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All I want for Christmas is more time (and a better expense management system)

All I want for Christmas is more time (and a better expense management system)

With the holidays approaching, this may be the best time to try our free expense management system, Zetadocs Expenses Express

Bansaree Millward

If you run a business, no matter the size, then it’s highly likely that you will have to deal with business expenses. And, if you employ staff – no matter how many or few – then the chances are you’ll have to process expense claims.

At Equisys, with our Zetadocs Expenses software, we often share the latest benefits of our automated expense systems, to tackle problems experienced with traditional manual systems.

Perhaps the most striking of these issues, is the sheer expense of manually processing expense claims. We’re not referring to the cost of the actual expense itself, merely the cost of putting the claim through a manual process in order for the employee to be reimbursed.

There are various figures quoted for the cost of processing an expense claim – something which is understandable given that every manual process is unique to the organization in question – but a recent report from consultants at Levvel, put the figure at £23.14 per claim.

Cost per Claim

That figure - £23.14, may not seem like much at first glance, but if you have ten employees who regularly submit an expense claim every month then that figure can mean £231.40 per month.

For most businesses, particularly those with distributed workforces, employees may submit more than one expense claim per month. At an average of 2.5 expense claims for each of those ten employees, the amount spent simply processing claims quickly scales to the dizzy heights of £6,942.

Money for Nothing

So, this represents almost £7,000 spent with pretty much nothing to show for it. That spend is an expense, which you were always going to pay anyway, and it has been shifted from your bank account to your employee’s bank account because they originally had to pay it out of their bank account. Put like this, it surely represents the ultimate waste of business time and money.

Expense Fraud

The cost of processing legitimate expense claims is only one aspect of manual processing. The other factor to consider is the cost of expense fraud.

The risk of fraud being committed is amplified massively, not by the dishonesty of employees in these circumstances, but by the inefficiency of manual processing. On a global basis, 86% of office workers say that they’ve never had expense claims declined or challenged.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that a noteworthy number of fraudulent expense claims manage to slip through the system.

According to the 2018 Global Study On Occupational Fraud and Abuse, expense fraud accounts for 21% of the fraud committed in businesses with 100 employees or less.

Another finding from the report offered hints as to why expense fraud often goes overlooked and how damaging it can be. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that expense frauds tended to deal with smaller amounts per claim, but that these claims, over an extended period, generated a loss of $31,000.

This kind of small, repeated fraud, together with the aforementioned cost of simply processing expense claims, can lead to manual expense systems costing the average business a significant amount of money each year.

As if this wasn’t a good enough reason to seek automated expense solutions, such as those offered by Zetadocs Expenses, switching to expense management software offers a whole host of other business advantages, such as;

Speed

The lengthy process of filling in a claim form, attaching any relevant receipts and then passing everything to the finance department to be entered onto the relevant database becomes a thing of the past when an automated system is used. Employees can simply capture any receipts in digital form and input to the expense platform for instant submission.

Fraud Prevention

The kind of smaller-scale expense fraud which can all too easily slip by manual processing, is picked up every time by a system which has parameters set in line with the expense policy of your business.

If a claim exceeds the limit – or even an expected amount – it will be flagged up instantly by the automated system and returned to the employee to be reconsidered. If this is an honest mistake then the correct amount will be entered and the claim processed, but repeated offences of this kind will be spotted by an automated system.

With a manual system, on the other hand, a clever fraudster will make a point of having their claims signed off by as many different finance managers as possible, thus minimizing the chances of a pattern of behaviour being spotted.

Compliance

The rules and regulations around expense payments and their tax status are hugely complicated and continuously being tweaked.

Compliance is vital, however, and an automated expense system will be updated regularly with any changes which are introduced. Instead of relying on your employees or even your finance department to stay up-to-date with what is and isn’t an allowable expense, and what the tax implications are, the automated system will instantly apply any and all changes.

Employee Wellbeing

Employees will appreciate two things about an automated system above all others.

The first of these is the simplicity of making expense claims. Submitting claims is boring - with the administrative drudgery of filing a claim for every single expense.

The second aspect which will make life better for your employees, is the speed with which claims can be reimbursed. The system can be set to automatically pay the expenses in line with a firmly established expense policy, ensuring that employees never have to spend extended period out of pocket due to money which had to be spent on your behalf.

Reporting

There are also strategic advantages of an automated expense system. An incredible amount of data is being gathered simply though the operation of that system. This data can then be used to create reports, allowing a strategic view of your expenses and a long-term approach to be taken.

Aggregated details of your travel and accommodation expenses, for example, can be used to attempt to leverage better deals from providers, while the overall view will establish which, if any, parts of the business are spending more on expenses than you’d like or expect.

The run up to Christmas may seem like a time to be thinking about things other than business, but when it comes to treating yourself (and your business) to a special yuletide gift, we recommend checking out Zetadoc Expenses Express. This is the free to download version of our expense management system, and our implementation service will help ensure the set-up process is a smooth one.

You can have it ready to be up and running quickly when everyone gets back to work, providing your employees with faster expenses, approval on the go and seamless integration with your existing systems.

Merry Christmas!

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