Improve Your Company’s Expense Management

Published October 30, 2018
improve your company expense management

Cutting costs, and improving the way you manage employee expenses, can feel like never-ending struggles. Part of the struggle has to do with the fact that doing business costs money.

There are expenses involved in making sales, attending tradeshows, and even leading your own conferences. And they come in a number of ways, including:

  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Client gifts

Managing employee expenses

When companies lose control over these types of expenses, frustrations can rise to the surface.

  • When employee expenses skyrocket, or seem out of hand, one kneejerk reaction is to apply a sudden freeze on different types of employee spending, or even an across-the-board hold on business travel.
  • With these types of restrictions, employees can feel like they’re being squeezed, or that your company is questioning their judgment. This can erode trust, and negatively affect your ability to retain talent.

Cutting costs can be a struggle if you’re collecting expense data manually.

You might think that your spreadsheet or paper-based expense system is saving you money. After all, they don’t come with any hard costs, right? In truth, a manual system can create indirect, or soft costs, in the form of lost productivity, redundancies, and unnecessary administrative time.

In addition, your manual system can make it difficult to gather insights into how employees are actually spending, especially when you’re busy dealing with lost receipts, miscalculations, or last-minute expense reports.

So what kinds of proactive measures can you take to help you improve expense management? We’ve shared three strategies below.

Putting a strict expense policy in place, or freezing certain travel-related expenses, can make it harder for your people to do business. An automated expense management system such as ExpenseWire provides tools and features that can help you cut costs without stifling your employees. Request a demo and learn more.

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Expense management strategies to improve the bottom line

Setting limits to expense accounts can help improve your overall expense management. But before you decide on limits, here are three strategies to help you follow through on a transparent, people-focused process:

1. Invite feedback and buy-in from employees, managers, and stakeholders

  • If possible, sit down with managers and employees, and get a better sense of the parts of their jobs that might require expenses. This can help you uncover places where they’re frustrated or confused about how the company manages, restricts, or communicates expense management.
  • Hearing how employees really feel about your processes can help uncover places where the expense workflow breaks down.
  • You might also discover that departments manage expenses differently. Can this be a key to building new efficiencies across the company? Or, can this be a sign that you need to do a better job communicating and enforcing a consistent expense policy?

2. Look for ways to automate expense management

  • When people travel on department budgets, having an automated expense management system can be a big help. Your system can include built-in warnings and limits that reflect your expense policy. Your system can also provide employees with real-time access to data and relevant explanations about spending criteria.
  • An automated system can also give managers a new layer of insight. They can see expenses as they happen, while employees are away.
  • And, automated features can help departments generate estimates that better reflect travel costs, thanks to data that the software captures. This can be a big help for businesses that don’t want unexpected spikes in expenses.

3. Put more tools in your employees’ hands

  • When employees are traveling, they want to be as exact as possible when then calculate their expenses. However, this can be difficult if they’re using a manual system that takes extra time. That’s why so many employees wait until their trip is over to calculate expenses, and turn in their reports at the last minute. Doing so can create a situation that is ripe for inaccuracies and totaling errors.
  • Inaccuracies can reduce productivity when employees have to resubmit a report. They might even put employees at risk of violating your expense policies.
  • However, mobile expense tracking features can make it easy for employees to track miles, add receipts, and view notifications from their phones or mobile device—while they’re still traveling. And, other features can allow them to submit receipts in real-time, rather than worrying about which zipper pocket they stuffed them in before their flight.

How does your company approach fiscal discipline?

Incorporating cost-saving strategies can provide a major boost to the way you manage employee expenses. By inviting input, considering new technology, and exploring tools that make expense management easier for employees and managers, you can reduce costs, and do away with redundancies and inefficiencies that don’t work in your favor.

Extra paperwork is nobody’s friend. A mobile-friendly expense management solution such as ExpenseWire can help you cut redundancies and avoid expense miscalculations. Contact us for a free demonstration of our mobile expense management system.

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