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How mobile is shaking up how businesses handle accounts

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The companies which thrive in this environment are those which have harnessed a flexible, fluid and adaptive approach to business. But to do this requires more than just a forward-thinking vision – it requires a company set-up that’s capable of handling change.

Now, more than ever, organisations need to be agile – to have the processes and procedures in place which can meet whichever challenge is faced. And what’s enabling companies to do this is a new generation of business tool.

These are management systems which use mobile and cloud-based technologies to create a flexible infrastructure ready-made for the rigours of today’s business world. The way employee expenses are handled provides a prime example of this.

In the past, expenses management was something of a business monolith. A company would choose a system which would be rolled out down throughout the organisation. It created a rigid and unwieldy structure, not suited to the dynamic nature of a modern business.

With these systems reliant on paper-based processes and manual tasks, finance teams faced a monthly flood of paperwork to manage, creating a slow, inflexible and error prone workflow. As a company grew, in both size and complexity, these weaknesses would be magnified.

The move to digital expenses management has removed this reliance on a “one size fits all” strategy. These new cloud-based services are designed to be customised and moulded to match the exact requirements of each organisation.

Thanks to cloud technology and software APIs, a digital expenses system is now easily integrated to work alongside an existing business ecosystem. It removes the need for a top-down approach and allows solutions to be found on a departmental level.

With low-cost services, minimal IT requirements and fast implementation, these tools empower businesses to create a fast and efficient system with the flexibility and scalability required for a growing company.

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But the benefits go beyond organisational set-up. Digital systems are also altering the fundamental concepts we have of what expenses management entails. The move from paper to digital unlock ways of managing and monitoring employee costs that were previously not possible.

At the heart of this, is the use of smartphone apps to let workers instantly convert any paper receipts into a digital form. With claims able to be uploaded in seconds, it allows expenses to be submitted as and when costs occur, rather than employees waiting to get back to the office.

For finance teams it means no longer having to handle the monthly flood of paperwork; no need for the manual entry or duplication of claims information. Expenses management becomes an active rather than a reactive process.

Finance teams receive a real-time overview of company cash flow and are able to take a much more proactive role in the way accounts are managed. Instead of uncovering problems weeks or months after erroneous costs are incurred, they can identify issues immediately.

To achieve this, alerts are set up which trigger warnings whenever a suspicious or out-of-policy expense claim is submitted. The systems can also deliver specific policy reminders and confirmation checks to employees, via the smartphone app, as a part of their daily workflow.

It’s a powerful weapon in the fight against expenses fraud and allows companies to start properly maintaining their internal policies and protecting themselves against the external legal risks of non-compliance.

So while digital systems and the usage of mobile technology may have been greeted with some initial scepticism by the business community, there’s a growing awakening to the core benefits they bring – from the micro to the macro level.

They may not represent the most glamorous side of business life but, beneath the surface, these fuss-free systems are playing a pivotal role in powering the success of some of today’s fastest growing companies.

Webexpenses provides a smarter way to manage your employee expenses. Find out more here.

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