The implications of enterprise mobility on finance management

With remote working increasingly seen as the norm and the majority of workers now ‘mobile’.

Sanjay Parekh, Managing Director at WebExpenses, discusses how, finance departments need to embrace enterprise mobility in order to become more efficient and slash admin costs.

This year, Gartner predicts 80 per cent of the enterprise workforce will be mobile and the implications of this for 21st century expenses-management, are wide-ranging.

Increasing workforce mobility and worker empowerment are being fed by legislation emphasising work/life balance and the increasing consumerisation of IT. Recent statistics revealed more than a quarter of email opens now occur on mobile devices.

This increasing use of consumer IT devices to perform corporate duties has rendered the task of in-house expenses management yet more difficult. An increasingly mobile workforce means claims are splintered among multiple sources, making the money trail harder to follow. And this is at a time when business is striving as never before to reduce admin costs and stay compliant.

With growing numbers of people working from home or on the move, employees expect to be able to work and access corporate data on personal devices and to shop around online for the best T&E deals. As a result businesses can no longer take a paper-based or PC-centric approach to expenses-management.

Successful businesses in this changing economy will be those that embrace mobility and give employees the flexibility to work from any location or device. Clever finance departments will take advantage of this mobility to speed up processes and increase efficiency using cloud-based expense management tools.

By switching from traditional paper based solutions to automated expenses-management systems, the Aberdeen Group believes companies can slash their admin costs by over 50 per cent. Interestingly, this also increases compliance by as much as 30 per cent, as companies can conduct best-practice audits, and instantly reimburse employees.

And now, as mobile devices herald the decline of the PC, new smartphone apps, the latest weapon in the war on waste, are giving employees the ability to submit claims and evidence “on the go”.

By empowering employees to instantly upload their claims and evidence when booking T&E, finance departments can monitor claims in real-time from anywhere, reimburse employees instantly, and conduct first class audits. As well as swiftly spotting emerging trends and inconsistencies in spending and giving them the power to block inaccurate claims, by issuing policy warnings as they happen, to eliminate errors.

This person-centric approach to expenses enables companies to identify, reimburse and reward the most honest employees whilst excessive or fraudulent claimants will be more easily spotted and monitored.

Modern “i-workers” who are accustomed to technology built around ease-of-use, meanwhile, will not tolerate rigid expenses systems that make it hard to choose the best travel deals or submit claims on the move. Smartphone expense management applications can turn the trend for worker-empowering consumer-IT to their advantage, by making it easier for employee’s to submit claims and evidence “on the road”. Smart-phone apps, integrating with phone cameras can capture electronic receipts, removing any excuse for losing evidence or adding on late “extras” and helping remote Finance Departments keep to rack of expenditure, even while global employees are on the move.

Automated expenses-systems like WebExpenses cannot eradicate fraud: ultimately every technology depends upon a degree of trust in its users. But it offers companies a golden opportunity to cut waste while restoring employees trust in the system.

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