'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the workplace, employees were joining the expense paper chase. For most of us, the festive period starts early. But while you're picking out Christmassy knitwear, spare a thought for the finance teams who are yet to clear their biggest hurdle of the year - the busiest expense week.
'Tis the season
It might not seem like much to the rest of us, but the busiest expense week is well on its way to becoming a recognised calendar date. Last year, the busiest expense day in the UK was Monday 19 December, which saw a 76 per cent rise in the number of expense claims over normal weekday averages, followed by 20 December with an increase of 63 per cent.
Emma Maslen, Regional Director, Concur said: “There is a clear trend that employees are leaving filing their expenses later and later. While to them it’s a race to get their expenses in and hopefully paid before the end of the year, for finance teams it’s something of a nightmare. While others get into the party spirit, they’re left to log and validate hundreds of thousands of expenses.”
And this trend is popping up all over the world. Germany’s busiest expense day last year was also 19 December, while France were slightly ahead on the 16 December – both saw an increase of over 100 per cent in the number of expense claims submitted.
Our data also found trends for industries and the type of expenses. In the UK, the life sciences (including pharma, biotech and medical devices) and wholesale and distribution industries more than doubled their submitted expenses on 19 December, with around a 110 per cent increase. The expense-type list was topped by entertainment (perhaps unsuprisingly!) on the busiest expense week, while mileage and airfare were bottom of the rung as the need for business travel declines.
Get the busiest expense week all wrapped up
Finance teams don’t have to miss out on the most wonderful time of the year. Set a game plan to manage the inevitable flood of paperwork, and once you’ve got through the busiest expense week, it’s a festive countdown to the 25th. Here’s some top tips to make getting there as painless as possible:
Be clear about your expense policy: Make sure everyone knows when, where and how they need to submit their expenses. Send your expense policy around as a friendly reminder and be ruthless – if it’s not on time or compliant with policy, it’s a lump of coal for them.
Work as a team: When you’re facing a mountain of work, you need to make the most of your resources. Upskill people on systems before the rush and put your best people on the tasks they’re best at, so everyone can work quickly and effectively.
Review your process: The most hectic periods are prime times to see just how well your processes and systems work. This will help you identify weaknesses, spot areas for improvement and plan for next year, so you can be better prepared.
Go paperless: Mountains of paper just make the whole expense process even more complicated - so why not explore automation? You won’t have to shuffle around stacks of paper or worry about losing receipts – expense solutions keep everything organised for finance teams and employees.