If there’s one identifiable quality that all successful companies share, it’s an ability to handle growth. While every business starts its journey from a similar place, it’s how each organization handles the challenges posed by growth, both in scale and complexity, that makes the difference between success and failure.
And for too many companies, a failure to properly future proof their systems can prove costly. A 2011 study estimated that 74% of startup failures can be attributed to ‘premature scaling’ with 66% of businesses failing to make it to their tenth anniversary.
What makes managing growth so difficult is that the threats posed can come from some of the least expected areas. It’s seemingly trivial aspects of day-to-day operations that start to become dangerously unmanageable as a business expands.
Non-scalable expenses system
Expense management is a classic example of this. The management of employee reimbursements is one of those administrative tasks that tend to receive minimal attention as a company is in its early stages.
A 2017 global survey, commissioned by Webexpenses, found that two-thirds of businesses are still handling employee reimbursements with a traditional approach, relying on paperwork, Excel spreadsheets and manual processing.
This creates an inherently slow and ineffective way to work with finance teams having to handle a monthly flood of expense reports and all of the submitted information having to be processed by hand.
While this approach may be able to cope with the simple requirements of a smaller organization, the problems really start to emerge as a company begins to grow in scale and sophistication.
As a workforce expands, finance teams find themselves struggling to manage the spiralling amount of paperwork that needs to be processed. It means there’s little time for costs to be properly checked or challenged.
The threat of workplace fraud
This lack of effective monitoring allows employees to routinely submit falsified and exaggerated reimbursement costs. It’s a problem which helps to contribute towards the $2.9 trillion global losses to workplace fraud.
Along with the risk of fraud losses, there’s also the compliance dangers caused by having such a badly administered area of company costs. Failure to provide accurate information to tax authorities is liable to result in fines and prosecutions.
It’s this lack of scalability with traditional setups which is driving the move to a new generation of digital expense management systems. Cloud-based system such as Webexpenses provides a fully scalable solution with the flexibility to handle the evolving needs of a growing business.
It uses a smartphone app to instantly convert any paper receipt employees receive into a digital format, allowing manual tasks to be replaced with fast, automated processes. The switch to digital typically reduces processing times by around 25%.
Digital software solution
By greatly reducing the administrative workload, it gives finance teams the time and resources they need to start properly monitoring and enforcing expense policies. Checks can be automatically made each time an expense report is submitted to ensure costs fall within predefined limits.
Finance professionals also enjoy the benefits of integrated reporting tools, giving access to accurate data on every aspect of an expense operation. It provides tax authorities with a reassuring level of information and allows a growing business to constantly refine and streamline processes.
So with real-time data and automated processes, any business is now able to fully future proof the way it handles employee expenses. It removes one of the pitfalls that many growing businesses face and provides a system that’s able to evolve and grow with a company – whether it’s a small startup or major multinational.