3 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Expense Solution

4 min read
Jun 5, 2023
3 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Expense Solution

Despite an all-time high in the global usage of digital tools, digitisation precursors such as Sweden, Norway, and Iceland appear reluctant to upgrade outdated expense management solutions. And yet, the demand for better tools and for mentalities and leadership to evolve is real.

Organisations worldwide are making home working into a permanent (or at least hybrid) accommodation. While you may believe that having an IT solution puts you ahead of the curb, if it is not up to date then it may well be costing you money. Here are three common questions we hear from organisations contemplating updating their expense solutions, particularly in the Nordics, and our answers to them.

1. "Why now?"

"We already have an expense management tool, why should we get a new one now?"

Outdated solutions are less efficient and seldom offer much mobility to their users. They also usually do not bring you any spend visibility, or force you to create and endlessly update excel sheets to obtain a semblance of business intelligence. And the risk of fraud and error is much higher with older solutions.

Modern solutions not only increase your employees’ productivity and provide you with better spend visibility, they also eliminate the risk posed by human error and fraud while increasing employee happiness.

Up to date expense management also comes with the added benefit of being compatible with your other IT tools such as your ERP, accounting system or HR tool. These integrations vastly improve your workflow, increasing the quality of the output data as well as overall productivity.

2. "What about paper receipts?"

"We must keep paper receipts for [X] years in my country, why would we need a paperless solution?"

While certain countries such as Sweden do not allow fully paperless expense processes due the obligation of keeping physical receipts for tax purposes, using a modern “paperless-enabled” solution still has multiple benefits.

When users can quickly take a picture of a receipt with their smartphone and have an expense auto-created for them, it reduces the time they spend on low-value tasks. It also increases the quality and accuracy of the data that is input, because Optical Character Recognition does not make typos.

Furthermore, controllers also see their workload reduced due to the aforementioned improved data quality. Not only that, but intelligent sampling and controlling tools save them up to 90% of the time they spend controlling expenses. Leaving them free to spend more time on higher added value tasks and controlling only exceptions.

Additionally, modern automated solutions include a range of policy and compliance checks, reducing the risk of error and halting any attempted fraud before it can take place. 

So while paper receipts may not be a thing of the everywhere, the time, security and efficiency gains of a modern, mobile solution are considerable and worth the investment.

3. "What if we don't travel much?"

"People don't travel much at the moment/in our company; why would we need a tool to manage expenses?"

Expense management solutions are not just for travellers, they also support your remote employees. Home office purchases have soared in recent years and many companies are making other accommodations for people who continue to work remotely.

The use of digital solutions such as videoconferencing has increased in all industries, and employees may need different tools when working remotely leading to a change in your expense category landscape. IT solutions across the board are growing, and outdated solutions simply will not be able to keep up with all the new integrations that will be required.

Additionally, expense solutions do a great job of enabling your spend management processes. You can link company cards, parking or other payment cards as well as your recurring service providers such as for smartphone subscriptions to your expense solution. This way, all your expenses, regardless of whether they are related to travel, are centralised in one place. Making for a clearer overview on costs, better spend management practices, and increased policy and regulatory compliance. 

The time to introduce a modern expense solution, therefore, is now, for two reasons.

The first reason is precisely that people may be travelling less due to ongoing effects of the pandemic or the switch to more hybrid work. Meaning now is the time to implement a tool related to travel and expenses, before it is needed, so as to create minimal disruption. Switching over from one tool to another when people need it is a much more complex endeavour. And one that you can easily avoid by making the change sooner, rather than later.

The second reason is that domestic and regional travel by car and particularly by rail has picked up significantly, in part due to the growing flygskam or "flight shame" people are experiencing. We have seen an uptick in the number of rail-related expenses and mileages being submitted through our application. Despite this, BTN News reported in April of this year that “The industry is now just about 15 per cent below 2019 levels of demand, and that gap is narrowing each month.” according to IATA director general Willie Walsh, meaning even air travel has greatly picked up.

Using an expense solution, whichever it may be, is certainly an improvement over excel sheets. But the cost of using an outdated solution, especially in a mature IT market such as the Nordics, may be inhibiting you from making strategic savings. It may also be getting in the way of improving your workflow at various levels, thus negatively impacting efficiency and productivity in your organisation.

As such, the question should really be "why not update your expense management system?".