26 August 2020


COVID-19 has changed every aspect of business life, affecting almost 100% of organisations irrespective of size, reach or industry.

Managers and finance teams are under pressure to plan and prepare for a post-COVID world - reworking cash flow models to accommodate new economic realities and market uncertainty.

Businesses can’t ignore poor expense management any longer.

Even before COVID-19, 89% of finance departments were regularly facing expense process challenges - from time and effort overload to errors, delays and fraud. Lockdown has exacerbated these further.

Home and flexible working, remote fulfilment and emphasis on mobile services has changed working practice forever. The expense mix is now more fragmented and complex as businesses cope with connecting, protecting and empowering employees outside the office.

There is no longer a justifiable business case for paper-based manual expenses.

Collecting receipts, stapling them to expense forms and submitting them monthly simply doesn’t cut-it in in terms of productivity, cost control and employee safety.

What finance, managers and employees need now are more agile, responsive and real-time expense management solutions. With simpler workflows, shorter decision paths and a lighter touch.

Top tips for transforming expenses in the wake of COVID 19:

1. Ditch paper and ‘dirty-cash’, go digital

Due to COVID-19, you may be seeking to keep employees safe by eliminating potential sources of contamination such as paper, cash and forms. Automated systems and cashless payments help to reduce risks while removing admin burden, freeing productivity and boosting morale.

2. Scrap slow and stressful pay and reclaim

If you operate a pay and reclaim expense policy, late reimbursement can stir up big problems with staff. Remote working is no excuse for having employees bankroll your business. Switch to a pre-authorised expense card with customised caps and pre-spend controls. There’s less stress and less chance of uncompliant spend.

3. Move to mobile

With many workers now off-site, make sure expense systems can be accesses remotely (and securely) via a smartphone.  Even better, use a mobile app that also lets employees capture receipts and pay by phone. You’ll get spending data faster and a fuller picture of costs for better real-time cash flow control.

4. Limit unauthorised spend 

Limited interaction between employees and managers disrupts manual expense authorisation. Keep things flowing with a payment solution that caps spending for individual employees (such as Allstar Plus) – uploading in real-time if required.  Payment methods that offer pre-spend controls, prevent unnecessary spending BEFORE it happens help removing grey areas and ensure all spend is legitimate.  

5. Shore up compliance  

Among the issues highlighted by COVID-19 is how to keep expenses compliant when workers have no access to centralised systems while working from home? Automated pre-spend controls and HMRC compliant invoicing all help ensure accurate VAT and tax recording, and make audits easier. 

More resources

Start your post-COVID expense transform today and download our latest report - How expense management needs to shift gear to keep pace with post-COVID-19 workplaces.

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