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New £100 contactless limit is just another spend control reminder for finance teams

AI in the finance department: augmenting, not replacing

 

By Steve Whiting, Soldo Head of Payments Technology

While consumers may have embraced the convenience of higher contactless payment limits, finance teams in businesses are a little more cautious.

Since arriving on the scene with a limit of £10 in 2007, contactless payments have grown to more than 10 billion transactions a year. Although we all benefit from the convenience of making speedy payments on the go, the recent limit increase to £100 is another reminder of the need for greater controls over spend.  

Added to potential losses through fraud, the easy flash of a contactless card for genuine payments can result in forgotten receipts. Without a receipt, payments cannot be properly accounted for, and employees may end up out of pocket, resulting in, even more, lost time and money for finance teams. Soldo has found that to avoid these pains, 1 in 2 businesses in the UK are switching off the contactless feature on their corporate cards. 

Deactivating contactless payments is only a sticking plaster for a bigger underlying problem. One of the bigger headaches with business payments is the lack of visibility and the control finance teams have regarding how company money is spent.

Businesses in the UK are going into 2022 under challenging conditions. It is understandable that purse strings are being drawn ever tighter, and more scrutiny is focused on spending. Now, more than ever, finance teams find they must move away from manual processes and adopt digital tools. 

Visibility and control enables growth

Soldo’s research highlights that in 2021 three in four businesses cut their operating costs during the pandemic, both in terms of payments to third-party suppliers and employee expenses. Looking ahead, the research also found that UK businesses want to give employees less flexibility around expenses, with 52% of 900 finance leaders surveyed stating that greater oversight and control will be required across employee and company expenses.

Manually organising and documenting receipts is a deeply ingrained headache. Even when employees remember to pick up and keep receipts, accounting for them is time-consuming and often inaccurate. And this can lead, whether deliberately or inadvertently, to misuse of company money by employees. In fact, Soldo has shown that 38% of British employees admit to committing expense fraud, which comes at a cost of £1.9 billion a year for UK businesses.

Adopting digital tools that enable finance teams to have visibility and control of entire spend across a company enables business leaders to address these problems. Having management dashboards for the finance team and easy-to-use mobile apps for the employees relieves time and error, helping avoid the risks brought about by the likes of contactless payments.

As the world is emerging into new ways of doing business, the rise of Fintech means businesses can adapt and thrive by harnessing the power of digital products. 

 

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