Fraud and Compliance

How to Build Confidence in Compliance

Naomi Hamlin |

Compliance management and risk mitigation are top of mind for many businesses and their finance managers. The events of recent years have caused them to reassess their compliance processes to deploy changes faster and encourage their people to embrace continuous improvement.

Our recent ‘Improving Compliance’ Ask an Expert  webinar helps guide you on the journey to optimum compliance posture. It highlights some key considerations from experts Casey Killilea, Solutions Expert at SAP Concur and Dr. Mark Stirling, Senior Vice President of Global Channels at Blue dot.

In this blog we’ll outline some key points from the session – it’s also available to watch on demand if you want more in-depth insight into the importance of:

  • The integration of new tools
  • The utilisation of AI and machine learning to streamline operational processes
  • Dynamic and ongoing policy and process improvements

An understanding of new use cases which might require special tax treatment.

The webinar explores how every compliance journey is unique and rooted in the governance and culture of each organisation – and how a seamless travel and expense (T&E) process is central to building a holistic view of regulatory compliance.

Start with the Basics

A strong starting point is to incorporate business travel rules, expense guidelines and policy requirements into your processes. SAP Concur solutions, for example, proactively steer employees towards internal compliance requirements – whether it’s class of travel, limits on spend or any other criteria that fits your business policies.

Built-in audit rules mean users are provided with upfront messages if T&E policy items are breached, based on the data entered. In the interview,

Blue dot’s Mark Stirling says, “We’re looking to make sure employees do the right thing and remove the vagaries of humans having to make decisions when they're time-pressured and getting their expenses in.”

From the approval perspective, SAP Concur solutions provide flags on expenses or further messaging throughout the process to ensure all necessary details have been checked. Managers can check receipt information against what’s being claimed and carry out basic checks in accordance with policy.

Tackle the Risk Upfront

Process improvement in compliance isn’t just about improving the employee experience or providing data insights for decision making – it’s also about increasing operational efficiency.

This means auditing expenses prior to approval, which saves the approver time and encourages a more proactive approach to compliance risks.

SAP Concur solutions leverage AI and machine learning to deliver audit best practice by ‘reading’ the receipt details against the details entered by the employees. Checks can include date, amount, expense type and receipt type.

“The focus is about being proactive from a compliance perspective, making sure that we take away the risk upfront rather than it being carried out post-payment,” explains Casey Killilea in the interview.

There are also more enhanced checks which look at the expenditure against business T&E policy. These can include automated or human checks which allow businesses to identify ‘grey’ areas where policy needs to be reviewed to protect businesses further and eliminate as much risk as possible.

Beyond Policy Compliance

For large enterprises, managing tax compliance manually can be difficult and inefficient. By simplifying tax compliance with automated expense verification, you can avoid the danger of human errors. 

Once employees submit their expenses and they are approved, it’s important to determine beyond reasonable doubt the tax implications of that data.

Technology automation runs the checks needed to verify accurate tax levels and handle exceptions to help businesses update their policies. The technology matches the receipt against the expense type to determine the genuine tax event.

Once the tax implications are understood, the system will look at VAT eligibility by checking contextual meaning and previous patterns of spend.

Inbuilt dashboards and analytics then help businesses look at ‘rejected’ areas (perhaps lost VAT) as well as improve their tax reporting for audit purposes. Similarly, the system will run checks to analyse employee receipts and flag expenses which might be eligible for employee benefit tax.

Continue the Journey

Technology-driven tax compliance in large enterprises isn’t a linear process but rather a complex, ongoing series of improvements.

As Blue dot’s Mark Stirling explains in the interview, this isn’t a one-time process. “These rules and checks can be dynamically maintained by clients so as they go through these processes and get experiences, they can then go back to the beginning and fine tune them and help put into place the prompts that employees need.”

The integration of new technologies, coupled with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, enables businesses to receive data insights which can help them make more informative decisions and future proof business concepts.

Finance leaders can also better understand the correlation between the employee experience and overall compliance of the business. They get full visibility of the business impact metrics through streamlined compliance processes, and an understanding of the full scale of the compliance risks, allowing them to review and amend processes as required.

By optimising T&E processes with SAP Concur , you can build a culture of compliance and improve your organisation’s resilience.

To get a head start on compliance and start the journey with expert information and tools, watch the webinar on-demand.

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