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Free HR Briefing Paper : Expense Management, from Efficiency to Effective Procurement

The role of expense management systems in cost control, compliance and supplier management.




Travel, entertainment and other non-PO expenses represent a significant outlay for most organisations, but many concede that they exercise poor control over their expenditure. Frequently relying on in-house spreadsheet templates to capture and allocate expense data, their processes are often time-consuming and inefficient, and many struggle to enforce employee compliance. Above all, while they actively seek out economies of scale in other areas of procurement, many organisations are missing the opportunity to analyse their expense outlays and consolidate suppliers.

This Briefing Paper assesses the business case for investment in expense management systems as a means of tackling some or all of these issues. Taking a pragmatic perspective, it argues that:

• Expense management systems allow organisations to improve control and compliance by automating several key aspects of policy enforcement
• Automated systems also deploy workflows, ‘self-service’ capabilities and web-based access
to improve the quality of data and reduce administrative overhead
• Automation generates a wealth of electronic data that can be used to better analyse
expenditure. With a centralised, enterprise-wide understanding of aggregate spend and the
ability to drill-down into the major areas of expenditure, organisations can reduce the
number of suppliers used and strike preferential volume deals with preferred partners
• This data also helps organisations reassess the total costs associated with other activities
such as off-site training, and may establish a business case for changes to working
• Successful implementation of an expense management system rests, among other factors,
on employee buy-in. Organisations are advised to take a pragmatic approach that focuses
on the tangible benefits for individual users of the system, including greater convenience
and the possibility of faster reimbursement

The paper concludes by looking at the core functionality and design issues that distinguish different expense management applications, and examines the business case for outsourcing the process through a managed services arrangement.

Download the Free Expense Management Briefing Paper now.

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