How to become an expense reporting whizz
How do you effectively manage something that you can’t see properly? This has always been the challenge finance professionals have faced while struggling to keep control of employee expense costs.
The inability to quickly access detailed and accurate expense data has made reimbursement costs a murky area of company finances - a place notoriously prone to errors, fraud and compliance breaches.
It’s a result of management systems that have traditionally relied on paper-based and manual methods of working; information has to be transferred by hand across various documents and Excel spreadsheets.
It creates a system in which information is prone to becoming fragmented, with pockets of data ‘siloed’ within different parts of an organisation. Trying to collate any kind of expense data is a tricky and time consuming task, stifling anything but the most basic of expense reporting.
This is a barrier that’s now being removed as more organisation make the move to digital expense management systems. The switch from manual to automated digital processes allows finance professionals to start shining a light on previously shadowy areas of business costs.
It’s not just that digital systems provide a significantly faster and more efficient way to collate and manipulate information, it’s also the depth and range of quality data that’s now being made available to finance teams.
An effective digital expense management solution will automatically track and store details of every aspect of operations - from the basics of who’s claiming what, to detailed logs of each check and approval.
With data being handled via the cloud, all of this info is synchronised across an organisation and made instantly accessible to a central finance team. Expense reporting tasks that could take hours, or even days, to complete with traditional systems, can now be done in minutes.
It means that the challenge is no longer about how accountants access expense information - it’s about how well they are able to manage it. This is why reporting tools have become such a vital component of any effective expense set-up.
A system such as webexpenses provides a powerful set of in-built reporting tools which are invaluable when it comes to identifying inefficiency, errors and fraud. It allows spending trends to be highlighted, revealing those ‘hotspots’ where reimbursement costs need tighter controls.
It also enables quantifiable performance targets to be set and the outcomes of any policy changes to be accurately monitored.
Compliance is an area where improved expense reporting is making a particular impact. Finance professionals are now able to supply external authorities with a level of information that minimises compliance risks.
It’s when information is missing or incomplete that HM Revenue and Customs investigators are likely to start become suspicious. With effective digital reporting tools, external deadlines can be easily met and a reassuring level of expense information supplied.
So for finance professionals, this combination of digital systems and better reporting tools is genuinely transforming the way expense costs are able to be managed and monitored. It provides the kind of 360-degree vision that’s required for an organisation to maintain proper control of costs in today’s business environment.
You can find a full guide on how to unlock the advantages of better reporting in this guide: The Business Benefits of Digital Expense Reporting.