Adam Clarke - Dec 5, 2019

Are you ready? It’s time to start prepping for the new year

The Christmas countdown has well and truly begun. But it isn’t quite time to put your feet up and relax just yet. For business owners, finance teams and accountants, there are still plenty of things to think about and tick off ahead of the new year.

Unfortunately, we can’t help you with the present shopping, but we can help you cross one thing off your list: sorting out your company expense management processes. So, let’s take a look at three things you can do now to ensure you go into 2020 with a clear(er) head.

1. Automate expense management processes

Expenses might be boring as hell, but they need to be done. Even if your financial year doesn’t end in January, you don’t want to start the new year chasing your tail and trying to catch up on 2019’s expenses. So, now is the time to get some sort of system in place.

You can kid yourself all you like. But you know full well that buying multi-coloured folders, ring binders and sticky labels doesn’t make the process any more fun. Neither does a glass of wine (okay, maybe a tiny bit more fun).

So, why waste your time and money?

Instead, make it your mission in the new year to completely automate the process with an online expense management system such as Expend. Or, better yet, why not start using one now?

Paper-based operations need whole layers of administration and require way too much time and effort. But moving to an automated system helps to create a more streamlined, scalable and flexible expense management process — freeing up plenty of time for you to spend on more important matters.

Automated expense management software also gives you complete visibility over company-wide spending. Want to know how much each department spends? Which vendors employees use frequently? No problem!

Plus, by going digital, you’ll be able to dive deeper into the smallest details of accurate, real-time data — generating instant customised reports to help you gain valuable insights about business spending. Can a manually maintained spreadsheet do this? Absolutely not.

2. Simplify employee expense claims

Fed up of employees losing receipts or submitting expenses late? Struggling to process multiple reimbursement claims at the same time? If you’re still using an inefficient and outdated expense system, then it’s time to make a change.

Switching from a manual to an automated expense management platform will make it much easier to review and process expenses in seconds, meaning employees won’t have to wait around until the end of the month to get reimbursed.

What’s more, staff who frequently travel or need to make purchases for business purposes can easily accrue hundreds of pounds worth of expenses every month — often on their own personal cards. Physical receipts also have a habit of going missing, which is less than ideal when it comes to providing proof for reimbursements.

If this is a persistent problem across your company, it’s definitely worth investing in employee business cards in the new year. Providing a company card which automatically tracks expenses, such as Expend’s prepaid business Mastercard, will eliminate the need for staff to pay for items out of pocket and make it much easier for you to monitor company expenses.

Through a prepaid card, you can empower your whole workforce to spend more responsibly — all while keeping a close eye on budgets and spending as it happens using automated expense management software.

3. Make a game plan for 2020

Finally, now is the time to think about what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. Create a broad company goal for the entire year, as well as several smaller ones that complement and help you reach your main objective.

The more specific, the better. If you’re specific about what you want, then you’re far more likely to achieve it. So, instead of just saying “I want the company to make a bigger profit next year”, decide how much and break that down into monthly financial targets.

From here, you can create an outline of how you’re going to make this goal happen and when you want to accomplish it by. This outline then becomes your plan of action for the year. Your objectives can change throughout the year for a number of reasons, so it’s important to revisit them and your action plan regularly to check you’re still on track.

Just remember to be realistic. There’s no point setting goals that are completely out of budget or unachievable. To ensure you meet your 2020 objectives, now is the time to review your cash flow and identify any inefficiencies that could get in the way — so you know exactly what you need to tackle next year.

If chasing late invoices was your downfall in 2019, make revising your invoice payment terms a priority for the new year. If employee expenses had you tearing your hair out, make it your mission to get on top of company spending in 2020 (this is where the reports from your online expense management platform will come in handy).

If you struggled to manage your cash flow effectively and efficiently, make better use of market-leading accounting software such as Xero and QuickBooks to simplify the process. Better yet, combine your accounting software with your expense management platform to unify the whole process! Expend’s seamless QuickBooks and Xero integrations enable you to get started in minutes — automatically syncing all your expenses data for you.

If you’re looking to go beyond expenses in 2020, book a demo with Expend today and discover the benefits it could have to your business!

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Written by Adam Clarke

I'm the Marketing and Partnership Manager at Expend. When I'm not fighting expenses admin with our amazing solution, you can find me eating my way around London's food scene.