Implement an expense management process to save money

Every business has to spend money to make money. The trick is knowing how to make the most whilst spending the least – and an effective expenses management process is a major step down that road. Here’s how to make the magic happen…

Let’s start at the beginning, by defining expense management. It’s the process of recording, sorting, claiming and reimbursing genuine expenses, incurred by employees on company business, against a clearly-defined policy.

Seems simple enough. But there are going to be lots of receipts, even in a relatively small business, so there’s a very real danger that the process you implement for keeping track of all of them becomes a hefty business expense in its own right – and that makes the whole process counter-productive.

The process
The process of expense management has six steps: Incur expense, capture proof of purchase (that’ll be the receipt); make a claim, have it audited, have it approved, have it reimbursed. The way that can be done is at its most efficient with the use of technology. Perhaps we’re stating the obvious, but here are three ways to work through the process. The obvious shortcomings of the first two are thrown into sharp focus by the third…

Way 1: Paper tracking
This is a tedious and expensive way of going about things. For a start, it requires the claimant to gather sheaves of paper, and make sure they don’t get lost or damaged. Then it requires someone with a great deal of self-discipline to keep control of all the documents and record them somewhere in some system or other. There’s a real danger that small business expense tracking in this manner becomes as big an activity as whatever the business was set up to do in the first place.

 Way 2: Spreadsheets
A spreadsheet can be a wonderful thing – but it’s only as good as the person operating it, which means that errors can creep in as data is transferred. We’re aware of an example in which a spend of £337 was recorded as £3,337; arguably an easy mistake to make, but clearly a massive error, and relatively expensive to find and correct.

Beyond that, think about the base load of cost involved. The people doing that work are adding nothing to the profitability of your business. If you were to move to another recording system you could reduce the headcount or find productive work for those employees. Either way, your business would be more cost-effective.

Way 3: With technology
Now you’re talking. Sophisticated expense management tools for small business have streamline the expenses process so efficiently that claims can be compiled, submitted, approved and paid almost faster than it takes to tell, with a great deal more functionality happening simultaneously in the background.

Effective systems using online expense management tools means the task can be accomplished with ease using a smartphone. And what’s more, the ease of use means employees are happy to use them. Not only is the claiming process far more straightforward, but they’re required to spend less time submitting claims. That’s a win: win in itself; they have more time to do what you pay them for, rather than having them engage in admin.

It’s easy to see that the latter option is by far the most effective, with expenses entered into an app in one of a series of ways, from where it can be filed under its own discrete heading, along with other similar ones. Once there, it forms part of a library of information which can be interrogated to help highlight business efficiencies, as well as audited, approved and paid.

And all of that can happen wherever you want it to happen, so long as there is adequate WiFi, so expenses can be dealt with a piggy-back tasks alongside other non-productive tasks, like sitting on trains, in airport lounges, and hotel rooms.

The automation therefore not only streamlines the expense claiming process but achieves the holy grail of doing more with less – more work, with less time expended on it.

And what business couldn’t benefit from that?

But what about the cost?
Don’t even think about it! (well, OK, but only briefly). The Solo Expenses pricing model works on three basic assumptions, all of which work in your favour.

Firstly, the pricing is based on a monthly fee per user. Increase the number of users, the fee goes up; decrease it, and the fee goes down.

Secondly, there’s every chance that we have more features than you need. (we’re proud of our feature-rich app, but recognise that there are businesses for which all of it might simply be too much. No problem! If there’s a particular feature you don’t need, then don’t pay for it. We have a really useful little dashboard on which you can pick – and pay for – exactly what you want, and not pay for want you don’t

Thirdly, we won’t hold you to a long-term contract. You can add or remove features whenever you want, and we’ll adjust the bill accordingly.

That means you’re always in control of the software that’s in control of your expenses. And what business couldn’t benefit from that, either?

How easy is it to set up?

Could hardly be easier. Visit the Solo Expenses home page here, and you’re only a couple of clicks away from being a more efficient business. Try it now!