Leadership & Productivity

How to prepare a growing business for the expense challenges of 2018

5 min read

26 December 2017

If managing the day-to-day operations of a growing business wasn’t enough of a challenge - you also need to be fully prepared for whatever twists and turns may lie ahead.

While successful business leaders don’t have access to any kind of crystal ball, they do need to acquire a knack for spotting industry trends and predicting the general direction of travel.

It’s by carefully monitoring the horizon that a business is able to avoid getting caught out by any nasty surprises; to make sure it’s best prepared for the obstacles that will need to be navigated in 2018.

It’s something that applies to expense management and particularly so for company’s who are scaling-up and having to deal with an expanding workforce and more complex organisational structures.

So here’s a look at some of the challenges that your expense set-up is likely to face over the next 12 months:

Evolving compliance requirements

The big “known unknown” of 2018 is going to be Brexit and the uncertainties caused by the continuing negotiations with the European Union.

It creates a volatile legislative environment, with no way of knowing how evolving relations and trading agreements will impact on the compliance requirements for expenses.

It’s to handle this dynamic environment that a digital expense management system is becoming an increasing necessity. With expense information automatically tracked and logged, data is immediately accessible, allowing finance teams to collate whatever kind of compliance reports are required.

Increasingly mobile workforce

It’s the combination of cloud-technology and powerful handheld devices that has driven the move towards mobile working. It means that employees can access the tools and resources they need from wherever they have an online connection.

It’s great for a growing business – allowing you to explore more flexible and agile structures with employees given greater freedom over where and when they operate.

But it’s an approach that also requires an expense system with the ability to handle increasing out-of-office claims. It’s not just the volume but also the complexity – being able to differentiate legitimate business expenses from personal costs.

It’s an area which digital systems are future-proofed to handle with employees able to manage their expenses via a smartphone app.

Multiple receipt formats

Around 11 billion paper receipts are issued in the UK each year but the dominance of physical bills is coming under threat. There’s an ongoing push towards digital alternatives – whether it’s an e-receipt, a text or some kind in-store app.

While none of these challengers have yet made much of an impact, it does mean that an expense system in 2018 needs to handle receipts in any kind of format.

A system like webexpenses is designed to cope with any kind of digital receipt, including emails, PDFs and multiple image files. It also handles the traditional paper receipt with the smartphone app able to convert them into a digital format.

Whatever challenges 2018 may hold, a digital expense system provides the best way to prepare your business for 2018…and beyond. It provides the core efficiency and flexibility that’s need to adapt and change to the circumstances.

And one future trend that you do have control over is the growth of your business. It’s an area where many companies come unstuck as they scale-up and reveal weaknesses in administrative systems.

A digital system such as webexpenses provides companies with the tools they need to handle the challenges of tomorrow’s business environment..

Webexpenses provides a smarter way to manage employee expenses. Learn more and request a free demo here.

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.