When installing expense report management solutions in new clients over the last quarter, we were reminded of one of the bigger side benefits that many organizations reap when they decide to automate expense report processing: They take the time to review their whole set of policies and procedures to bring them up to date.
As we all know, policies and procedures can get cemented into an organization once they get a rhythm to them. Even when the business processes in place cease to align with the company?s goals of cost efficiency or innovation, cultural tradition keeps old processes rolling along.
Out with old process thinking: Challenge assumptions!
One of the excuses for keeping old processes in place is that each one isn?t ?too? disruptive, and it would take a lot of diverted time and thinking to re-engineer current practices.
However, the decision to install a new system like online expense report software changes those circumstances (especially when the new system is an ?end-to-end? travel expense management?that is going to change behavior in managing expenses through the whole travel cycle.)
Once the decision to upgrade is made, you have to reorganize your expense processing system, so challenging old ways of doing business become easier. ?Everything is being thrown up in the air and reorganized anyway,? said a client recently, ?so you might as well put all the pieces back together in a way that makes sense for our goals in 2013.?
Of course, the added flexibility that SaaS-based software like SutiExpense brings makes change easier once the system is in place: New policies and procedures can be injected into the system by administrators without requiring the IT department to reprogram everything. So the new cultural norm can be ?constant improvement? because we remove some of the pain of changing policy on an ongoing basis!
Review all expense-management processes, not just those directly associated with expense reports.
Question business reasons for having multiple levels of expense approvals:
- Who really needs to see and/or approve expense reimbursement requests??
- Can the dollar amount limits for certain expenses be raised? Should any be lowered??
- What form of receipts does accounting really need? In what format?
Comfort with past practices is a poor business reason for continuing a particular policy or procedure. Use your expense report software to constantly monitor and update your expense management policies and procedures to keep efficiency and cost savings on the top of your priority list.
Installing SaaS-based expense reporting software, or any business processing software, opens up a golden opportunity to challenge old practices and shake up the status quo for the better. Grab this chance with both hands.
Have you found this to be true? Can a new software installation foster a creative review of policies and procedures that really makes a positive difference in how business processes run beyond the specific tools that come with the software? Let us know what innovative improvements happened!