Submitting expenses can be a tedious process, whether it’s unfolding crumpled receipts or trying to judge which drink was too many for the company to process.
Strides have been made in the processing of expenses, but the time taken to be reimbursed is still significant.
At least this is what Just Eat for Business found on LinkedIn in its ‘Inconvenient Expenses‘ poll. 60% of respondents said it only takes 15 minutes to submit an expense form, yet it takes over a month to receive their money back for 33% of those who responded to the poll.
Waiting for money is not a pleasant feeling, and as a result, a number of companies have attempted to address this issue. Additionally, the fear of waiting for reimbursement can lessen an employee’s willingness to spend.
In fact, 28% of workers revealed they wish submitting expenses wasn’t their responsibility, and one in three admitted they find dealing with expenses annoying.
Mike Chappell, co-founder and COO at FormsPal, spoke about the process of expense processing, and how this admin time could be better used by businesses:
“Concerning expenditure reporting, employees and finance teams alike must deal with a lot of tedious and time-consuming manual labor. It’s impossible to send a request to finance unless it has been reviewed and approved by management, and the finance team must first process the claims and balance the transactions before issuing refunds.
“In addition, it doesn’t take into account any exchanges before the final step between the parties. This means there’ll be a delay in reimbursing employees, exacerbating the already existing financial stress for both parties. As a result, employees’ time engaged in the expense process may be better spent on the company’s strategic, high-value projects,” adds Chappell.
The problems raised in the study were also discussed by Caleb Riutta, co-founder at Offer Sesame, who commented: “Many business purchasing policies are overly complex, confusing, or even contradictory in an attempt to cover every possible circumstance.
“On the other hand, some businesses lack explicit policies and instead rely on employees to utilize their best decision, which may not coincide with the financial department’s.
“For example, employees may unknowingly spend outside of policy and be unable to get reimbursed in both circumstances, putting them at an economic disadvantage simply for trying to execute their jobs.
“Finance should support systems that ensure personnel comply with the policy in the first place, rather than reprimanding them after they’ve done something wrong.”
In an effort to tackle the issue of waiting for funds to be reimbursed and its associated hassle, Just Eat has encouraged companies to look at employee benefit services like Just Eat Pay.
In this instance, employees can use a prepaid voucher available with daily or monthly allowances, which reduces the admin for those teams who track and reimburse expenses.
Lucy Cantan, sales and partnership director at Just Eat for Business, discussed their solution: “Completing and processing admin for expenditures such as lunch or work dinners can be time-consuming for all involved – whether you’re an employer or employee.
“However, it’s really important that everyone receives what they’re owed and continues to benefit from paid-for meals and travel costs.
“That’s why we encourage businesses to take advantage of schemes like Just Eat Pay, which reduces the hassle of completing and processing expense forms, and means employees and employers alike can focus their efforts elsewhere.”
Of course, there are other avenues to explore that may be better suited to the specific needs of employees.
Companies like Pleo offer smart cards that allow expenses to be handled digitally and integrated with existing platforms. Speaking about the importance of this function in the current market, Jeppe Rindom, Pleo’s co-founder and CEO, said: “The relevance of tooling to allow workforces to work in smooth ways while being distributed is very high right now.
“You may not be going out as much, but distributed workers need access to funds for a piece of software, or a subscription, or something else.
“Previously it’s been easy to, say, borrow a card from manager or the finance team to handle this. But you can’t do that anymore. Our product has become increasingly relevant for that reason.”
Additionally, Payhawk has recently become a unicorn and offers a card and an application to streamline expenses.
In short, there’s no reason why employees should begrudge expenses, it is just a case of finding the right tool for your business that saves the time of finance teams and the wait of staff.