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Week Commencing 18th could be the busiest expense week ever for UK businesses

Based on historical data analysis of its user data, Concur is predicting that the final week before Christmas will be the busiest for finance teams as employees rush to get their expenses in before the end of the year.

Concur has analysed data from its UK users and found that in 2016, the 19th of December was the busiest expense day, with a 99 per cent increase in normal weekday volumes, followed by 20 December with an increase of 63 per cent. In 2015, the 14th of December was the busiest expense day and in 2014 it was the 1st of December, showing a trend that the Christmas submission rush is becoming later.

In 2014, approximately 85,000 expenses were processed in the busiest week of the year; this then rose to 123,000 in 2015’s data. Therefore, the data for submissions this year looks to be well over 100,000 as the trend continues to rise.

Emma Maslen, Regional Director, Concur commented: “There is a clear trend that employees are leaving filing their expenses later and later. While to them it’s a race to get their expenses in and hopefully paid before the end of the year, for finance teams it’s something of a nightmare. Whilst others get into the party spirit, they’re left to log and validate hundreds of thousands in expenses.”

Brits aren’t the only ones leaving it until the last minute. In 2014, the 1st of December was the busiest expense day for French companies but in 2016 it was the 16th of December, with an increase of 133 per cent on average work day volumes. The second busiest day in 2016 was 12th December, with an uptick of 119 per cent. It looks like last minute Christmas habits – from present shopping to expense submissions – are seen in mainland Europe too.

That said, Germans are much more relaxed. In 2014, the busiest expense day of the year was 15th December and in 2016 it was the 19th with a 107 per cent increase on average volumes. In 2016 the second busiest expenses day for German finance teams was 12th December.

To avoid the last-minute Christmas dash, Concur has compiled the following top tips from Santa’s processes himself:

  1. Manage your resources – Like Santa’s elves, match your employees’ skills to the tasks where they can deliver the most value back. During the Christmas craze you need to utilise your team as wisely as possible
  2. Communicate clearly and consistently – The naughty and nice lists are vital, so be crystal clear with employees about what expense policies are in place and the associated timelines for submission
  3. Use data wisely to plan for next year – It’s impossible to deliver a worldwide amount of presents without the correct data. Therefore, gathering data during the Christmas craze can transform how you manage workflow and your ability to predict potential upcoming pressured times for the next year
  4. Automate it – There’s an increasing use of apps to keep an eye on Santa’s progress. In a similar vein, reducing the paper-based mountain faced by finance teams can really speed up the time and accuracy of expenses by taking on a large proportion of the heavy lifting
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