Antonio does word wizardry at Tribal Credit, the financial services company tailored-made for startups. He has +5 years of experience telling stories of decision-makers in public affairs and now in finance and entrepreneurship. When he’s not at work testing his caffeine tolerance, he can be practicing Muay-Thai or reading fiction.
Balancing a company’s fast pace with a task that demands precision, such as expense management, is increasingly challenging for productivity.
A report from SAP Concur shows that 6 out of every 10 employees have filed at least one incorrect expense report, and at least 33% have submitted documents with five errors or more.
To find said imprecision, collaborators have to scan every entry without the guarantee to pin it. These can lead to high costs and compliance risks.
Nowadays, we have management tools dedicated to solving these issues and measuring productivity to detect our areas of opportunity.
So why is this still a thing?
The challenge isn’t the lack of available tools but an increasing number. Finance leaders need to choose which tools and services are optimal for the team’s performance, and often this task is a hassle in itself.
If your team requires a little push, we’re here to help you with it.
Here are five hacks to boost your expense management team’s productivity and precision.
But first things first.
What does an expense management team do?
Do you remember that first business trip of yours? We do, and also remember that we lost both of our plane ticket receipts, so we couldn’t submit them to the accounting team. Inevitably, we got the classic disappointment stare.
To prevent issues like mentioned above an expense management team checks that every expense is justified and in the project’s budget, using all the tickets, invoices, or vouchers you collected during your trip to assure accountability in the company’s operation. Basically, they’re the guardian of the company’s cash flow and their job is crucial to financial health!
Without an expense management team with such a vital function could be detrimental to the whole operation. Because no company in the world wants to run out of money, right?
Picture this: CB Insights argues that running out of cash is the first reason why startups fail. After analyzing over 100 post-mortem reports, they realized that imprecise expense projection was one of the main reasons they couldn’t secure the involvement of investors on further rounds.
That’s why the accurate combination of tools and services that could boost productivity for an expense management team can benefit the entire organization.
Hack #1: Real-time tracking
Back in the days when the expenses ran on paper, a device that could tell when, where, and how the cash flow was spent in real-time was the holy grail of accounting departments.
Companies need expense teams to foresee a potential anomaly, as it’s always better to proactive and take action as soon as possible.
Based on the equilibrium point for every operation period, teams can set an expense ceiling and use a dashboard that allows them to track in real-time how the money flow is moving and to see any potential problems.
Hack #2: Create a report with a few clicks
The Aberdeen Group estimates that processing a single expense report costs small and mid-sized businesses an average of USD $35.
Don’t you think it would be less expensive to double-check than to do it again?
Spend less time generating a report and create breathing room for your team to check inconsistencies.
Using software solutions like ClickUp’s Dashboard and their tools to create reports allows the team to optimize their productivity, cutting the required time to craft one.
Also, you can create your own mission control center for your entire team. This way you can have valuable insights into your team’s work and pinpoint where you can improve your expense reporting process to reduce costs.
📌 Pro Tip: Watch ClickUp University: Leverage Reporting with Dashboards
Hack #3: Tell the story and build bridges
It’s not unusual that finance teams (and finance professionals in general) struggle to convey their knowledge and insights in an accessible and compelling fashion—for the uninitiated at least.
When asked why graphs and charts were just dry compilations of boring statistics, Edward Tufte (you know, the guy named the Galileo of charts by Bloomberg) responded:
If the statistics are boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers.
Avoid being dull with your reports, though not only for the sake of fun but primarily for one of clarity.
Incorporate visual aid and storytelling techniques into your workflow, and you’ll see how much you can improve communication across teams.
Hack #4: Decision-making with ease
Finance leaders and business decision-makers can focus almost entirely on planning and strategy if the team can generate insights with quality data in real-time—thanks to tools like a dashboard and one-click-reporting.
According to Gartner’s annual CFO survey, the top priority for financial leaders during 2021 is advanced data analytics.
The importance and complexity of advanced data analytics and digital tools in the transformation of finance departments will be fundamental for stakeholders to propel their work to the next level.
Having the right service providers to ease the transition process is critical.
Hack #5: Invest in your team
A study from AMI-Partners discovered that up to 500 hours annually per collaborator is what a finance team can save using an integrated expense, travel, and invoice solution.
Having integrated services dedicated to expense management let them reinvest their saved time on decisive activities, such as:
- Analyzing spending trends
- Finding cost-saving opportunities
- Learning and applying new features of a solution
Every asset you invest in giving time to your team to focus on what matters, rather than what’s urgent, makes the difference between management that boosts productivity and one that doesn’t.
And for that matter, to increase the chances of the company to be financially healthy.
Successful expense management starts here
The bridge built between Project Management methodologies and practical hacks with Finance and Expense Management teams seeks to optimize workflows.
By gathering the data and being available in a single space, they’ll have everything they need to take action without struggling with saturation.
Positioning the expense management team at the forefront of productivity with the right tools and state-of-the-art innovation is necessary.
Forget about getting disappointed stares from your colleagues again because of missing plane tickets.
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