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How to better communicate your expense policy

Finding effective ways to communicate with your employees is one of the challenges you face when scaling-up a business.

It’s something that may not pose a significant problem for a small organisation; getting your message across can be a simple matter of gathering people in a meeting room for a chat.

But what happens as your business grows; as you structure expands to multiple sites with employees liable to be in different parts of the world, operating in different time zones?

This is a common problem that growing businesses encounter when trying to ensure that all employees have the knowledge required of the company rules and regulations relating to expense reimbursements.

Because it doesn’t matter how comprehensive or equitable your expense policy is – if people don’t know what it is. Without effective policy communications, you leave your business open to the risks of error, fraud and compliance breaches.

So here’s a look at effective strategies to ensure that any growing business is able to effectively communicate its expense policy:

Use real-time notifications

The problem in the past has been that an expense policy has typically been a static document, one that’s liable to be quickly glanced at and then quickly fade from an employee’s mind.

With digital expense management set-up, a policy can become an active part of employees” daily workflow. A system such as webexpenses provides on-screen notifications and reminders as part of the claims process.

The on-screen messages relate to the particular types of cost being claimed, allowing specific policy and compliance rules to be communicated.

Keep it simple and concise

A hallmark of ineffective expense management is the need for a long, complex and impenetrable policy document. It’s when an organisation attempts to go into exhaustive detail and cover every eventuality.

Communication of a policy is much more effective when it’s stripped down to only the most basic information. It needs to provide a simple and concise set of rules, along with a general ethos on what’s acceptable.

Make it part of onboarding

As a company grows and new recruits are added to the organisation, you need a robust way to ensure that each new employee is informed about the expense policy.

It’s to better handle this kind of task that more companies are moving to digital induction methods, such as webonboarding, which automates the process, providing each new recruit with everything they need to know.

Making sure that each new team member is given this information, along with a digital stamp of where and when this took place, helps to remove any “wiggle” room when it comes to policy compliance.

Allow easy access

While a digital expense system can provide automated alerts and notifications, there are a multitude of other ways to make policies more accessible. Many businesses use a company wiki, allowing details to be accessed from wherever an employee has an online connection.

It’s an effective way to ensure that business travellers always have access to the required information. A web-based approach also removes the headache caused by having multiple copies of a policy scattered throughout an organisation.

The lack of central control makes updating a policy a slow and treacherous process as information becomes fragmented and old documents remain within the system.

You can find more information on how to create an effective policy, together with an expenses policy template, in this practical guide.

Webexpenses provides a better way to manage and monitor employee costs, find out for yourself by requesting a demo.

This article is part of a wider campaign called the Scale-up Hub, a section of Real Business that provides essential advice and inspiration on taking your business to the next level. It’s produced in association with webexpenses and webonboarding, a fast-growing global organisation that provides cloud-based software services that automate expenses management and streamline the employee onboarding process.


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