Solving the evolving problem of expense management for the post-COVID era

Solving the evolving problem of expense management for the post-COVID era

Expense tracking – that’s where the story begins, and the frustration. The fact is that nobody likes expense reporting, not even accountants and Finance teams. However, it is vital for ensuring the growth and financial success of any business.

Software giants built products to digitize expense management processes during the first technology wave. And since then, new players and the old have been finding better ways to solve the same problems. The truth is, the problem has changed. And so should your expense management software.

What challenges does the pandemic bring to expense management?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses around the globe that future-proofing essential business operations aren’t optional anymore. In such uncertain times, you will need as much accurate and easily accessible data as possible. Expense management software helps you streamline your accounting operations and make data-driven financial decisions, whether or not you decide to stay a remote company.

Here’s a list of problems that remote teams face with expense management:

Communication barriers

Since Finance teams and employees are not co-located, they can not run to each other for reminders and clarifications. However, multiple backs and forths are an integral part of traditional expense management processes. Remote employees spend a disproportionate amount of time communicating details for something that is not their core job.

How does an expense management software help with communication?

An expense management software eliminates the need for manual intervention in the expense reporting and reimbursement process.

  • For employees: It runs on a business rules engine that automatically checks and informs employees of any policy violations. The software then automatically forwards the report to the next approver, as defined in the approval workflow. This eliminates the need for back and forths for compliance or verification.

  • For Finance teams: Finance teams can also view who has/has not submitted expense reports and un-approved reports on their expense management dashboard. Then, they can trigger custom notifications with the click of a button. Expense software also enables real-time updates on expense claim payment processing for employees. Employees can directly view their reports’ status via the expense dashboard. This eliminates back and forths with the Finance teams.

Centralized process

Most businesses find it challenging to organize and store employee expense receipts and reports in an audit-ready manner. This only gets more complicated with remote employees. Additionally, inefficient storage and organization can lead to issues with the tax authorities. This can further lead to businesses and employees losing money and morale.

How does an expense management software help with centralizing processes?

An expense management software brings expense data from across the organization to a centralized expense management cloud. Once an employee submits an expense report, it is stored in the cloud and is accessible to important stakeholders. Finance teams can then search for any expense, receipt, or report using advanced filters at any time.

Looking into the future, businesses need to have an expense management system that won’t break, whether employees are remote or working from an office.

Plug and play expense management softwares make this possible without restricting the functioning of Finance teams. No matter what your expense management needs, your expense software should be able to streamline and automate it.

Why should businesses automate expense management software in 2021?

Businesses today need to carefully evaluate if their existing expense management software helps them achieve their business goals.

Some common goals behind business automating their expense management are:

This is an important business goal for businesses that want greater control over multiple project-wise expenses. Another common goal such companies have is also to gain real-time visibility into employee spends.

An expense reporting software helps achieve this goal by enabling managers and Finance teams to gain insight into real-time expense data. This allows them to estimate project spends accurately, avoid overheads, and ensure budget compliance.

This is a common goal for businesses looking to upgrade their existing processes to suit today’s needs. Such companies often look at automating mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks like expense management, payroll, etc.,

An expense management software comes in handy here. It helps automate all repetitive tasks in the expense reporting and expense tracking process. It also runs on a robust business rules engine that helps businesses stay audit-ready at all times.

This is a common business goal for employers who value their employees. The main agenda here is to simplify the lives of employees. Businesses that often keep employee experience in mind achieve higher employee productivity and loyalty.

An expense report software simplifies expense management. It offers easy expense tracking options like receipt scanner, reporting from email, WhatsApp forwarding, and more. This helps enhance employee delight while also closing compliant books on time.

This is a well-known goal for businesses looking to move into eco-friendly and digitized formats of business operations. This can be as simple as moving from paper-based or Excel-based expense reporting to an automated expense report software.

Expense softwares enable employees and finance teams to submit or approve expenses from a centralized dashboard. It also documents all conversations concerning an expense or expense report in the form of audit trails. This helps maintain detailed audit trails and expense reports without the burden of paper receipts.

While looking for an expense management vendor, you must identify strategic goals for automating expense management. Also, ensure you evaluate your expense software vendors based on these set goals. Here’s a handy checklist to help you through the process.

Checklist for future-proofing expense management for your business

Your ideal expense management software will:

  • Automate pre-accounting end-to-end

  • Eliminate the need for manual intervention in repetitive tasks

  • Offer superior customizability and control for Finance teams

  • Provide in-depth and real-time expense data analytics on employee spending data

  • Streamline and automate any custom workflows that your business might need

  • Integrate with other accounting, HRMS, and travel software

Additionally, an ideal expense management software that fits your business goals will:

  • Be able to automate finance processes as it is, without changing how teams work

  • Make it easy to implement the product and onboard employees with ease

  • Have a responsive customer support service over chat, email or, phone

  • Innovate constantly and strive to improve user experience

  • Provide enterprise-grade security that respects your privacy

  • Solve expense management problems for all stakeholders, not just decision-makers

Expense management has evolved over the years. It no longer is just about digitizing expense reporting and tracking. Today, expense management software provide real-time insight and in-depth analysis of your businesses’ financial health. They also help control spend and maintain your bottom line. This ensures your business stays compliant and audit-ready at all times.

Now more than ever, businesses need complete visibility and control over their financial operations. Ensure the vendor you pick accommodates the needs of an evolving business easily, completely, and quickly.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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