Are You Herding Cats? How to Manage the Complexities of Traditional Expense Processes

Expend Team

30 September 2021

Here’s the first in our new series of blogs titled ‘Herding Cats’ which is how it might feel when you are trying to wrangle employee expenses.

In this blog we focus on managing the complexities of traditional expense processes.

It was author Ernest Hemingway who famously said: “Never mistake motion for action.”

His point was that the act of doing something doesn’t necessarily make it worthwhile. That’s particularly true when it comes to the layers of activity associated with claiming and managing business expenses. 

In business, it’s important not to trick yourself into spending time on pointless actions – instead it’s vital to work on exactly what you need to do.

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For the many accountants and business owners we speak with, the feedback is consistent – manual expense claims processes are truly inefficient. It locks up their people with unnecessary manual tasks which could be automated. 

And it creates a huge opportunity cost – the chance for their people to be doing something more valuable in the business. 

Here are just five of the complexities of traditional expense processes.

1) Wasted, distracting time at the end of each month. 

Many employees put off claiming expenses because the process is often tedious, manual and time-consuming. Result? Distracted and frustrated employees who are too focused on a complex claims process rather than adding value for their business. 

2) Lost receipts.

Missing receipts are a major headache and usually hold up the claims process. We all know evidence of the expense is necessary for compliance purposes, but that doesn’t make those receipts any easier to find!

3) Inaccurate mileage claims

Estimated and rounded up mileage figures are often the biggest issues with claims for expenses. Accurate mileage numbers, claimed at the appropriate rate, are therefore a necessity. 

4) Scrutinising spreadsheets for rechargeable items.

Expense processes can also injure the efficiency of your back-office team, who often spend hours manually reviewing spreadsheets for rechargeable items.

5) Too much focus on detail, not trends.

By investing effort on incorrect or missing details on expense claims, it’s likely that you’re failing to spend time understanding the key trends, and where you could save money, for example by negotiating discounts or dealing with key suppliers.

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Benefits of a software solution

If these complexities are painfully familiar, then consider the benefits of expenses management software to save effort, frustration and money across your business expenses process.

Expend provide software specifically designed to record, track and manage employee expenses in real time. 

Combined with an app, colleagues can easily and quickly capture expenses data as they go, ensuring that their receipts are photographed, processed and reconciled to your company accounts through clean integration with accounting software such as Xero or Quickbooks.

Expenses can quickly and easily be categorised, ensuring that the expense is claimed against its appropriate category, and most importantly, the claims process is not a time consuming, fraught activity at the end of each month. 

Instead, with the help of Expend, expense management is a simple, easy, visible process which can be managed as a standard routine, in real time. 

Most importantly, your employees know that their out-of-pocket expenses have been captured and processed, and are confident that they will be repaid, quickly and easily.

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With Expend, you can do the following:

Take control:

Benefit from real time insights into company spend, establish easy to manage chains of command and empower employees to spend within their budget.

Save time:

Focus less on expenses admin and more on the actions that matter to your business. Achieve streamlined expenses through increased accuracy and automation.

Save money:

Expend’s mobile app means that employees can complete expenses anytime, anywhere. And when it’s time to submit returns, all the information is at your fingertips.

Get connected:

Expend enables accountants and businesses to sync expenses automatically to accounting software, making clunky line by line reconciliations a thing of the past.

So, to recall Ernest Hemingway, consider whether you are busy ‘mistaking motion for action’, and if you are, think about how smart software from Expend could change your perspective.

Disclaimer: This is not legal, accounting, or tax advice - it's simply a guide. If you need help, check with your accountant or contact HMRC directly.  

Expend Team

Taking over the world, one expense at a time

Powering businesses around the world with the ultimate expense management software and sharing our top tips and lessons through these blogs.

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