The beginning of the new financial year is the perfect time SMEs to review and simplify expense management processes. With the increase in a distributed workforce being accelerated even further by COVID-19, employees who once were tied to an office will likely be working remotely in the new financial year, which means tracking and automating expense management has never been so important. By simplifying processes, SMEs can set up new and easy-to-use management systems and processes for the year ahead, and save time when it comes to the busy end-of-period reviews.
Tracking expenses is a crucial part of any small business’s financial and administration governance; however, if done manually, these tasks can take time away from value-adding activities, tying up staff members with repetitive work. Completing these tasks manually is also error-prone.
Our Finance in the New Way of Work study found that 32 per cent of Australian businesses and 47 per cent of New Zealand businesses still use manual processes to submit expenses. The same study found that almost 50 per cent of ANZ employees want to reduce time spent on the expense process, with employees spending between 3.4 hours and 4.3 hours per month filing expenses. On top of filing their own expenses, managers or business leaders take up to 6.9 additional hours per month to review and approve expenses.
Simplifying and automating the expense management process can save employees a lot of time, helping them remain productive and focus on customer service, innovation, and business growth. For business leaders, automation provides real-time visibility to help increase their organisation’s resilience during turbulent times.
There are three ways SMEs can simplify expense management processes:
SMEs need to focus on expense management as a crucial tool to manage cashflow and maintain profit margins. Simplifying expense management processes can contribute to cost savings and efficiencies, and it can also ensure that businesses remain compliant, reduce their risk of fraud, and experience fewer errors in the accounting process. Especially in the current economic environment, SMEs must consider automating and simplifying their expense management processes.
Fabian Calle, General Manager – SMB, SAP Concur ANZ