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Size: Small Industry: Consulting Applications: Sage Line 50

GapConsulting case study

GapConsulting is a consultancy group exclusively focused on Customer Relationship Management Services and Solutions.

Challenges faced with expense management

Expenses complexity with consultants at customer sites

As the company’s consultants spend a large part of their time working at customer sites, the expenses process was previously difficult to manage. Initially, Gapconsulting used a system in which consultants entered their expenses in excel spreadsheets that were then emailed to line managers before being received by the accounts team.

Not only was this process slow and inefficient, but it created concerns on the robustness and auditability of the process.

How webexpenses helped

The consultants’ perspective

With the introduction of webexpenses, the benefits have been considerable.

From the consultants’ perspective, their expenses are populated with data from their corporate VISA cards, supplied by Barclaycard, saving considerable time in inputting expense items.

For out-of-pocket expenses, the offline version is used by those consultants without consistent internet access at client sites, while others simply input their out-of-pocket expense items using the online version.

Once their expenses have been submitted, the approval and payment process is quick and efficient.

The finance team’s perspective

The benefits from the finance team’s perspective are manifold.

With the credit card interface, consistent expenses data is received from each consultant once per month and where amendments are required, expenses can be sent to claimants to amend quickly and easily.

The fact that expense items are allocated to particular clients or projects gives Gapconsulting the ability to recharge expenses to clients when appropriate. This is important, as specific client contracts determine whether expenses can be recharged.

There have also been cash management benefits. Mark Hatcher, the Finance Director commented:

When looking after the finances of a small business such as ours, you have reasonable visibility of what payments are due each month. A notable exception is the reimbursement of staff expenses. Because of the hassle factor associated with submitting expenses, our consultants have a habit of letting their expenses accumulate over long periods, and then when they do submit them, they tend to expect immediate payment. This is a nightmare for cash planning!

The new system lets the accounts team view expenses outstanding, even if they haven’t yet been sent for approval. This saves us from those nasty cashflow surprises.

Gaynor Almond, Gapconsulting’s Office Manager, commented:

Previously the data we received was inconsistent. Now we receive data that maps to specific categories, ledger codes and clients based on the lists that we have set up. Data quality, control and the level of management information available to us have improved considerably.

The interface to Sage Line 50 does away with the need to re-key data. This alone represents a great timesaving.