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Stop Burning Money On Your Business Expenses
Total Articles: 99
By Adarsh Pallian
Time is money in business, and every minute and thus every dollar can make a difference when it comes to growing a company. Business expenses and administration are two areas that are often so bogged down with slow and stodgy processes that businesses may not even realize what opportunities are out there to save. Here are 4 ways your company is burning money when it comes to business expenses today, and how you can start saving time and money.
Spreadsheets Are Not As Free As You Think They Are
A 2013 survey found that close to 45% of mid-market and enterprise companies were still using spreadsheets to manage their business expenses. When the whole office has access to Excel, the tools for expense management and administration might be considered “free” – but this is far from the case when one looks at the big picture of what it actually costs:
Collecting and organizing receipts (and maybe even pasting them one by one on a piece of white paper)
Line by line data entry of each expense into Excel
Reviewing the report
Saving the spreadsheet
Writing an email and attaching spreadsheet and scanned receipts OR
Printing spreadsheet and delivering both spreadsheet and receipts (in-person or by mail
Dowloading, saving, and reviewing reports
Answering questions/communicating with employee (via email, meetings, or phone)
Submitting approved reports to accounting (either via email, mail, or in-person)
Downloading and saving each submitted report, or digitizing originals
Manually auditing each report’s itemized transactions
Matching receipts to expenses
Syncing with credit card statements
Manually uploading reports into accounting software
Essentially, the salary that you are paying your professional employee is being eaten up by tedious processes instead of on the job that you hired them for – and it adds up. An hour spent by your top sales person on their expenses is one less hour being spent talking to customers and closing deals. Reports show that 65% of report submitters and 45% of those responsible for processing the reports confirm that the entire spreadsheet process is too time consuming.
Take advantage of technology. There are software solutions out there (including Trippeo, the quickest and easiest solution to date) that lets your employees easily organize their expenses, attach receipts, and quickly submit expenses to their managers in a few taps on their smartphone instead of hours at the scanner and computer.
Embrace the Cloud
Cloud technology is helping businesses operate more effectively in all areas, including HR, marketing, sales, support, and finance. Gone are the days where on-premise software took weeks and costly hours of professional services time to set up. Cloud solutions are nimble, easy to set-up, and incredibly cost-effective in relation to their predecessors.
The cloud allows teams to work anytime and from anywhere. Keeping a solution accessible in the cloud enables employees to be able to access that data and stay productive while out of the office, travelling for business, or simply just working from home. Research shows that implementing a cloud-based system can save the average person over 240 hours a year. This equates to a 6 week holiday, or if you look at it the other way, 6 weeks of extra productivity to push your business forward!
In the case of business expenses, there are a number of tools dedicated to helping you move from your spreadsheets to a cloud-based system – easily, quickly, and with comprehensive support.
Empower and Enable your Employees
More than half of all employees’ expenses are generated while they are on the go. Transportation, fuel, meals, and/or purchases usually take place while they are out and on the move. Putting a tool in the hands of these on-the-go employees not only helps them record these transactions immediately so everything can be accurately accounted for, but it also saves them valuable time from having to sit down and do it all later.
Maximizing the technological innovation out there is a great way for employers to increase their employee’s productivity and streamline processes. We’re seeing millennial (Generation Y, or young people born anywhere from the early 1980’s to the year 2000) grow up and enter the workforce. They are one of the largest generational groups in history and they are used to operating with their smartphones. Expense management solutions that are equipped with mobile applications help small businesses by:
Enabling employees to become more efficient and able to work on the go
Engaging employees through the technology they’re used to
Ensuring expenses are recorded as they happen
Minimizing the number of lost receipts
Supporting employees in their jobs
Your employees are used to using fast technology for consumer purposes. Give them the tools they need, where they need it, to do their jobs better.
Operate Proactively Instead of Reactively
At a high level, adopting a proactive instead of reactive mentality can significantly improve the state of your business. Proactive organizations are constantly analyzing, evaluating, and optimizing their performance in relation to their business environments. They’re typically one-step ahead of their competitors and are able to quickly adapt, and as such, are easily able to find opportunities to save money.
At a more granular level, being proactive when it comes to an expense policy can also pay in cost and time savings. More than just a document housed online or on your internal company server, expense management software allows you to make that policy easily accessible to your employee base and also lets you set business rules that support your needs. For example, you can set caps on flights, meals, and other business costs that will alert your employees’ when they try to submit something outside of the policy. Providing real-time feedback into these limits can immediately impact that employee’s behaviour as well, as they have been reminded of their budget and will likely stick within it if they know they are flagged as those submissions happen.
Proactive communication and solutions that map to your policy also help pre-emptively address any potential issues. For example, in the spreadsheet model, your salesperson likely took their trip weeks ago and is just now submitting their spreadsheet report. Upon review of this report, you see that they went over their limit for multiple client dinners. The conversation now needs to happen, but not only is it too late to make any changes to the existing expense report, there is also the uncomfortable situation of how to address the over-expenditures weeks after they initially happened.
Proactive approaches to expenses helps keep everyone on the same page, aware of company policy, addresses issues in real-time, and ultimately cuts down on administrative work by automating the audit process. Accounting teams are no longer spending hours catching overage or dealing with out of budget purchases. They can let the technology do the work and they can focus on the business.
Understanding, and embracing, the latest technologies not only helps companies save time and money in various areas of their businesses, it’s also vital for companies wanting to stay competitive and innovative. The area of business expenses is just one example where the traditional means and processes are no longer effective. Not something to be feared, these are opportunities for improvement into how you can better serve your clients, your employees, and your bottom line.
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