The increasing popularity of remote work is changing how businesses operate. Remote work was once a rarity among a selected set of employees but is now quickly becoming a defining feature of today’s work model. There are many reasons that employees may need to work from home – transportation or health concerns or simply a flexible work structure. For example, the outbreak of COVID-19 provoked many companies to shift to a remote work model for all employees possible to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
A recent survey has found that remote employees are more productive and engaged than their in-office counterparts, and distributed teams save the business money on office space and infrastructure.
More and more, organizations are appreciating the benefits of a remote workforce. To completely leverage remote employees, however, they need advanced systems to support them – this also includes finance processes.
Need Better Collaboration
One of the main objections that enterprises have with remote work is the lack of face-to-face interaction between employees. Fortunately, several collaboration tools that are available in the market today have made it possible for employees to communicate in real-time. With enterprise-level collaboration solutions in place, individual departments may have plans for their remote employees.
When it comes to creating employees’ tech stack, it is all simple for finance to be siloed as just another department with its solution. But finance is much greater than in other departments. Finance processes affect the whole business, especially when employees are remote.
Distributed Spend Pattern
Employees need to make business purchases from wherever they are. Especially, in today’s End User Era, when more employees across the organization are making more purchasing decisions than ever before. Remote employees around the world need an advanced system that allows them to make the purchases they need quickly and efficiently.
Most organizations utilize traditional processes to manage employee spending, such as shared corporate cards. This requires employees to work from the same office so that they can use a corporate card when they need to make a purchase.
Since they work in a different location than the rest of the organization, remote employees can’t easily access a shared corporate card. They will need to go through a lengthy process of requesting purchases through a central department or follow the expense reimbursement model. These processes lack control, provide a bad employee experience, and affect productivity.
A Holistic Approach
Finance teams often lack complete visibility into the spending that takes place on shared business cards. Employees spend whatever, and the finance team will come to know about the transactions at the end of the month when the bill is generated.
This reactive process needs finance teams to process transactions after the money has been spent, rather than adjusting spending as it happens. If finance teams can view the transactions in real-time, they could prevent duplicate purchases or negotiate a better price.
Real-time visibility into spend allows finance teams to maintain a holistic view of the transactions taking place across the organization. This is especially beneficial when managing remote employees who may not talk to others in the organization about everything they plan to buy before making a business purchase.
How Automation Helps
Traditional buying processes involve a lot of back-and-forth between employees, their managers, and the finance team – whether to request funds, borrow shared corporate cards, submit receipts, or answer questions about incomplete spend reports.
Since remote employees are in various locations, finance staff can’t approach each employee and look at every transaction, and emails take longer to resolve due to time zone differences.
By automating the complete workflow, from request to reconciliation, finance teams can streamline the process and reduce the annoying back-and-forth. Proactively gathering complete and accurate data from the beginning is the key to maintaining a complete picture of remote workforce spending. Moreover, automated systems are scalable, so they can continue to support distributed spending even as the remote workforce grows.
Empower Remote Workforce
Sometimes, to make necessary business purchases without delay, and to avoid frustrating back-and-forth, remote employees may spend out of business policy. When businesses use traditional systems to manage remote spending, they often warn employees who spend out of policy, rather than ensuring their compliance in the first place. An advanced spend management system that proactively enforces buying policy empowers employees to spend with confidence. They can purchase what they need to do their jobs best, without risking making an unapproved purchase.