What's the ROI on an Expense Management System?
Analysing the costs of paper and the benefits of digital processes.
It’s one of the ironies of business life that one of the most expensive elements of finance management – at least in terms of time requirements – is the process of managing business expense claims.
A study by Forrester Consulting, a company, which among other things, specialises in helping organisations free up time through the introduction of new technology, found that 80% of companies with more than 500 employees globally were still entering expense data manually.
In terms of day-to-day working life, this means that finance teams, managers and employees of these organisations are spending valuable hours tapping away at keyboards, handling paper expense receipts and filling in spreadsheets.
Not only are manual systems cumbersome and time-consuming; they don’t support businesses in bringing expenses under control, according to 24% of the companies involved. Some other related issues flagged up in the same report include the following:
- 42% complained about having to gather data from multiple sources
- 60% had a problem with a lack of mobile access
- 43% said the processes they employed made it difficult to produce detailed reports.
Further research from smallbusinessheroes.co.uk states that 83% of small businesses in the UK still use traditional methods to log expense claims, and the average employee spends three full working days each year simply processing expense reports.
Multiply this across every business in the UK, throw in the issue of expenses-related documents being filed in disparate filing cabinets, drawers, cupboards and even garden sheds (according to a survey carried out by document management company Cleardata) and it’s clear that a radically more efficient solution is needed.
The Confederation of British Industries (CBI) claims that “by encouraging businesses to adopt the best tried and tested technologies available – such as cloud computing, mobile technology and re-purchasing – the UK economy could receive a £100 billion boost.”
Expense management obviously falls into this.
The ROI benefits of cloud-based expense management solution
Migrating systems to the Cloud means automating data capture and collation so that information is collected quickly and efficiently. With the submission of expense information being done via smartphones, laptops or tablets while the employee is on the move, it means it's stored securely and available instantly.
Perhaps most liberating of all for the typical accounts team manager is that digital solutions mean less or no paper.
Going paperless means that the direct cost of buying, printing, copying and mailing paper-based information such as expense claims and records immediately drops off the balance sheet. Combine this with the fact that going digital means employees would find themselves with 3 more days per year to devote to their actual job as opposed to time-consuming administrative tasks (according to www.smallbusinessheroes.co.uk).
Suddenly the digital route to expense management looks very attractive indeed. We’ll let you do the maths to assess the impact across your team.
Altogether a digital, paperless, cloud-based expense management solution offers an impressive return on investment as a starting point.
As automated systems become more embedded, so the problems caused by mistakes, lost receipts and even fraudulent expense claims will start to become a thing of the past.
The time will surely come when paper-based expense management seems as archaic as writing with a quill and ink. That’s why the savvier businesses are making the move to digital expense management solutions right now.