Having a solid policy in place for business expenses is one thing. Maintaining that policy’s efficiency is a whole other task.
Setting the policy, of course, lets organizations manage costs effectively while giving employees the freedom to travel and spend confidently. But policies can’t just be “set it and forget it.” A healthy combination of proactive enforcement and intuitive tools will help finance teams avoid the pitfalls below.
Modern offices often take a paperless approach to documentation across departments, including expense reports.
Keeping track of these reports while making employees chase down receipts isn’t an efficient way to help employees keep to their expense policy. It isn’t easy to set parameters without a digital solution that automatically checks every expense and calculation log.
Plus, modern digital solutions for expenses provide a higher level of security and encryption that paper copies of sensitive documents can’t achieve.
As the clock starts ticking at month’s end, the time crunch for reconciliation becomes more challenging. It’s impossible to complete the process quickly when finance teams are forced to process large volumes of financial data every 30 days.
But a system that allows teams to process expense transactions in real-time will enable them to start reconciliation immediately. By dividing the workload over the whole period rather than tackling it in bulk at the month’s end, teams can complete the reconciliation process faster and financial reports will be more accurate.
Bottom line: Always keep the end user in mind. While finance, human resources, and operations contribute to writing the policy, the employees will be the ones spending. Be sure they can understand the rules.
Since every misappropriated dollar can affect a company’s bottom line, it’s essential to limit fraud or misspend opportunities before a purchase takes place. Rather than seeing charges when the expense reports flood in at the end of the month, businesses should implement technology integrated with a fair but transparent expense policy that leaves no room for ambiguity.
If the technology is truly efficient, it will also catch double submissions of receipts and flag them for review. This process means finance teams can prove reimbursement requests to be illegitimate earlier rather than later. And, if the technology is intuitive, out-of-policy charges are stopped at the point of sale.
An expense policy is a critical tool for keeping company finances in check. Still, it can quickly become a loose set of standards if businesses don’t implement processes to enforce this policy. Fortunately, organizations have several tools at their disposal: expense management tools with controllable expense policies, company cards with built-in safeguards, and real-time monitoring technology.
Clarity and transparency make up the framework of an efficient T&E policy. However, modern technology now incorporates a level of automation that boosts that transparency and streamlines and enforces the policy in seconds.
With Navan Expense, for example, employees can book all travel through the app. Finance leaders can consolidate a company’s travel spend into one place and make budgetary decisions quickly based on real-time data.
By combining the Navan travel solution with Navan's expense management and corporate cards, companies can deploy software into existing systems to create a seamless workflow. Built-in approvals squash out-of-policy spend, and mandatory reporting means no information goes missing.
And archaic expense reports stay in the past—where they belong.