Jenny Thornton is Director of Field Marketing for SMEs and Nationals in the UK
Managing expenses can be a laborious process for finance and employees alike. It’s not often we draw parallels between a nine-month pregnancy and your average expenses process, but there are quite a few. Trust me on this – I can explain.
Pregnancy is a vital step in human evolution. It’s not glamorous, but it is essential for our collective survival. Similarly, managing your business expenses effectively is vital for commercial survival. Spend beyond your means and you’ll soon be out of business. Working in a finance team, you already know that. But the comparison doesn’t end there. As you conceive, nurture and grow your expense process, here are some other similarities you could come across:
You will need to change some habits
Pregnancy signals a big change in your daily routine. No more alcohol, unpasteurised cheeses, cured meats, pâté or runny eggs (amongst many things!) Sigh. Similarly, updating your expenses process requires people across the business to change their old habits and adopt new ways of working. But the good news is, these changes don’t have to be restrictive and time-consuming – they should make everyone’s lives easier. Don’t be afraid of the change – it will be well worth it in the long run.
Get regular check-ups
During the nine months, you’ll visit the doctor, the midwife and maybe even a consultant at regular intervals. You’ll even get a couple of scans to give you some insider info about how things are going. These check-ups give you peace of mind that things are progressing as expected.
With your expense process, consultations are slightly different but no less important. Be sure to check in with the wider business at regular points to find out what they need. Do travelling employees need access to a quick app to submit expenses on the move? Would automating key pain points help them to save time? Do they understand the company’s expenses policy and are they encouraged to abide by it? Helping them to understand the changes you are making and why will help the transition process go much smoother.
Invest in the right tools
The list of items you need to buy for a new baby is seemingly endless, from buggies to car seats, cots, slings and more. The choices are vast – but the right equipment can make your life a lot easier. When it comes to your expenses process, the same principle applies. You don’t need to manage everything on a spreadsheet these days or rely on an endless stream of paper receipts. Technology can help take the pressure off. Invest in the right solutions to make things easier for your team. What’s more, you’ll get far better insight into your company’s financial performance.
Prepare for the long haul
Your baby has finally arrived! It’s time to give yourself a bit pat on the back and quickly turn your attention to the next job – raising your child. The journey is only just beginning. And guess what? The same applies when you launch your new expense process. Work doesn’t stop when the new systems go live. Now you need to monitor, maintain and adapt the process to respond to changing business needs. But with the right tools, you can pre-empt demands for better cost control, reporting and visibility of expenses to ensure your business continues to grow into a strong, healthy corporation.
Do you need guidance on how to nurture your expenses process and develop it into a thriving business function? Download our new whitepaper, The Blueprint of a Best Practice Expense Process to find out what you need to consider.