Necessary Expense Policy Changes to Accommodate Corporate Growth

By Jessica Larkin

Corporate growth brings the need for change, and more often that not, expense policy amendments are near top of the list. As your organization experiences growing pains, it can be difficult to distinguish between investments in your business and expenses.

Simply put, investments are typically part of your corporate strategy and expected to drive future revenue–think human capital (people), real estate, or costs associated with research and development. Expenses are costs incurred that are not expected to generate cash flow. Typically, expenses include employee spend, such as travel, advertising, equipment rentals, internet and telecom, and office supplies.

To keep expenses in check and ensure employees are clear on how they can spend company money as your organization grows, an up-to-date expense policy is critical. Keep in mind that your expense policy doesn’t need to be long-winded, ridiculously strict or complex to be effective. Design a policy that makes sense for your corporate culture and remember that achieving compliance is key.

Is It Time for an Expense Policy Revamp?

When considering if it is time for a revamp to your expense policy, think about the following:

If the answer is ‘Yes’ to all of the above, congrats, you’re likely in good shape! If you answered ‘No’ to some or all of the questions, then it’s time to revamp your expense policy.

Continue reading to learn more about essential policy changes to accommodate corporate growth, the role of expense management software, and an awesome customer use case.

Scaling Your Expense Policy and Budgets with Team Growth

As your team expands to support business goals and company growth, your expense policy will need to scale with it. Employees will need clear guardrails outlining how they are allowed to spend company money, book travel, and more.

Be sure that it addresses expense reporting guidelines, approvals, reimbursements, travel do’s and don’ts, and documentation requirements. Ultimately, your expense policy should be clear, current, and comprehensive and reflect your corporate culture.

Leverage Technology to Get the Job Done

As stated previously, we recommend that your policy takes into consideration expense reports and documentation, the approval process, and reimbursements. It is also advised to build-out a section detailing what can be expensed and related details such as maximum reimbursement amounts or monthly allocations for certain categories. Here are other areas where a modern expense management solution can help and how to get your team excited for the revised expense policy:

Say Sayonara to Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are not an efficient way to manage expense reports. Seriously. Ditch the spreadsheets–they are clunky, tedious, and leave gaps for human error. Instead, opt for an all-in-one travel and expense management tool that will save time and streamline processes for stakeholders across your company. The reports generated by the expense management solution will be a game changer for employees and the finance team, approvals will be a breeze, and errors will be a thing of the past.

Shift from Paper to Digital

One of the easiest ways to simplify expense report documentation is to utilize a business expense app that enables employees to snap receipts on-the-go and have them sync directly with reports.

“Eliminating paper receipts and forms in favor of digital and automated processes offered another major advantage: data—and lots of it,” says Business Travel Insider. “Corporations now configure policies within their reporting tools, map employee expenses to specific units and cost codes, enforce policy-driven time frames for submitting reports and set up automated data feeds directly from corporate credit cards into the expense tools.”

Long story short, an all-in-one travel and expense management solution is your finance team’s best friend when it comes to streamlining processes and enhancing efficiency.

Rock the Roll-out

All of your hard work and meticulous preparation of policies, a customized expense management experience, and thinking about what your employees need to support growth goals will be worthless if you do not attain compliance.

One of the best ways to get everyone on the same page is to roll-out the new travel and expense management platform and policies in a way that excites your team. Host a virtual lunch and learn and allow employees to expense up to a certain amount, say $25, as a thank you for attending. Not only will they be jazzed to get a free lunch, but then you can walk them through first-hand how the expense app works and what needs to be done to get the spend documented properly. We also recommend distributing the policy in advance and allowing time for a Q&A. If your employees feel like they understand the policy and it fits in with your corporate culture, compliance should be a breeze.

Customer Spotlight: Fiscal Note

FiscalNote GRM, the revolutionary government relationship management platform, is now the most effective tool for influencing federal, state and local governments. By dramatically improving how organizations build and manage their relationships with all levels of government, and through the use of proprietary analytics and breakthrough machine-learning techniques, FiscalNote GRM enables maximum impact on government legislation and regulation.

As FiscalNote grew its staff by over 5X, Marshall also discovered how easily TravelBank scaled. “It has absolutely grown with our team,” says Marshall, “and by the time finance gets the expense reports and the expenses approvals, they’re pretty much ready to go.” Sammi DiBella, a Senior Accountant at FiscalNote, discovered how simple it is to handle reports with TravelBank’s intuitive UX. “It’s very user friendly,” she says. “As an admin, it’s been easy to customize for our unique and ever-changing organizational structure, and the support team has been really great—they get back to me pretty much right away.” Read the full case study here.

Supporting Growth Goals through Your Expense Policy

Your expense policy plays a crucial role in your organization and it is essential for it to support growth goals. A key component of a modern and successful expense policy is the use of technology. By utilizing business expense management software, you will be able to improve efficiency, reduce errors, build-in policies and attain compliance. Thanks to the available data, reporting, and analytics, you will also be able to gain insights from the past to help you plan successfully. Data can help you with visibility on spending and also with forecasting for the future–which is super helpful for investors.

If you need help pulling together an expense policy or updating the one currently in place, the team at TravelBank would love to help. Get in touch.

We also recommend checking out our previous post, Understanding What Your Expense Policy Should Address, to get you started.

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