Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic will be different for every business.
But one area that all companies have had to manage is the rapid switch to remote working and the task of maintaining admin and finance functions while operating with a remote team.
The lockdown has provided a ‘stress test’; a measure to see exactly how well prepared our company structures are to handle the ongoing move towards flexible and remote working.
To find out more, Webexpenses spoke to SHE Software Ltd, a leading global health and safety management company, about their experience during the lockdown and to gain some insights on how best to handle the transition to remote working.
The advice shared by Claire Stevenson, Finance Manager of the Scottish-based company, includes:
- Use lockdown to review existing tools and processes
- Reduce any reliance on physical paperwork
- Streamline your systems with digitally connected management
Q&A with Claire Stevenson of SHE Software
SHE Software has been developing health and safety management software for more than 20 years. Based in Glasgow, they have a truly global team with offices across the UK, US, and New Zealand.
Q: How have you found the change to remote working for you and your finance team?
A: As a global company, about half of our staff were already remote workers so the change was minimal; mainly just the various office staff. Most of us already had laptops but IT ensured that everyone was set up and we were able to get extra screens.
For us as a finance team, we’ve been well equipped being mainly a paperless office since the latter part of last year when we introduced Webexpenses Invoice Processing so we’ve managed well. As you can imagine, e-mail traffic and online chats/messages increased, especially in the first few weeks
Q: What were your previous challenges with business expenses and invoice processing?
A: For business expenses, it was mostly around the credit card transactions as this was manual spreadsheets and for 35 plus users with numerous transactions and receipts, it was a very time-consuming process.
Invoice processing was very manual; invoices being printed, getting physically signed, or sent via e-mail was time-consuming and could result in invoices being missed.
Q: How have you addressed these challenges?
A: Being able to integrate credit card transactions across our global organisation has been extremely beneficial and has reduced finance admin. It also ensures that all transactions are checked and approved by the individuals’ manager, which is great - especially for audits.
Now we have invoice processing, e-mails are automatically sent to the system from suppliers and go directly to the correct approver where they can be checked to the purchase order and queried with us if required or approved and then automatically posted to our accounting software.
Q: What would have been the impact if you were a manual finance team?
A: It would be very difficult trying to collate invoices digitally as we wouldn’t have been set up to cope with this and the added admin of processing. There’s also the issue of manual invoices being sent to the office and how we retrieve them. Then there’s the added admin of trying to get invoices approved and the increased e-mail traffic from all of this.
Q: What advice do you have for other finance teams in lockdown?
A: Streamlining processes where possible and moving to be paperless has worked for us. We only introduced this system in the latter part of last year and are already seeing the benefits, especially in the current circumstances.
With travel being restricted just now, it’s also the best time to look at an expense system to help with the admin burden and for ease of use for travellers once everything is back up and running again.
Register for our on-demand webinar today and find out useful tips on reviewing and adapting your finance processes whilst in lockdown.
The session also features more advice from Claire Stevenson at SHE Software - register today!