What Trooping the Colour teaches us about expense management systems

Change is life’s only constant. That’s why Donald Trump will be America’s next President, why we don’t go to work by horse-drawn tram, and why you can read this blog on your phone whilst sitting on a train. So why does the phrase: “We’ve always done it this way” still feature in the language? There’s a strong case for banning it, along with the thought process behind it, especially where business expense management is concerned, says blogger Stuart Pearcey…

Does your manual expense management system function with the precision of the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which happens every June in London?

I bet it doesn’t. I bet it’s riddled with errors and glitches; plagued with lost receipts, and wide open to fraud.

Those points are hard to deny; especially the last one. And if you were to say: “We’ve always done it this way’, I’d counter by asking: “Whatever for? Isn’t it time you changed?”

There’s no need to change the ceremony of Trooping the Colour because it’s impossible to imagine the ceremony being improved. “We’ve always done it this way” is therefore a valid argument.

It isn’t valid for a company still managing expenses with clunky old 20th-century technology and methods, because outdated technology is costing you money –and you might be alarmed to discover how much, when you tot it all up.

Why ‘manual’ is a financial drain
Think of the hidden costs of manual expense management. You can add in the numbers for your own organisation.

Processing time. Paper-based systems are high-maintenance. How many man-hours are swallowed up each month by processing claims, even the ones done on electronic forms? How much management time is involved in checking and cross-checking before approval can be given? How much time is spent by employees filling in forms and collating receipts? None of that time adds any value to the business; it just sucks money out.

Error. One or two errors in 100 would seem like a reasonable rate of accuracy – but what’s the financial value of a 2% error in your expenses calculations? I suspect that viewed as a stand-alone sum of cold hard cash it seems to be a more significant error, especially when taken over a whole year.

Humans. People make mistakes; it’s a fact of life. Receipts get lost or damaged. Alternative ones for similar amounts are included. Claims are made late. All add to the wasted time in a cumbersome system.

Fraud.  It happens. Inflating the distance between two points by even a few miles can inflate an expenses claim too. There’s a danger that it becomes custom and practice, and new employees learn from your existing employees that it’s acceptable to do that – for no other reason than no-one has even been taken to task for it. That’s another reason why ‘we’ve always done it that way’ is unacceptable.

Expense management apps: the more modern way
Because you and your employees ought to be busy making money and not spending time on admin, it makes perfect sense to get the power of modern technology behind you with an expense management app.

There are a number on the market, and none are excessively expensive. Solo Expenses has been around for years; in fact it was the first one developed exclusively with sole traders in mind.

Today we offer four packages, each of them tailored to suit a particular kind of business. At the ‘entry level’ we have the Household Use model, which is entirely free. Perfect for individuals, it can be downloaded here, and you can use it right away.

The other three packages, aimed at clients from SMEs with just a few clients to corporate ones employing thousands, involve a charge, but we like to think of it as an investment – because it will deliver a return in savings for your business. No charge is higher than £2.49p per employee per month, and for larger companies that dips below £1. We firmly believe those sums – and more – can be saved through diligent use of the software, allowing your expense management system to be fair to company and claimant alike.

With its ability to record spending in a number of ways, including photographing receipts, our systems are like an unpaid finance manager traveling everywhere with every employee – and allowing them to record all their expenses on the spot, displaying them arrayed like a line of highly-polished guardsmen, ready for inspection, and uploading them in just a few clicks to streamline your expense claiming process.

By harnessing the power of technology you’ll be bringing your business expense management to the same level as Trooping the Colour – hard to improve, and leaving you wondering why you would ever want to do it any other way…


Picture: Anizza | Dreamstime