Things have moved a long way in the world of expense management since the ‘Mad Men’ business era of the 1950s.
The relaxed attitude towards business spending, with boozy business lunches and lavish schmoozing of clients, isn’t something that would be tolerated by many of today’s finance teams. That isn't to say schmoozing is a thing of the past completely... a few drinks here and there are fine, but just make sure you're not pulling a Wolf of Wall Street style beach house party to get a contract signed.
For expense management to be effective, it has to constantly move with the teams and be ready to adapt and evolve to the changes that happen within business.
With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the current trends as digital technology continues to influence the way employee expenses are managed:
Increased travel control
Employees are being given more control over their travel and overnight accommodation arrangements. The ease in which employees are able to book online means there’s a continued move away from the traditional use of internal administration. More travel and accommodation expense claims are now coming from employees.
It creates a more flexible approach with employees being able to personalise the experience. A 2018 study by Booking.com found that more than a third of professionals (38 percent) actively looked for employers who allow control over business travel.
Making it mobile with an expenses app
The monthly pain of having to turn a bundle of paper receipts into an expense report is something less employees are now having to endure. The use of smartphones and expense apps means that paper receipts can be instantly converted into ready made expense claims through smart receipt scanning technology.
Research by webexpenses found that more than one-in-five (21 percent) office workers said the use of smartphone apps in the workplace helped to improve their morale. The move from paper-based management to digital typically reduces processing times by 25 percent.
Improving management visibility
Having a fast and efficient expense management software is no longer enough for many finance teams. Increasingly, importance is now being placed on how easily a management tool allows data to be tracked.
The use of cloud-based software which automatically generates information on every aspect of expenses allows the use of powerful reporting tools. These are being used to highlight problems and to accurately track performance over time.
Multi-format of receipts
An effective expense management system needs to be ready to handle the growing diversity of different receipt formats. While paper bills are still the primary proof of purchase, with around 11.2 billion issued in the UK each year, there’s a shift towards digital receipts via email or app.
The challenge for finance teams is having to manage an increasing number of digital formats. With digital expense management software, any form of receipt can be scanned, uploaded or emailed into a user’s account and easily be attached to expense claims.
Automating expense compliance
While a lot may have changed since the reckless days of ‘Mad Men’, many of the attitudes towards employee expenses still remain. It helps to explain why UK businesses continue to lose around £100 million each year to exaggerated and falsified reimbursements.
A major tool that’s now being used to tackle the problem is the use of automated compliance checks. Webexpenses can be set-up to monitor expense submissions, with real-time alerts triggered when costs breach defined limits.
It’s to handle the evolving challenges of today’s business environment that more businesses are switching to cloud-based methods of managing expense reimbursements. Find out how webexpenses can ensure the Don Draper of your business reels in the unnecessary spending by requesting a demo.