Choosing An Expense Management Solution

My colleagues and I at systems@work assist organisations around the world to streamline and improve their Expense Management Processes.

We have worked with Public and Private Sector companies across many sectors and industries ranging in size from 25 to many ‘000‘s of employees.

Typically these organisations chose to implement an automated Expense Management System for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • Efficiency Improvements – “Eliminate paper and the rekeying of data”
  • Spend Control – “Reduce expense costs through enforcement”
  • Compliance – “Ensure that Company Policy & HMRC Guidelines are enforced”
  • Reporting – “Produce management reports showing who is spending and why”
  • Although each implementation has its own unique requirements and challenges, there are 2 fundamental steps which all organisations must take in order to ensure the success of a project.

  • Choose the Expense Management Software based on a clear checklist of requirements.
  • Careful planning of the implementation to ensuring adequate testing and staff “buy in”.
  • Choosing Your Expense Management Software

  • Hosted or Internal: – Consider where your data will reside and the financial and security implications.
  • Software License Model: – Do you want to purchase the software outright or rent/lease on a “per user per month basis”.
  • Browser Based: – Will your users require specific software to be installed on their machines or will they access the system through a browser.
  • Remote Access: – Will you require the system to be accessible from any location even if installed on your local network.
  • Multi Company: – Do you have employees in multiple locations (perhaps different legal entities) with different policies, tax treatment and language requirements.
  • Multi Currency: – Will employees incur expenses in multiple currencies and will employees in different locations require reimbursement in different base currencies.
  • Finance Integration: – Will your chosen solution be required to populate your finance (or other systems such as payroll) with expense transactions.
  • Recharge Expenses: – Do you recharge some or all expenses to internal departments or external clients.
  • HMRC Compliance: – Do you require a system that can manage VAT & P11D requirements. For example can Staff and Client Entertainment policies be managed so that you capture the information you need in the event of a HMRC audit.
  • Policy Enforcement: – Do you have spend limits and category policies for Employee Expenses that your chosen system must manage.
  • Credit Card Imports: – Can the chosen system import transactions from the leading Credit Card providers.
  • Project Costing: – Do you require employees to record expenses against Projects, Jobs or other entities?
  • Receipt Attachment: – Do you want employees to attach electronic copies of their receipts to their claim?
  • Implementing Your Chosen System

  • During implementation its vital to plan the System Design to ensure that the system is easy for employees to use.
  • As a general rule avoid long and complex forms and ensure that forms capture all necessary information for internal and external compliance.
  • Ensure that sufficient time is allocated to carry out end to end Acceptance Testing of the system.
  • Ordinary end users should be included as part of the testing team so that the system can be stress tested in a live environment.
  • Ensure that all interested parties, (Finance, IT, Audit, Compliance and End Users) are represented during the System Design and Testing Phases so that all view points and requirements are taken into consideration.
  • Ensure that employees and management are given plenty of notice about the go live date. Also ensure that the benefits of the new system are properly explained.
  • Finally we recommend following a structured Implementation Methodology such as that used by systems@work Consultants.