Control the Rules – Make adjustments and update expenses policies yourself, without the need for IT
From the Editor
Businesses and the environment they work in are in a state of perpetual flux. Change is a constant reality and without the ability to react to it, we surrender time, energy, resources and, sometimes, motivation. This is as true of business expenses management as it is of any function in modern organisations, perhaps even more than other areas. Anyone with experience of working in accounts payable teams, or who has had to grapple with expenses policies when submitting expense reports, will appreciate that. Consider the aspects of a travel expenses system that you might need to change: • Mileage rates • Parking fees • Fuel purchase • Accommodation allowances • Meals and subsistence rates • Personal vs company credit cards • New business travel trends • Changing tax rates • Home working • Cell phone reimbursement • Wi-Fi and broadband charges This list is far from exhaustive. All this change, and much more, can be driven by new laws, new rules following mergers or acquisitions, new financial management or business process or negotiations with trade unions. Not having the ability to make changes to your business expenses solution quickly and when you need to can be major headache. So what can you do to deliver that flexibility and put yourself in control? 1. Configurable systems you can flex when rules change – Rules, regulations and your requirements change. Why should you have to rely on expensive external consultants to make changes to your business expenses solution? Deploying an expense management system that can be easily configured to deal with your specific needs is a huge time and money saver. Changes to government-recommended travel allowances or company allowances or any form of expense report and type can be defined, quickly and by your in-house team. 2. Configurable workflows and interfaces – No two businesses are the same. So, why rely on rigid business expense solutions that assume one size fits all? Systems should be configurable to trigger reminders or validation and authorization requests to suit your organisational structure and to streamline your processes. And because you know your business and what you need better than anyone, you should be able to it, not coders or consultants. 3. Provide clarity and managers don’t have to police claims – If you set up triggers and reminders for your staff when there are submitting their expense reports, you can automate a huge element of your expenses process. At a stroke this stops line managers acting as police for rogue and erroneous expense reports. Claims will comply the first time, every time because the rules are in place and prompts guide your colleagues to work within the systems you have set up. 4. Speed claims and improve visibility – A major benefit of ensuring compliance with mobile-enabled devices, that encourage claims to be submitted as they are incurred, is enjoyed downstream by finance teams. When people dread submitting their reports because of clunky and complicated interfaces and systems, they save them up and claim them all at once. This robs finance of the visibility they need to budget, forecast and report. It can also have a knock on effect on accurate client billing. Business expenses management doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The technology exists, much of it in our smartphones, to free finance teams to focus on accounts payable duties and end users and line managers to focus on their own core functions. To find out more about you can ease the pain business expense management causes you, visit our Travel and Expenses site or contact us here.