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Attributed to Kyle at Fraedom

The finance department in every business is always busy. There are invoices to be paid, payments to be chased, reports to be created, and so freeing up time is seen as somewhat impossible. In the digital era, when time is even more precious than before, it is essential that admin type tasks are actioned swiftly. For the finance team, they are facing a constant battle between balancing these jobs, and focussing on what’s really important to business success – increased growth and profit.

Likewise, it can be challenging to oversee and accurately report on the purchases and expenses that are taking place at any one time, to ensure this all tallies up, and is conducive to growth. A study by Paystream and Fraedom, found that 63 percent of SMEs, and 38 percent of average sized corporations, still use manual processes to track expenses. This is surprising in the so-called digital age, as having a manual process is much more likely to lead to a slower and less accurate reporting of expenses.

In order to overcome this, businesses must embrace new technologies that disrupt and transform our working lives. As technology continues to develop and change the way we work, organisations should make use of emerging technology to help improve accuracy, efficiency, productivity and meet the technical expectations of the 21st century employee.

Free up staff

Earlier this year the Financial Times, wrote a scathing review of the FT’s expense software, stating that employees would rather have a root canal than do their expenses. Whilst this may seem slightly over dramatic, this demonstrates just how negatively people feel about doing expenses on a regular basis – in fact some would rather be out of pocket than do them.

This should no longer be the case with the technology available now. There are quick, sure fire ways to input and record expenses without the hassle and the pain.

Many manual processes, have become digitised, and connected devices are now used every day by workers to allow them to work remotely. The cardless and contactless revolution with the likes of Apple Pay has dramatically changed the ways in which people make payments. This innovation has reduced the time it takes to pay for items and expenses should be no different. Tools such as mobile and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, underpinned by cloud-based infrastructures, are at the forefront of making this possible.

For example, as well as being able to use your phone as a method of payment, through the use of OCR, it’s now possible to take pictures of receipts and upload them to your expense platform, where they are automatically processed and categorised accurately. By letting technology automate processes like this for your staff, you can remove manual processes and simplify the entire experience, freeing up staff to get on with their day jobs.

Improve control

Expense stories and scandals regularly make the headlines and not for the right reasons. This is usually in relation to employees abusing their expenses, whether that is on purpose, or because they do not know what they are entitled to. It is then crucial that expense policies are shared and readily available to employees to help ensure compliance. Having complete visibility and control over expenses is likewise necessary so that the finance department know when to allow expenses to go through and when to query them.

Using technology to capture all of your spend in one place improves visibility and control, whilst giving a much more accurate view of how much is being spent, by who, where, when, and for what. When it comes to expense policy, it varies from business to business, there could be different rules for different levels within organisations or, it could vary depending on department.

The problem lies where employees are not fully aware of the expense policy and what they are entitled to. Some employees can abuse their expense policy, but many are simply unaware of the rules. By making sure the policy is known throughout the company and by using technology to track all spend, businesses can keep on top of these issues with compliance, and exercise more control over spend.

Save money

Using technology to automate business processes, rather than relying on manual methods, means time and costs for businesses can be significantly reduced. The finance department not only need to be on top of payments going in and out of the company but need to track the data, and analyse it to see where unnecessary spending is happening. The finance department need to have complete visibility to make changes, to reduce costs and maximise on output. By having a completely automated expense system rather than manual also reduces the amount of man hours needed to do the job which minimises costs.

In the 21st century, expenses should not be difficult, workers leading busy lives, in and out of the office, should be able to input their expenses quickly, and with ease. With disruptive developments in consumer tech such as contactless and cardless payments, the way we pay for products and services has become easier and quicker, why not expenses too?

Employees have higher expectations than ever before and expect the same quality of technology they have at home, within the work place. Organisations need to adopt similar technologies within the work environment that provide the same experience employees want and demand in their personal lives. Through constant innovation companies can operate more efficiently and keep their employees happy.

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