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How to implement an automated expense management process?

Modern expense management tools streamline and automate expense management. From mobile apps that make it easy to upload receipts and claims on the road, to integrated travel booking and powerful analytics, expense management software can speed up the expenses process and reduce manual workload for employees and expenses teams. By analysing expenses spending in relation to customer accounts and projects, the business can make sure the right suppliers and agreements are in place to meet demand and support employees to travel and work wherever they need to drive revenue growth and profitability.

To implement an automated expense management process, you should follow this set of best practices that will allow you to select the best process for your business needs and implement in an organised way that encourages the team to embrace the change.

1. Understand the options

Get an overview of the various solutions available and evaluate them based on your business needs. You should develop an understanding of precisely what you’re looking for from the software in order to effectively determine which tool can capture or provide the features or user experience you’re seeking.

2. Select the right product

After weighing factors like features, customisation abilities, integration abilities and pricing, determine the software that is best suited to meet your business needs.

3. Demo the software

Before implementing the software, allow the solution providers to demonstrate the tool for you, and show you how the various features function. This will allow you to get a sense of ease-of-use and seeing the features in action may highlight functions that you want to utilise later on.

4. Customise the software

After selection, you can work directly with the solution provider to customize the tool to function according to your specifications. You may find that there are features that you don’t wish to use at this time and others that you do. The solution provider can work with you to set it up to meet your business needs.

5. Learn the software

After the software has been customised, rely on user guides, technical manuals, or hands-on exploration in order to get more familiar with and comfortable using the tool. During this step, you want to get a sense of questions that may arise when you implement it company wide.

6. Pilot the software

Gather a relatively limited pool of people and pilot the software with that group. Be sure to observe and record any initial reactions, common mistakes made, questions asked and other pertinent usage information

7. Gather feedback

Beyond your own observations, ensure that you gather feedback from the pilot team and are proactive about responding to the feedback, and updating guides, trainings or videos based on the feedback before implementing the tool company-wide.

8. Manage communication around the change

Before the company-wide implementation, be candid about the upcoming change, what it will entail, the reason for the change, and what benefits the software will bring to the company. This allows people to adjust, understand the decision and get on board with the upcoming rollout.

9. Execute a company-wide implementation

Select a date for implementation that includes training, questions and feedback. By ensuring everyone is on the same page, communication, answers, and guidance can be distributed in an organised and accessible fashion.

10. Measure KPIs

The software was selected and customised to meet a business need, so be sure to measure the key performance indicators periodically to assess how well it’s meeting your needs, and if any adjustments need to be made.

One common challenge with expense management software is that most of them use external systems that come with a learning curve. By not integrating with your systems, they require you to manually go-between their process and your process when you want to capture or report on data. Using a software that integrates with existing system can not only make for a simpler roll-out but an on-going ease-of-use and adaptation company-wide – ultimately boosting its efficacy.

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