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Expense automation: What SMBs need to consider

When it comes to expense management, SMBs should take the opportunity to begin the new calendar year by making the transition from legacy to automated systems in many areas of the business.

In today’s tight economy, SMBs face the same pressures and challenges as their enterprise counterparts. Businesses wanting to grow their market share are now required to apply even greater focus and energy to gaining a competitive advantage. As a result, SMBs are turning to solutions that have been leveraged in the enterprise sector, and especially recognising the transformative impact of automation on business efficiency. The automation of services, manufacturing, and management functions is now becoming increasingly commonplace amongst smaller businesses.

With smaller teams and budgets than larger companies, SMBs are faced with additional time and cost constraints when it comes to managing reporting. Expense reporting, in particular, can be a source of great frustration. With time spent inputting, paying, analysing and reporting on expenses, manual processes eventually waste countless exasperating hours and precious funds that could be spent elsewhere in the business. This is especially true when inevitable errors are made.

When it comes to expense management, SMBs should take the opportunity to begin the new calendar year by making the transition from legacy to automated systems in many areas of the business. These changes help to future-proof the business, and can have a momentous long-term return on investment.

SMBs can reap significant benefits from addressing the expense reporting process, a particular area of frustration for businesses and employees alike, yet one that is relatively simple to automate. Without the bureaucratic red tape of enterprise organisations, SMBs are nimble and flexible. Being able to execute change more quickly than larger businesses is an important motivator in the shift towards automated expense management amongst SMBs in Australia.

One Australian SMB to achieve cost and time efficiencies through the automation of expense reporting is MediMark International, a specialist medical education facilitator. With a workforce made up of many sales personnel who travel frequently, MediMark saw a need to streamline their entire expense management process. For MediMark, this was achieved within only eight days of implementing the Concur Standard edition, a product specifically designed to meet the needs of SMBs.

But before an organisation formally embraces expense automation, there are a few considerations that need to be dealt with up front:

Choose a system that is affordable for the business

As well as considering the cost of the system itself, there are several ways you can maximise its affordability. Most importantly, choose a product that is easy to implement. This is especially crucial for SMBs, as they often do not have dedicated or large IT teams to handle the transition to the new technology. Likewise, a system that is intuitive and simple for employees to use will reduce any potential costs associated with employee training.

Consider your employees

A successful expense management procedure relies on the compliance of employees. The challenges of enforcing expense management compliance with strict rules and policies will be familiar to many. Instead, carefully consider the usability of the program.

Neglecting to choose a user-friendly system is a common pitfall when selecting an automated expense management system. In the mobile age, the simplest way to ensuring regular and timely expense reporting from your employees is to choose a system that can be accessed by employees on the go through a freely available app that can be used on smartphones and tablets.

Maximise the ROI of automated expense management

By eliminating manual processes and multiple spreadsheets and consolidating data into a unified system, it will be easier to get an accurate view of your business expenditure. This allows you to negotiate with regularly used suppliers for better deals.

Automated expense management systems eliminate the need for tedious reporting processes, allowing more time for making important business decisions and freeing up capital to finance other growth strategies. With greater visibility into business expenditure, the constant challenges of controlling operational costs and increasing compliance are also eliminated. For small business owners, the potential return on investment of expense automation is high because it requires very little initial investment.

For more information, visit Concur.

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

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