever-evolving it is now more critical than ever to look into more productive and streamlined avenues for your business.

Evaluating and refining business processes should be a regular occurrence for a healthy and productive company. One business process that for many is lagging behind the rest is expense management. Often spreadsheets, hoards of paper receipts and manual cross-checking have been seen as the only option for managing expenses. However, in the last few years a new generation of digital tools have been allowing businesses to regain the time and money that has been lost due to antiquated expense systems.

So for many businesses the question is usually when should we change the way we process expenses? The simple answer is now. However, we may be biased so in order for you to reach a decision we have created a checklist for change. Whilst there is no hard or fast rule for businesses, it may be worth keeping in mind these points to help assess when you should be changing your systems.

  • 1. Has your business experienced change?

‘Change’ could be in the form of new employees, a large injection of money or any change that has affected the dynamics of the business. If the answer is yes then it is important to adapt. For example, your old expense system of manually handling expense claims may have been sufficient when you had a smaller team, now you have grown you need to change your processes to best fit your business. Having a larger team means more expense claims, which then puts added strain on your finance staff. You need to make sure the added benefit of a larger workforce is not being outweighed by the administrative burden it creates.

  • 2. Is your reimbursement process lagging?

Your reimbursement turnaround should not be taking days, let alone weeks. If it is then you need to review the system you have in place. The main culprits for long-winded processes are gathering and submitting information by hand and then manually checking each expense claim. If your expense management consists of these laborious processes then you might want to re-evaluate your system. Longer reimbursements mean that employees may get ticked off – no one likes being out of pocket! Manually checking information can also result in errors going unspotted and wasting time on unnecessary work. Reimbursing your employees should be a swift and efficient process.

  • 3. Are your employees on the go?

If the answer is yes, then you really do need to ditch spreadsheet and consider going mobile. Employees who have to travel for work purposes, attend functions or even dine out with clients do not want to hoard paper receipts. As technology has vastly developed over the past few years we have all become a mobile-driven society. Whilst you may forget a few things in the morning rush most are unlikely to forget their phone. As a result, embracing mobile technology to enhance your expense management process has revolutionised a dated process. Employees can snap receipts on the go meaning they never lose them. Expenses can be created anywhere meaning finance teams do not have to wait long periods of time for expense claims to be submitted.

Deciding whether your business should fly the spreadsheet nest can be difficult. Making the move to a cloud-based expense management system may sound daunting but it is important to always bear in mind the end goal. Often in business it is the willingness to adapt and change that can really set you apart.

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