Time and expense reporting are essential functions of every business. The processes look different in every company, but there are some commonalities among the ones that do it well. Here are four ways to streamline time and expense reporting in your business to increase efficiency, decrease staff workload, and improve the accuracy of your data.
Clearly Define Your Workflows
The mark of a solid time and expense reporting system starts with solid workflows. Frontline staff needs to know who they report to, and managers need to know what they’re accountable for. While it’s tempting to give employees multiple options to make approvals more accessible when certain team members are unavailable, unfortunately it waters down accountability and gives responsible staff less of a sense of urgency about pending requests. Clearly define workflows so everyone knows exactly who’s responsible for what, managers can have faith that their budget numbers are correct, and administrators can quickly identify (and address) where a backlog may be. Flexibility is great, but accountability is better.
Employees need to know your expectations for time and expense reporting. These should be developed considering both the needs of the company and the realistic expectations of employees. If you need expenses tracked in real-time to keep a project on budget, communicate that reasoning to your employees. If they were accustomed to monthly reimbursement requests but you now expect weekly expense reports, explain that they will enjoy more timely reimbursements. If managers approve expenses on a haphazard schedule, set the expectation that all requests should be approved within three days. Whatever you need to make your system work, make your expectations clear.
Hold Employees Accountable
To further influence the culture, you’ll need to hold employees accountable who don’t meet your deadlines. However, this doesn’t have to be through a heavy-handed approach – especially if it’s a first-time offender or you’re in the middle of a procedural change. Instead, just let them know that you noticed. Try something like, “It looks like you’re having trouble getting expenses approved in a two-day turnaround. I wanted to check in about that – is there something that’s not working? What do you need to make this happen?” Using a collaborative approach will help them develop systems to meet your expectations in the future, or help you make process adjustments if you learn that your expectations are not feasible in a real-world situation.
Invest in Time and Expense Reporting Software
Time and expense reporting software automatically streamlines some of the most mundane and cyclical tasks in your organization. Instead of paper-based forms that can get lost, be illegible, or just get stuck on someone’s desk for days, time, and expense reporting software makes these tasks easier for staff at every level. Front-line staff no longer wonder whether their forms got lost, managers have easy access to organized requests and receive reminders as needed, and HR or payroll staff no longer have to duplicate entries into multiple systems.
Time and expense reporting software also replaces other digital alternatives like sophisticated spreadsheets. With a user-friendly interface, automatic error-checking, security safeguards, and customized reports, an investment in software ensures that your employees have access to a system that’s easy to use and that your numbers are right, every time.
The Solution: MindSalt Time and Expense
MindSalt Time and Expense will revolutionize the way your company handles time and expense reporting through customized workflows, automated reminders, and integration with popular timekeeping and expense reporting software programs. Web-based and accessible from anywhere, MindSalt requires no complicated setup or configuration and boasts a user-friendly interface that your employees will easily adapt. Ready to give it a try? Sign up for a free trial today!