Doing Your Expenses Should Be Super Easy



Lucy Kellaway from Financial Times recently wrote an article called ‘Hidden costs of hellish schemes for claiming expenses’. This article deeply resonated with me on many levels!

You see, Expense8 is a system developed by an organisation with over 20 years experience in the Expense Management game, and the key message echoed through Lucy’s article is one I hear more often than I enjoy roast dinners.

I’d love to take this opportunity to provide Lucy, and many others who were lucky enough to read her article, with an explanation of why many enterprise businesses are currently using Expense Management Solutions that seem utterly inefficient and useless.


Strengthening Lucy’s Argument

For the last two years, my partner (Amy) and I have lived next to a lovely young couple in the Sydney suburb of Kensington. I remember, no more than three months ago, talking to them about what I do for a living. Though Expense Management isn’t the most thrilling dinner-time conversation, they individually noted that their company’s Expense Management Systems are attached to the General Ledger. They reported that the process they’re required to follow for reimbursement of business expenses is so complicated and time-consuming, they’ve both stopped following the process altogether. If they do take clients out for coffee or lunch, they’d rather wear the expense than request a business reimbursement. Similar to Lucy’s article – their complaints are a testament to the annoyance caused by General Ledger-embedded Expense Management Solutions.


What’s The Reason?

The main reason that Lucy and my neighbors are living in Expense Management hell is very simple – it’s easier for a business to utilise an enterprise-grade General Ledger’s Expense Management functionality than procure a system that actually specialises within Expense Management. To clarify – when I say easier, I mean ‘thrown in for free’. Many enterprise-grade General Ledgers on the market provide Expense Management functionality as a ‘value add’ – there’s literally no effort or cost involved for implementation or ongoing system usage.

General Ledger-embedded Expense Management functionality is a typical business decision, “We’ll just use our ERP’s Expense Management Solution – how difficult could it be?” Well, if Lucy’s article and my neighbors’ opinion are anything to go by, the answer is, “Very difficult – almost detrimentally difficult”. Most of the big ERP-embedded Expense Management Solutions on the market don’t respect an employee’s time and for the most part assume everyone using their system has accounting/tax legislation knowledge and experience. They’re big business systems that focus on accounting and delivering functionality to accounting people. They don’t necessarily contain the smarts to automatically determine Sales Tax/VAT applicability of expenses, nor do they present accounting jargon to employees in more understandable terms. The General Ledger-embedded Expense Management functionality is typically used because the licensing is thrown in for free – definitely not because they are world-class Expense Management Systems that make an employee’s life easier.


What’s The Solution?

Though Lucy is a rock star journalist at the Financial Times, she’s probably not part of the team that make decisions regarding Expense Management functionality. She, like her colleagues and associates in other businesses around the world, are constrained to follow processes that don’t make sense and take more time than they should.

In contrast to the very system that Lucy is forced to use, stand-alone Expense Management Solutions like Expense8 are designed to empower employees, allowing for tedious tasks to be completed right away. Wrapping complex business, accounting and taxation rules in a neat and elegant software solution isn’t easy, however, it’s a core deliverable of a non-General Ledger-embedded expense management system. A solution like Expense8 is designed and built for your average employee, who doesn’t understand accounting and would rather focus on their core job rather than spend time clicking buttons to reconcile expenses.


I hope Lucy Kellaway’s article acts as a catalyst for change! I, for one, would be absolutely delighted to demonstrate Expense8 to her finance team, showcasing the smarts that we have designed and implemented across the last 20 years to make everyone’s life easier and allow them to focus on what they enjoy – their jobs!    


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