How to Revamp Your Expense Policy to Address Work from Home
A corporate expense policy defines how employees can spend company money and specifies how they are reimbursed for work-related expenditures. As the world shifts to remote work, a revamp of your corporate expense policy is a must as the way employees are spending company money impacts both cash flow and taxes.
It is important to adapt your policy to the changing landscape. For instance, you may need to provide guidelines for your team to purchase necessary office supplies or equipment to ensure business as usual. Or, you could opt to provide a reimbursement for all (or some) of internet and telecom bills as team members are likely using their own accounts for business purposes.
Regardless of the what and the why, it is essential to provide clear rules as to what is expensable, required documentation, report turnaround times, approval processes, and reimbursement information.
In this post, we will focus on stakeholder considerations, key areas for your policy to address, expense policy trends, and lastly, how expense management technology streamlines the entire process.
As you examine your expense policy, keep in mind that each stakeholder group in your expanding remote workforce may have different needs compared to an in-office setting. Specifically, consider the needs of your finance team, managers, and employees as you revamp policies to accommodate changes to your business.
As the owner of the expense policy, your accounting team has the company’s financial best interests as their top priority. Members of the finance department need good data and a solution that is easy for employees to use. For example, during end-of-month reconciliations, the slightest employee error on an expense report can add up to hours of corrections. Further, chief financial officers need quality reporting and visibility for forecasting. In short, a clear policy and user-friendly expense management software is a must for operational efficiency and accuracy.
Your people managers are on the front lines of expense policy enforcement and need to be considered as you make modifications. In addition to being the first to review and approve expense reports, they also field questions from their team about the policy itself. The clarity of your policy and the user experience of your expense management app has a direct impact on the amount of time spent by managers on related tasks.
Last but certainly not least, remember that good data begins with your employees. Your workforce is making spend decisions on behalf of the company. It’s imperative to make sure they understand the policy and can follow it easily. Good expense data for the finance department starts with employee tracking. Ultimately, a simple tool for capturing receipts, categorizing expenses, and submitting expense reports will yield dividends. Quick reimbursements are important to employees, so be sure to cover this in your expense policy.
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