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5 signs you need a new expense management system

5 signs you need a new expense management system

What to look for in your organization

Graeme Farquhar

We’ve written before about the cost and time management implications of inefficient expense management systems.

For many SMEs, the collection, processing and paying of employee expense claims can become a major drain on resources, especially as the company grows and more employees need to claim expenses.

Managing expenses in a piecemeal, manual, paper-based manner is not only unwieldy and unscalable. It also makes maintaining a strategic, central view of the expenses process very difficult.

As an aside, businesses without a digital expense management system also often lack a cohesive travel booking policy, with the result that they often end up paying last minute prices, and have difficulty keeping expense budgets on track.

According to a 2018 study from smart payment providers Soldo, 2,500 UK employees who submit work expenses or have access to an expense account admitted that they spent an average of £117 per month on unauthorised and inflated purchases.

This amounts to £1,404 over the course of a year, which on a UK-wide scale adds up to a staggering figure of £1.9 billion.

So what are the indicators that your business might be suffering from similar symptoms? And how will you know if it’s time you started to use an expense management system like Zetadocs Expenses to streamline your expense processes?

Here are 5 tell-tale signs:

1. Paper, paper everywhere…

Becoming a paperless office is a big goal for many SMEs. If your company is still relying on a manual paper-based system for creating, printing, submitting and storing expense claims then there’s every chance that your offices are drowning in more paper than ever.

If it takes a longer-than-ideal amount of time to track down an individual receipt or claim form, it’s probably time to switch to a digital system.

2. Wasted expense

Not the kind of expense we’re talking about here (travel, entertainment etc.), but the sheer cost of working in the old-fashioned way.

The amount of cash your business spends on purchasing paper, printer ink and postage is probably swallowed up in overall expenditure.

Try isolating these costs and taking a long hard look at the figure. We’re willing to bet it’s higher than you thought it would be and much more than you’d like.

3. Lack of time

Are your sales and marketing staff – as well as other staff who travel on business – constantly fighting to meet deadlines and deliver work on time? Perhaps that’s because they spend hours every week calculating their expenses, filling in forms, looking for the stapler and submitting receipts, and having to chase up payment.

Digitise all these processes and you free your staff up to get on with the work you pay them to do.

4. Clunky expense policy management

When a manager queries a particular expense, or asks whether the price that’s been paid for services was within allowable guidelines, how long does it take to resolve?

A digital expense management system will mean that all expenses relating to a specific trip or journey are easily and quickly approvable – or can be rejected.

Need to know much was spent on mileage? You’ll get the answers – and so will your finance team – with a single click of the mouse or swipe of the screen.

5. Staff hate doing expenses

You do your best to keep your people happy.

Not simply because you’re a good employer or manager, but because it leads to better productivity and lower employee turnover. It’s pretty much a certainty that your staff find the process of collecting receipts and filling in forms to submit expense claims deeply tedious – and in some cases may actually dread the monthly expense cycle!

Deploying Zetadocs Expenses won’t just save you time and money and make expense management smoother. It’ll free up your staff to spend more time engaged in rewarding work.

And – while we’re not saying that processing expenses will be something to look forward to – they’ll most likely thank you for making it a whole lot easier!

Read our 5-step guide to transforming your expense management

If you recognize some of these signs in your business, we have created a simple guide on how to transform your expense management in 5 steps, to help you get started on planning your change project. Our partner, Total Enterprise Solutions, have featured it on their website. Take a look here.

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