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5 Ways to Improve Control over your Expenses

Oct 13, 2017

Strategies to tame employee expenses and supplier invoice

When you’re in the driving seat of the business, you need to have a complete handle over company-wide spend. Only then can you better manage cash flow and make smarter spending decisions. But, you can only manage what you see.

Now with Business Travel Direct and Concur, there’s never been a better time to take control and prepare for whatever the market can throw at you. So, to showcase the expense technology that Concur provides, here are five reasons why you should ditch the spreadsheets and finally go paperless:

01 | Capture spend as early as possible

A fundamental problem with manual, paper-based processes is that visibility of spend comes too late to inform intelligent decision making. Company spend needs to be visible as early as possible to give you meaningful insight.

According to the Expenses Benchmark report by Concur, 39% of employees will hold off on doing their expenses until they absolutely have to. That means months’ worth of receipts and tickets can get lost, proving a logistical nightmare for your finance department, so why not make everyone’s lives easier? Ditch the spreadsheets and automate the process instead; it will make the accounts team happier, the company will have much more visibility on current and future spend, and travellers can finally spend more time with their families instead of with scraps of paper.

02 | Reduce errors and duplication

If you’re reliant on paper to manage vital finance processes, the door is open to errors. Look for steps in the process where you can remove the risk of human error, such as data entry.

It’s crazy to think that the majority of finance teams will spend at least one day a week on admin tasks like reconciling expenses – but ‘copy and pasting’ data from receipt can be a dangerous game to play with human error creeping in. However, by using an automated solution, you can ensure your finance department can finally go back to their designated day job.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scans and automatically reads data from receipts, inputting the information directly into your finance system. Not only is this infinitely more accurate, but it can instantly pre-populate an expense claim and provide a digital copy; holding on to endless receipts is no more.

Duplicating expenses is also a worry for businesses – reports show that a third of finance leaders admit to having paid a duplicate invoice (that they’re aware of) costing the company even more money. An automated solution eliminates this concern by scanning the database for similar previous invoices and flag ones that look to already be paid.

03 | Detect and stop fraud

The lack of checks in many manual finance processes makes them a natural target for fraud from both internal and external sources. How might your processes be exploited and is your company at risk?

Exaggerated expense claims are always one of the biggest concerns for businesses, but what if you had software that could pick out the erroneous or fraudulent expenses? In some cases, employees think that a fictitious claim is their way of boosting their salary or getting back time owed, and will exploit mileage as it’s perceived to be the easiest area to fiddle. However, in most cases, employees don’t mean to break the rules; having a clearly-stated travel and expense (T&E) policy can help to cut out many over-inflated claims.

04 | Comply with government and HMRC regulations

Compliance can be a big worry for many businesses with 43% of senior finance leaders expressing concern over HMRC inspections.

The secret to satisfying them is having a fully traceable and accurate audit trail underpinned by robust policies. When you automate your end-to-end process, digital copies are made, making it easier to search and cross-reference, and a clear approval chain with tracked workflow completes the audit trail for every purchase.
The latest legislation change requires large companies to report their payment practices twice a year from April 2017, including the average time it takes to pay supplier invoices. The key to compliance lies in your processes. Get these right and you’ll have the ability to report all of your spending activity and ensure your company complies with government regulations.

05 | Use spend data to drive better decision-making

Putting in place automated processes significantly increases spending visibility across your business. Next, use aggregate data from multiple sources to get the full picture. Then you’ll be able to analyse meaningful data, spot trends and take action.

With manual processes, it is incredibly difficult to make sense of all the spreadsheets, let alone analyse or spot consistent trends. But by enabling data to feed from multiple sources into a single visual platform, you can finally start to see clear patterns emerging. Business Travel Direct can provide intuitive reporting dashboards, as well as over 130 out-of-the-box reports and customisable business intelligence to match your business needs.

Modern finance leaders power agile businesses

Finance leaders are steering their businesses through economic uncertainty – it’s not enough to just keep companies ticking over with old processes anymore. Taking control of your company’s expenses and time can only enhance visibility and ultimately future-proof your business.

Business Travel Direct is proud to be one of only four Concur Preferred Partners in the UK. This highly specialised relationship has been integral to our development and service offering, having now fully aligned with Concur’s ‘perfect trip’ vision, adopting their full suite of technology.

Our preferred partnership with them has allowed us to fully integrate with their innovative technology, having the best tools in the business travel market and offering our clients worldwide support. Furthermore, having an end-to-end travel management solution can only benefit our company, and through our partnership, we can provide this and so much more.

You already have the travel in place, why not let us help you with your expenses too, powered by our global partners Concur? If you’d like to speak to our team about how to improve visibility and control your business expenses, call us on 01895 450 701 or visit our website.

Download the White Paper: ‘The Top 5 Ways to Improve Control over Spend‘.

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