Five ways to improve your expense management process

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One of the challenges when managing employee expenses is that you can’t always get visibility as quick as one would like. It might be chasing down a receipt from a lunch your employee had a with a client or getting the full details on airfare for a business trip.

You can become so immersed in the day-to-day challenges of managing and monitoring business costs that it can be an overwhelming task to stay on top of everything else that is occurring.

So it’s a smart move to take regular timeouts, to give yourself a chance to assess the performance of methods currently in place and to identify ways to improve your expense process.

Here’s a look at five areas to focus on:

Review your system

If your business still uses manual and paper-based processes to handle expenses, it’s good to look at more modern, time-saving options. While the prospect of moving to a new system can be daunting, the benefits of switching to a cloud-based setup are major.

Along with a faster, simpler and more secure process, a cloud-based travel and expense management system provides a fully scalable solution - able to handle the demands of a growing company.

With proper planning, making the move to a new system can be a fast, simple and hassle-free process. Companies such as Webexpenses make it a point to have a support team with you throughout the implementation process and beyond.

Check petty cash accounts

The days can get hectic and sometimes managing office petty cash accounts can become quite taxing to keep track of. It’s one area of company finances which is particularly susceptible to the problem of workplace fraud.

Petty cash accounts need to be regularly reviewed to ensure that policy is being properly managed and maintained. A benefit of a digital system is the ability to integrate petty cash accounts into the main expense setup.

Arrange expense categories

Reviewing and arranging expense categories is a simple task that can really ease reporting at the end of the fiscal year. By making sure costs are accurately categorized, you help to ensure accounts are compliant and you minimize the risks of fraud.

One area to check is the over-reliance on ‘miscellaneous’ categories to cover a multitude of different costs. The use of an online management system makes creating and editing categories a simple task.

Make use of mobile

To fully benefit from a cloud-based expense management system, employees need to use the associated expense app. This allows paper receipts to be instantly converted into a digital form - allowing for a fast, efficient and automated process.

Check how many claimants are using the app and look for ways to increase usage. By reducing the reliance on paper-based tasks, you reduce processing times and improve overall efficiency.

Refresh your policy

An effective expense policy needs to be continually monitored and revised to ensure it’s fair, accurate and compliant. Any legislative or financial changes may require a policy to be revised.

Cloud-based systems which allow an automated check of claims should also be reviewed. Small tweaks to the limits for triggers and alerts can significantly improve a finance team’s ability to spot issues early.