Spring cleaning isn’t just for the home. For small businesses, this time of year represents the close of the first quarter and a clearer view of the road ahead in 2015. As a business leader, with the learnings of Q1 under your belt and a roadmap resolution in-hand, you have the tools to ask yourself two very important questions:
1. Which practices are working for my business?
2. Which practices are not working for my business and need to be discarded?
To give you a bit of help, here’s a suggestion to make your organization soar a little higher as you dive into your “cleaning” routine: Use what is in the palm of your hand to streamline your expense reporting and management.
In a recent survey of over 200 small businesses, Concur found that 70% of respondents do not utilize expense-management software, instead leaning heavily on manual methods and resulting in compromised overall profitability.
This is despite the fact that companies can reduce invoice-processing costs by 40 to 70% through automation. Accounting software, such as QuickBooks, includes invoice templates, the ability to send invoices directly to customers online, and the ability to track invoices through to payment, thus automating the invoicing process. So this spring, resolve to find and implement a better way to simplify cash flow, and cleanse your business of its outdated practices.
Let’s find out how.
Simplify Expense Reporting With the Cloud
As cloud-based services continue to make their way into the enterprise space, new solutions have emerged for submitting and tracking expenses. These options make the process more efficient and easier to manage for both employees and accounting departments. When it comes to expense reports, convenience and ease of use are keys to improving the experience for everyone.
Research shows that employees can submit expense reports 60% faster with online tools, and they get reimbursed 40% faster when employers use smartphone apps for reporting.
By allowing workers to use the devices in their pockets and purses to easily and quickly keep track of spending, employers can reduce their employees’ stress and increase their motivation to present accurate and complete reports. With the right app, workers can snap a photo of a receipt with their smartphone, and they’ll be good to go.
Save Cash and Stay Compliant With the Right Solution
Effective expense-reporting software is a simple way for companies and their employees to save money. In fact, studies have found that more than $2 billion could be saved each year if U.S. companies automated expense reporting. Concur also found that automated solutions provide a number of benefits, including:
- Lowering processing costs by 50%
- Improving policy compliance by 22%
- Expediting the approval cycle by 28%
Imagine a world with no lost receipts, no miscalculated numbers and no stress over accounting deadlines. There’s nothing to lose—well, except a bunch of useless paperwork and frustrating headaches.
Find What Works Best for Your Business
With so many apps and services out there, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your organization. When looking for a budget-friendly and easy-to-use expense-reporting solution, keep these features in mind:
Optimized for Mobile Devices
As of January 2014, 58% of American adults owned a smartphone, and that number is growing. When you give your employees the ability to access and update their records via smartphone, it empowers them to stay on top of expenses and in charge of their reports.
Integration With Existing Systems
A solution becomes more of a problem if you have to throw out your entire system to accommodate it. To avoid a meltdown worthy of National Lampoon, be sure to find a solution that is compatible with your existing software. In life and finances, simpler is always better.
For example, Concur’s expense-management software offers easy integration with QuickBooks, which allows you to quickly capture vital information like account codes, customers, jobs, classes and more into the system. At the same time, Intuit’s Sync Manager makes transferring data into QuickBooks and making reimbursements and payments a breeze.
Solves Tricky Issues With Travel Expenses
Many of today’s professionals travel for work, and that can complicate expense reporting. A good solution will enable them to access the software offline, convert currencies with ease and submit expenses for approval no matter where they are.
Keeps Sensitive Information Secure
Security breaches happen, and expense reports with sensitive information can be a target. Educate yourself on the security risks and advantages that potential solutions have.
Encompasses “Everywhere” Capabilities
With a company-approved mobile platform, you have the comfort of knowing that the business meetings you hold anywhere are officially on the books. You won’t have to worry about pulling from personal resources to cover on-the-fly needs.
Clean Up Your Messy Expense Reporting
Automated expense reporting with smartphone-enabled features could add extra wind to your sails as you build on the success of last year and 2015’s first quarter. By keeping your “house” clean when it comes to expenses, and by staying in step with current technologies, you’ll get better participation from employees and a seamless solution to track and manage expense reports.
When you have greater accuracy and visibility into who is spending what, you’ll enjoy critical savings in both cost and time. These extra hours and dollars will help you get off on the right foot and cruise toward achieving all of your goals for the rest of the year.
Once you get your expense management in order, see our other articles on ways to cut down on business expenses.