Having an outdated expense system described as “terrible” and that “only a robot” could figure out is not ideal when you’re a thriving business that’s expanding globally.
This was one of the hurdles faced by leading media asset management company, TransMedia Dynamics (TMD), as their business continued to evolve into a truly global operation.
With their headquarters in the UK, TMD now has offices in the US, Australia and Malaysia; serving an impressive rota of international clients that includes the BBC, Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
But it was the company’s success which helped to expose the limitations of an outdated expense system which was struggling to handle the demands of multiple offices and increased business travel.
It’s a common problem with control of employee costs becoming increasingly difficult as information becomes fragmented and account managers have to deal with the headaches of multiple currencies, fluctuating exchange rates and varying compliance regulations.
The solution for TMD was to turn to a system that’s very much designed to be used by humans…webexpenses. With information securely held online, all expense data is made immediately accessible.
The need for paperwork is virtually eliminated with a smartphone app that converts paper receipts into a digital form. It means employees can submit costs as and when they’re incurred.
The system easily handles multiple currencies with correct exchange rates being automatically applied to claims and the system adapting its policy checks to match the legislation of the relevant country.
Here’s Justin Elkerton, the chief operations officer, and Ben Cousens, product manager, of of TMD explaining the benefits unlocked by the company since moving over to webexpenses.
What kind of business is TMD?
We’re a media assets management company which provides solutions for the broadcast, media and archive industry. One of our biggest clients is the Discovery Channel and we have an office in Austin, Texas.
This year we’ve also opened an office in Kuala Lumpur, as we have clients based over there and we have people in Canberra and Sydney. They’re constantly travelling between the two cities and also working with clients and prospects in southeast Asia. So throughout the organisation, there’s a lot of travel.
What problems did you have with expense management?
Our previous expenses system was terrible. One of our developers had made it around 15 years ago and you basically had to be a robot to use it properly. It really wasn’t user friendly.
There were lots of issues with the old system, including that it would only work with certain browsers, its was very UK centric in its operation, so expenses had started to become a really tricky issue to deal with.
What are the benefits of a cloud-based system?
What’s really good about webexpenses is that when you get a receipt, it can be dealt with immediately.
It’s using mobile phone technology, so employees can update accounts whenever they have the time and, with access via a browser, they can do this at the airport, or wherever, to get stuff done.
A big advantage is that it automatically applies the correct exchange rates for you. If I arrive back in the UK and buy a drink at the airport, it’s in pounds but an hour or so ago, it may have been Euros or dollars.
Why did you choose webexpenses?
Webexpenses for me is a simple interface. It’s easy for people to pick up, it’s easy to train people and it works wherever we need it to work.
Webexpenses is really flexible with handling different currencies. I’m travelling a lot to different countries. I might be at a hotel or in a taxi on the way to the airport and it lets me quickly and easily upload my expenses – from wherever I am.
TransMedia Dynamics provides a prime example of the way that digital tools are helping organisations to handle the administrative headaches that can be caused by growth. In the past, with companies having to manually process claims, it’s something that stifled the ability to scale-up.
A system such as webexpenses provides business travellers with a smartphone app which allows paper receipts to be instantly converted into a digital form. By removing the need for paperwork, processing times are typically reduced by 25 percent.
The system has a modular and fully scaleable design which allows it to handle any kind of growth – whether local or global. When dealing with multiple currencies, it uses the exact time and location that a cost is incurred to automatically apply the correct exchange rate.