Leadership & Productivity

Five reasons why digital expenses management beats spreadsheets

6 min read

05 October 2017

Digital expenses management can make your life easier and can make your staff happier. Here are the top five reasons to ditch your spreadsheets.

For businesses to scale up successfully, they need to have all the right processes in place to support and manage the rapid growth, such as digital expenses management. However, the majority of businesses are still using traditional methods to handle their employee expenses. That means using paper documents and Excel spreadsheets to cope with the monthly flood of company and employee expenditure.

A manual process might work well when a business is typically small, but as an organisation grows it can soon become error prone and extremely time consuming. The inability to properly monitor or control reimbursement costs helps to explain how expense fraud has become such a global epidemic.

A typical business loses five percent of its annual revenue to workplace fraud, that equates to a global drain of £2.1tn each year. Along with the financial hit, there’s the reputational damage caused by compliance breaches, fines and prosecutions.

It’s a problem which digital expenses management and cloud technology can tackle quickly, providing businesses with better control of their growing work forces expenses.

Take a look at the the top five business benefits of a cloud solution:

Things get done faster

One of the main problems with traditional expense management is how painfully slow the whole process is. Information has to be manually moved through the system – bundles of paper receipts mailed between offices and details transferred by hand from forms to spreadsheets.

A cloud-based system removes this lag. A central finance team has instant access to information from the moment any expense details are submitted. With automated processes replacing manual tasks, a system such as webexpenses typically reduces processing times by around 25 percent.

Workplace fraud is reduced with digtal expenses

A lack of effective management has made expense reimbursements a haven for workplace fraud. With so much time required to process paperwork, it has left little time for effectively enforcing policies and identifying fraud.

Cloud-based systems provide finance teams with the ability to take back control. Automated notifications, checks and alerts integrate policy policing into employee workflow and powerful reporting tools allow suspicious costs and “hotspot” areas to be highlighted.

Compliance risks are minimised

A cloud-based system provides significant benefits over traditional methods when it comes to ensuring third-party compliance. With details of every stage of the reimbursement process digitally tracked, recorded and stored, it allows accurate information to be easily collated for external authorities.

It’s a lack of accurate expense information that’s liable to set alarm bells ringing for tax authorities, increasing the risks of triggering an audit or investigation. It allows a business to provide proof that adequate steps are in place to ensure that all costs are legitimate.

Employees are happier with digital expenses

The monthly task of having to turn a bundle of crumpled receipts into an expense claim is something that most employees dread. The inefficiency of the process also means that it can be weeks before costs, paid from their own pocket, are reimbursed.

A cloud-based system such as webexpenses allows expense information to be updated as and when costs are incurred. The use of a smartphone app enables expenses claims to be updated from wherever an employee has an online connection.

Mileage costs are controlled

Trying to keep proper control of mileage expenses has been virtually impossible when using traditional systems. Finance teams have to rely mainly on the honesty of employees with only the most blatant exaggeration or falsification likely to be challenged.

A cloud solution tackles this problem by using a smartphone app to accurately track and record the exact route and distance of each road journey. It’s a fast and efficient system which ensures that employees are reimbursed for legitimate business journeys…and nothing else.

So while businesses continue to rely on traditional methods to manage employee costs, they will also continue to struggle against financial losses and administrative inefficiencies. For a business to grow internationally, it’s crucial they review their process and look to how a cloud based tool can provide an affordable solution for companies wanting to grow quickly.

Webexpenses provides a smarter and safer way to manage employee expenses. Find out for yourself by requesting a free 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.