An expense management system is a mobile app and website to automate financial coding, receipting and approvals of employee spend. Staff can take a picture of a receipt, explain their purchase and managers can approve from their smartphone, tablet or desktop device. Best-in-class expense managements systems offer a user friendly mobile app experience, configurable alerts to users, simple tax allocations and smart coding of expenses using defaults.
Expense management apps are systems that manage employee initiated spend. This might be where an employee makes a claim to be reimbursed for a purchase out of their own pocket, if the staff member uses a purchase card or corporate credit card, or where funds held on site in a petty cash float. Expense management apps allow you to manage the financial coding, receipting and approvals of these expenses to reduce effort for finance and staff. Best in class apps will have a mobile app as well as a web interface.
Expense management is a risk to your business as well as an opportunity to save time and money. In terms of risk, there might be employees committing fraud and misappropriating funds. Expense management allows you to get better control and visibility of employee spend, drive policy compliance and achieve significant cost savings through efficiency. For many organisations, implementing an expense management system will lead to operational efficiency savings of up to 80%. You might also be missing out on lost savings from expenses that should have been purchased through a preferred supplier relationship.
Petty cash is where a cash balance is held at an organisation and used by staff for small day-to-day expenses. There is a risk to the business by holding cash on site and there are usually a number of time-consuming manual processes that need to be followed to reconcile the balance and manage receipts. Increasingly, organisations will replace petty cash by reimbursing staff for out-of-pocket expenses or introducing purchase cards. As part of this process, or to better manage petty cash, an expense management system will provide greater transparency and efficiency.
Download a receipting app or set up a corporate expense management system. This will allow you to take pictures as you go so you won't necessarily require the paper copy. In most countries, the tax office will accept electronic copies of tax invoices.
A corporate card is a credit card that is issued to an individual employee of an organisation. This type of card is also known as a corporate-liability card because the card is issued to the organisation rather than affecting the individual's credit history.
A credit card is generally issued to an individual and it is that individual's responsibility to pay the balance of their card for the statement. A corporate card is a type of credit card where the liability sits with the individual rather than the organisation. For organisations using a corporate card, they can also access company statement data as a group or set up a datafeed to an expense management system to manage reconciliation and approvals of employee spend.
An overarching program or facility is established at the organisation level with an umbrella limit. Under this program/facility, many cards can be issued to individual staff members with their own monthly limits, so that they can spend on behalf of the business. Often staff will have corporate cards if they are frequent travellers, purchase IT software and subscriptions, purchase office supplies or other low-value high-volume goods/services. The facility balance (amount spent across all cards) will then be automatically swept from a nominated billing account in line with bank statement cycle and payment terms. This can allow organisations to leverage cashflow benefits, often up to 60 days.
Corporate cards provide cashflow benefits and are more efficient than traditional purchase order and accounts payable processes.
To reduce risk of fraud, ensure full tax and audit transparency and see spend in a timely manner. Don't underestimate the value of data in spend analysis and reporting. A corporate card program will provide better visibility of date of purchase, amount, merchant and merchant category.
Business travel expenses often include flights, ground travel, accommodation, meals and incidentals. Meals and incidentals are included to cover the disruption to the employee who would otherwise be in their regular place of work where they might have office kitchen facilities and cooking provisions at home. Some organisations will pay a perdiem or travel allowance instead of paying for the actual expenses incurred while travelling.
Make sure you have a clear policy and consider the processes involved for all relevant staff when it comes to travel expenses. Expense management systems can reduce a lot of the pain around business travel expenses. Talk to your bank about the value of a corporate card program if you have regular business travel.
Book early, keep a copy of your itinerary handy, stay hydrated and take pictures of your receipts as you go. There's nothing worse than trying to find a missing receipt two weeks after a trip.
Large companies engage the services of a travel management company to provide booking tools and reporting for corporate travel. This allows organisations to ensure they can track staff locations at all times (to reduce risk if safety is compromised), and ensure policy is followed such as ensuring staff select the best fare of the day. Most large companies will also provide travellers with corporate cards or cash advances which they will use and collect receipts in their expense management system.