For most businesses, there will always be a clearly defined set of rules and policies in place for practically every aspect of their operations. This extends to employee expense policies, and ensuring that employees understand which expenses are accepted and which aren’t’, what limitations may exist, and how the entire process of spending and reporting expenses should flow is important. The wrong policies can cost you big, not just in terms of obvious costs but in many subtle ways as well. To ensure you set up the best possible policies and protocols, using expense software is a good idea.
The first thing you need to understand is that only certain expense software options will offer you the ability to review the data you need to see. When you start looking for different programs, be sure to find one that generates data reports in numerous ways so you can get the most information from the software. Graphs, charts, and basic number printouts are all worth having.
Additionally, be sure that the data reports can be broken down into different categories. You’ll want to be able to look at individual employees, different departments, and the company as a whole. You will also want to be able to break down data based on time frames like per-trip, quarter, monthly, and annually.
Once you’ve found expense software that will give you the right kind of information, the next step is to use that information properly. Begin by sorting out the data based on the factors listed above, and then take a look at the different ways it impacts your company. Things to look for could include:
- What department is spending the most and which is spending the least on trips
- Which employees are the biggest and smallest spenders
- What trips are incurring the largest expenses
- Which employees, departments, and locations are netting the largest return on investment
- What aspect of travel is costing your company the most
For instance, you could determine that hotel fees are costing you a small fortune. This could lead you to look into setting up a better deal with a particular hotel chain, getting yourself a discount in exchange for regularly using their hotels.
Or you could identify that a particular employee is spending double what others are spending while on a similar trip. This could lead you to determine that they’re abusing the policies you have in place.
All in all, the key is to make the best use of the data your expense software gives you and then generate the best possible reports as a direct result of that information. If you’ll spend just a small amount of time looking into what your software solution is doing for you, you may find that there are areas you can reduce costs in and boost your bottom line in the process. It’s one more way that good expense software proves itself to be a solid investment in your company’s future, not an expense.