Are your business expenses spiralling out of control? It's not easy to stick to your guns and ensure that your expenses are managed consistently, but here are a few easy tips to make submitting, approving and paying expense claims more efficient, and to save you a few headaches.
- Define a clear expenses policy
Black and white is key here, as any amount of grey will leave things unclear and open to abuse. You need an expenses policy that is clear and easily understood and communicated to employees. One that is aligned with the context, culture and goals of the business, and that holds managers accountable for the expenditure within their respective departments.
- Keep things simple
The harder it is to comply with your expenses policy, the less likely it will be followed. By cutting down on the bureaucracy and complicated calculations, you'll reduce the time it takes to process an expense claim. There will also be less chance of making a mistake or abuse. Make it easy for employees to submit the right information timeously and remember that your workforce is probably largely mobile, so you should take this into account.
- Relevance is key
Give great consideration to exactly what supporting documents and details you require as proof of expenditure. While enforcing onerous processes for submitting supporting documents will lead to non-compliance, introducing a minimum requirement will ensure that expenses are processed efficiently and on time. You need to find the right balance.
- Tweak when necessary
Even if you think you've got the perfect solution, don't be afraid to review your processes from time to time to ensure that any changes within the organisation are taken into account and reflected in your expenses policy. It may not be possible for you to check every transaction from beginning to end, but there's no harm in setting up spot checks to catch the odd discrepancy. Furthermore, it gives you an opportunity to interrogate the data you accumulate so that you can streamline processes further and save costs.
It makes little sense to expend your skilled resources on administering high-volume products and services that add little value to your organisation. Rather consider automation, such as using a purchasing card, for these transaction types so that staff can have more time to deal with strategic purchases that are critical to the success of the business.