In spend management, manual and automated expense reporting may have the same goal, but their means are totally different. Let’s explore them here.
Don’t Get Spent! 5 Ways to Manage Spend With Automation
It can be tedious to work on manual processes every time. Don't allow yourself to get spent! Let's talk about how you can manage spend with automation.
Even the most seasoned finance and admin personnel feel exhausted when they have to deal with endless numbers, figures, and employee and business expenses. This is especially true when they manage everything manually. Luckily, we live in a world where automation can make finance and admin tasks easier and much more bearable. Let’s discuss some ways to manage spend, so you don’t get spent!
Why Should I Automate Employee Expenses?
The thought of change in processes may seem even more overwhelming, but let’s take a look at some reasons to consider automation to change the way you look at employee expenses and the tasks that follow to reconcile, approve, budget, allocate and a lot more.
1. Employees tend to submit late when the process is done manually
You may be wondering why employees often submit late expense claims. Well, the reason is simple: manual finance processes slow them down. Unfortunately, according to a survey, 43% of the surveyed companies managed expense reporting manually.
You need to give your employees a solution that will make the process more efficient and give them more time to focus on other priorities. Other drawbacks of manual processes include:
- Employees do not know expense claim deadlines and submission times.
- Employees don’t fully understand what can and cannot be included in the expense claim.
- Employees can’t make time for the manual process because they have other important tasks.
With automation, employees won’t have to deal with these struggles as they can benefit from faster, easier and simpler processes. In turn, this makes it easier for the finance and admin teams.
2. Automation sets up regular notifications
With manual processes, employees are not always on top of expense claim deadlines and submission times. Automation can prompt regular notifications that remind employees to submit their claims on time.
When you have the right employee expenses software in place, you not only get to set up notifications for your employees, but you can also specify when, to whom and how many times these notifications should be sent out.
3. Employees get to focus more on their productivity
With all the day-to-day work responsibilities, submitting expense claims is probably the last thing on an employee’s mind. Make this task easier for them by setting up spend management software.
Employees will feel more motivated to complete expense reports on time because it will be easier, quicker and more efficient. They’ll feel more motivated to follow expense policies, knowing it won’t hamper employee productivity.
4. Automation reinforces company policies and ensures compliance
Every company has their unique needs, thus unique expense policies.
With automation, you can create well-defined and accessible expense policies to manage expenses. It will define the role and responsibilities of both employees and employers, leaving no room for errors, delays and/or fraud. Employees can be made more accountable since they will have control and visibility of their expense reporting. Plus, with the help of an expense policy in place, you get to collect better data on the company spending, such as on transportation, meals and fringe benefits—all contributing to transparency and compliance for a business.
5. Automation manages risk
Manual finance processes can never manage risk the same way automation can. Automation eliminates the part of the process that is prone to human error. Employees no longer have to keep receipts while finance managers no longer have to stress over the possibility of false information.
Automation can also instantly flag discrepancies, keeping everyone—employees, employers, suppliers, vendors, merchants, etc.—more accountable and mitigating the risk of fraud.
How Do I Manage Spend With Automation?
Now that we’re clear on why you need automation, let’s talk about how to get it done.
1. Start by ditching all manual processes
As discussed already, manual processes no longer work. With its outdated practices, it’s highly prone to errors and delays. Let me paint you a picture: If one of your employees is travelling to another country for a work event and buys a meal, sure, they may keep the receipt for expense claim purposes. However, with the busy trip they might be having, there’s no guarantee that the receipt won’t get lost along the way.
On the other hand, if they use spend management software, they will only need to capture the receipt data and submit it in real time. Leaving no room for errors or discrepancies that come with manual processes.
2. Make the expense policy clear
It’s always better to ask than to assume, but many employees simply rely on the information given to them, no matter how limited it may be. Part of this misunderstanding is being unsure of what expenses they can claim for.
Be sure to make the expense policy detailed, simple and clear so employees know what can and cannot be claimed.
3. Get everyone on board
Implementing a new finance process will only work when everyone is on board. Make sure to orient everyone about this transition, and don’t forget to emphasise that automation will not replace them. Instead, it will make their job easier.
4. Choose an expense management platform that works for you
It makes sense to feel overwhelmed by the many expense management app options out there. The solution to finding the right one is simple: Know what you need.
Whether it’s a specific app feature or service, knowing exactly what your finance department needs will make it easier for you to start with the transition to automation.
5. Monitor and evaluate the outcome
Simply implementing automation is not enough. Be sure that you’re around to monitor what’s working and what’s not so you can evaluate the outcome.
Assess the quality of the automated processes and make sure that they meet your company’s requirements and standards. Analyse the return on investment and encourage your employees to share their insights.
Getting spent on finance tasks is mostly caused by manual processes. If your company still hasn’t switched to automation, now may be the perfect time to do so!