Managing your business expenses to make those claims to the HMRC is a job in itself. Receipt management often requires the kind of toing and froing between staff and finance department that would have you pulling your hair out if they were the equivalent practices of any other cross-department exchange.
Typically, an employee, charged with driving all up and down the M1 in order to meet existing or target clients, will keep track of all of his or her expenses, including what goes out on petrol, overnight stays at the Holiday Inn (also a grilled breakfast, perhaps?), and any of the other basic requirements (with the odd treat thrown in) that come under the allowable expenses umbrella.
This means the retaining of dozens of receipts, which inevitably results in overflowing wallets and pockets, as well as the odd lost claim here and there. But what it also results in is time-consuming (and tedious) data management, or, more specifically, completing reams of spreadsheets filled with receipt-related detail, while attempting to marry up those entries with company guidelines and policy.
Once this information has been recorded by the member staff, the collated information then goes off to the finance department. Here, again, the details are gone over with a fine-tooth comb as certain expenditures are picked out and questioned – perhaps a supervisor is consulted – before it is decided what aspects of the submission must be returned to the member of staff (currently catching a cheeky BLT at one of his or her preferred motorway stop-offs) for amendment. The toing and froing has begun. And those receipts? To be filed and stored in a lonely, probably quite dingy, room for six years.
This is not efficiency.
So rather than all that palaver, individuals and companies now have the opportunity to take advantage of smart, innovative solutions, such as web-based software and apps for business expenses management. Online, cloud storage means the member of staff in question needs no more than to snap to the app an image of the receipt – which can then be thrown away – in order to retain a secure, accessible and exportable copy. Approval flows are also made sensible, simple and flexible, and – with the right software – HMRC regulations are automatically integrated and updated for UK companies and businesses.
With the move underway from traditional methods of recordkeeping, administration and project management to apps, web-based software and cloud-based storage, more organisations need to start streamlining their practices and getting rid of all that paper.