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Why AP need an integrated expense payments process

Author: Bernard Crumlish

As more and more UK Webexpenses clients take on the expense payments service, Bernard Crumlish, Head of Finance at Webexpenses, discusses how modern AP teams benefit from an integrated expenses payment process.

Love them or hate them, employee expenses are a part of any business, and they’re here to stay. We’re seeing an increased level of travel and expenses across our own organization, as well as our own client base.

Our responsibility as a finance team is to provide an easy way for employees to claim back their expenses, and for them to be reimbursed quickly.

Our core expense management solution provides the first part, and now we’re handling direct expense payments for a growing number of our UK clients.

Here’s a look at three reasons why an integrated expense payment approach makes sense:

1. Time-saving

Traditionally, reimbursing employee expenses has been a manual and time-consuming task for AP teams. Approved claims were manually downloaded, and each claim set up line-by-line and paid via online banking.

Depending on the frequency of payment and the volume of claims, this part of the process is the most time-consuming.

With integrated expense payments, as soon as the claims are marked as paid, they are batched into payment reports. These automated reports are scheduled according to the preferred frequency of payment.

Once checked, all expenses on the report are bulk paid via a secure BACS and FCA-approved payment process. As it is a scalable solution, this automated approach can easily handle any admin demands.

2. Faster reimbursement

Having an automated approach means companies can have more regular payment cycles, and no longer have the admin-heavy monthly payment run.

Companies have the flexibility to choose weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payment cycles.

With automated reports, real-time approval, and bulk payments being possible in a few clicks, reimbursing expenses doesn’t monopolize AP teams’ time anymore.

As a result, we’re seeing more companies switching to weekly or fortnightly payments runs.

A more frequent payment cycle in turn makes for happier employees, who are reimbursed faster.

3. Safe, secure and full audit trail

It’s paramount that finance teams have visibility of every single business cost.

An integrated payments process means that each and every expense claim has a full audit trail from the point of which it is claimed, through to approval and payment.

Realtime reporting of this data provides access to instant status updates on every payment. And with this data sitting all in one system, it brings valuable insight that’s vital for effective expense management.

AP teams can also have complete confidence with data and security, with all-expense payments handled by an FCA and BACS approved payment processor.

Summary

The uptake of our payments service shows the high demand for an integrated approach amongst the forward-thinking AP teams. As a sector, the move towards integrated processing of finance tasks is paramount to making businesses more efficient.

Why wouldn’t you want to remove manual expense payments and replace this time spent with other tasks to help your company perform better?

For me, automating expense payments is win-win: both for finance teams, and for each and every employee.

Learn more about our Expense Payments Service.